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Brambles I

June 3, 2014

I woke bright and early at the Management Centre in Bangor University to a view of the Menai Straits from my Bedroom window and a sense of being home.  Aside from the personal connections (both of my parents died in the hospital there and I came frequently as a child) I've always liked the place.  I think it must be one of the most eclectic  towns in Britain for its the diversity of it's architecture styles alone.  In consequence is a mixture of delight and dereliction.  The new Pontio Centre which is linked to the work we are started there is an example of that mix.  The picture at the bottom of this post sees it approaching completion, next to the more traditional style of the main university buildings.  It matches the portland stone of what I think is the only classic portico in North Wales (bottom left) which has stood there for many decades. 

For the centre itself I shall simply quote from the board on the building site:

Set in the heart of Bangor, Pontio will be a world class Arts and Innovation Centre: a cultural beacon for Wales, a champion of the Welsh language and a hub for the local community that will raise Bangor's profile to promote investment and regeneration in North Wales

Now I was here to do the detailed planning for one of the most important initiatives to date in Cognitive Edge which has the ambitious goal with the Welsh Audit Office (a long standing partner/customer) and the University to create a whole new centre for the application of complexity thinking to Government subject through the engagement of a wider population in real time sense-making.  It links to work with the UNDP on how do you scale success and learning in the Development sector, something which was a major focus on my recent visit to New York and that work will also be an integral part of our Bangor projects.

Expect a lot of posts on this over the next few months, but network members may want to reserve the 19-21st September 2014 in their diary for what will be an on application event limited to forty participants which will provide the praxis powerhouse for the development of those ideas.  Sorry for the phrase by the way, but I am a child of the seventies and word plays on praxis are irresistible.  More on that shortly along with the announcement of a New York event in 2015.

I'll put up a preliminary post tomorrow on the principles of applying complexity to Government.  For the moment our plan is to run a series of controlled experiments in the following areas:

  • Citizen journalism as a form of distributed ethnography
  • Student experience
  • Health and well being journeys in the areas of mental health and obesity 
  • Aesthetics as sense-making, the role of the arts
  • Anticipatory awareness in social work

Part of the goal here is for Wales to become a centre for thinking and acting differently about the world we live in.  Using small countries as a way to demonstrate the way forward for larger ones.  The programmes will start to recruit in July and we are more than open to interest outside the Welsh context so feel free to get in touch

Readers of Juarrero and one of the papers Cynthia and I wrote will get the theme for the opening picture and title, and its relevance.

The Pontio Centre in construction oooo

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