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Dublin’s Culture Connects at ConneXions

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ConneXions 2017 was a Franco-Irish forum that took place at Richmond Barracks from Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October 2017. The start-up market, round table talks and hackathon were busy from start to finish, a chance for professionals and particulars alike to meet, network and have a nice time! Our The National Neighbourhood, Project Manager Dominic Campbell was there to lend a hand and see what the young minds of today had in store for the future of the Dublin South Central Area.

I had a great morning in Richmond Barracks spent mentoring groups hacking Dublin South Central at ConneXions. The groups, mostly twenty and thirty year olds who have moved to Dublin, had perspectives and ways of seeing the area that made for refreshing dialogue about new possibilities. Challenged to find ways to encourage tourists into Dublin 8 they were dreaming of new events, celebrating existing assets, and looking into ways of guiding and signposting.

Most interesting for me were the ways they thought about creating community. 

One group had begun their strategy online with a sharing of individual stories by locals about places of interest, these little videos were part of establishing a web-platform celebrating D8 that attracted members who registered on it. These members were then to be invited to a conference of Online Stars like Summer In the City or Playlist Live which brought the online world to D8 using schools, community halls, and similar as venues and responded to the lack of hotels in the area by having an AirBnB drive encouraging locals to host visitors and make money in the process. I loved the interaction between the online world and D8, the connections between global and local, and the way the internet enabled creative solutions.

Another group had my favourite idea of the day. They wanted to offer to fix bikes in a sort of free open workshop. A social enterprise business a bit like Rothar. If you helped fix a bike and lived local then you could use it, in exchange for making a tour guide to D8. Which would result in a locally made map featuring the kind of attractions you’d only be aware of if you lived locally – like the best chip shop, or the greatest coffee shop, or a hidden beauty spot, or the best place to play football. The map was made online using GPS locators attached to the bikes, photos and a brief description of the attraction. The role of local young people was really key to getting the bikes fixed and maps made. The next stage was to offer the bikes to tourists who could then explore the attractions on the locals-made map, which because it was made using the bikes would already be bike-friendly. Shops featured in the map would carry signage and offer discounts to tourists using the bikes. All kinds of good outcomes from engaging young locals as contributors to celebrating the local, to generating the economy. But what really got me interested in this was you could start it today.

It didn’t need money. It needed time, a bit of dedication and some friendship. It needed willingness and some enthusiasm.

I’d gone to help out with shaping ideas, but left rewarded, enthused about what we’re trying to do at Dublin South Central and with some new ideas. Thanks all who were involved in the organising.

By Dominic Campbell, Project Manager, South Central area.

Dublin’s Culture Connects aims to connect Dubliners to their city through culture and conversation. We develop activities and events that bring communities together, and to life: all based on people’s stories, wishes and experiences. It’s all about making and taking part in culture.
One of our programmes is The National Neighbourhood. We want every neighbourhood to know and ‘own’ their city’s cultural resources, so we connect artists, groups and villages with libraries, museums and creative places – including our National Cultural Institutions – to make cultural events in their communities.

Another member of the Dublin’s Culture Connects team; Rowena Neville, also attended on the Friday evening as the Hackers were all meeting each other for the first time. Rowena gave a 15 minute talk about what Dublin’s Culture Connects is, what motivated its establishment (i.e. what issues it was seeking to tackle), where it’s four core programmes fit in with the ConneXions themes of tourism, culture and economic development; and what parts of our activities might be worth them thinking of creating a technological solution for.

A lot of the hackers were interested in creating new maps of the city for tourists, and Rowena talked about what we were looking to achieve with the Cultural Map.

Dublin’s Culture Connects Director, Iseult Byrne was also there on the weekend to form part of the panel of judges. Iseult was joined by H.E. Stéphane Crouzat, Greg Swift from Dublin City Council, Senator Lynn Ruane and Mark Bonham from Airbnb. After all seven presentations, brunch and some hard decision making, the jury announced the three winners.

  • 4 Seasons came third, with a festival based project – food and drink markets, performances by Dublin universities and colleges, four times a year with a different theme depending on the season.
  • D8te came second with a project on creativity and social media; their aim is to highlight Dublin 8 on the city maps, with the help of schools, youth clubs and social clubs. Using a webpage, D8te wants locals and visitors to compete with self-created content (photos, videos, artworks and blog entries) promoting the features of their very own district: Dublin 8.
  • Finally, the big winners of the day were The Great 8 who worked on the tourism challenge and put a lot of hard work into offering a structure that would bring tourism further into Dublin 8. The Great 8 want to bring tourism further into Dublin 8 in a fun, creative and accessible way through history and culture.
The Great 8 with H.E. Stéphane Crouzat, Greg Swift from Dublin City Council, Senator Lynn Ruane, Mark Bonham from Airbnb and Iseult Byrne from Dublin’s Culture Connects. Image courtesy EventPhotographer17
The Great 8 with H.E. Stéphane Crouzat, Greg Swift from Dublin City Council, Senator Lynn Ruane, Mark Bonham from Airbnb and Iseult Byrne from Dublin’s Culture Connects. Image courtesy EventPhotographer17

Congratulations to all that participated over the weekend. Dublin 8 has a lot to look forward to…

Iseult Byrne (Director) and Rowena Neville (Communications Director) are part of the Dublin’s Culture Connects team, an initiative of Dublin City Council, that is a programme of activities and projects which seek to build engagement and connection/re-connection in the city through partnerships that are meaningful to the city. These projects include the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin; The National Neighbourhood; EU Lab; and The Cultural Map. They focus on creating space for experimentation, modelling new partnerships and testing ways of working to drive the transformative power of culture and community.

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