Western Limb wants to ask and answer the question: what will the Western Limb look like in 20 to 30 years time when the platinum group metals have been mined out and the mines have been closed?
One of the key areas we are focussing on is community engagement. (The others are academic research and performances and interviews).
Why community engagement matters
The future of the Western Limb matters most to the people that live there.
However, often crucial policy debates take place at meetings and conferences attended by a few representatives of the state, the unions and the mines. This is understandable, but we think that a much richer, wider and more rewarding conversation is possible.
Western Limb aims to include everyone. To find out from the communities what they want and provide reports and feedback on what they say.
We want to link the communities to the policy debates, and the policy debates to the communities.
We are starting off with three initiatives: (1) Community days and reports, (2) Community bloggers and (3) a Rustenburg-London schools project.
(1) Community days
We are hosting fun, creative days in the communities on the Western Limb, where we will be asking people what they want and need, what facilities they would like to see, and what they are good at, and what they can do to contribute to their community.
The Western Limb will record the answers and develop social and ethnographic research, which will be made available on westernlimb.org, and help build a picture of the real wants and needs of communities in the Western Limb, in their own words.
(2) Community bloggers
We want to give people a chance to see the Western Limb through the eyes and voices of the people who live there, ongoingly. We are looking for community bloggers to tell us about their experiences on the Western Limb blog. If you know anyone who would like to blog for us, let us know! Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we have a community of active bloggers, we want to start to get them to focus on specific issues in their area, like schooling, health, and recreation.
(3) Rustenburg-London schools project
We are undertaking a collaborative project involving a school in Rustenburg and a school in London, where senior High School students in these two very different cities collaborate on a joint school project, looking at mineral resources, communities and international trade and investment. The students will use online sharing platforms like Google Docs, Youtube, and WordPress to communicate with each other and produce their projects.
Why London? Many of the companies that own and operate mines in this areas are based in London, listed on London stock exchanges. Mining and communities are a global issue.
And then there is the pure joy and adventure, as a young person, of having a real connection with a place and people far from your own home.
Want to get involved in any of these initiatives? We would be delighted to hear from you. Write to us at email@example.com.