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Future 100 Awards

| Open Society News | December 14, 2011

f100

Two weeks ago, we attended a ceremony at the Ernst & Young buildings, overlooking Tower Bridge. We were there to accept our Future 100 Award, making Open Society one of the top 100 social enterprises in the Uk, in the eyes of the organisers – Striding Out.

The organisations present spanned education and healthcare, sports outreach and environmentally friendly media. Regions across the Uk were well represented – what each social enterprise present had in common was a positive social impact combined with a sustainable and viable business model – this was the judging criteria. The fact that Ernst & Young considers our business model viable is very encouraging, and testament to several recycling bins full of previous versions.

The first version over 2 years ago was titled ‘Broedplattz’ and was carried from place to place in a battered suitcase on the back of an old motorbike. The second, entitled ‘The Union’, was written from the depths of a community warehouse in Brooklyn, situated above the head quarters of a New York motorcycle gang. You get the picture. Several versions, later the fact that one of Ernst & Young’s directors gave it the thumbs up is either a glowing testimony to our perseverance and development, or a terrifying example of how and why our economy now sits in the doldrums. We’re going with the former.

The work of Ernst & Young in the area of social enterprise is exemplary, and hopefully will spread across the financial sector. The danger with CSR budgets and reporting is that too often companies tend to want short-term, easily tangible case studies – sponsoring disadvantaged young people to make a skateboarding video or record a rap album, for example. Working with Striding Out, Ernst & Young are investing in the people who are setting up organisations dedicated to helping hundreds of young people, hundreds of the elderly, people who can make genuine contributions to the future of their local communities. Without this help and financial support, the social enterprise sector will go the same way as ‘The big society’.

As nice as awards are, what I feel the social enterprise sector needs more than anything, is money. Since starting Open Society, we have not been able to secure any funding, from a variety of sources. The social need for an organisation that helps young people develop skills and find work is greater than ever, and we have been fortunate to work with great organisations like 3Space and Striding Out who offer free help and training to social enterprises. But, with funding our growth and social impact could have been far greater. To expect young people to be able to forge their own sector that helps people and makes it’s own money is an impossible idea – 95% of socent startups are going to require funding, but where are they going to get it?

There is plenty of advice out there, plenty of talent and plenty of skills training. What the sector needs is investment. Sadly the ‘Big Society Bank’ – promising hundreds of millions to the socent sector siphoned from dormant back accounts – was bled dry by the second phase of the recession, and the government hasn’t yet come up with a alternative. Startup Britan, which just pulls together lots of things that were already widely available online, does not count.

So it falls to companies like Ernst & Young, organisations like Striding Out and the individuals that filled the hall overlooking the river two weeks ago to lead for now. The recognition those people received will provide a huge confidence boost, but it must be followed with funding and support – loans, tax incentives, even benefits – for those who are taking the time, effort and financial risk to start something in the social enterprise sector. Without that, all the great work people have done in this area over the last 10 years will exist without the legacy it deserves.

MEMBER INTERVIEW – With Tess Seddon, Director of TheatreState

| Featured member | September 19, 2011

tess

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do and your project?
I am the Artistic Director of a theatre company called TheatreState. We are currently developing ‘Git,’ a re-imagining of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Merging live film and theatre to examine the lost boys of the 21st Century, hooked on video games, marijuana and angst. We have recently had a work in progress run at The Yard theatre in Hackney Wick.

What prompted you to start TheatreState?
I wanted to make theatre that was an expeience. British theatre is dominated by a need to tell a literal story that is absorbed by the intellect. TheatreState allows me to make my own work under my own terms. Work that is about developing the essence of a world and how it feels.

Do you see this as a creative project for creativity’s sake, or the start of a potential career?
Interesting question….although it is essentially a creative project, we also want to use it to help us make more work. So I suppose by promoting the project, inviting professonals to see it and creating a website we are using it as a launch pad for the company.

Who have you gotten involved so far?
I am working with Becky Poxon, a brilliant young producer,  filmaker Jack Burke, who designed and edited together the bombardment of images, artist Graham Reid, who helped to construct a mountain of functioning TVs, composer Henry Jakobssen, who does a lot of televsion composing that was really interesting to draw upon. Not to forget the four actors involved.

Has your background experience helped you a lot? If so, how?
I have worked for The Wooster Group in New York which had prepared me for the suprising amount of admin iinvolved in such a project. However to devise, script and direct the play within the time limit we had was a huge challenge. Looking back the project was the most difficult one I could have done but by doing this I have truly developed my practice as a director which makes all the stress almost worthwhile!

Do you have any plans to develop it?
We are really keen to develop the piece. We sent out over one hundred invitations for ‘Git’ to theatre professionals and about five came! But thats all we needed, they gave really positive feedback and are keen to support our next venture. We have a lot of meetings next month to discuss some further research and development time and then hopefully a longer run at a London based theatre. Fingers crossed.

Do you have your fingers in any other theatre pies?
I am starting an observership at the Manchester Royal Exchange and Birmingham Mac this autumn which will be a great way of watching how much more experienced directors operate.

September’s Open Workshop – Starting and running a pop-up shop

| Open Society News | September 15, 2011

workshop

27th September, 6:30pm-9pm at Open Society’s office on Chancery Lane.

Whether you’re running an art project, trying to launch a brand, or create a temporary space for community activities, a pop-up shop is a sure-fire way to get noticed, and bring something special to the streets around us.

This workshop will teach you how to go about securing a vacant property for your pop-up project, how to set it up, market it, and make yours a success. In the words of 3space – it’s time to look at empty property as an opportunity, not an eyesore.

Delivering the workshop are three pop-up pioneers:

Alice Vaughn of Specs Gallery and 3Space – Having set up the moving pop-up gallery for art graduates in London Specs, and working as one of the 3Space team, pop-up enthusiasts can learn from Alice. She’ll be telling us how she set up the community interest company, how they secured several enormous gallery spaces over the last few months, and how she managed to get 200 art enthusiasts down to their opening night through clever publicity.

Antonia Halse & Hannah White of The Make Market. These two will be talking to us about the pop-up shop they set up at the end of last year in Exmouth Market. Taking us through how they secured a suitable vacant property with the help of Meanwhile Space, and how they set up, ran and publicised the space to make a big social impact in the area.

As with every Open Workshop, we encourage people to bring project ideas down to discuss with the workshop hosts. They will also be lots of opportunities for attendees to get involved in pop-up projects all over London, and find collaborators for any project that you are planning.

This workshop is free to attend for anyone between the ages of 18-30, and will be held at the Open Society office on Chancery Lane.

To book your place please RSVP to workshops@open-society.co.uk

Open Workshops, New projects & Tribe Wanted – This week at Open Society

| Newsletters | September 12, 2011

ben-tribes

Another packed week, another packed newsletter. Read on for free workshops, projects, recommended events and a very good interview with Ben Keene, founder of Tribe Wanted.

1. NEWS – Open Workshops are back!

Open workshops are back; running on the last Tuesday of each month, and covering topics that should be inspirational for all of you project enthusiasts. These workshops are a chance to learn from people in the know, meet other members runnning projects of their own, and to find out about all the resources and opportunities out there to help you start up. And they’re free to attend.

Open Workshop #1 – 27th September
Starting and running a pop-up shop

Open Workshop #2 – 25th October
Bringing a fashion label to market

Open Workshop #3 – 29th November
Starting a career in extra-creative events

For more information or to book your place at any Open Workshop, email us at: workshops@open-society.co.uk.

2. PROJECTS – Top picks from the projects page:

1. TV CHANNEL seeks aspiring producers & media people

2. LONDON COMMUNITY FESTIVAL seeks events coordinators and volunteers

3. ONLINE START-UP looking for social media marketer

4. THEATRE PROJECT seeks sound operator & photographer

5. POP-UP MARKET STALL seeks product & fashion designers

For more project roles and work opportunities visit the projects page

3. EVENTS – Recommended for this week

Graduate Entrepreneurs Networking with The Net Location
Tuesday 13th September @ Shoreditch

A great neworking event for graduates with start-ups and business ideas. A professional style, central location and discounted drinks – we’re there.

DevTank – Tech start-up workshop at TechHub
Wednesday 14th September @ Old Street

TechHub, if you haven’t already heard of it, is a shared office, workshop space and incubator for tech start-ups in Old Street, right in the centre of the Silicon Roundabout and everything that implies. Hosted there, DevTank is an opportunity for programmers, tech enthusiasts and ideas people to meet up and thrash out apps and other techy projects – and hear some fantastic speakers for free too.

3. INTERVIEW – With Ben Keene, founder of Tribe Wanted

Ben Keene is a social entrepreneur, writer, nomad. In founding Tribewanted, www.tribewanted.com, he has launched a cross cultural community living network that has received international acclaim and is revolutionising sustainable tourism.

1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
My name is Ben Keene. I get out of bed for three things: to run, to eat and with the impetus that the future of business can be a force for good.

2. You have had the rare experience of introducing a genuinely new idea to the world… what in your background helped you to achieve this?
A cocktail of reasons: being fortunate enough to be born into a good family with a good education; being frustrated with the acceptance that all well educated middle class people should work simply to a boring means-to-an-end path, not a set of exciting opportunities; and a conversation with a Tanzanian mountain guide that gave me that much needed perspective 1,000 hours at university couldn’t.

3. Was Tribewanted your first business venture?
No, I started an online magazine called Career Break Cafe. The thinking was that anyone who wasn’t 18 but wanting to take structured time out didn’t really have a decent space to explore the possibilities. It was 2005. I think it was a half decent project, but Tribewanted took over…

4. How important do you feel an international approach is in today’s business environment?
It’s not a choice of whether it’s important or not – business is international the moment your customers, product or service go online. That’s what makes being involved with start-ups so interesting right now – your marketplace is immediately international. It can be chaotic, overwhelming and noisy, but more often that not it provides plenty of opportunity and inspiration.

5. Has the recession boosted public interest in Tribewanted? Surely now more than ever people want to escape to an island paradise…
Yes and no. More people want to participate, less people have the means to. The challenge for us is to show that sustainable tourism is not just about an adventure of a lifetime but also something that really connects with your life at home. We have a new project in Sierra Leone too…

6. How strong are the parallels between the tribes you have helped build on your islands and the communities in which you grew up at home?
It’s about community – my school had a lot of international students which got me interested in life beyond the UK and the idea of living cross-culturally. In Australia I worked in an outward bound school for a year. These experiences set me up for Tribewanted – community building from the ‘village up’ makes society stronger as people become more engaged with a place.

The main similarity is underwater on the reef off Vorovoro – spearing for fish is a bit like going to a nightclub… no-one can talk to each other, there’s a lot going on and your pulse often is off the scale!

7. What have you learned from the tribes that could strengthen the cohesion of communities in the UK?
Listen first. Simple rule – but so often we want to do the talking first.

On Vorovoro the culture of communication is complex – you don’t talk ‘directly’ to each other. You communicate in certain directions depending on social hierarchy. This is frustrating at times but also allows for the right decisions to be taken, eventually.

The community works at its best when everyone plays a part – work, rest, play. Repeat. That’s when – with a nice sunset and some kava- you really start to glimpse paradise.

8. Your idea was a big one… how do you avoid getting intimidated or tangled-up when trying to achieve an ambition of that size?
Good question. I think I have been tangled at times between enjoying the beach philosophy and the practicalities of funding, employment and logistics. I’ve found that the best way forward is to find what you’re good at and then find others to do the things you’re not so good at.

My goal is that everyone who works with us can do the job better than me – very easy in some cases… this means I can concentrate on not losing the ambition, the big picture.

9. What do you think are the main ingredients of a successful business start-up?
Having the bravery or naivety to start it. After that, riding good fortune, fighting against the bad luck and mistakes and reminding yourself why you’re doing it.

10. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice as you were starting up Tribewanted, what would it be?
Have a good sleep, tomorrow is going to be a busy day.

Welcome back! This week at Open Society

| Newsletters | September 5, 2011

jobs

Summer’s over and it’s time to get productive again. Read on for more projects, useful events and some big updates for anyone with a start-up project.

1. Open Society Jobs launches

As of today, we’re launching Open Society Jobs – an ethical recruitment service for members interested in finding an entry to mid level role or paid internship doing something that really gets thems going.

Just like everything else with Open Society, it’s a completely free service that is open to all of our members.

To get started, just visit http://open-society.co.uk/profile/ and update your profile to tell us that you’re interested.

2. FREE office space for members

Also new for this week, we’re launching the much anticipated Open Office we’ve been planning for a while. From now on, every Monday and Tuesday we are opening up the workshop space from 11am-5pm for members to use freely. Think of it as a base for your project, with desk space, free Wifi, and a suitably smart environment to work in.

Email openoffice@open-society.co.uk to find out more.

3. Top 5 picks from the projects page:

1. THEATRE PROJECT seeks sound operator

2. THEATRE PROJECT seeks photographer

3. CYCLE EXPEDITION in need of support crew

4. POP-UP MARKET STALL seeks product & fashion designers

5. ART EXHIBITION seeks marketing people

For more project roles and work opportunities visit the projects page.

4. Recommended free EVENTS


Making inDesign interactive

TONIGHT – September 5th @ Charing Cross

Trying to get an impact from your e-marketing? Then it’s time to make the switch from word to indesign, and learn how to do it properly.

Motive Collective – Simply the best filmmakers’ meetup in town
Wednesday September 7th @ Old Street

A networking event for filmmakers, writers, and all the people who can help make your silver screen ideas a reality, Motive meetup is a must-see event for anyone aspiring to get into the industry.

This week at Open Society

| Newsletters | August 8, 2011

desk

Hi,

New projects, events & a great opportunity for project leaders… Read on, get in touch, and get involved.


1. Top 5 picks from the projects page:

1. DOCUMENTARY FILM seeks Director of Photography & Assistant Director

2. GROUPON-STYLE START-UP seeks marketing whizz

3. MUSIC PROMOTERS needed for West London Venue

4. NEW SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY seeks team members

5. STANDON CALLING still wants bar staff for free tickets!

For more project roles and work opportunities visit the projects page

2. EVENT – Transmedia meetup – Monday 8th August aka: tonight!

A very, very cool meetup group following new media technologies and transmedia projects ranging from publishing to gaming. Especially useful for those interested in digital marketing, PR and media, as this is the way things are heading. Definitely worth the travel to Greenwich, especially as it’s free to attend.

Check out the event here.

3. ARTICLE – Tom Rendell on free desk space for start-ups at the OS Office

With so much bad news recently, I am pleased to write today about an area in which progress is being made. It’s not political, nor financial, but behavioral – people finding solutions to the problems they face. The progress I am writing about today is the increasing availability of access to free office space for start-up companies.

Starting anything involves a number of steps, each one hugely satisfying and inspiring, a step up the ladder to a summit a little closer. Finding partners, meeting potential investors, press coverage, your first cheque and, perhaps the most affirming, your first office. With more and more work happening online and remotely it can be argued that office space is decreasing in importance, but what it offers is the chance for a team to work closely together, frequently re-thinking and ensuring you’re on the same page – an important part of any new venture. Furthermore it offers you a smart environment to host business meetings, and a confidence and belief in what you’re doing.

Free office space has helped the development of Open Society over the last year greatly*, and now we are looking to extend the same opportunity to others. Every Tuesday at our Chancery Lane offices we will offer free office space and project consultation to anyone who is interested. We’d like to hear your ideas, see what you’re doing and offer help by connecting you to other members of the network. Just email us at info@open-society.co.uk and let us know what you’re up to – we can also help find mentors to help with the project if needs be.

It can be hard to keep your foot on the pedal in a start-up and access to office space makes things seem that much more real. Coming to our offices means being part of an active environment with like-minded people right in the middle of the city. We got spinny chairs too.

* We have 3Space (http://3space.org/) to thank for our Open Society offices in Chancery Lane. They work with landlords to provide available space to charities, social enterprises and community groups, and have vacant spaces across the country that they’re looking to fill. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Darren Smith on food maps, web projects and social enterprise

| Featured member | August 1, 2011

Screen shot 2011-07-29 at 16.12.49

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your project Growington?

My name is Darren Smith and I’m a co-founder at Growington. Growington.com is on a mission to map where food is being grown across the world- it’s a website that lets home growers and urban farmers indicate what food they’re growing and where which in turn will support communities to share, swap and trade their own food locally. We’re all about collaborative consumption and using technology as an offline enabler. We shouldn’t need to import so much food from the other side of the world!

How, when and why did you start it?

I don’t have a background in sustainability, the ‘green industry’ nor am I an activist. However, I do understand the challenges our planet faces in the coming decades. The idea came together when I was at a School Of Life seminar (http://www.theschooloflife.com/) about the ‘future of food’ in November last year. I am also an avid fan of TED talks, (http://www.ted.com/) and I’ve watched one every day (on average) for over 2 years. Highly recommended!

You must have learned a lot in starting up, not least in funding proposals. What advice would you give to other people wanting to start a web-based project like yours?

The most important part of starting a web-based company is partnering with an experienced developer and be willing to give up equity stake to someone who shares your passion and vision. The search might take a while but you will be in a better position for it in the long run. I’d also say that you’re only as good as the people around you, so surround yourself with people who compliment your skills and/or are better than you.

There are three of you in your team – are you all techie and foodie, or do you split the work at all?

We’re a co-founding team of 3 with a complimentary skill set. John is a back-end developer, Rey is a front-end developer and I am a user experience designer. We’re lucky in that we all knew each other before starting the business. We think it is essential to know as much as you can about your target audience so of course we all grow our own food (and eat a lot.)

How much time do you dedicate to running Growington?

This has sometimes been challenging for our team. One of the team members lives in Norwich, 2 of us are freelancers and 1 of us has a full-time job. We’ve been working on the project for 7 months part-time and although we’re happy to have a live product there is always more to do and never enough time! On average, we probably dedicate a day or 2 a week. We’re still boot-strapped and will begin to look for funding soon.

Do you see it as a non-profit project or is there a possibility of it becoming a sustainable business? If so, how?

We are a social enterprise- a business with social values in enabling communities and changing people’s behaviours for the better. At the same time, we intend to become a profitable and scalable business. There is a lot to be said about the social enterprise sector and it is gaining traction fast. Our main revenue stream will come from peer to peer exchange of locally grown food. We will take a small % from many micro transactions.

Where do you want to take it?

We have global aspirations and already have members signed up from Australia, South Africa and the USA. We aim to be the place online for people that grow their own food- to blog about it, share it, and to learn from others doing a similar thing.

Do you have any plans/ projects that anyone from Open Society could get involved in across the UK?

We’re currently looking for writers who are passionate about growing food/sustainability/global food systems/allotments/urban farming to write regular (or one off) posts on our blog. We don’t yet have a community manager- someone who can rally support, get feedback, and help us promote Growington online. This might be the same person or different people. If you would like to get involved, please let us know!

Tom Rendell on the ‘Jilted Generation’ event

| Open Society News | July 27, 2011

tom

What I learned from our ‘Jilted Generation’ discussion, featuring Ed Howker & Shiv Malik, and chaired by the BBC’s Evan Davis.

On June 28th, Open Society hosted an event titled ‘Jilted Generation’ in partnership with the Earls Court Festival. Miss Q’s provided the setting for a live discussion about the economic situation facing young people in the UK today. Very kindly, the BBC’s Economics Editor Evan Davis chaired a discussion with Ed Howker & Shiv Malik, co-authors of ‘Jilted Generation’ – a book that has received high praise and been discussed everywhere from university bars to the Houses of Parliament.

Earlier that day, the release of figures by the Association of Graduate Recruiters served to make ‘Jilted Generation’ all the more relevant. In 2009, when I graduated from Edinburgh University, there were 49 graduates applying for every graduate role – at the time the press described this as ‘the worst year to graduate in history’. The figures released on June 28th 2011 stated it had become 89 graduates for every available position. The country’s attention is held rapt by ‘The Apprentice’, and that’s only 12 applicants competing for a job! Getting an entry-level job in 2011 is a lot harder than it ought to be.

This was a point that re-surfaced several times throughout the discussion – Ed & Shiv were not aiming to incite a ‘woe is me’ attitude amongst young people, but examining what is now harder for the current youth than it ought to be. For the best educated generation in history, they asked, why are so many of the expected fundamentals of life (getting a job, paying for your education, buying a house etc) now so hard to attain? I won’t go into the finer details and anyone at all interested in the subject would be much better served by buying their great book, but here is a few thought-provoking points that I took away from the evening:

1) When it comes to jobs, should we be more like the French?

Young people today think about ‘work’ differently to previous generations. Now we are said to want jobs that define us, that represent who we are and allow us to express ourselves. In France, young people see things differently: the French work from 9-5 and see it as a trade – they are trading their time for some money – and after work, they live their lives and express themselves. They see themselves as people for what they do outside of work, not at work. Could it be our reverse attitude that explains both high graduate unemployment and a dissatisfaction voiced by many industries that the young people emerging from education aren’t well suited to the work place? Sacre bleu.

2) The cuts aren’t affecting everyone equally

Perhaps the most famous legislation of the Coalition to date has been to raise tuition fees for students. There are several arguments that state students only payback once they are earning a certain amount and that it’s only fair that young people should pay for degrees that are going to benefit them throughout life. Not unreasonable on paper, but the truth is that the politicians making this policy decision did not have to pay for their university educations – nor did any other members of their generation. At the same time, other areas of government spending targeted at different demographic groups (eg Winter Fuel Allowance for the elderly) remain untouched – it is strange that the young have to carry the burden of public spending cuts before they’ve had a chance to benefit from the boom times their parents enjoyed. Furthermore, these young people will be affected by these cuts throughout their adult lives in various forms – they will have to ‘pay now’ and ‘pay later’. Fair?

3) This is no time for inter-generational squabbling about who ‘has/had’ it worse

This event was particularly interesting because within the audience there was a wide age-range – perhaps unusual for a ‘Jilted Gen’ event. Several older audience members fairly noted that this generation has it easy, and that their own generation was badly afflicted by recessions, strikes and even wars. Throughout the debate it continuously emerged that it is the responsibility of government to ensure the needs of each generation are met, and to refrain from targeting the young simply because they are not seen as a key voting demographic or major source of public income. Speaking out, becoming politically active and holding the government to account was the lasting message of the evening, regardless of how young or old you are.

Our great thanks to Evan Davis, Ed Howker & Shiv Malik for providing us with such an interesting discussion, and for the Earls Court Festival, for which this was one of the many great events they are hosting in the local area throughout the summer.

This week at Open Society

| Newsletters | July 25, 2011

office

Hi,

This week we’ve got some new techie projects to share with you, some more festival opportunities and a great interview with one of the founders of Films on Fridges (further down the blog) – the pop-up cinema in east London starting next week.

We’re also using this week to decide on our calendar of events for September to December, so please send any requests or suggestions for workshop topics or debate areas to maxim@open-society.co.uk

Thanks.

The 3 items on the agenda this week:

 

1. Top 5 roles from the projects page:

1. NEW SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY SEEKS TEAM MEMBERS

2. ONLINE START-UP REQUIRES WEB DEVELOPER

3. VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR EAST LONDON POP-UP CINEMA

4. VOLUNTEERS FOR HACKNEY WICK FESTIVAL

5. FREE TICKETS FOR BAR WORK AT STANDON CALLING

For more project roles and work opportunities visit the projects page

 

2. INTERNSHIP/JOB with pop-up shop charity 3space

Anyone who’s been to the Open Society office will know 3space, the charity start-up that provides free commercial space for the third sector – used as everything from permanent offices to pop-up shops, galleries and workshop spaces all over the UK. We are huge fans of their vision and commitment to making things happen for social enterprises like ourselves, so we thought we’d share the good news – they’re hiring an intern, with a solid job opportunity at the end of it.

Check out the role here, and for anyone thinking of applying do so ASAP, as the role is for immediate start.

Films on Fridges – an interview with Lindsey Scannapieco

| Featured member | July 21, 2011

lindsey

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do, and Films on Fridges?

My name is Lindsey Scannapieco and I am the Co-Founder of Scout Limited. I have an interest in the activation and animation of urban vacant spaces in creative and unusual ways. I think however temporary, these uses provide unique experiences and add value to the character of the city. Films on Fridges was a project inspired from research done while studying for my MSc in City Design and Social Science at the London School of Economics. During that programme I met my business partner Mat Triebner and we decided to take our research beyond the classroom and deliver a hands-on project that addressed the history of the area and many of the issues and questions raised in our work.

Where are you now with Films on Fridges?

We are nearly 9 days to opening – so entirely manic! We are just about to start the build on an extremely aggressive construction schedule so lots of wishes for dry weather and on-time deliveries!

How & when did you start Scout?

Mat and I started Scout this past winter after deciding that we wanted to focus on creating projects that have contextual significance and experiment with vacancy in a new and original way. We decided we would give ourselves 6 months to make our first project happen and have been working transatlantic ever since then to get it all off the ground.

You’ve got an amazing venue – were you already planning a film festival, or did the fridge graveyard inspire you to do something?

The project was originally and wholly inspired by the folklore about the ‘fridge mountain’ that used to occupy the Olympic site. We really liked the idea of creating a visual juxtaposition with elements of this resurrected industrial icon alongside the new and incredible outline of the 2012 Olympic venues. As we had catalogued and mapped the area extensively for the last year – we immediately knew that the yard adjacent to H.Forman & Son was perfect for what we had in mind and approached Lance Forman who luckily immediately loved the concept.

Who have you got involved in your team? Are you creative people, or is one of you the business brains?

We have been entirely astounded by the amount of talent that we have been able to bring on board the project and the project would not be possible without their dedication and involvement. I met Emma Rutherford, the Project Designer in April and told her about the project idea and luckily she immediately jumped on the opportunity to get involved. She really took the project to the next level and has done incredible design. We also invited students studying planning, construction management and city design to all get involved and we now have a team with an incredible skill-set and energy. I think that both Mat and I are creative, although I have to admit I am the business end of things and the budget is forever in my control.

Any plans for scout after Films on Fridges? Where do you want to take it?

The intention is for Scout to pop-up throughout the world and we currently have our eye of projects in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and potentially Istanbul – sadly we currently don’t have a brain cell to spare on these at the moment, but after August 14th will be working hard to get the next Scout intervention off the ground. So keep your eyes peeled!

Do you have any plans/ projects that anyone from Open Society could get involved in?

As soon as we have them developed we will let you know as we have been entirely impressed with the people we have met through Open Society and would love to have them on board our next venture.

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