We’re Jammin’ Delighted!

As 2014 is now in full swing, we had a moment to reflect on the amazing idea’s that came out of SustJam 2013. From watching the teams intensely exploring and making in the imaginarium to designing for life in 2017…  Feel free review the projects here:

To see what happened across the globe, don’t forget to visit the Planet Jam website - where you can find video of the theme as well!

Signing off.. Megha, Estee, Natasha, and Francis

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48Hours of SustJammy Goodness – Here’s the official video!

The London Sustainability Jam is part of the Global Sustainability Jam movement that connects “Jammers” from all backgrounds, levels of experience, and parts of the world. Like musicians who “Jam” together, the event is a cross between a festival of ideas and a weekend designathon.

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You are hereby invited to the London Sustainability Jam, 3 days packed with Design Thinking, teamwork and prototyping to tackle some of the complex issues we face today. The London Jam is part of the Global Sustainability Jam movement happening around the world on 22nd to 24th November.
You don’t need to be ‘creative’ or have experience with service design to Jam. In fact we encourage people from all backgrounds to join us. So whether you’re a service designer, product designer, sustainability expert, professor, business person, teacher, hacker, maker, artist or student, reserve your FREE ticket now on Eventbrite. You’ll be supported throughout the weekend by designers as well as your hosts, but the setup of the Jam is entirely up to you!

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You will be supported by some amazing experts this year. This is a chance to get real-world advice and learn new skills not only for the Jam. Our mentors include: Rodrigo Bautista from Forum for the Future, Ella Britton from The Design Council, Slava Kozlov from Summ()n, Tom Shakhli from Brixton Pound, Susan Sheehan from The London Borough of Lambeth, Alexie Sommer from ThomasMatthews, Tom Tobia from Makerversity.
This year we will be jamming at an amazing venue – Makerversity at the Somerset House. The tools and methods we will be using are supported by Forum for the Future.

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Run by a passionate team of volunteers, the London jam will focus on making and exploring the space and interdependencies between sustainability and our social systems. Our aim is to use this event to explore the latest developments in these field including the sharing economy, behavioural change and open innovation all geared towards creating a sustainable future.
So don’t think twice! Join us for an inspiring, rewarding and fun Jam full of interesting new people, methods and tools and ground-breaking ideas!

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Glimpses from previous Jams

The Global Sustainability Jam is a non-profit activity organised by an international network of sustainability and service design aficionados who all share a common belief that collaborative tools and design processes can be used to create positive change. Come along and make that change with us this year!

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The first Jam was the Global Service Jam in 2011, which we had great fun organising. The Sustainability Jam and Gov Jam are sister events of the Service Jam. This November groups in over 90 cities will join the Global Sustainability Jam.

This is London Sustainability Jam’s third run and we are super looking forward to what happens this year. Here are some images from the Service Jam we organised earlier in the year…

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You can view more pictures from the last two jams here and here.

Francis: More reflections on the 2012 Jam

It’s nearly a year ago now, and it takes a moment to push back beyond the general feeling of relief that we’d got it right, and thankfulness to everyone concerned.

What comes back first is the way the teams bonded across their wild variety of backgrounds and skills – the anxious queries from her team mates when one participant got sick and had to drop out, the heads huddle over tables, and the general air of engagement and positivity when you talked to any of the teams.

And that reminds me how well the teams worked. I was really pleased by the constructive way they were using the mentors. The relationship between participants and mentors is one of the many things that is not exactly in the organisers’ control, but which we feel responsible for, as it can lift a Jam from good to great. And as the official improv organiser I had some fun bonding and creativity games lined up to re-ignite things if we felt that the teams were getting tired or blocked but – to my slight disappointment and enormous satisfaction – when the time came it was clear that the most helpful thing I could do was keep my mouth shut and stay out of the way.

And the third thing that really strikes me is the creativity that the teams achieved. This was a jam where there were several teams doing things I just didn’t understand – I’d come away from a couple of teams admiring their dynamics but wondering where they were going. Fortunately a Jam is no place for back-seat drivers. You have to trust the teams and trust the  process, and sure enough by the final presentation they’d expressed visions which left me feeling very pedestrian.

And that’s what makes all the work, the meetings and the stress of organising venue, sponsorship, participants, mentors and supplies to an immoveable deadline, worth it. Seeing what people working together, learning from each other, sharing challenges, can achieve as a team. Wondering where the ideas will go, and what ripples of friendship and engagement we’ve left in our wake.

Dear Potential Participants…

Building on what we learnt from the last two Jams, this year’s London Sustainability Jam is focused on the interdependencies between Sustainability and Social Innovation – and the focus for this year’s Jam will be using that overlap to probe the complex challenges that face us today and explore possible solutions.

To explore and understand how we can shape such a future together, we would be using a design based approach while borrowing new tools from the fields of design fiction, future visioning and improv.

Answers to complex questions around Sustainability and Social Innovation do not lie between one discipline- but between sectors. We hope to have people from a variety of fields and disciplines together – all that you need to come along is a desire to make a difference!!

After organising 5 such events, this year we have teamed up with Forum for the Future & Makerversity @ Somerset House to help explore how we can make a vision for a sustainable future real, for us and for our planet.

Estee: Reflections on organising a Jam

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As we are quickly approaching another fun-filled weekend of Jamming, I thought it would be good to reflect on all the bits and pieces that made last year’s London SustJam unique. The energy of a Jam is one to highlight and it’s amazing how like-minded people with a passion can use brainpower, materials, and some ingenuity to unlock idea’s in 48 hours.
What springs to mind first are vivid recollections captured through a spattering of words..
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Capes
Heartbeats
Deliveries
Boiling kettles
Megha’s fun timescale reminders
Briefing mentors
Post-its
Celebrating Darkness
Greenhouse
Trafalgar Square video
Picking good apples
Food prep with Teresa
As a first time organiser and Jammer, you easily capture a view from the outside looking in. Not having the chance to be a jam participant before was a bit frustrating at times and jealousy set in on Saturday afternoon because I wanted to join a Jam team. (I finally became a Jam participant at the London Service Jam. Yippee!)
Overall, the energy, flare, and passion at the jam made me proud to help organise it. You realise that there is a growing community revolutionising the power of good. No matter how exhausted I was on Sunday night when it all came to an end, I had a nice grin the whole rest of the week. I also couldn’t stop explaining the new business idea’s to colleagues and friends for the next couple of months.

A visit to the Brixton Remakery

As a former resident of Loughborough Junction (think of it as Brixton’s less glamorous neighbour) I was sufficiently intrigued by the Brixton Remakery project to pay it a visit on one of their regular Thursday social nights.Image

Basically the project is to convert an abandoned underground car park into a space for recycling enterprises, where they can form a community and share a presence.

Hannah, one of the co-founders (below left, with a friend) explained how the team had turned this derelict underground car park into what is now a friendly and promising space which appears to be bustling its way to an Autumn launch.Image

I took the chance to give Hannah my changemaker’s interview:

What’s your background, and what made you decide to set out on your mission?

My parents were environmentalists and social justice campaigners, so I grew up with a strong sense that major change in our society’s whole way of life was required. I also felt that constantly protesting against problems depleted my parents’ energy, and I yearned for an approach that was about creating a life-sustaining culture rather than battling a deadly one. So I decided to study Eco Design at university (Goldsmiths) and then co-founded a small organisation called [re]design that showcased design for sustainability through exhibitions and events. But I became frustrated by the limitations of the design world as a context for action – and then I encountered the Transition network, which offered a framework for change towards a sustainable future on a community level. So I dedicated my energy to Transition Town Brixton and started the Remakery as a space for making, mending, learning and inventing, using waste as the raw materials.

Can you describe a couple of high and low points on the journey?

The obvious high points are the high profile ones: at [re]design we partnered with organisations like London Design Festival and the Southbank Centre to give eco design public visibility, and organised an exhibition with the British Council about design and climate change that was seen by 300,000 people across China in 2007-8. More recently, the Remakery was awarded £100,000 through Lambeth Council’s “Your Choice” public vote in 2010, won the Design Open Mic competition at Architecture for Humanity’s global conference in 2012, and was profiled on Al Jazeera Earthrise last week. But the real high points often go unreported – it might be a little shift in perspective in conversation with someone, making something possible that was impossible before. The lows tend to result from over-stretching my capacity in some way – like attracting lots of attention to the Remakery before it was ready to deliver what I’d led people to expect – so I was running to stand still responding to all the enquiries and interest, rather than being able to get on with actually starting up the project.

Name someone who changed the path you were on?

Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition network, changed my direction when I saw him speak at a conference called “Be the Change” in 2007. He talked about Transition Town Totnes and their early experiments with imagining a low-energy local future and taking steps to implement it. It was basically what I’d been looking for since childhood, an environmentalism that was working towards the positive rather than fighting the negative. I’d just moved to Brixton and, what do you know, I met someone in the audience who was involved in Transition Town Brixton. So a little while after that, I went to a TTB meeting – a key step in my shift from working in the design world to working in my local community.

Where have you got to now? How far have you achieved your initial goals?

The Remakery is a couple of months away from completing our building work (converting a 1000 sq m, formerly derelict garage block into a shared workspace for re-use, repair and upcycling). It’s been nearly 4 years since the concept was first put in writing – since then we’ve found the space, raised the funds, worked with architects, got planning permission, and 14 months ago started construction. Back when I wrote the proposal in late 2009 I thought it would be up and running within a year! I’ll put that down to inexperience and the sort of optimism that may be necessary to begin anything like this. On the bright side, we now have a great team with skills ranging from building and landscaping to accountancy and project management – together we can achieve what I on my own could only imagine – and most of them are inspired enough by the project that they give their time as volunteers. The whole process has been an amazing (and humbling) learning curve for me and has made me appreciate the planning,resources and consistent focus required to turn a vision into reality.

What’s next? And why?

I’m now 6 months into my permaculture diploma (a 2-year, self-directed course consisting of 10 practical projects – some garden-based, some Remakery-based, and some focusing on aspects of my own lifestyle). Permaculture is an approach to design that’s about creating in collaboration with natural systems. I plan to start teaching permaculture and use its principles to guide others like me who are innovating in the context of community and business. I’ve already taught courses for “Active Citizens” (local activists) and the “Expanded Designer” (a unit for students at the University of the Arts London to learn about applying creativity in society, beyond the traditional contexts of art and design). But I see permaculture as a key framework, partly because Rob Hopkins started out as a permaculture teacher and the Transition movement is rooted in its principles; also because it takes me back to some of the insightful “systems thinking” concepts I learned during my Eco Design degree but haven’t really applied since then. In addition, I’ve recently trained to teach women “the art of Feminine Presence”, a set of body-awareness, movement and meditation practices I learned myself a few years ago, which have been hugely helpful in feeling more comfortable being myself and staying alert and creative amidst changes and challenges. I’ve set up a project called Changing Woman to teach these techniques to other women.

Find out more about the Brixton Remakery at http://remakery.org/

We’ll be back in 2013!

Megha, Estee, Francis, Natasha and Fee from last year’s Host Team are back busily planning away the next Jam this November!

This year we are planning on having a slightly different angle and format for the jam… Keep your eyes peeled for updates! Meanwhile follow @LondonSustJam or get in touch with ideas…

Join in the Jam spirit! Click on the image to have a peek into what happened last year…

London Sustainability Jam by Josh Lee