Guest Lecture – Participatory Projects – Jonathon Hutchinson

I previously posted about how interesting it was to sit through a Skype lecture, and here I will discuss some of the interesting points Jonathon explored in this lecture.

Know your audience
Who the hell are you writing to? Whose imagination are you trying to capture? Inherent in this is finding like minded people, for if you find like minded people, the chances of you having a lasting impression on your audience is greatly multiplied.

The outside person vs. The documentary maker
Differentiate between you as a person (the outside person) and you as the project professional (the documentary maker). While it is important to retain personality and character, and allow these to influence your work, there is a difference between personality with a professional basing and personality left unmanaged.

Identifying your collaborators
Just the same as your audience, you are a much better chance of actually achieving your project if you identify collaborators who are like minded, and thus are as willing as you are to make the project a success. Realistically, you don’t really know what you are going to get from a participatory project, so don’t waster your time on people who ‘might’ contribute, control the variables, ‘work with inertia’ and have a clear goal in mind.

Is there a possibility of incorporating a brand or an institution into your project? The project might be beneficial to them, and if you pick the right brand/institution you may get an equally useful outcome in return ie. a display area or place to broadcast from.

And most importantly, keep people in the loop. If you can minimise the barriers of participation you are increasing your chances of success. Plus people want to know what they’re contributing to. They want to understand how their contribution is forming a part of the collaboration. After all, you all need to work together for the participatory project to be a success.


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