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Nowhereisland - the Arts Project that created 23,000 citizens
by Startacus Admin
Startacus is looking to make a difference - to be inspired and also to ourselves inspire; to be inspire other people to do their own thing; create their own job, or just create something that they love. Our hope is to create a community of thinkers, creators and doers!
Doing just that for the last 12 months, has been the wonderfully titled Nowhereisland, an arts situation project funded by the Arts Council of England, which formed part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Nowhereisland was an ‘island’ which journeyed from the High Arctic region of Svalbard to the south west coast of England in summer 2012. As it made this epic journey, it travelled through international waters, whereupon it became the world's newest nation - Nowhereisland - with citizenship open to all. Confused yet? I was!
“You can’t do that” I can imagine the cynics cried, when Artist Alex Hartley would have first suggested the Nowhereisland project. But 12 months since the project officially started, this project has amassed over 23,000 citizens; travelled, over 2500 miles together with its’ mobile Embassy and logged over 2,700 suggestions on what should make up its constitution.
From the wonderful to the wacky, citizens have suggested, what in reality should make up the Island’s values and beliefs, and members had the opportunity, in Facebook style, to like or dislike these suggestions. Couple this with the delightful mobile embassy and you get a real sense that this project, not only amassed a community but it became an actual community, with heart and soul.
Alongside the 23,000 + citizens, Nowhereisland had a different resident thinker each week who used the opportunity to test out new ideas about how they might shape the Nowhereisland society or to consider how such ideas might be explored through artwork. These propositions were targeted with imagining Nowhereisland as a place where we all might begin again.
It’s tough to measure the lasting creative value of projects like Nowhereisland. However it is a valuable lesson to any creative project or business trying to build an on or offline community.
Nowhereisland offered integrity, value, a way out, a voice, a movement, and a state of mind, from what was in reality a piece of rock being dragged by a trawler boat.
Remember this, when and if you start your business with just an idea, that to build a community, you need to offer them value, content and a proposition that they believe in and can follow. Startacus salutes Alex Hartley and the team.
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