Crossforum Theatre as Unconference

David Bovill david at
Thu Aug 19 08:44:13 EDT 2010

The proposal here is to organise a series of physical space events linked
into LD / Votorolla online debates. The concrete targets for these events
that are on my roadmap are:

   1. October 28th - Berlin at the Haus
   2. Dec 27, 2010 - CCC
   3. Spring Term University Tour - UK and elsewhere...
   4. May 5th 2011 - Referendum in UK on changing electoral system to

I think if we brain storm around this for a while, there will equally be
possibilities of events and activites that can take place in communities
that are connected to communities that I know nothing about. This is
suggested here as a starting point and to indicate that what i am proposing
has a concrete basis that we could build on.

The format that I am proposing for these events are based on the structure
of an Unconference <>, which in
turn evolved from Open Space
Meetings<>in the
1990's. I am proposing a modified version of these events as
participatry or Legislative

The modifications are to take much of the formal structure with regarding
decisions, and actions onto the supporting Liquid Democracy / Votorolla web
site, and to tip the Unconference format more towards the theatrical,
through engaging charismatic speakers, and the use of video projection and
the choice of venue. However the essential nature of open space meetings and
active participation would be maintained.

Additionally I am proposing that the events can be networked, that is it is
possible to have several events taking place at different locations,
allowing lower cost and more intimate conversations. These networked events
do not have to be highly technical, a meeting in a cafe or someones house
would be fine, but they do participate in the online LD facilitated

I am proposing a significant use of video, embedding Usteam / Justin.TV live
streams, and mobile platforms, and am confident regarding the technical
aspect of realising this in simple but effective ways. Core to this approach
is the use of high quality video to stimulate debate on topics of interest
to the "show", and being able to invite interesting characters to these
events where they can participate by video, or in person live. I have an
archive of suitable material for this.

It is important to give these events a clear narrative. The background
context, the safe-bet for these events is to arrange a series of debates on
democracy, and alternative visions surrounding the topic leading up to the
UK referendum on this issue. However I believe we can and should push this
agenda in a more creative and playful narrative direction. The thinking here
is very similar to the "Forest / Ranger" visual metaphor outlined by Micheal
and Thomas.

This heading for me is the same concept as - "Interface Work (game Play)" -
in that I believe we can and should involve game developers and architects
in the design of these visual metaphoras part of the game-play involved in
the events, where the core game-play involves the active use of LD,
Legislative Theatre and other more playful experiments in democracy.

In short i think it is very helpful to engender a more playful and
experimental approach with communities, as it is VERY easy for democratic
discussions to get hijacked by vested interests, and degenerate into heated
circular arguments. In this setting the newcomer runs a mile, and even the
committed developer loses enthusiasm. Heat is good, but it has to be the
right sort of heat.

The measure of success for these events would be to sign up a large active
community, engaged in using LD to debate and decide on concrete issues - but
there first taste of this should be fun - a positive community experience,
which gives a glimpse of how a new form of politics can be creative,
passionate and not aggressive and nerdy.

More later...

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