Last week we held a meet-up in Bognor Regis. We’re working with West Sussex County Council, the University of Chichester and Hemingway Design on the feasibility of opening a creative hub in the old waiting rooms at Bognor Regis station. So the meet-up was an opportunity to share what we’ve learnt so far with the people who might use the hub – and hear their views in return. It was open to anyone involved in creative enterprise in the town or just interested in finding out more about the County Council’s plans to help develop the sector locally.
We weren’t quite sure who to expect, or how many people would actually turn up on a wet and windy Thursday night. So we were pleasantly surprised both with the turn-out and enthusiasm on the night.
We wanted it to be a fun, friendly and informal kind of do, so we held it in a local pub on the seafront. and we invited local artist Maf’j Alvarez to come along and run her RootBeans game. I’d heard Maf’j speaking about RootBeans at Pixels and Prosecco, a Spring Forward event all about gaming. I’d been intrigued by how the game could be used as a mechanic to get people who don’t know each other very well to start having conversations about quite deep topics. So when we were thinking through how we could use our event to help start the creative community to come together, and also get more insight into what local people think Bognor needs then the game seemed ideal.
In the first stage of the game people are paired off. We gave each pair a set of ten beans and asked them to come up with ten words in answer to the question “What does Bognor need?” The pairs got deep into discussion and each came up with their list of words. When they were all finished we set up two game boards (really just big pieces of paper) and set each group off on a collaborative exercise to create connections between all the different beans. It’s a bit difficult to describe but the outcome is less important than the process. In the course of the game people met each other, made new connections, discussed their experiences and ideas for the town and came together in a positive way.
They also created a prioritised set of actions they believe will help develop a new creative economy for the town. Not bad for a rainy Thursday night down the pub.
So, what does Bognor need?
If you live and/or work in Bognor Regis and would like to know more about the hub then please email us and we’ll add you to the contact list!