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Putting things in common

08.06.2015 by Daphne Büllesbach

Photo by Julio Albarrán (cc)

Report about table 1 of the #ReclaimtheCommons Hackcamp: Audio Tutorial

How would you approach the task of communicating a kind of‚ «how-to run a campaign on the commons» during a three day hackcamp? Would you try a poster visualisation, an audio tutorial, a webdoc or a speaking public bench? As tempting as it would have been to go for the latter, our table settled on a webdoc combined with elements of an audio guide. Even though our table was labelled with ‚ «Audio Tutorial» the process was open enough to switch things around and find alternative ideas to the much bigger question in the room: how to campaign for the commons?

We started off by analysing four given campaign examples (from London to Istanbul) by dissecting them along the categories of nice approaches, problematic approaches and doubts/further debates. We later added to this matrix (see picture) further points that we took from our own campaigning experiences, transforming the matrix into a rich picture of best practices or do’s and dont’s for a campaign on the commons.

Linking this matrix in a next step to something that was initially planned as an audio tutorial, seemed like a far catch at this moment. There was a feeling of having kicked the hornest nest but not knowing quite how to get the hornets back into order. A lot of hard questions came onto the group’s table that led us to take a step back. Who would this guide be for? Who would use it? How can we generate general messages from our particular experiences and is this actually worth doing? How transferrable are our own experiences to other contexts (national, thematic or other)? We did not find answers to these questions but settled on the realisation that our table had a very tricky task ahead. In order to release some pressure we settled that the process is the product, so whatever happenend we would have taken this 3 day group journey together and learned from each other. Nevertheless expectations to deliver were there and the group wanted to move towards actually «hacking» a campaigns guide.

We had spent a lot of time analysing the four case studies and then more time adding our own best practices or lessons learnt. Systemazing these took us until the end of Day 2. Somewhat satisfied with this result we realised there was little time to produce the audio guide we had in mind. So before we broke off that day, we settled on a storyboard and teams of 2 to start the next day with recording, videotaping and most importantly programming the actual webdoc.

And indeed on Saturday afternoon, we had a result: a campaigns Hot Hot-Line on a self-built website, a (potential) campaigner would call if he or she wanted to avoid pitfalls, common mistakes, simply get advice or find out about doubts and further debates on campaigns for the commons. It was programmed on the day by our great developer to do such magic things in no time, Andrej from Warsaw. The rest of the group produced audio and video tapes with interviews of hackcamp participants on their experiences with, for example managing time and expectations in a campaigning group. These audio files were uploaded onto soundcloud and integrated into a visualised switchboard on the webiste. Just have a look for yourself.

What we did achieve at our table was the challenge of putting in common our knowledge and experiences that the 12 of us accumulated through our own campaigning and political work, be it in radical journalistic projects, media-making, street mobilisations or transnational European solidarity building. Our group had a lot to the bring to the table and each of us took something new from that back home.

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