Thursday, 17 December 2009

ARK Academy

With all the christmas festivities there were a few less of us last night at Cardiff Arts Institute, but the Happy Spaces experiment was a great success. The object workshop worked really well with a bit of visual note taking. I will post a few images on a flickr account in the next few days but for now. Heres two of my favourites.


ARK roll

Friday, 11 December 2009

Academy - 16/12 - What's your happy space?

Next week we are going to be launching the Academy series. The event is all about expanding the sixth project of Happy Spaces. We are hoping as many people as possible come along to help get some concepts for the project.

We need you to bring along an object that you feel represents your happy space or comes from that space. We will be asking people to talk about their happy spaces and what makes it happy.

We will also be filling everyone in on what has happened with ARK since the launch, and the projects that came from it.

Extracting the values from these spaces to try and see what values need to be introduced into a project to make public private semi-private spaces 'happy'.

If you can't make it but feel someone may enjoy the event please pass this information on. We will be at CAI from 7pm next Wednesday so see you there.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

ARK at WonderCulture - Chapter Arts Centre

Half way through WonderCultures Kiosk at Chapter Arts and we have had a great response so far. We have had about two days to organise this and get something reasonable to try and inform people about what we have been getting up to so far, so we have been up against it. Luckily we managed to get something up and running. We carried on the theme from the launch and have brought the cow back for another go. We should be at Chapter next thursday as well so hopefully with an extra week of planning we can do some extra bits for everyone.

Monday, 30 November 2009


Saturday, 28 November 2009

WonderCulture Kiosk - This Thursday 3/12

We have been set a challenge to setup a mini ARK space for the Thursday WonderCulture Event at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. This is going to be our first public piece and we are really excited. We are thinking about a small knowledge transfer space or somewhere we can bring a bit of relaxation to people. Hope to see you all there.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Empty Shop Windows

Since our chat last night about taking over empty shop windows and turning them into micro theatre productions which are accessible to the public, i have just come across the following article in the San Francisco Chronicle which tackles the same issue with art installations springing up in empty shops. Its much more inspiring use of the dead spaces and could be a huge benefit to the shop owners and artists alike.

Art in Store Fronts, 989 Market by Paul Hayes

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

ARK wednesday club - 18th November

It has always been our intention to travel and go to exciting events to expand our knowledge, and hopefully get new perspectives on different subjects. As part of this weeks club, we are proposing a trip to Cardiff University. To attend their - sustainability week programme. The Wednesday session is entitled - Eating your way to sustainability. You can find more details at this here

If you are interested in joining us then it begins at 6pm until around 9pm. Look forward to seeing you there.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Project 6 - Happy Spaces

We have finally managed to get through all of the ideas that were generated from the launch and got one final project that was very popular during the event. Along with dead spaces there was also a call for Happy spaces. Spaces that would concentrate on wildlife and getting away from things. this is going to be the sixth project we will be looking at. We will be launching a small pdf brochure of the life of ARK so far. If you wish to receive a copy just let us know.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Story Telling

Just come across this True Stories Told Live via Russell Davies blog and thought it fitted in quite nicely with one of the the re-occurring themes at the ARK meet ups of telling stories to share knowledge, ideas and experiences. One of the ideas last night was to turn one one Wednesday night a month into a knowledge sharing night, maybe kicking off with a quick 10 minute presentation by an Arkee on any chosen subject followed by an open  discussion on that same subject. The presentation doesn't need to be formal and you don't need to be an expert it just needs to be something interesting! It also fits quite nicely under the Pop-up education idea which proved popular at the launch and Julian dubbed it the 'Academy' so maybe we can trial one soon?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

We are moving our wednesday club

Just to let you know we are moving this week to Cardiff Arts Institute, which used to be incognito opposite the museum. So if you are keen on coming along we will see you all at 7pm.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Project 5 - Word Hospital Wiki setup

For everyone interested in ARK's project 5 – which will be involved in all of the other projects during the next few months – a Wiki has been setup for the beginning of the online Word Hospital.

You can see what we have so far and add extra discussions to words and issues you have most interest in.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

ARK Project announced

Following ARK's launch at the ATRiuM, Cardiff. We have now come up with the first few projects that we will be working on in the coming months.

Project 1 - Lost & Found
Centred around reuse and urban psychology, Lost & Found will investigate issues of ownership, sharing and the good old British weather. Lost & Found aims to bring awareness to the general public through fun one off events. If you are interested in this project please let us know. We will be looking at how to move this on next Wednesday.

Project 2 - Cycling Safely
During the launch Cycling was brought up repeatedly we are therefore going to investigate aspects of Cycling within the Cardiff area. The recent passage from Government figures seems to mean it for us.

"Cycling deaths and serious injuries have soared by a fifth as more people have taken to two wheels during the recession, Government figures showed today. The number of cycle deaths and serious injuries in April-June 2009 totalled 820 - a 19per cent rise of the same period the previous year."

Source - Ray Massey, Daily Mail

Project 3 - Dead spaces
Having personally been an avid user of public transport over the years I wanted to investigate the possibility of bringing back the age of when travelling was an experience, and seen as an adventure. If you would like to investigate concepts and ways forward along these lines then let us know.

Project 4 - Pop up Education
Close to Simon's and Lynsey's heart the Pop up education project, will aim to encourage the development of opportunities to both transfer knowledge and develop 'time banks'. We will also be looking at the unusual and different in how 'education' is delivered. If this sounds interesting let us know and we will be investigating this over the next few weeks.

Project 5 - Word Hospital
Central to ARK has always been heavily invested in inclusivity through the use of simple everyday language. We just needed a name for the project. Word Hospital coined by Mathilde Lopez will become this ongoing project. It will be involved through all of ARK's projects to bring understanding to the language that is currently being used within the social and ecological design sector. Through the project it is hoped that words and the meanings of these words will be re-evaluated and lead to a better understanding for both 'experts' and the general public.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Reading list

This is the start of the reading list from the Launch night mobile library.

blur - stan davis and christopher meyer
brand hijack - alex wipperfürth
citizen designer - steven heller and véronique vienne
cradle to cradle - michael braungart and william mcdonough
do good design - david b. berman
emotionally durable design - jonathan chapman
enough - john naish
in the bubble - john thackara
join me - danny wallace
nudge - thaler & sunstein
radical consumption - jo littler
stumbling on happiness - daniel gilbert
the age of access - jeremy rifkin
the art of looking sideways - alan flectcher
the art of the long view - peter schwartz
the brand gap - marty neumeier
the future of life - edward o. wilson
the ingenuity gap - thomas homer-dixon
the mental world of brands - giep franzen and margot bouwman
the mind map book - tony and barry buzan
the rise of the creative class - richard florida
the selfish gene - richard dawkins
the shock doctrine - naomi klein
the tipping point - malcolm gladwell
the value of things - neil cummings and marysia lewandowska
time to eat the dog? - robert and brenda vale

ARK launch photos

Well it's taken us 12 weeks of planning, meeting, and experimenting but we got round to holding our launch event at University of Glamorgan - ATRiuM building. We have had some great feedback and most importantly a number of projects that we can move forward with. We are going to be working on them over the next few days ready for our regular Wednesday Club which will be at Buffalo bar from 7pm. We also hope to get the book list posted in the next few days. so for those of you who missed our mobile library, it's your chance to to find out what we have been reading.
ARK launch
ARK launchark-launch18

Monday, 19 October 2009

thinkARK launches at the Atrium

thinkARK began just over 10 weeks ago now with 3 people and an idea and now we want to share the idea and we would love you to come along and take part in our first ever micro event. Its kind of an experiment, its definitely fun and hopefully you will want to come back for more!

Anyway if you do here is the invite:

You are invited to an engaging two hours of connecting, agitating, creating, thinking and designing.

Responding to how can we use design thinking to improve Cardiff?
If you could do one thing, What would it be?

Join us at University of Glamorgan’s Atrium building (Cardiff City Centre) between 7pm – 9pm on Wednesday the 28th October.

About ARK
Historically the public has been told to be eco-aware, environmentally friendly, to be sustainable and to reduce, reuse and recycle. This has all been done through advertising and other media channels. The conversation so far has been predominantly one way and we want to make it open to all. ARK wishes to challenge current practices within the industry/design/advertising/community, around eco issues and sustainability. Through engaging with businesses, localised/fluid communities, and closer alliance with institutions of Higher Education. ARK aims to share these tools to achieve small steps for change. Projects will involve the public who wish to actively engage in social design issues and make a difference to their immediate communities.

ARK wishes to thank University of Glamorgan for allowing us to hold our launch event at their Atrium building.We would also like to thank OrangeBox for something very special?? (the first animal to join the ARK!!)And for their continuing support thanks also to attic 2, Ecodesign Centre and Hoffi

Monday, 21 September 2009

Wednesday Club - turns into think ARK

It's now been nearly two months and we have setup a small but promising little club. Initially we had started with no name and 'Wednesday Club' was coined by Lyns. We have now finally come up with something which we think fits 'ARK'. We are all very happy with it, and look forward to posting more of our thoughts. As you may have guessed we meet on Wednesday's in Cardiff. So if you are interested in joining us to chat about social design please get in touch by commenting below.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Contact Us

If you have anything you want us to look into we are more than interested in meeting with you. Or if you prefer come along to our Wednesday Club around 7pm at Cardiff Arts Institute.

twitter thinkark

About Us

ARK are a group of people from diverse backgrounds, who are interested in using design thinking to respond to social issues in our community. We aim to work with the public, organisations and education establishments, using social design* to encourage discourse and response to social issues.

*What is social design?
For us Social design encompasses a range of ideas about people and how we experience and interpret the world through design. It relates to designing, building or creating something in a way that benefits those who use it as well as those who produce it. It is also about people working together to design things, for example products, services, systems, events etc, in a way that will work best for them and the community, based on their own knowledge and experience. Social design is about facilitating change for the better.

social design is the application of design thinking and co design to solve problems/issues relating to people and their environments.

As you can see there is no right or wrong, no definite answers, but we do know that it is people and involvement in these issues that are the key. Have a look here at one of our older posts with a nice presentation from Simon about his thoughts.


A list of things we come across and like and so pop on for others to look at:

Space Makers Network
Wenovski Design Thinkers Network
Service design Tools
Service Design Hub
Artist Resource Centre
Creative Wales
Cardiff Design Festival
Cardiff Arts Institute
Pie Lab
Coten Creative waves - john Thackara speech