Thursday, 20 January 2011

Responding - Attracting people and the lessons we are learning.

ARK in the PARK

Well this year started with a bang we had an event that we had to get organised (still not to late to come along with your friends to it. Tuesday 25th January from 6pm at Cardiff Arts Institute). Coupled with the really good news that a number of people who were looking for work have now got new jobs and some have been redeployed to different areas of their business. So for 2011 this brings a whole different feel to thinkARK as most of the projects have relied on people using some of their spare time to help out creating projects and events. So this year is going to be even busier.

Anyway back to the real reason for the blog post. We have for many months now averaged about 10 -12 people coming and chatting about projects. And we have got to know each other very well which is great but is also an issue when new people come as we have groups of people that are talking about things that have happened or about to happen. So for potential new people coming into a close group it can always be a bit intimidating.

Firstly as we have been starting to get involved in a lot of projects we have started to let our planning of these control our Wednesday evenings, which were always envisaged as more of a social event and experimentation space rather than physically working. In balance to this we have been struggling to all meet up at one time so Wednesday is perfect for talking about projects. The layout of the room at Cardiff Arts Institute is also a bit to do with the issue as for the last few months it has made us talk in a large circle where people have become disengaged and it is really not as fun as it has been.


- in 2011 we are going to divide the wednesday meeting up, so there is either a space or time to discuss projects. Then another time or space for just having fun and socialising.

- in 2011 we are also going to try and stop mass talks and break into smaller groups. We hope this will create a more creative and personal experience for everyone.

- in 2011 we are also going to develop new ways of introducing new people to the group. So we are aiming to pick one person who says hi and looks after a new person gets them introduced and is made to feel welcome.

We hope these new small changes will help in the development of an even better community, and come together with better projects. Would love to hear your thoughts


  1. Awesome.

    Was chatting with Allie last night also and mentioned that the idea (which had been put forward some time ago) of having one social meeting per month and the rest planning is nice but wouldn't really work because when a project's on it's all hands on deck - so having the split time during each session is a really good idea.

    Also suggested that for example once a month we could have an open discussion - world cafe or open space type (happy to help/lead with organisation of that, hint hint from freshly trained open space facilitator! ;-p). Have a theme and invite people to come and debate and contribute ideas, experiences, and explore solutions. Then people could just drop in to that it the topic appeals to them (and it would raise awareness then of what else ARK does.)

    Am happy to be one of the meeters and greeters, I like talking to people.

    Noreen x

  2. Further thinking: one evening a week is great, occasionally having a second night a week for specific projects (another idea that was mentioned in passing) is a bit too taxing, time-wise. How about extending the meeting by an hour on Wednesdays? x