It was an ordinary day for me in January 2018 sat at my laptop in the workshop at Impact Hub Birmingham when I received this mystery package from Germany. As I opened up the box, up sprung the head of a rubber chicken followed by the most almighty and longest sustained squawk I had ever heard. Totally enchanted by this, I let out the loudest cackle which was followed by this was a internal sense of pride and accomplishment as I deeped what was going on. This rubber chicken (as I understood it) was a rare specimen sent to us in Birmingham as a gift from the global jam HQ team to acknowledge and thank us for the contribution we in Birmingham have made to the global community.

Birmingham was now among a few locations around the world who have one of these rare rubber chickens and it felt good to receive these ratings on behalf of this emerging community in our city. It was at this moment that I knew we had to continue the jams but not without a short hiatus to give the team a chance to explore other things. Her are few things I’ve been up to since the Jams and how the jams have shaped or influence them:

1). Hosting Global Jam Jam /JamCamp

In September 2017, we had hosted a group of people who organise jams in their respective locations around the world in Birmingham. Knowing that this group of people are doing bits back in their home countries, we were honoured to host JamCamp and JamJam at Impact Hub Birmingham winning their hearts for a new appreciation of our city which is too often overlooked.

2). AfroTech Festival 2018

Florence and I did a short workshop on Service Design at AfroTech Festival in London complete with Spaghetti Challenge.

3). BoxWars Brum 2018/Birmingham Design Festival

I began to reflect on how I might take my experience of the Jams to create more spaces that serve a similar purpose in the city. Enter Boxwars Brum. An event I produced along with Andre Reid from Kiondo and some help from the West Midlands Mayor Community Weekend Award. BoxWars Brum was one day festival of cardboard creations and chaos. People came together to create cardboard battle gear and games which culminated in destruction through an epic battle. We also held a really great family friendly maker session as part of Birmingham Design Festival.

BoxWars Brum, Part of West Midlands Mayor Community Weekend

The question I began to ask on the back of this experience as well as all the others, was all about how we might create more playful spaces and experiences the cultivate progressive behaviours in society? You can read more about that in a Medium blog I wrote here.

Through these experiences, I came to realise that this question of playful spaces that cultivate progressive behaviours is a core passion that sits at the heart of my work and creative projects and can be seen as running trend as my work history. Over and over I have seen the power of play in sparking new relationships and ideas and how it minimises the risk of premature commitment and attachment by creating space for forgiveness, positive emotion and ultimately learning what’s possible. The Jams have played a key role in leading me to this deeper insight of why I do what I do and I think they can help others on that journey too.

That’s all from me checking in. See you on the 29-31 March. Tickets available here.