CreateHere Presents "We Stand"

Friday, November 20, 2009

CreateHere will present We Stand, a pop-up civic engagement laboratory designed in partnership with Chattanooga Stand. This project will take place at CreateHere’s East Main Street studio space from Nov. 21 through Jan. 29, and addresses local and global challenges, finding tools and citizen-owned solutions to even the most overwhelming problems. We Stand is about the harnessing the power of place.

The survey phase of Chattanooga Stand officially came to a close on Sept. 31. Building off a 25-year legacy of visioning, Stand became the world’s largest survey-based community visioning effort, collecting over 26,000 responses to a four-question survey.

Officials said, "It has been a monumental summer for Chattanooga. Now, however, is the time to make history with Stand."

In preparation for the release of Stand survey data in early 2010, We Stand aims to inspire citizens and provide them with ideas, outlets, and case studies in visionary work. Drawing off of the pre-existing fervor around Stand’s planning meetings, We Stand includes a speaker series geared at idea generation called City Share; locally-grown data visualizations on key issues facing our community; and collective action events across town.

City Share continues the dialogue that began with Stand’s four simple questions, expanding it into a much broader community conversation. In preparation for the release of survey data in early 2010, Stand is keeping residents engaged and informed through the City Share series.

Each session will feature a guest speaker—someone who has been instrumental in enacting creative solutions to issues in their own community—who'll be visiting via video chat.

In any laboratory setting, there is experimentation and learning. A civic engagement laboratory is no exception, and as part of We Stand, the CreateHere gallery space features data visualizations on a variety of issues, including the state of water quality in Hamilton County; the attendance rate in local schools; and voter turn-out in the most recent elections. What do they mean together? That’s what We Stand asks to Chattanoogans to discover.

By pairing insights and advice from nationally-recognized “community visioneers” with local issues, We Stand will ask residents to consider an important question: what can individuals do to make this place better?

The event series is as follows:

Wednesday, Dec. 2: 12-1 p.m.
City Share: Government 2.0, featuring Ben Berkowitz of SeeClickFix.

Thursday, Dec. 3: 6-8 p.m.
Open Lab: Data-visualization viewing and free community use of CreateHere space.

Thursday, Dec. 10: 6-8 p.m.
Street Fight Film Screening: A documentary on Newark Mayer Cory Booker’s campaign run.

Wednesday, Dec. 16: 12-1 p.m.
City Share: Visioning in Real Time, featuring Russell Stall of Greenville Forward.

Thursday, Dec. 17: 6-8 p.m.
Wrap, then Give Back: Holiday Gift Drive and Wrapping Session.

Wednesday, Jan. 6: 12-1 p.m.
City Share: Collectives and Collaboration, featuring Justin Langlois of Broken City Lab.

Every Tuesday in December: 7-9 p.m.
Yellow Craft Share: Make a gift for a friend or a stranger.

Ben Berkowitz is the founder and CEO of SeeClickFix, an online neighborhood tool that allows anyone to report and track non-emergency issues anywhere in the world via the internet.

Prior to SeeClickFix, Mr. Berkowitz was founder and CEO of CT WEB NET, a web and graphic design firm working primarily for local governments and schools. He is also the head of the Upper State Street Association, a New Haven business improvement initiative, and has been covered and quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Hartford Courant, New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor about his work with Gov 2.0.

Russell Stall is the founder and Executive Director of Greenville Forward, an organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life for greater Greenville, S.C., by engaging all citizens in continually updating, promoting, and facilitating a community vision for 2025 and beyond.

Mr. Stall is an active public speaker and motivator, telling the story of Greenville's transformation from the “Textile Capital of the World” into a diversified economy through collaborative relationships, community engagement, and creative partnerships.

Prior to founding Greenville Forward, Mr. Stall owned ResearchWorks, a strategic marketing research firm which for 16 years focused on community development and customer satisfaction research.

Broken City Lab is an artist-led interdisciplinary creative research group that tactically disrupts and engages the city, its communities, and its infrastructures to reimagine the potential for action in the collapsing post-industrial city of Windsor, Ontario.

The lab attempts to generate a new dialogue surrounding public participation and community engagement in the creative process, with a focus on the city as both a research site and workspace. It is not about doing the work of the city’s officials, or social workers, or politicians; it is about finding new creative ways to address our concerns with the city, while recognizing that our concerns may be similar to those of other community members.

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