The New Optimists: Spin-offs
- Growing Birmingham began as a website in April 2012 to be an information hub for community (food) growers in the city. It rapidly morphed into a lively working committee who are making many a tangible difference for the better.
- The Birmingham Food Council, first suggested in late 2012 as a result of the Forum scenarios project (see its first airing at the Birmingham Sustainability Forum on 17th September 2013) became a CIC in March 2014 with three years’ funding from Birmingham Public Health.
- Professor Chris Elliott asked the New Optimists scientists to contribute to the Elliott Review into food supply networks, specifically to help him generate a case study of how a major UK city could tackle food crime. This resulted in the Elliott Review Birmingham (see also the Prof’s final Report, notably Annex N, published in September 2014).
- We were granted Arts Council funding in March 2014 for a Narrativium Project, along with the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), to enable young citizens create multi-media ‘stories from the future’, based on the scientists’ work on the scenarios project. This generated One family, four stories by Keith and Ellie Richards, and Food Futures, a theatrical response to the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project performed at the Midland Arts Centre on 27th September 2014.
- We are in the process of applying for funding for another artistic work under the Narrativium Project. If successful, we will commission the writing and performance of a theatrical song cycle — think rock opera meets Greek chorus meets jazz composition meets community choir — in the Library of Birmingham foyer, live streamed into the Bull Ring Markets. Subject matter? Food crime . . .
- The new Library of Birmingham have asked us to work with them to meet their objective of putting science and scientists at the core of intellectual debate in the city.
- We are exploring the possibility of a Life Scientists Network in the region.
- Work in progress: The New Optimists have already played a significant part in upping the chances of waste-to-energy distributed power systems in the city through (a) two Responses to the City Council planning process: Plan 2031 Birmingham Development Plan & Places for the Future SPD, plus (b) a Forum event on 12th July 2012, the summary of which comprised Part Four of the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project Report.
- We’re also planning a reiteration of the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project, this time with a focus on water.