I'm involved in two very interesting projects at the moment and this post is to introduce them both and record where we're up to just now with them.
First up is Edinburgh Twestival 2011. Every year cities around the world put together an event for a chosen charity ??? all the events take place on the same day and in alternate years they all share a charity as well. 2011 is one of the other years, where each city chooses a local cause: Edinburgh's Twestival is raising money for St Columba's Hospice, which is on the north side of the city. When the word went out for people to help it seemed too good an opportunity: this here blog is all about the mix of social media, events and cities, so where better to get involved... pretty in-depth research if nothing else. The date for your diary is Thursday 24 March, the main site for the event is here and you're all welcome once the tickets go on sale in a couple of weeks.
It's been really interesting seeing how the event's taken shape, with a committee of around ten people drawing on their skills, expertise and contacts to quickly build momentum. Perhaps the most gratifying aspect to it all so far is the wealth of support that exists within Edinburgh's Twitter community ??? each announcement (venue, choice of sponsor, etc.) is greeted with a surge of interest and many a retweet. My role is pretty marginal: I turn up and try to ask useful questions, or get in touch with people I know who might be able to help. So long as that's enough I'll carry on enjoying being involved.
The other project I want to note here is my involvement in a forthcoming visit to Edinburgh by students from a Dutch university, along the same lines as the previous cohort enjoyed just before the 2010 football World Cup (where the Netherlands made it through to the final). The university is NHTV Breda, in the south of the country midway between Amsterdam and Brussels. Some 90 or so students are due in Scotland for ten days, where they will work in teams of about six to research one of four venues in the city. My job is to try and line up those venues, help with finding guest speakers, university room bookings and so on. 90 students... that's quite a few.
I'll also be going out to Breda for a few days shortly before they head to Scotland ??? my chance to introduce Edinburgh, eat well and enjoy a few days in a really lovely city. Call it a treat at the end of the year perhaps, though it's one that takes some work to put together. I guess I'm really waiting for the last night party again and hearing about the great time that the students will hopefully have had. Last year's group went to the Highlands, Murrayfield, ghost walks, all over Edinburgh and many were keen to come back for their Masters. That will take a couple of years at least; these are only second years, but very ambitious with it. (They could teach Edinburgh Napier's students a bit about taking the opportunities that open up to them.) I shall finish here with a few photos of Breda and the university, with more to come later in the year when I head back there. There's every chance that the next batch will have a few people in them!