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Waste No Time - Creative Approaches to Active Citizenship

przez NSS UK
Język: EN
Document available also in: FR HU LV

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#wastenotime Bin Men in Dervock

‘As Long as My Bins Get Lifted’

What’s your relationship with your Council - do they just lift your bins? What if this could be something more…

In light of the local Council restructure in Northern Ireland, the old local areas that people and communities identified with suddenly shifted, and new areas were created. The Waste No Time partnership, comprising Beyond Skin, Building Communities Resource Centre, Charo Lanao-Madden, Corrymeela and Rural Community Network,  believe that this has resulted in a lack of affinity and connection between the public and the new Council identity. They believe that good working relationships between citizens and the Council have the potential to improve local areas and result in better decision making.

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BCT Cartoon


“We came up with the metaphor of a bin because the lifting of bins is such a key service that connects us all, wherever we live and whoever we are. We also developed the metaphor connecting to the importance of not ‘binning our voices and stories’ as we work together in growing our new Council.” Corrymeela

The Waste No Time partnership (supported by the Building Change Trust) saw community planning as an opportunity for the council and the community to develop effective ways of working together.

The project had three aims:

  • To creatively engage with people in the new Council area on what living well together means for them within their families, neighbourhoods and wider Council area.
  • To grow confidence in our expertise as citizens, curiosity to learn more, and contribute to the existing energy around improving well-being within the new Causeway Coast & Glens Council area.
  • To support the development of creative and meaningful citizen participation in community planning.

Working with the public across 20 different rural and urban public spaces, the partners engaged people about their relationships with the Council, with community and place, and with each other, towards imagining possible futures.

The Waste No Time team experimented with three civic activism tools to engage people in everyday situations:

  1. Pop-up democracy: The team was placed in different locations across 20 local areas either with a pop up stand or in shops with a short skit, comedy sketch or humorous writing, using material gathered through vox pops across the Council. Curiosity was drawn to a large map laid out on the street or pavements with people invited to walk on it, find where they live and begin to map out connections and relationships across the new Council area. Once a crowd had gathered they were entertained with the skit, using humour to explore people’s feelings and perceptions around how they felt about democracy for them.
  2. Community visioning: This is a process of creating a ‘vision’ or mission statement outlining what a community would like to look like in the future and what improvements need to be made. The process of creating this vision is done in partnership with members of the community. This tool was used to get people to think about what they loved about where they live, what is working, what they would like to grow and what might be important to them and to their neighbours.
  3. Forum theatre: The team used this tool to communicate the key issues that emerged during the pop up democracy and community visioning. 12 citizens came together from diverse walks of life to work through the material and developed stories on inter-generational relations; losing connections in community; waste and rubbish; mental health. They worked with professional actors to develop each scenario and took on roles in the stories. The stories were performed in front of an audience who were then invited to comment and offer ideas and solutions. Sometimes members of the audience became citizen actors too. The stories were then replayed, rehearsing new realities.

These tools fitted with the idea and purpose of the project by offering a different experience outside the usual ways in which people interact with their local council and do democracy. The Waste No Time team wanted to experiment with playful and fun engagement, looking to ‘harness the power of surprise and play’, to trigger curiosity both about the activity and the future of their local community.

A recent poll [1] highlighted that the majority of British voters feel they have very little control over a wide range of institutions from Westminster, business,  pubic services, neighbourhood and  to local government. That sense of a lack of control was captured by a key phrase which came up again and again over the project “If you’re not at the table, you might end up on the menu.” As the Northern Ireland Assembly and the NI Executive remain in abeyance at the time of writing, local government offers our only hope of trying to make our democracy work. At the heart of this is giving people a real choice to have a say on the issues that matter to them.



For more information about the project check out both the Corrymeela Community and Building Change Trust websites.

Twitter: @WasteNoTime2 







[1] Conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the New Economics Foundation 2017


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  • Obrazek użytkownika Kristaps Otersons
    Paldies, vērtīgi un laikā!
    Ticami, ka šādas domas kā temata nosaukumā daudziem Latvijas lauku iedzīvotājiem nāk prātā, kad viņi dzird par gaidāmo teritoriālo reformu, kurā plānots pašvaldībām noteikt lielākas pārvaldāmās teritorijas atbilstoši lielākam iedzīvotāju skaitam. Tās, pēc reformas virzītāju iecerēm, kā saprotu, spētu pilnvērtīgāk sniegt pakalpojumus iedzīvotājiem, racionālāk plānot un izmantot piesaistītos līdzekļus un pašvaldības ieņēmumus. Acīmredzot arī būtu spējīgākas piesaistīt investīcijas un attīstīt uzņēmējdarbību, kas ir reālākais pamats to ilglaicīgai pastāvēšanai. 
    Tai pašā laikā reformas ieceru publiskošanas sākumposmā cilvēkiem ir daudz neatbildētu jautājumu, un, manuprāt, viens no svarīgākajiem ja ne pats svarīgākais ir tieši šai rakstā par Ziemeļīrijas pieredzi minētais - kādas iespējas būs cilvēkiem ietekmēt jautājumus, kas viņiem ir svarīgi, ja centrs būs tālāks, atsvešinātāks un maz ticams, ka no viņu pagasta vai ciematiņa, vai apkaimes domē būs pietiekami nozīmīga pārstāvniecība. 
    Laikam jau šai pašā rakstā ir dots arī atbildes virziens - ja ekonomikas likumsakarību neizbēgamības dēļ lielāku pašvaldību veidošana acīmredzot būs neizbēgamība, tad pilsoniskas iniciatīvas, lielāka lauku, attālāku vietu iedzīvotāju netiešā iesaiste pašvaldības lēmumu pieņemšanā ir reālākais veids, kā nenonākt "ēdienkartē vai "centra" aizmirstībā. Negaidīt, bet rīkoties parasti ir efektīvākā atbilde - šai gadījumā arī demokrātijas īstenošanas veids.