Yes – I am avoiding work on my thesis by catching up on the blogging – only 3 more posts after this one….promise not to publish them all today…

We had our third thursday CityCamp Brighton meeting up this week and apart from updates from projects (including the brilliant GigBuddies who you can connect to here) we spent most of the discussing the implications of the impending benefit system changes  and the impacts we expect to have them to have in the City.  One of the strengths of CityCamp is the fact that it brings together the people who are trying to address issues like this different sectors and also people who are going to feel the impact – this makes for an informed, impassioned and at the end of it practical debate.  Many thanks to Paul Brewer for organising some speakers and for Val Pearce for giving us the facts in an accessible and open way.  Also huge appreciation to the guy from Fairshare who was inspirational about how practical approaches can solve problems.

This is a huge topic and I hope someone else will summarise the debate but suffice to say we expect there to be more people in poverty in the City as a result of these changes and these financially excluded people are also currently digitally excluded.  This is not a unique problem – the question is whether we can come up with a Brighton and Hove solution.

We tried to focus on what kind of help the CityCamp network could bring to this problem and this is where Nick Hibberd had a very focused suggestion.  He pointed out the lack of links between the kind of formal support that he and his team can offer and the informal and practical help which organisations like Fairshare can offer.  We talked about the need to network these informal and formal networks together and also talked about the need to raise the level of information sharing about these issues.

One of the projects which won funding at CityCamp Brighton was the brilliant House of Games proposal from Richard Vahrman which you can read about here (note this is not the finished article).  Richard sat down with Carl Haggerty a few weeks ago to see if we could see a way of piloting this idea in one of the We Live Here projects – Carl’s thoughts on this are here.  Gamification is something which is a big buzz in tech circles at the moment (really balanced Pew Report on it here) but the basic thrust is the idea that we bring competitive and playful experiences into serious tasks.

The combination of these two conversations is the idea of a knowledge badge, a peer rewarded and public accolade which signals that you are a valuable part of this informal/formal knowledge network and that you are available to answer questions and help.

We now need to speak to Richard (which is partly the point of this post – hello Richard!) and see what he thinks about this idea and then we need to sit a few people down (Richard, Me, Carl, Nick, Paul and anyone else who is interested) and see where we can take this.  Will be nagging people to this end.

The other major issue that we think CityCamp Brighton can help address on this topic is digital exclusion which was one of the other projects that got funded this year.  We have a meeting about this next week and I will blog an update then.

Any comments / corrections then please shout!

The next third thursday is 21st June and we will be focusing on digital exclusion – put it in your diary!

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