Decentralising September

POSTED: May 8, 2018

Today I sent an email to Sophie Hope and Nick Mahony to bring them up to date with the plans Oliver and I have so far devised for the Convivial Mechanics event in September. In part I said that

We will organise a two-day event. The overall topic will be around decentralising culture and cultural decision-making in a networked world. Ideas of cultural democracy are central to this, as are a set of practical tools and strategies for the decentralised decision-making that cultural democracy will require.

The first day will aim to attract academics, activists, artists, city employees, curators, politicians and others who might take Friday afternoon off work to attend a symposium. This will take place in a venue in the centre of the city. The second day will take the form of two concurrent all-day workshops, and will aim to attract a smaller group of people who are prepared to commit themselves to a day of devising. This will take place on Suomenlinna, an island castle a short ferry ride from the city harbour. (You can see it at

The first day will take place in the afternoon and early evening on Friday September 28. It will consist of 5 or 6 fifteen minute presentations followed by small group discussions and a plenary. The format will be similar to the format of the Manchester conference that Alison and Gerri organised. Two of the other presentations will come from Nathalie and Rich, the founders of Loomio, the decision-making software that grew out of the activities of Occupy New Zealand. We are also hoping to get Sven Latzel to speak about the ideas embedded in sociocracy 3.0. (See for more)

On the second day we plan to organise two parallel one-day workshops in which we will work to create some sort of practical outcomes from the discussions. One group will work with Oliver, Nathalie and Rich and look at democratic decision-making. The other group will work with Sven and us, and will look at ideas of cultural democracy, try to relate them to their people’s personal experiences and frustrations, and then look at how we can combine to move these ideas forward in practice.

Then we will have a party, or at least some cakes.

We have invited Aga and Ilpo to join us in devising and organising this. I feel hopeful that this might help us take the ideas we have discussed, and the workshops we have held so far, and boost them into orbit or, even better, past the moon and in the direction of the nearest faraway star.