Most memorable question from the visit was a simple sounding “why are you here?” The simple answer “We were invited, to meet with communities and exchange skills” didn’t translate so well or was misunderstood by some. Most of us want to travel and extend otherwise limited experiences of cultures and places, particularly when this coincides with an invite to research new practices. On a personal level it was a bit more complicated.
MAZI is building a DIY networking toolkit and SPC’s job is to operate a pilot project in south east London, to review how DIY networks are arranged and introduce sustainable tools for those building community awareness platforms for collaborative development. Fresh opportunities for exploration stretch preconceptions and expose shortcomings. We must test and adapt our ideas, if this process is to be productive.
Working in an second language focuses the requirement for clarity which further attunes it’s scope and improves the communication. We certainly put the toolkit to the test in Sao Paulo and in the process made friends and gained a better understanding of how to introduce tools in context with ongoing activities which encourage a pull of engagement rather than push technological products as solutions.
The tools themselves are all under review for inclusion in the Mazi toolkit due delivery at the end of 2018. The pre-tech phase of introductions, exploration and explanations are vital components of the kit. Annotating the exchange and publishing early outcomes can help those following a review process to contribute, shape collaboration and support sustainability.
At this intermediate stage of development Mazi still requires attention to detail and patience for when things maybe don’t go as expected. After each day we reviewed process and attempted to adapt ready for the next. By the last meeting we were well practiced, determined to allow enough time for explanations but to not over burden our selves or hosts with the depths of detail except when expressly requested. A growing array of supporting material both in text and image format have accumulated to detail procedures for when ‘one to one’ support is not longer possible for distance or language reasons.
Overall the experience confirmed the value of conversation, making time to listen to each other and identify ways of working together. These details can’t be rushed through to satisfy expectations, much of what gets expressed takes it’s own time to percolate and resolve or require repeating.