Monthly Archives: March 2013

To Boldly go…

Great opportunity for students on Monday 4th March to actually test out some of the methods that we cover in the sociology methods module at my university by setting up interview, observation and photography tasks for second years in and around the Bold Street area. Surprised that more students didn’t take up the opportunity to get out and about and put the theory into practice – the ones that did however will have gained valuable insight into the challenges and opportunities presented by using a variety of techniques.

Students took the opportunity to interview Oli and David from Independent Liverpool over a coffee in Leaf about their work and the need for people to support independent retailers in Liverpool – worth checking out their reviews on Facebook and a great source of ideas for dissertations take a look at their web site and like them on Facebook to spread the word !


Others students undertook observation tasks and an opportunity to interview Sam who runs Bold Street Coffee hopefully shedding light on the opportunities and challenges that independent coffee shops in Liverpool face. Will be interesting to hear the students feedback next week on the differences between Starbucks and other coffee shops along Bold Street.


Another group engaged in a visual activity, capturing images of Bold Street and the surrounding area with the aim of comparing it to images of the past. Looking forward to the feedback session in the class on Monday. Taking the time to do the activity helped them see the city through different eyes and led to discussions on the impact changes in society has upon yeh urban environment and the different views that people have on graffiti in the city. Janette Porter was also interviewed by a group of students about her work on a number of projects in Liverpool working with a diverse range of people through the Crass Routes organisation – see for more details. Netty also spoke to her work with Genie in the Gutter and the ‘Out of the Bag’ project which is showcasing in Liverpool on March 22nd.


The morning was rounded off with a presentation and Q&A session with the CEO of FACT Mike Stubbs, who shared his knowledge on the changes in and around the Bold Street area, the role of FACT in the community and FACTs vision for the future as well as discussing the challenges and opportunities that the development of Liverpool One poses!
For what’s on at FACT check out


Thanks to all who participated both students and interviewees – looking forward to the feedback session on Monday morning next week and keep a look out for an exciting initiative that may result from the meeting of people with similar minds related to the use it post from Brussels ! Watch this space….


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Garstang today … tomorrow the world !

To celebrate fair trade fortnight Liverpool John Moores University hosted an audience with Bruce Crowther …. who played a crucial role in establishing Garstang in Lancashire as the first fair trade town not only in the UK but globally !!! Following fair trade tea coffee and snacks Bob Doherty gave an overview of the amazing growth of fair trade over the past decade and highlighted the important role campaigners, such as Bruce, have made to this success story. Bob then interviewed Bruce about his experiences, inspiration and hopes for the future before challenging him to a cake bake off !


Bruce answered the questions as only Bruce can with passion and from the heart talking about how his motivation came from being unable to live in a world with such extreme inequality without doing all he could to challenge it. He talked about how ordinary people, like himself, can make a difference by just doing what they can. He recalled the first fair trade meeting in Garstang with him, his wife and his baby sitter as the only participants and how this then evolved into a movement which saw the residents in Garstang promoting fair trade as much as possible and also supporting local producers at the same time, demonstrating that local and global concerns can have a great synergy. From being the one and only fair trade town in 2001 there are now over 1200 towns and cities all over the world …. and by the time you have read this there will be more !


Bruce also talked of the Fig Tree and rather than tell you what he said I urge you all to go and visit and support them in their mission to make a difference – the coffee, and everything they sell and display, comes with a story that has to be heard from Bruce himself so make sure you ask !

The bake off between ‘host’ and ‘guest’ was a great success thanks to the input of two daughters with a passion for baking and gave the evening a ‘Divine’ ending šŸ™‚


Bruce’s dream for the future – a world where there is no need for fair trade as the global trading system will have evolved to be based on principles of respect and equity – now that’s a dream I think we can all share !

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Pathways in London

Excellent visit to London last week to meet Kate and some of her team who are working towards developing a new holistic centre that has an amazing vision to provide a range of services, business units, and accommodation opportunities as well as training opportunities and a Clink Deli amongst other things. Aptly named ‘Pathways’ will also run projects aimed at providing education and interaction opportunities for a diverse range of people – all under one umbrella project


It was a real inspiration to see the work already being done by change up, and the music project that is running in the centre at the moment —- and to see the plans for the development of their site. Truly visionary. Taking inspiration from a wide range of places such as …Delancey street in San Francisco and drawing on the success of the clink restaurant model and the change up project

There are a number of great start up businesses running already in the change-up starter units – the T shirts available from of the units – breakout – in the change up programme are simply genius and cant wait it get my first order in ! And the maps being created in another unit are top of my present list -‘so all in all a great trip to London – cant wait to go back …

The t-shirt says it all!!


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