We are putting out a call for you, as new Campfire members to tell us what you want - from our social network, our events and what we could achieve in a wider context.. Here are some of the answers. Have your say here
Jonathan Tawn "I think we can do things differently. Lets work towards a greater level of collaboration and discussion, lets drop the singular from our postings and work towards a 'we' instead of 'i’."
Jenny Swindells “It would be great to be part of new developmental ways of thinking and working.”
Kath Cockshaw "I am looking for new ways to bring people and organisations together across communities of interest to address big issues, not least the current defunct political system, resulting in impactful action. Which is why Campfire Convention appeals so much."
Ian Ellison "I was inspired by the parallels and possibilities when I heard about Campfire on 6 Music, and - mixed with Big Chill memories - it got me wondering about the potentially more powerful blend of physical and online network 'spaces' to seed new ideas. I'd like to be part of the experience from the outset.”
Louise Wright "Enabling people to have a meaningful say in their lives and communities. To harness the skills and abilities of all to create power from within"
Rees Wesson "Meeting, chatting, drinking, playing music. What's not to like?"
John Bampini "We've had decades of neoliberal policies destroying the well being of people and redistributing wealth to fewer people. It's time for 'regular' people to unite and tackle the 'establishment'. I see Campfire as a step in the right direction and an opportunity to 'network' and enrich our lives and projects too."
Street Life "Creativity comes from unexpected connections between unrelated concepts or ideas. Collaborating with other people, with different ideas, many coming from different angles and with different goals often makes amazing things happen.”
Craig Edmunds "I pride myself in everything I do, to not take the easy path, to not take the path most attractive or beneficial to me personally and instead to look at everything for what it is, and what it can be for a wider cause."
Clare Hearne "With a grassroots and strategic networking interest in Herefordshire community health and wellbeing, particularly 'social prescribing' healthy alternatives for families and the troubled youth agenda, I'm really hoping campfire and Pete Lawrence, will take the initiative practically locally here on this one and act as a galvanising focus to assist with recruitment and implementation of the compassionate communities (CoCo) model already working in neighbouring Shropshire."
Tom Wilding “it’s an ideal place to meet and exchange ideas & knowledge while finding new friendships and skills."
Grant Read "As an event and gig photographer I see a wide range of styles in music, fashion and business approaches. Most people are taught in a linear fashion unfortunately the brain does not function that way. I would note the work of Tony Buzan as the Inventor of Mind Maps - the most powerful "thinking tool" of our times. Ideal for creative minds. Thinking outside the box of conventionality, inspiring and helping to develop peoples creative dreams. If we can think it, we can create it."
Jon Norris "The right to be heard is not the right to be listened to. Galvanising people in very small communities around an small very local issue, regrouping around the next issue empowers people and helps them take interest in larger but still very local issues. Our present methods of electing "politicians" does not"
Simon Sanders "It's all about exposure. Exposure to new ideas, new perspectives and new people Exposure for one's own ideas, ambitions, dreams and schemes Exposure to the elements - sun, rain, wind, whatever the weather. Expo? Sure!"
Jo King "I don't know what Campfire is, I suppose it is who it attracts. But I know I feel a little excited by it. I think the potential here shines out because there is no overpromising, just a lot of gentle initiative and creativity. I would like to give to that."
Cory Hope "Very exited about Campfire and the potential development of an alternative to commercial social networks.”
Mark Drury "The gathering together of loving people. For years now, the distance between the lives and minds of the materialistic and the spiritual has widened; whereas the arena for materialism has become scandalously overt there has been little sign of unity within spiritual circles. I believe that Campfire Convention will offer us all a place of solitude and community wherein we can relax in the knowledge we are among friends!"
Claire Watts "We need a different solution than mass vigils and twibbons, one that leads to real change. What is it that we can do together to make a difference!”
Jeremy Pearce "Campfire will work for me as a means of connecting with other like minded people ,building and bouncing around thoughts and ideas from as many angles and prospective imaginable. Oaks come from acorns and an idea can turn into a virtual forest and now is the time to plant .!”
Juliet Fay "Looking for opportunities to increase well-being and connectedness in my community & networks on and offline so that creativity can flourish and we can thrive. Eager to collaborate. Always looking towards fresh ideas."
Stephen Mitchelson "The act of writing is by necessity a solitary existence. However, there comes a time, particularly as a playwright, when the writer needs to include others in the process. Campfire offers the opportunity to make this an uplifting, creative and supportive experience.”
Tim Harper "Tech is now available to allow people to connect and build communities and products to support and inspire. I do this professionally and am always on the look out for interesting, exciting ground breaking opportunities to apply these skills for the greater good.”
Liz Kirby "We love collaborating, especially in projects that have community, music and radical politics at their heart. Love and music.”
Eileen Inglis "I'd like to grow this idea and would love to meet more collaborators! Also keen to share my expertise to help others get their ideas off the ground.”
Baffled Ape "I've been tiring of Twitter for some time and although Twitter has been my main source of news, info and links to like minded folk for several years, I’ve been looking for something to take the many individuals with inspirational ideas and talents to the next level."
Narn "Life is for living, and enjoying what you do. It means finding your passion and using that to inspire yourself and others. The Campfire sounds like the ideal platform for that”
DJ Dub "As a dad of two I am increasingly worried about the world my children (& everyone else's) will inherit & this seems like an excellent place to start to build a new future!”
Bronwyn Oldham "We would love to get involved, maybe host a regional Campfire symposium in Leigh-on-Sea; we have the space, the artists and the audience! Next year will be our 20th Anniversary and we want to encourage the whole town, young and old, to get together and start talking through the medium of art…”
Adrian Josey "Now is the time for a more fruitful and active community to break through, listening to Pete Lawrence on the Cerys Matthews Show made a lot of sense. My Interests are Music production , VJ/DJ, Art and Project Organisation, I would be more than happy to contribute with any of the above.”
Ed England "I find my social world, virtual and real, become increasingly narrow. I crave some new inspiration and new opportunities for collaboration - in music, storytelling, views and opinions. And I hope I can offer the same.”
Anna Broadhurst "Guilds and chapters are my thing. I work in technology and am especially interested in solving problems through lean principles and collaboration. I believe these principles can be applied to any project, product, scheme or event. Active learning and creativity can be at the heart of everything no matter what the genre”
Amy Sheldon "I've just heard Peter talking to Cerys on BBC 6music and I was nothing less than intrigued to find out more. I run my own website network of small businesses like makers and designers who are all in the creative industry, so I'm interested in photography and music and anything artistic and cultural. I'm game to get this site going.”
Jean-Phillippe "I've just heard about Campfire and I feel it would be a great platform to become a digital/sound artist and network or with like minded people or find collaborators .”
Alex Stewart "I am involved in many creative projects and like to encourage athers to make changes in their lives. I believe that major political and behavioural changes have to start from the individual up, not from instruction from above and understanding that sharing and asking others for help does not denote failure and weakness as can so often be thought in our present age. I hope to find like-minded people on this adventure. There have been many adventures and crossroads and just possibly this is the time for another.”
Claire Stevens "Intrigued and excited by the concept and the bringing to life of the Campfire. Looking forward to refreshing debate, joining a creative collective, exposure to wider thinking, fresh perspectives as well as the opportunity to be a part of an new enterprise; a place where the fatigue of media manipulation and small mindedness can be banished”
Gavin Sharp "Ideas are the start of everything and conversations can plant the seeds of new ways of thinking and start the process of creating new things.”
Genesis Rowley "Being a self employed blacksmith I would relish the opportunity to engender collaboration and the sharing of ideas with people outside my normal circles.”
Dave Roffey "An online community free from trolls, or those with nothing to say. A place where debate is welcomed, reasoned and encouraged, where creativity and talent can be celebrated and effort applauded. A place where new discoveries can be shared and enjoyed, and hey, a place where the odd little bit of silliness still has a place.”
Jenny Teasdale "I'd love to see the shaping of a new gorgeous place for like-minded creative souls to connect. I'm excited to see and contribute to user features being created and will connect with people for hopefully fruitful and inspiring conversations for all.”
Paula Knee "I'm interested to keep learning, talking, learning, doing, learning, creating.... Sharing ideas that bridge art, science, politics - photography, human perception, physics, politics of science and technology…”
Liz Hames "I like to think that Campfire will become a welcome and safe environment, that people will return to time and again, to experiment with ideas and concepts before taking them out into the wider world.”
Carol Alevroyianni "I like the idea of campfire being a place, virtual and physical, to network with other people who are making things happen, not just being opinionated but actively agitating and building good projects, events and meet ups. A small step towards making this a better place to be.”
Caroline Kerr "Campfire is full of possibilities and that's what I'm searching for. There is so much to discuss...to talk about....to do. Campfire is place to go virtually and in person and opens up real potential for conscious communication. I'm looking forward to being part of a thriving creative community with a social conscience.”
Kate Doody "We all need community to nurture us and enable us to flourish - many are accidents of time and place but we make them work for us. Deliberately creating a new community, around who we are now, where we are now, what we have come to believe and what of our lived experience we can all offer and share, is both exciting and reassuring and feels one of the most positive things I could be involved in right now: I look forward to the campfire and the conversations sparking around it.”
Elizabeth Carter “I’m in because of old and new friends, Conversation and music and beautiful location. And fire at night! I have lived longer than I am going to live and want to sit around the campfire thinking and talking about how we make this fourth quarter count and as we move towards the certainly of death how we have a great end of life. I want to be part of the generation that redefined the conversation about a good life and a good death.”
Sharon Prendergast "I'm one of the many many people who found in Jeremy Corbyn a leader who speaks my language and represents the ideals I have held dear all my life, but seemed previously unrepresented. I'm hoping to make connections and share ideas, with a view to making our society, locally, nationally and even internationally, the best it can be.”
Eleanor Miller "In many ways, including literally, I love to sit around a campfire and share stories with likeminded friends and strangers. I'm very interested in alternative communities. I belong to and support all kinds of groups of people who may not be considered mainstream, from authors to Pagans to Paleo advocates to people with alternative experiences of mental health.”
J.P. Ryding "I'd like to keep the embers of the campfire glowing by encouraging debate and artistic endeavour. I find many creators, definitely including myself, are looking for honest considered feedback on the things that they create and are grateful and motivated when someone takes the time to appreciate their efforts or points of view. I hope that this project will offer an alternative to the self-promoting, crowing, aggressive social web that we have at the moment and I would be very pleased to help nurture it and its contributors!”
Neil Lawson "Sometimes you just need to be heard. I see a place where people can post a thought or idea and receive feedback, whether it be support, guidance, constructive criticism or lead to collaboration.”
Robert Wilson "I hope to be able to both contribute to and draw from the collective creativity, be that in my main subjects of interest (audio production and technology) or others.”
Nadia Chambers "I've never been involved in anything quite like this before - and it is ringing so many bells for me.”
Philip Wilson "I am interested in voices and how they communicate ideas. By reading and listening to others, and by writing, I am hoping to find my own voice. This is my strategy for transitioning from a life of traditional work to what comes next. This is something most of us have to face, through choice or imposition. What can those of us in this 'post-career' phase of life learn from each other and from others, and what can we contribute to future generations at a time when society is so fractured and polarised. Can Campfire hear voices that have been exiled by the democratic deafness around us ?"
Andie Brazewell "Looking forward to sharing ideas, discussing concerns, realising values and meeting like minded children. If not for myself, for our children's children, I come to the most loved network on our planet and enjoy with kindred spirits."
Greg Madison "People' need to change if the way we live is to change, otherwise there really is no change. Alongside systemic change we need to learn to listen deeply to what we actually experience and know 'bodily', then we can build new ways of living together that are wiser and more creative than anything we have attempted till now... Psychologists and academics and professional agitators etc are not the experts. We have a lot to 'unlearn' in order to be open to new possibilities."
Debbie Golt "I'm seeking new opportunities and connections and Campfire Convention strikes a chord. Looking forward to dynamic discussions and marvellous music in such a lovely location .... And the fabulous fire …"
Karen Hiorns "I want to be a part of something new and exciting and make new friends and feel good vibrations in a beautiful setting with music and a fire…”
Elizavet Tapini "The world moves towards automation, scarcity of resources will affect our lives more and more, wherever we are. As skills become obsolete, new ones need to develop. This cannot happen if we don’t create a shared knowledge base, which can operate both within and outside the monetary system. People will need jobs and skills to create new social practices, if we are to manage the difficulties we face ahead. From learning to listen to each other to developing sustainable practices and localised networks, we need eachother. Let’s do it."
More about our first event which was staged in August 2016 here
Pete Lawrence on Campfire Convention's self funding co-operative potential to give back to its members
What are we aiming for? Obviously a thriving community, a vibrant website and exciting events, but our vision can extend a lot wider. We can play our part in social change, in helping create a fairer society and in empowering our own membership, both individually and collectively by providing an environment where ideas can lead to inspiration, debate can lead to determination, co-creativity can lead to collaboration and empowerment, which in turn can lead to recognition, confidence and financial rewards too.
It is abundantly clear that the age of the knowledge economy has not delivered all that it promised. Algorhythms, robotics and automation have hugely reduced the need for human work; at the same time the service economy has produced many bad jobs (maybe we should take it a stage further and called them toxic) with zero hours contract, poor wages and low or zero job fulfilment.
Larger tech companies have increased their turnover exponentially and become the biggest companies in the world, but delivered precious little towards social infrastructure, education, skills and health. They've also been very efficient at escaping what many consider to be their fair share of taxation, by a long shot. Not only does it mean government working together with industry and unions to create a new environment which takes on board the new economy and the way jobs have changed, but also government needs to be pro-actively supportive towards the rapidly growing numbers of owner-managed businesses, sole traders, self employed creatives as well as becoming savvy to the potential of new communities to foster and promote collective intelligence and create value through their membership.
I have a few ideas to hopefully get the ball rolling, particularly relating to communities and specifically what we can achieve as a new community. The creative process for conceptualising can take various paths - it might well start with the absorbing and unravelling of a wealth of fast-flowing information, spotting trends, looking at what isn't working, reaching some form of consensus feeling amongst those around us. Then allowing time to mull over and meditate on the raw material - dreaming of how we might shape the future, in effect, before starting to create and shape ideas which are able to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world. From there, seeking out new models that can map onto a morphing social and work infrastructure, using as the central tenet the time-honoured (though previously unfashionable) altruistic notion of 'the good of all'.
Whilst there may be more scientific or logical ways of arriving at solutions, that lightbulb moment is equally likely to come from a few moments of utopian dreaming. We all know what we feel is most wrong with the world...what if our daydreams actively worked through to practical solutions which could then be applied to structures, policies, models of behaviour, interaction production, marketing, sharing or selling?
Building 'castles in the air', constructing frameworks in the mind, scenarios with a range of potential routes and outcomes can start with a daydream, but usually then require a more ordered follow-through to test methodology, concepts, budgets and timeframes. Bridging the gap between lightbulb concepts and everyday reality can often evolve more efficiently with input from others - collaborators can bring insight and new perspectives, the hive mind can add a wealth of resource and direct experience. The hidden value of the community's collective genius - or 'scenius' as Eno describes it - is immeasurable and invaluable, both in terms of the power of collective application and in the advantages of a ready-made market-place for those ideas. Ultimately, gut instinct often plays the most important part in deciding whether or not to get started and remains, to this day, a valuable business and social tool.
So the process of converting ideas into art, media or business initiative is often random but the potential of all these realisations is huge - and Britain, over time, has been well respected worldwide for its ideas, its humour, its music, its capacity to trailblazer new inspiration and fair-mindedness.
How could this apply to Campfire? It's clear that we as a community can start to form our own model that works as we move into a post capitalist world.
Naturally, we hope the Campfire project can support itself based on a micro-subscription model where members pay a monthly fee (proposed at £8 per month with lower initial year introductory offer) and that this will enable it to be profitable reasonably soon after its launch and subsequently it's a question of what we elect to do with any surplus after costs and how that can feed back into the community and beyond (the global economy).
My proposal is that in our ongoing financial planning, we initially identify our main cost centres. For example, development of the website (developers, software, licenses), general running costs (staffing salaries/wages, hosting, admin), events and professional fees (legal, insurance, accounting etc).
Beyond those and associated costs, we would look at investing in two initial strands of community funding:
1) We might aim to set up a Campfire Foundation, a body with a board elected by the community itself which would look at awarding a % of profits to members Projects. Our members would pitch, as they might for a grant and award and those who selections might be decided annually.
2) We can work to build our own Kudos share scheme (anyone fancy giving this a name?) based on input and output metrics. We can craft a work model that supports and rewards all, whilst allowing a wide flexibity in terms of the input levels people can manage, taking account of time pressures, other work and personal commitments. So the ones that contribute most to the good of the community, perhaps the most active and dynamic in the community, the ones whose work becomes most influential and iconic gain rewards based on their input and creativity and the rating of their output. The community reacts to their editorial work, their posts, their Project ideas, their Guild participation, and of course photographic, design, writing, talking, music skills. In this way, we have an additional community incentive to build resources for our members which benefit us all initially and hopefully wider society as the circles spread out from the heart of the community.
A percentage of profits then are distributed back to the community based on 'kudos' points attained by members, measured on a simple metric which allocates points for activity, comments, likes, shares, ratings accordingly. We are already working with NationBuilder for our holding site and social media aggregation and mail blasts and interestingly, their software already has an inbuilt points system for 'kudos' which is manageable and flexible. This can be used even more effectively as we integrate NB into our own community network database.
This model could ultimately be very rewarding for its members but it requires a leaf of faith. It requires time input, it requires recognition of the wider vision for where we could go with this, it depends on the belief in the triumph of hope over fear, it requires faith in community spirit as well as a steadfast defiance of Thatcher's oft-quoted "there is no such thing as society" mantra. In practical terms, it requires a commitment to a subscription model that turns its back on the potentially corrupting influence of advertising and sponsorship and provides a self-model that negates the need to chase private equity investment. That subscription model would probably be equivalent to a three or four beers or cups of coffee a month.
Profitability and efficiency remain central to a more linear, less centralised mode of work. An increasingly agile, more mobile workforce who are now looking beyond the dwindling arena of traditional jobs, aiming to control their own time and funnel their creative instincts into a process or end product that looks for a more meaningful end result than pure profit, the holy grail pursuit of dividends to distant inactive shareholders and speculators. the time is surely right for progressive models that combine a new industrial strategy with co-operative conceptualisation that challenges and upstages the 'hour glass society' where wealth trickles down only at the discretion of a wealth and powerful elite and the workforce loses its sense of worth through subsistence wages, being on call at all times and lack of inherent job satisfaction. My sense is that we need to be getting on with this right away.
It is perhaps a glimpse of a model that can deliver, not just financially but socially and spiritually, to fuel and drive a socially based, community focussed hub that prioritises rewarding its own members rather than profit-seeking shareholders. A community that can provide an environment for a peer group learning experience, based on a nurturing philosophy where members are surrounded not only by like-minds but by a wealth of divergent interests and passions from which they can learn and grow, whilst forging new links and collaborative opportunities.
This community can organise itself, pool resources and produce new, fresh media and art which in itself is capable of setting a benchmark editorial tone that its own members can believe in and subscribe too in the broadest sense. It can then go on to project and share ideas and inspiration, as well as the fruits of its labours outside its own city limits...
An unconventional convention.
If there's a will, we just have to hone it, adopt it and get busy!
Pete Lawrence 26.02.16
Further reading : Tom Watson's essay 'Making Technological Change our Ally'
Paul Mason's book 'Postcapitalism - Guide to our Future'
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams 'Inventing The Future - A World Without Work'
Campfire Convention is a new social network and event for creative people seeking an alternative space, due to launch at www.campfireconvention.com once we have finished our beta testing programme.
What you're looking at here is an information site giving details and previewing what is coming...
In early 2017 we will be offering 200 last free memberships for early 'Trailblazers' as we move into the completion of the beta testing of our site.
We have announced our second Campfire Convention on a fantastic new site, scheduled for August. The ticket link will soon be live.. watch this space.
We are also doing smaller Campfire Conversations in different locations.
Campfire is about seizing the initiative to build and shape our own world.
We believe that there is a desire for a new community with potential to grow into a vibrant ecosystem where people can come together to share common interests, passions, ethics and motivations, whether related to work or play. We aim to provide an environment where members can facilitate personal and social change, free of many of the restrictions and machinations associated with commercial interests.
The Campfire platform is designed to be truly progressive in an era where increasingly Facebook/Google-style algorithms define and categorise us according to commercial imperatives. The priorities of the Campfire community will be led by its members and its aim is to develop a truly modern co-operative.
The concept has been devised and is led by social entrepreneur Pete Lawrence, the founder of the successful Cooking Vinyl record label and Big Chill festivals. The Big Chill was well known for its thriving and proactive online community before the current mainstream social networks were established. Pete says "What are we aiming for? Obviously a thriving community, a vibrant website and exciting events, but our vision can extend a lot wider. We can play our part in social change, in helping create a fairer society and in empowering our own membership, both individually and collectively by providing an environment where ideas can lead to inspiration, debate can lead to determination, co-creativity can lead to collaboration and realisation, which in turn can lead to recognition, confidence and financial rewards too."
How is Campfire different? Read our blog
Want to be involved? - Join our team
Our social network - and how it's shaping up
Campfire Convention 001.UK
Last summer, we staged our first weekend event (12-14th) in the English countryside