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Flashdance – an update on our work in Leeds

November 24, 2011

There’s been a bit of a hiatus on the Digital Social Innovation blog recently as we’ve been busy starting our work on Building Local Activism in earnest – meeting with the organisations we’re working with and planning how the work will pan out.

But we’re back with some exciting news that in December we’ll be attending a flashdance. Not of the 1980s, steel mill, bad hair and leg warmers fame. But a 2011 flashdance courtesy of Leeds Older People’s Forum, which will hopefully get people talking much more than the film ever did.

We are working with Leeds Older People’s Forum as part of the Digital Activism strand of work. The Forum supports organisations working with older people across Leeds and ensures the voluntary and community sector is involved in planning, developing and managing services for older people in Leeds.

Between now and 2013 we will be supporting the Forum to campaign for change and get the voice of older people heard using social media platforms and other digital tools. In September we met with the staff of the Forum and a great group of women from the Forum’s Scanning the Horizon group to start our work with them.

The group highlighted two issues in Leeds that need addressing – city centre accessibility and care home standards and provision. We discussed the issues in depth and began to think about how social media could be used to campaign, and the hurdles that need to be overcome such as a fear of social media.

The group is keen to use a range of campaigning methods – including online and offline activity – and it didn’t take long before the idea of a ‘tea dance flash mob’ was tabled by one of the women.

We came away from the meeting very excited about the great group of people we are working with, a draft action plan and a plan to meet again before Christmas to plan the next steps in campaigning. And the flashmob.

But, the group just couldn’t wait, and it didn’t take long before a dancing flashmob –or flashdance – was penned, developed and ready to go, kicking off the Forum’s campaigning activities.

Of course, we can’t give too much away here as a flashmob is supposed to take the public by surprise.

But what we can share is that a dance routine has been choreographed, videos and instructions sent out, campaign leaflets created, videographers arranged, blogs set up and a gorilla costume booked (guerrilla dancing – get it?). All we’re waiting for now is the date to come around and a text message to arrive telling flashdancers when and where to assemble for the big event.

It seems it’s never too late to take your passion, and make it happen. Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life.

What a feeling.

(Sorry, I just couldn’t resist)

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