**Update: We’ve started designing the toolkit! Even if we don’t reach our funding target, your contribution will help ensure we can produce some initial prototypes to test further.**
A better conversation about who we are as a country is possible!
It is clear that discussions about national identity have become stale, polarised and uninspiring. That's why, for over a year, think tank Common Vision has been consulting millennials across the UK on what “being British” means today. We hosted deliberative events, online focus groups and encouraged engagement via social media. Our participants were from different backgrounds and locations, voted differently in the 2016 EU referendum, and some were born in the UK and some were born elsewhere. But all agreed that a more positive, creative and inclusive approach to this conversation is possible and necessary.
Working with graphic designer Laura Gordon, we’ve used these insights to design and produce a series of graphic products: quirky 'conversation starters' which aim to stimulate further conversations about who we are as a nation. Browse the collection and get your own via the Rewards for this crowdfunder.
This project is one of a series of Art50 projects which will be featured in a forthcoming Sky Arts documentary.
WHAT IS A CONVERSATION TOOLKIT?
The toolkit will include an explainer video, prompt cards with questions and provocative statements, and guidance notes for facilitators with suggested offline and online activities. The kits will be designed so that they can be facilitated by civil society groups, school teachers or university lecturers, or simply friends looking for something to talk about in the pub!
We want the toolkit to help achieve a more deliberative public dialogue about what it means to be British, and encourage a positive public narrative that celebrates both what is common and what is distinctive between people across the UK.
ABOUT THE REWARDS
---Personal passport notebooks---
These personal passport notebooks represent both individual interpretations and shared experiences of Britishness.
Is there anything less easy to navigate than the great British queue? These playing cards, explains the rules of the game.
These bespoke tote bags provide a handy translation of the hidden meanings behind indirect and vague British phrases and colloquialisms.
---'Sh*t But Great' plates---
These commemorative plates celebrates items or occasions which are embarrassing or clichéd, but nevertheless a much loved aspect of the British experience. Illustrations by Peony Gent
The products above, plus other designs, will be on display at the Barbican in London in February 2019 and the project will also feature in a Sky Arts programme in the Spring.
But it's important that this is an ongoing conversation, which allows more people to get involved. That's why we want to use the insights and experiences from our research to pilot a public ‘conversation toolkit’, to encourage more people to engage in positive, proactive discussions about national identity and belonging, using fresh and creative techniques.
ABOUT COMMON VISION
Common Vision is a think tank working to change the narrative around our shared future. We use the power of positive ideas to detoxify angry, binary debates and unite people around long-term intergenerational goals. We aim to revitalise public diplomacy by championing deliberative dialogue and encouraging established and new leaders to work together to turn collective social challenges into opportunities. www.covi.org.uk
ABOUT LAURA GORDON
Laura Gordon is a research-led graphic designer, working across identity, editorial and exhibition design. She is interested in how the tools and methods of visual communication can be used to challenge dominant social and political narratives. http://www.laura-g.co.uk/