What I do, Why I do it
I tell stories, explore ideas, bring people together and make things happen.
It all starts from a desire to understand how we change things - and how things change, with or without us.
This takes me cross country through other people's fields, from social theory to the tech industry, literary criticism, the future of institutions and the skills of improvisation. If I'm good at anything, it is making connections - between people, between ideas and between worlds.
Putting it into practice
The connections become visible when ideas are put into practice:
- In 2006, I co-founded School of Everything - an award-winning web startup inspired by the informal learning experiments of the 1960s and 70s.
- In 2009, I set up Space Makers Agency. Our projects bring people together to reimagine and reanimate underused space in towns and cities.
- In July 2009, Paul Kingsnorth and I published Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto - an invitation to a new cultural movement for a time of global disruption. So far, this has included books, festivals, songs, art shows and lots of late night conversations.
- Also in 2009, a group of us created the Institute for Collapsonomics - an informal home for thinking about what works when the systems we grew up depending on let us down.
- In 2010, I got annoyed with the BBC's New Generation Thinkers project, and wrote to the controller of Radio 3. This led to the creation of New Public Thinking, an online platform and real world network for those interested in creating a better public conversation.
- In 2011, I set out on The University Project - a long-term enquiry into the promise at the heart of the university, the forms this might take in an age of networked technologies, and the possibility of regrounding it within spaces that differ from today's business-like universities.
- Between 2011-2013, I am part of the Euroaxacan Initiative of Transformative Cultures. My involvement will lead to a film, 'Finding Our Way Home', which I'll be making in the autumn of 2012.
I am a guest lecturer at various universities, art and architecture schools. I give conference keynotes and public talks about the questions at the heart of my work, in venues that range from theatres to thinktanks to squats.
Before I got into all this, I made a living as a busker, a door-to-door salesman and a BBC journalist.