CANCELLED Jan 18: Doing Development Differently: An ODD Workshop

CANCELLED! – will be rescheduled to later this spring

Hosted by Dougald Hine (The Dark Mountain Project), this workshop with Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright will be of interest to students, researchers and practitioners interested in unorthodox, creative approaches to the challenges that go under the heading of ‘development’ – and how we make these approaches more legible to the systems and structures which control resources.

When: January 18, 14:00 – 16:30
Where: Kollaboratoriet Uppsala, Östra Ågatan 19

ODD = Originating Designed Disruption
ODD = Outwitting Dumb Development

We’re working with the concept of ODDness and deviant capabilities – to nurture and encourage positive deviance (where people thrive against the ‘norm’) and are able to generate and regenerate their own lives and communities according to what they care about; they have freedom to speak, to express, to be heard, to experience, to make, to build, to contest, to create; to buck the trend and thrive.

Conventional development is not working – the world spends €£$ billions on ‘development’ – international aid, overseas development assistance, charitable giving and foundation funding, infrastructural initiatives and regeneration investment in countries, cities and communities. The total spend increases each year but it seems that the more we spend, the more things stay about the same or get worse, a slip into non-development, imposed dependency or retrogression.

Development normally focuses on solutions to problems, identified by big institutions and departments engineering universal best practices and technical assistance to deliver them. But development is a moral as much as a technical field. It’s about possibility and engagement in shaping a future life we want to live. Development practice as a moral field has to actively generate capability and capital for everyone engaged in the future because they will inhabit and shape it – for good or for ill. It cannot be about developing ‘others’ in our own image, which ultimately only delivers reluctant compliance, dependency, corruption and resentment.

If normal ways of working are not working then what could abnormal or ‘deviant’ development look like? Well, it’s not an ‘Innovation Unit’ tinkering with inefficiencies and blocks in the pipeline. Real innovation comes from solutions that are at odds with the norm, better understanding, opportunities and support for those making these unusual or unorthodox solutions happen. And that – as a ‘headline’ for ODD – means purposefully embracing and acting with ‘positive deviance’. Deviance has a positive place in development – it is a means by which communities can creatively and collectively release the multiple blockages of development, locally and globally.

There are many positive deviants creatively working to make this possibility a reality. They are working in the margins and intersection of development, community activism, and culture. But most sources of support are inaccessible because as one expert in the field says, ‘it’s stuff that’s happening in spite of development programmes not because of them’. How do we make this practice more visible to institutions? How do we create useful interfaces for mutual learning and support?

We want to run a short workshop with anyone who’s around with the intent to co-create some practical creative formats for useful interfaces between positive deviant practice and institutions – specifically in the context of developing a ‘model’ or blueprint for a ‘pop-up’ intervention into a large scale institutional gatherings
(like the World Humanitarian Summit or Devex or the British Council Global Gathering). We ran a small experiment for a pop-up hub at the World Summit on Arts and Culture, which we can share with participants at the Kollaboratoriet, and then to explore and design some modes, activities, possibilities for a practical series of interventions.

Can we together create a format/model that can be open-sourced, shared and hacked for bringing ODDness into institutional spaces?


Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright are independent creative and cultural brokers based in London, UK with extensive experience of working internationally in over 40 countries on every continent. Current ventures in 2017 include an action research enquiry into global civic and socially-engaged cultural and creative practice with particular focus on people and agencies that pursue positive deviance and in parallel in to the growing Municipalism Movement around the world; the creation of a civic hub with young Syrian refugees in the city of Gaziantep, Turkey; devising and co-facilitating learning programmes with young cultural innovators and activists in Detroit, USA and Plovdiv and Sofia, Bulgaria; and work with the London-based Create Associates. Over the last few years their work has included: the co-creation of open, a globally-facing resource focussing on the development of civic infrastructures and tools for hubmaking and collective community building; co-authorship of the British Council’s global Culture and Development strategy; support of the evaluation programme of Hivos’s Mideast Creatives; the creation and facilitation of a pan-Mediterranean Pop-Up Creative Hub within the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Valletta, Malta; the co-devising and delivery of the Cultural Leadership and Innovation Programme over several years, for the Ford Foundation and the British Council MENA, across the Middle East and North Africa and of the Creative Hub-Making Programme in Vietnam; faculty of the Hammamet Conference in Tunisia; co-facilitators of the international Forum on Living Arts in Post-Conflict Contexts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Genocide; co-curator of Change For A Tenner, an events programme for the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). They are ongoing: strategic and programme advisors to, and annual co-facilitators of, the Young Cultural Innovators Programme of the Salzburg Global Seminar bringing together cultural and creative activists aged 25-35 from over 30 cities across the world; Associates of Compass, UK; and UK Ambassadors to the Alternativet cultural-political party in Denmark.

Peter has also recently led a review of the future of the Folkestone Artworks for the Creative Foundation; served as the ‘Pop-Up’ Chancellor of Cannon Hill Art School, a temporary and experimental art school or people of all ages at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham, England; cultural advisor to the City of Derry~Londonderry and a member of the core Bid Team, and co-author of the Cultural Chapter, of the city’s successful bid to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013; and a selector for, and presenter on, the Channel 4 Big Art Project. Prior to these adventures Peter has had a distinguished and award-winning career working across museums, the arts and culture, including his role as co-founder of Culture+Conflict, founding director of the £110 million Creative Partnerships creativity in learning programme across England and the direction of the world-class £21-million The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Shelagh has also recently led a review for the development of a creative innovation strategy for Eastbourne; advised Malta and helped shape its arts and creative industries policy and strategy; co-produced a publication on the Medical Humanities for the Wellcome Foundation; facilitated British Council Global Arts gatherings and Arts Strategy; and researched and written for the European Cultural Foundation on creative Communities of Practice in urban development. She is a founder of ThreeJohnsandShelagh and a board member of ArtQuest. Her publications include: Creativity Money Love; Where does it Hurt?; After the Crunch; So.What Do You Do?; Making Good Work and Design for Learning. A long time ago she was a contributor to the Creative Britain strategy and a member of the EU Expert Working Group on the Creative Industries.