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A network and Communities of Practice for maps, networks and civic tech

Drew Mackie and David Wilcox May 2018

Developing the network

Here's how we aim to build a network and to support Communities of Practice for people interested in maps, apps and storytelling.


Over the past 18 months we have explored how to use a range of methods to build more inclusive communities and stronger civic networks. At an event in March 2018 we began the process of building a learning network for those interested.

The first step was, naturally enough, to build a map using a combination of the Sumapp survey tool and Kumu mapping software. Here's how we did that.


The next step is to invite people to the Networked City online forum


Our aim is to use the map as the basis to build the network, because it shows people's interests and needs, and the connections that they have. We can ask people to add connections that they would like to make.

We also hope to connect with Unlocking Networks, and explore how to combine their network building methodology with network mapping.

Our original idea - covered here - was to develop a Community of Practice. It now seems more appropriate to develop a network, and then help people form specific communities of practice around mapping, network building, storytelling, civic tech and other topics - through the forum, and meetups.

There's now scope to move from exploration to action by:

  1. Helping develop and join up Communities of Practice through the forum and events
  2. Connecting with the work of the new Hub for London
  3. Practical demonstrations of mapping and network building.

1. Joining up Communities of Practice and events

During our exploration we ran a programme of events with the Our Way Ahead network. The tech coop Outlandish has started a wide-reach programme of events in its Space4 co-working space, bringing together many of these interests. There is a monthly meet up on Mapping for Social and Political Change

Newspeak House, a community space for political technologies has a further programme of events, and hosted the launch of Networked City and our event on March 27 2018.

At the March event we developed our first map of mappers and network builders. About the same time Superhighways developed a map of people attending the voluntary and community sector tech camp. Drew Mackie designed both mapping surveys.

We are running a hands-on workshop on the evening of June 14 2018 at Outlandish, Finsbury Park, about how to create maps for network building. Sign up is here

These events, further meet ups, the map and forum now provide the basis for a learning network.

2. Networks Partner role at the Hub

David Wilcox, while member of the advisory group to the Hub for London, developed proposals on how to extend the hub by network building, and how to develop a community of practice to support that. background here.

Many of these ideas are now recognised in the role of Networks Partner advertised by the Hub. The responsibilities are:

  1. To offer support to civil society groups through the development and coordination of networks and forums, and by supporting existing networks (i.e. CVS Directors and Volunteer Centre networks) with a focus on co-production
  2. To harness the use of technology and develop new online forums and networks where civil society groups and partners can network and communicate
  3. To support on the development of new alliances where a need is identified
  4. To identify and link various networks to strategic leads across London via signposting and liaison
  5. To develop and expand existing partnerships to increase collaboration and the sharing of resources
  6. To establish new partnerships across London based upon key thematic programmes of work
  7. Provide a range of training and support programmes in line with the needs of the civil society groups and networks, including sourcing trainers, venues and implementing an evaluation process
  8. To identify training gaps and develop a training and development strategy to support the needs of the civil society within London
  9. Develop key programmes of work to share best practice and profile minimum standards for civil society organisations (i.e. minimum standards for organisations working with volunteers)
  10. Create online resources hubs, whereby materials, research and best practice models can be shared and used to inform future developments

However, the developments needed cannot be achieved solely through one post at the Hub. We need a community and network of change agents, with skills in network mapping and building, digital technology and self-organising, to work with those already engaged in the field.

See also ideas from Nicolas Fonty and Barbara Brayshay for a Metropolitan Civic Platform

3. Demonstration projects

At an event at Outlandish Space4 we developed ideas for building on the work of Justmap and JustSpace in mapping community campaigns, and network mapping undertaken by Drew Mackie and David Wilcox.

Through events, the forum and work on the ground we aim to work with community activists and network builders - and then develop guides.

cop/copindex.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/30 11:46 by davidwilcox