"Changing Britain for the better" So Say New Radical 7 | September | 2014
Announced Sunday 7th September 2014:
We are pleased to say So Say Scotland has been included on the 2014 New Radicals list, compiled by Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, and The Observer.
We are one of 50, people or projects, that are being celebrated for helping to change Britain for the better.
Here’s a wee thank you speech!
So Say’s story started in November 2010 on a cold snowy morning when I walked from Oli’s flat in Reykjavik to Laugardalshöll and, thanks to Bjarni, was allowed to observer the National Assembly of 1000 randomly selected people which started the constitution redrafting process. I’d read about the previous years assembly, they’d created out of volunteer action in response to the crash, and knew Iceland has something valuable to teach us; in realty we all learnt stuff in the creation of Thinking Together and are now working on hosting a Global Hub in Scotland. Bjarni gave time to a stranger with missionary zeal to share knowledge and experience, he is pivotal in us getting here.
Back in Scotland it was Stephen’s open mind that meant he met me in Stereo after receiving an email from a stranger saying she wanted to make an impact on participatory and deliberative democracy in Scotland. Stephen’s willingness to get involved created a team of three with Oli on design and me. Without Stephen there would be no Oliver. And it was Oliver’s enthusiasm along with his reach at the Public Policy Network that took this crazy notion to the next level.
Next time the stranger struck gold it was with Perry, a chat over dinner that year cemented a vision of what has become Wee Play.
From a presentation in October 2011, and then a public meeting in May 2012 we began to gather a core team. Many people playing essential roles along the way. Willie Fleming got us organised online after that public meeting. Mark and Ella joined the Stewards. And we swept up all sorts of amazing people on the way to the first Thinking Together assembly. Pledges of financial and in-kind support from John at SCVO and Chloe at Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office gave us essential kickstarter backing.Robin has been a general encouraging voice in the background all along.
Willie Sullivan took the call on the night before we broke for Christmas 2012 which delivered what we needed to hear ‘just do it, things will fall into place, support will emerge’. And so we drafted the advert for an assembly coordinator ‘work all hours for peanuts’ and Zara joined the team. Wendy, on facilitation, and Kathy, on assembly lead, both committed to the idea, and we were off. Gerry’s Advocating since Thinking Together has got our message out to more of the establishment.
Post Thinking Together Zara, Eilidh, Euan and Juliette joined as Stewards. They pushed forward with the next stages of Thinking Together and the development of Wee Play with Perry. Perry got Donald involved. At the next HR impasse, in March this year, it was Amy that answered the call to get involved with coordinating the impossible into reality. Toyah has joined us in getting game play going. With recent enthusiasm coming from Emma, Matt and Denis, drawing others with them as they get on board. And Sarah has been helping Oli with our most recent site design www.weeplayscotland.org
On Monday 15th September 6.45pm in CCA we present Democracy Remixed in collaboration with Northern Renewal and Kiltr supported by the Common Weal. Thanks to Eileen we’ll be screening ‘Blueberry Soup’ telling the story of constitution writing Icelandic style, enjoying live performance and dialogue.
On Sunday 21st September in Seacliffe, Strachur, we launch Democracy House, as part of the Bruce Pettie legacy in collaboration with So Say Scotland.Plans for the rest of the year include a ‘So Say Symposium’** celebrating the flourishing of participatory and deliberative democracy in Scotland, and a focus on building the practitioners network at the heart of So Say.
Before that we are working on getting the nation playing.
The moral of this story: Be that random stranger. Dream big. Follow your heart. Welcome that random stranger. Collaborate. The impossible is within reach.
** a drinking party or convivial discussion,especially as held in ancient Greece after a banquet (and notable as the title of a work byPlato).