CLN's project at S.E.A.R.C.H. Grads - Goals and impact
What follows is the response we recieved when we asked the particapants the quesions listed on our main community page. Visit their website!
- What are the goals of your project?
- To provide basic access to computers and the internet for un- and under-employed artists and other cultural workers. As self-employed and self-managing creative people, they must surmount the barrier created by lack of knowledge and access to this technology.
- To create a self-managing space for information-sharing for the SEARCH community
- To create a virtual space for people to promote themselves to a community of artists and potential employers, supporters and other sources of income.
- What is the impact in the community of your project?
- Several artists who were formerly unable to access the internet or create their own self-marketing materials have begun to do both. In the arts and culture sector, not to be hooked into a broad communications and collaboration network is to become increasingly marginalized. Our resources have really helped reverse this trend for many people. As creative people, their markets and potential collaborators may not be located in Vancouver - this access makes it possible to connect with others around the globe for research, testing, support and the creation of work.
- There is a safe, affordable place to come and take care of basic computing and learn to manage a few more advanced skills. In coming here, people are continually meeting new peers and being available for support and opportunities.
- People are more able to connect electronically, to promote their events, products, services, share information of use to all, ask for assistance or barter for services.
- It empowers its users to take action and reach beyond the confines of their existing knowledge base and world view. It makes it possible for us to point people in a direction, and with a minimum of help or supervision, have them do the work to find the information or connections they need. Thus it maximized the scarce resources of the Alliance to help individuals effectively, without unnecessarily burdening the staff.
- How would the internet (and internet tools) add to this impact?
- The art world is local, regional, national, international and global in scope. Each of these levels have markets and needs that artists must know about and address. Without the internet access that many of them get here, it would take much longer for them to develop viable business plans, connect with important contacts in other areas, and prepare materials for promoting their ideas and their work.
- The development of a website for the clients of our employment assistance program will prove a boon both as visibility for those without an web presence, and as an effective means of communication amongst a very diverse group with divergent interests and a broad range of skills, but who need to have a central connecting point for sharing all these things. Using WebGUI will help us manage the content of a site meeting such diverse needs.
- What resources and support would you need from VCN?
- Youth Intern has already proved invaluable - having someone whose main focus is making the resources in the center more useful, supporting users, helping create a useful and effective web environment makes all the difference in a small nonprofit arts service organization - with a very small staff.
- Technical support means we can offer the services to the users without always having the resources or knowledge ourselves to support the hardware and software. This also supports the Intern as he learns the ins and outs of managing a Community Learning Network space like ours.