Open Thinkering


Weeknote 42/2021

Peanut butter browneies, cut into squares

I’m composing this from bed, a privilege afforded to me by both being on holiday and it being ‘blackout weekend’ for youth football. In a surprising breakout of common sense, the FA have decided that it might be a good idea to have a week when families aren’t ferrying their kids to matches and can, instead, go and do other things.

We’re heading off to Scotland later today. In a weird quirk of geography, we’re going no further north than where we live in Northumberland, but instead heading due west to Dumfries & Galloway for a few days. I had less work to do than I expected on Friday, so ended up creating a custom Google map of destinations we could go to — indoors and outdoors.

This week’s involved a mixture of work, meaning I’ve been context-switching a bit. With Julie’s Bicycle I was helping them finish off an Arts Council England funding bid, and screening the last applicants for the now-closed Product Lead position. They’ve had some great applicants, so will have a difficult decision to make.

Laura’s back from holiday and I think she may be glad that she spent some time away but also that she’s no longer surfing Poseidon’s rage tears. Together we worked on the Keep Badges Weird project for Participate, something which we’re running a session on at next week’s Badge Summit. It’s going to be great.

Other than that, we had our monthly WAO co-op day to which we invited Joe Roberson to discuss collaborating on relevant funding bids. We know Joe through our work with Catalyst over the last 18 months, and he had some smart things to say about our organisational structure (do we need an asset lock?) and about approaching funders.

Laura and I also met with Catalyst and Dev Society to figure out how to form a coalition to help cohorts of charities supported by the Charities Aid Foundation. We also recorded the latest version of our podcast with guest Kudzayi Ngwerume.

Away from work, I was discharged by the physio after two sessions as I’m doing my exercises properly to repair my shoulder. I think I damaged it using the Smith machine incorrectly about six months ago, but it’s getting a lot better.

I’m collaborating with a neighbour to run Morpeth’s first-ever Climate Café next month, and we met again to figure out logistics. We’re inviting neighbours and their friends/family to the first one, so we’re expecting no more than 20 people at the local youth centre. As we’re both educators by training, we have to actively suppress over-facilitating it, which I think we’ll manage. It’s not for a couple of weeks, so we’ve still got plenty of time to over-think things…

I didn’t write anything on this blog this week, but published several things at Thought Shrapnel. I’d encourage everyone to read either my overview, or the original article by Anne Helen Petersen about fall regression. You won’t regret it.

This morning I was exploring various blogs via and ended up navigating to a fantastic post by Nathan Toups entitled nonparticipation. I can’t prioritise writing a separate post about it before going away on holiday, but I’ve already read it out in full and discussed it briefly with our teenage son. Lots to ponder.

Next week, then, I’m on holiday. Several days in Scotland with the family, a brief appearance in the evening at a conference (it’s Whisky Wednesday, so I will have one in hand), and then some time at home for tinkering. After that, I’ve only got the month of November and the first week of December left to work of 2021.

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