Soda is interested in facilitating social change and improvement through grassroots interactions.
As well as being part of the London and wider-UK cultural and educational networks, Soda organises and co-organises a variety of regular events in London.
Fiddian co-founded and helps to organise Awesome Foundation London. The ten organisers each contribute £100 per month. Each month £1,000 is awarded to the most ‘awesome’ idea. Anyone can apply, there’s no paperwork, and the only requirement is that the winner comes back to talk about their project at a later date. Recent winners have included a gardening project for ex-offenders, a restaurant in Hackney which makes use of waste food, and a project to encourage young people to spend their gap year in the UK instead of overseas.
Fiddian and Rachel Coldicutt from Caper co-founded and run Makers’ Guild, a group for connecting makers of all flavours, from 3D printing fanatics to knitters. The aim is to support all kinds of personal fabrication, and to become a lobbying and advice network. Makers Guild is running monthly events around making at the V&A museum throughout early 2012.
Kirsten set up and runs #LEGup - the London Educational Games Meetup group. Members meet once a month to share the products they are working on, and to discuss issues in the software and educational technology sphere. #LEGup is a supportive and friendly environment for members to build skills and make useful connections. Lots of members have gone on to make things together and solve educational problems.
As part of the British Council’s Cultural Innovation and Leadership programme, Fiddian and a group of other UK-based cultural innovators headed out to Cairo for a three-day workshop at the end of March. The workshop was brilliantly led by the dynamic duo of Shelagh Wright and Peter Jenkinson.
Our Board Games Special proved to be a popular and inspiring event. As a primarily digital games maker, I found the focus on board and card games very interesting, and the discussions around how they do and don’t differ quite useful.
Fiddian was delighted to be invited by the Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group to contribute to a discussion entitled Design and Tech City: Local Skills and Young People.
Kirsten organised and hosted another meetup for London’s educational apps developers at the Centre for Creative Collaboration. February’s focus was on ‘strategies for success’ in the battlezone that is the educational software market.
Founded by Fiddian and Rachel Coldicutt from wearecaper, Makers’ Guild is a membership organisation devoted to raising awareness of and assisting makers of all kinds: from 3D printing studios to textile crafters. Makersguild is curating and hosting a series of talks at the V&A throughout 2012.
You can watch a video of the Makers’ Guild launch event at NESTA here.
In April 2011, Kirsten set up #LEGup, a group for those making educational games and apps, thinking about making them or just interested in the application of new technology to education. The aim was to link people involved in or interested in getting involved in making educational games and apps.
In spring 2011, Fiddian put out a call via Twitter and quickly had ten people willing to invest in a share of the Makerbot 3D printer. Six weeks later, and after a couple of long evenings of assembly, the Makerbot was ready to go.
The Awesome micro funding concept is soooo…. simple, no strings, no contracts. The ten trustees put a £100 a month into the fund, folk submit a 2,500 character proposal, the best 10 make short presentations at our monthly event, the winner walks with £1,000! There are just two rules about the submitted idea: 1.It’s awesome 2.The money has a meaningful impact on its realisation. All we ask is that winners come back to the event sometime and tell how their project went. No idea is too small. Check this on how to submit an idea.
The one day conference Fiddian organised and chaired examined the role played by the media in telling the stories of Pakistan’s citizens – how they live and work, the challenges they face, and their aspirations for the future. We examined how citizens can most effectively interact with Pakistan’s media, using it as a platform for the expression of their views and a vehicle through which they can demand accountability from their representatives. The day particulalry focused on the growing opportunity that citizens, empowered by a new generation of low cost tools, have to become active participants in Pakistan’s media landscape.
Soda worked with the Tate and British Council to produce Nahnou Together, which enabled young people in Damascus and London to exchange visual artworks that had cultural significance for them.
The Vision London website was set up in 2005 as an online space for young people, schools and creative practitioners to present and discuss the outcomes of partnership projects that considering personal journeys from 2005 to 2012.