If you want to achieve something big, you start with something small and you start where it counts.
Multistory’s Small Change: Creative Projects is a community development programme that explores how small-scale creative interventions have the potential to bring about positive change in communities. The programme has been inspired and influenced by Professor Nabeel Hamdi who is the author of ‘Small Change: About the Art of Practice and the Limits of Planning in Cities’.
The Small Change approach starts with the common sense assumption: if you want to achieve something big, you start with something small and you start where it counts. Small Change therefore explores how small, practical and mostly low budget interventions, if carefully targeted, act as catalysts for bigger long-lasting change; change that is designed to improve people’s lives and their life opportunities.
The Small Change way of working is best summarised in Hamdi’s Code of Conduct (2004):
- ignorance is liberating;
- start where you can: never say can’t;
- imagine first: reason later;
- be reflective: waste time;
- embrace serendipity: get muddled;
- play games: serious games;
- challenge consensus;
- look for multipliers;
- work backwards: move forwards;
- feel good.
Multistory used Hamdi’s Code of Conduct to develop the following guiding principles.
Small Change: Guiding Principles
- Identify a need, problem or issue.
- Establish what change you can make.
- Start small, think big.
- Start where you can and find a first and meaningful step.
- Be practical, be open, be reflective.
- Enable local knowledge, skills and resources.
- Embrace serendipity.
- Challenge consensus.
- Look for multipliers: find ways of connecting people, organisations and events.
- Have fun!
This work forms part of the the Small Change Forum (The Forum), which is a research and practice development initiative created by Multistory and The Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), Oxford Brookes University.
The Forum promotes and pioneers Small Change learning and practice in the UK and internationally. To these ends, events, publications and projects are designed to share new ideas, tools, methods, practical wisdoms and principles that inform teaching and practice, and create a policy environment conducive to change.
Small Change Creative Projects 2011/2012
Multistory has delivered a series of pilot Small Change projects with artists and partners in the UK and internationally. These projects took place in London, Bath, Birmingham and West Bromwich.
SC01: Stirchley – The Making of Stirchley Park
The Making of Stirchley Park brought together a small group of residents to work together in relation to Stirchley Park – an underused green space.
SC02: Tufnell Park – Agents for Change
Groups of students from inner city London state schools participated in a community journalism project to increase student/youth voice around issues facing the local community and topics they have a passion for.
SC03: Charlemont – The Committee of Lost Memories
A pop-up shop and cafe in a row of shops on Charlemont Estate, West Bromwich.
SC04: Foxhill – Made in Foxhill
A digital story of Foxhill, a suburb in the south of the City of Bath, to capture the essence of the place and people who live there.