Future of Dangerous Ideas

The way Dangerous Ideas Southampton runs is changing. We had a well attended meeting on 10 October with lots of ideas and offers from people to get involved. Together, this collective group are looking to put on an event in November or December. So watch this space! If you want to get involved, please get in contact.


Dangerous Ideas Southampton is a success, says independent evaluation

After running events to do with social change issues in Southampton for three years, 40 people gathered together at By Sea Coffee Lounge on a Thursday evening in September to ask these questions. What has Dangerous Ideas Southampton been up? Was it worth it?

Dangerous ideas in conversationSuzanne Baker talked about the motivation for Dangerous Ideas Southampton. The original plan had been to bring people together and together find out about the people involved in hidden activity in the city. How are we all connected with our local communities? In 2013, when Dangerous Ideas started, society was dealing with the fallout from the banking crisis, facing challenges of public sector cuts and a reliance on consumption. What’s the role of grassroots activity in addressing these challenges?DIS170911 CELEBRATION (web)

Since then, almost 40 events have taken place, captured in graphic form by Jon Oliver’s posters. Rebecca Kinge gave a potted history of the events, highlighting how the events were built upon and fostered a myriad of ever-increasing connections between people. The gatherings explored issues topic by topic, all connected with the themes of fairness, sustainability and being part of a more creative and vibrant city.

How did we do?

Callum Robertson introduced the evaluation that he has undertaken, supported by the University of Southampton’s Public Engagement in Research team. Callum had undertaken an online survey of attendees of the events and conducted a series of one to one in depth interviews with people who had been involved.Callum Robertson at Dangerous Ideas event 140917

The overriding message was that people felt hugely positive about Dangerous Ideas and grassroots social change. Everyone agreed it had a valuable role in the city.

The events had the following benefits:

  • enabled relationship building between people – they liked the chance to get together with like-minded people who care about social change issues and they enjoyed the informal social side of the events;
  • raised awareness of neglected issues, and helped draw together activity which was happening in isolation;
  • it gave people and organisations a place to promote their work, and encouraged collaboration;
  • it gave people the confidence and motivation to do more as individuals.

The niggles about the project related to the difficulty in attracting people from a diverse social economic background, although there is recognition that achieving a mix of people is hard to do. There was a sense that more could be done by Dangerous Ideas or others to encourage more tangible action around the issues addressed. There were differing and conflicting views on whether supporting tangible actions is the best activity for Dangerous Ideas to do, or whether it would be better to concentrate on providing a place for conversation.

Social change in Southampton is generally considered to be in a positive state, and some of that related to the work of Dangerous Ideas.

If you would like a copy of the report with information about Dangerous Ideas and an assessment of its impact, please get in contact.

What next?

We sat around our tables and explored the issue of what next, sharing our ideas and collecting them together as a big group. This work will be further progressed at a meeting at The Art House on Tues 10 October at 7.30pm. All are welcome and you can either sign up via our Facebook event or drop us an email to say you plan to come. And if you can’t come, share your thoughts with us so they can feed into the discussion.

Our final event potted history   Workshop discussion at event 140917



Future of Dangerous Ideas

Tues 10 October // 7.30pm // The Art House, Southampton

The coordination and funding of Dangerous Ideas Southampton in its present form is due to change. With that in mind and taking into account the findings from our recent evaluation, what are our next steps? This is a workshop aimed at people who want to steer the direction or support the future of Dangerous Ideas.

We will be meeting at The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton on Tues 10 October at 7.30pm and you are welcome to join us. Here’s our Facebook event or you can phone 07968 777261 or email rebecca@dangerousideassouthampton.org.uk to tell us you are coming. In addition, if you would like a copy of the evaluation report, please let us know.



DangeroUS Ideas

DIS170911 CELEBRATION (web)DangeroUS Ideas

A night of reflection and celebration of our activity over the last three years.


Venue: BySea Coffee Lounge, 468-480 Portswood Rd, Southampton SO17 3SP

Here at Dangerous Ideas Southampton, we have been running events about creative social change in the city for 3 years, with a focus on sustainability, fairness and a vibrant city. Now is the time for us to pause and reflect. We commissioned an independent report with the support of University of Southampton’s Public Engagement team and we’d like to share the outcomes with you.

We want to mark and celebrate what’s happened and start a conversation about the future. The coordination and funding of Dangerous Ideas Southampton in its present form is due to change. With that in mind and taking into account the findings from the evaluation report, what our or next steps?

This event is open to everyone, and will be of particular interest to people who have attended one or more of the Dangerous Ideas events or those who are keen to promote a city which values social change and collaborative dialogue between people in the city.

Snacks and drink will be provided. The venue is on Portswood Road near The Brook. There is some cycle parking near the zebra crossing and on-street car parking is on local roads including some on Portswood Road. The venue has full disabled access.

Please register for this free event via Eventbrite. You can also join our Facebook event too if you wish. Please help share this event on your favourite social media! You can tweet us @ideas_soton or find us on Facebook.

If you are interested in the outcomes of the evaluation and the future of Dangerous Ideas Southampton but can’t attend the event, please contact us and we will keep you updated.

Thanks to all of you who have been part of our journey and to Callum Robertson and the University of Southampton for helping us achieve an independent evaluation,

Rebecca, Suzanne, Tammy, Jon and the Dangerous Ideas team.

Contact rebecca@dangerousideassouthampton.org.uk / 07968 777261



Umbrella Arts Festival


Rain or Shine, a great time is guaranteed at Southampton’s newest family arts festival!

SoCo Music Project is delighted to announce Umbrella Arts Festival 2017. An exciting new one day festival bringing a diverse mixture of music, art and spoken word to Southampton. With local musicians and performers taking to the stage, interactive workshops, story telling, talks, an arts market and live installations, Umbrella Arts Festival will transport you into a world where creativity reigns.

The event is supported by Big Lottery and SoCo, working with local partners including Artful Scribe, Dangerous Ideas and Solent Showcase Gallery. We invite you to experience the best of Southampton’s creative offer and immerse yourself in a vibrant family event. Explore how music and the arts can have a transformative effect on our health and wellbeing by taking part in a range of activities.

This free family-friendly event will be packed full of entertainment. Explore the wellbeing area and take part in drawing, dance or poetry writing workshops; re-imagine Southampton through a series of live art installations; journey through our Arts Market to see bespoke creations from local designer makers or simply relax and enjoy the sonic landscape (or soundscape) of Southampton’s music scene.

Find out more: https://umbrellafest.wordpress.com

Where: Palmerston Park

When: 10th June 2017


Creative Places and International Women’s Day

Our last gathering was all about Creative Places in Southampton, it is the start of a project which aims to support and strengthen independent venues in the city which help creative and community activity to flourish. More details here.

On March 8th, we will be marking International Women’s Day with a lunch and a workshop led by artist Deborah Ireland. More details, plus other activities that are happening in the city to mark IWD, are here.


Public Art in Southampton

We are having an evening to talk about public art in Southampton. There’s been a lot of interest in public art in the city recently, with K6 Gallery taking over old phone boxes, zany zebras getting residents out there looking at work by local artists, and the Southampton Fringe commissioning and encouraging some n161110-publicart-webew art interventions.

Public art is nothing new of course. It has been happening in the city for years and there were times when considerable investment was made, commissioning artists to work in the public realm on projects that had a high profile. Alex Batten from K6 Gallery has been busy collecting information about public art (post-war until now) to help Southampton Cultural Development Trust build the picture of what has happened to date in the city. Katie Daley-Yates from Host Productions is working with a space arts on a more coordinated approach to the public art commissioning that happens as part of planning permissions for new development. They will both tell us more about their work.  We will also be hearing from a number of local artists that have specialised in public art and having a joint discussion about the what next for public art in Southampton.

The Southampton Pride of Place Project is in the city for the whole on November, offering an evolving gallery space to explore the identity of the city. What better time to have an evening of discussion dedicated to public art and its future?

So come and join in Thurs 10 November from 7pm to 108 East Street SO14 3HD, the corner shop next to Perrys Art Shop.

We hope that the event will raise awareness of the support for public art in the city and explore how the arts community can come together to encourage more commissioning. This is not a ‘consultation’, this is local people coming together to explore the issue together. What comes out of it depends on what happens on the night.

This event is jointly hosted and run by K6 Gallery, The Caravan Gallery and Dangerous Ideas Southampton. You can just turn up, no need to book. Drinks will be available, although you are welcome to bring your own. It is a free event, but we welcome any donations to enable events like this to happen.

If you would like to contact us before the evening, please phone Rebecca Kinge on 07968 777261 or email rebecca@dangerousideassouthampton.org.uk


The Empire New Clothes 21 Sept at 7.30pm

Wed 21 Sept, 7.30pm, Gods House Tower, Winkle Street, Southampton

The Empires New Clothes is a night to explore the current fashion industry, it’s impact on people and the planet, and what we can do about it. This free event is run by Southampton Clothes Swap in collaboration with Dangerous Ideas Southampton and the Artists at GHT – A Reincarnation. Join the Facebook event  page.

The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Clothes swaps and stuff swaps are a free and informal environment which saves clothes from landfill and presents an exciting alternative to spending your money on new things from expensive shops and potentially unethical production methods.

GHT is a beautiful medieval building which is soon to be renovated into an arts and heritage venue. Alongside this, a group of Southampton artists are making work in, about, around the building and way more.

Unfortunately, as it has not yet been renovated there is no disabled access sorry! There are parts of the building that can get dusty too, incase anyone has breathing difficulties etc.

Clothes swaps are free but donations are greatly appreciated.

How swaps work:

1. Dig out the clothes and things you’ve had sitting around that you no longer use or want (or cannot take with you when you move). The more the merrier if you need a clear out.

2.Bring your things to the swap (please make sure they are clean/fit for some kind of use). Lay your things out in the correct section.

3.Have a rummage through everything else to find yourself some things you like.

4.Sit down, chill out and appreciate your (new) stuff!

Get sorting!


This Changes Everything – our evening together

We gathered together on Saturday 18 July to watch This Changes Everything with Southampton Climate Conversations and James Dyke at the helm, and we had quite an evening of it.18 June This Changes Everything poster

Our gathering

We gathered together in the Physics building in the University of Southampton.  We chatted to each other and met people from different organisations and campaigns involved in climate change activity. Some superbly gorgeous canapés were provided by Goswell and Milne and we had the chance to meet campaigners and organisers from Southampton Cycling Campaign, Transition Southampton, Clean Air Southampton, Beamz (sustainably engineered wooden bicycles), Sound Cycling (cycle skills training), Greenpeace and Southampton’s Real Nappy Network. We were delighted that Joe Hudson was able to take photographs for us.Milling about

The film that told a story

Naomi Klein’s film demonstrated how the dominance of fossil fuels is ripping away the connections between communities and the land. The film’s focus was on how people are impacted by environmental destruction, and showed that a people-centred story is what we need to motivate a change of approach. Campaigns about polar bears just don’t do it for Naomi.

Our world is trying to solve a 400 year old story where the earth is seen as a machine and we are its masters. This is where the long road to global warming began. In the Alberta tar sands area, the indigenous population, who have a constitutional right to go onto the land, have been denied that right and the area has suffered from some devastating destruction and pollution.

Of course, nature can hit back through storms and floors. After hurricane Sandy in New York is was clear that the hardest hit were the most marginalised.

Thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled into the river in Montana near the Yellowstone park, yet President Obama in 2012  showed how proud he is to see the country “drilling all over the place”. We saw how the environment is traded for economic gain in the Eldorda site in Greece and witnessed the community fight against a polluting power plant in India. We heard how China’s fossil fuel pollution is literally choking the country (“where can we buy clean air”) and how in 2014 coal consumption declined and today the country is the biggest producer of solar panels in the world.

Naomi’s response is that we already have enough fossil fuels in our reserves, indeed we have 5 times as much as in our carbon budget if the world is to keep within the globally-agreed 2 degree limited for global warming.

The bottom line is greed. The core problem is the economic system and capitalism. The global economy is still based on growth without limits. If this is the fastest way to growth, why are so many people on the frontlines so sceptical? If climate change could be taken seriously, this would change everything.

What if renewable energy could be the rebirth of our future? Renewable energy shows we have to work with nature, where the wind blows, where the sunshines, that is where we need to harness our energy. Create local organisations that make the rules, communities taking back the power on important decisions.

Germany has intervened in its energy production and now 30% of its energy comes from renewable sources. Employment is going up, emissions are going down. This happened because of the people, they fought against polluting energy and won. As a society, we need to take direct action, communities need to be stronger.

Naomi finished the film with a powerful message – we could reinvent a different future.

Our discussionWatching the film

The purpose of Climate Conversation‘s events is to provide a place where we can talk these issues through and work through ideas for action, and so a vibrant question and answer session followed the film. We discussed capitalism and consumerism; whether we start with encouraging political change; the opportunities that the Transition Movement gives us to focPanel pictureus on positive action (including an active group here in Southampton); how we need to cycle here in our city; and encouraging us to get involved in campaigns to protect our meadows on the edge of Southampton. And we also talked about pineapples in Portswood, the serious point being about how if a pineapple imported from the other side of the world costs us £1, there must be some social or environmental costs somewhere along the line.

Finally, anyone had the chance to give a 30 second pitch about their project or action, and here we plugged our next chance to get together to celebrate collaboration: our Common Ground picnic on 14 July.

Grant Sharkey and friends

Grant SharkeyAfter all the seriousness of climate change, we needed something to lighten the mood and this came in the form of Grant Sharkey and his friends playing songs for the climate. Hard hitting and hilarious, Grant showed how music can be part of the story of change.

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