Wolverhampton makes things, and makes things happen. This industrial revolution powerhouse still has a thriving engineering and creative sector, is birthplace to the traffic light, Slade , Beverly Knight and Goldie. The city produces parts for the aerospace industry, without which every plane in the air worldwide would fall from the sky. Despite that, the high-street struggles to stay vibrant and opportunities for social enterprise can be lost among abandoned factories, pessimism and unloved public spaces.
This year the city is making a shift. Wolverhampton City Council has asked FutureGov to produce an event – set to change to course of the city forever. MAKE:shift, is a two-day ideas festival, to be held at the Light House <http://light-house.co.uk/> in the city centre, on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 September 2012. Local people are being challenged to come up with new ideas that will bring lasting change to their communities. MAKE:shift is inspired by events like CityCampLDN and Google Interactivism hack-days – mixing inspiration and idea development (with creative workshops, business clinics, and rapid prototyping). We will transform the Light House’s atrium area into an ideas exchange marketplace – with stalls hosted by local creative and public sector organisations – offering mentoring, advice and support for those with ideas and the passion for change. A local social entrepreneur, Steph Jennings from community website, WV11, was impressed by the buzz on twitter and has already submitted ideas online .
Over the two days, speakers like David Barrie and Annemarie Naylor will showcase the best case studies and social projects both nationally and on the ground in Wolverhampton. The event focuses on rethinking the three themes of Assets, People and Making, looking at how – by working together – we can think up new ways to meet needs in Wolverhampton. We have also invited the Canning Town Caravanserai - which helps people start local businesses, 00:/ – the architecture agency behind HubWestminster and the WikiHouse, and local initiatives like We Create* , who help designers find empty shops to use.
MAKE:shift is a chance to harness ideas big and small, and create great things for Wulfrunians by Wulfrunians, making use of the great resources already in the city. The Belbroughton phone-box library, is a fantastic example of this! We are inviting local people and groups in and around Wolverhampton to get their heads together and submit ideas like these – here. On the day, facilitators will help teams develop the chosen project ideas – and help people who live in the city to change things – to make a difference. There will also be areas for rapid fire idea exchange – where local people can drop in informally and discuss their ideas with experts. In these tough economic times, MAKE:shift will help make ideas happen on the day, and we’re looking for money and experts who can make projects last in the long term.
As we want to get the right balance between the local and national – we are inviting local creative groups and community organisations to hold the sessions, workshops and advice clinics to be held in the Light House atrium. Any group that wants to take part in our ‘Skills Market’ should e-mail maketheshift[at]wolverhampton.gov.uk or contact us through Twitter @makeshiftevent. MAKE:shift is set to spark off the next revolution in Wolverhampton, and we want all of the city’s talent to be a part of it.
UPDATE [Added 13th August 2012] – tickets for this event have now been released. They are free and you can get yours here.