Prof. Flora Samuel giving a presentation to the crowd

The PMP Whole Team Meeting

A photo of the person.
Prof. Flora Samuel

I knew that the team meeting in Beaumaris was going to be exciting but it went way beyond my expectations. Some 30 members of the research team congregated on the Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Môn from 27 February 2024 to 1 March, St Davids Day. We were joined at times by members of important local organisations including the Council, National Resources Wales and others.

We are going to be building a multi-layered map of the island to act as a baseline for assessing progress towards the wonderful Future Generations Act (2015) Wellbeing Outcomes. Our target audiences are children, young people and their families but we want everyone to get involved.

Our aim is to make planning consultation so much more inclusive and engaging. We are using digital maps as a way to funnel those intangible, difficult to measure things like well being - typically ignored by the system - right into the heart of planning. Teams are already at work devising digital interfaces, inclusive engagement, impact data capture, teaching packs for working in schools, environmental mapping and cultural mapping. The cultural mapping team includes a group of ‘data bards’, local creative practitioners who are going to support the development of poetry, song, visual arts and other creative acts that help people to engage more deeply in community consultation than the usual tick box exercises.

The aim of the meeting was to bring together the work of the multiple work streams in evolution across the project and to negotiate their intersections. As the project is about mapping it seemed only appropriate to start by mapping ourselves with the beautiful, user-friendly interfaces currently in production by our colleagues Free Ice Cream.

The very fact of the whole team, drawn from across the globe, being there on this most significant day for Welsh culture was extremely fortuitous, resulting in impromptu song, poetry and other Bardic revelry which only served to raise our energy, bringing us closer together. This is so important given that we have a great deal to do over the year to come.

One team member, coming from a highly contested area of the Middle East, was moved to see in action a place so highly connected to its language, heritage and landscape. The significant number of Welsh speakers amongst us made language differences a thing of curiosity, communication and enjoyment. We plan to build on this energy over the coming months through engagement activities in schools and the staging of five festival ‘voice places’ across diverse sites on the island. While the Voice Places will look like fun free creative and educational activities for families (so needed on the island) they will also be places for rigorous, experimental and deep data gathering with communities.

We are hiring community mappers to help us with this fun but serious process so please watch this space.