This is the website for my personal work and projects and for my consultancy, lowwintersun, which specialises in co-operative and social enterprise new project development, project management, marketing and research. <Jan 2015 update> I am now employed 4 days/week for Carbon Co-op, though continue to pursue creative and freelance projects outside of that time. Jonathan Atkinson
Between 2007 and 2011, I collaborated with URBED to oversee the project development of Carbon Co-op, a co-operative for householders wishing to make large scale reductions in household energy usage. This work involved long term research and development and extensive piloting of householder engagement methods.
In 2011 Carbon Co-op was constituted as a community benefit society.
The Grafton Centre, is an active ageing community hub located in Hyde, Tameside. After a number of years of local authority control, the users of the centre are now organising to take over management responsibilities via a new development trust. I have been working with the group for over three years to increase their organiastional capacity, oversee incorporation as a charitable organisation, assist with asset tranfer negotiations and help them develop a long term sustainable business plan.
Bristol is increasingly hailed as an eco-paradise, a place with an environmental action team on every corner, a hippy of an elected Mayor and a new idea for saving the world every day.
Truth or hot air? I joined a packed two day, Greater Manchester study visit to Bristol of community and voluntary sector organisations (Carbon Co-op, GMCVO Community Hubs and MERCi), with the aim of finding the best the city has to offer whilst finding the reality in the rhetoric.
An underlying theme of the visit was the search for sustainable (in the financial, social and environmental sense) models for delivering community owned and managed low carbon projects, increasingly hards in the face of ongoing cuts to funding regimes and reduced capacity.
In 2008, I was one of the founder members of OpenSpace, a co-working co-operative based in Hulme, South Manchester, specialising in affordable work space for co-operatives and social enterprises. It’s a great place to meet like-minded, ethical businesses.
Based in the iconic Work for Change co-op building, I helped found the project, developing the core business plan, building the start up co-op and finding capital funding to install a new mezzanine. I also commissioned the marketing and website materials.
I worked with Andrew Simms, Ruth Potts and Corina Cordon of new economics foundation to curate artists interventions engaging with themes of taking action on climate change.
The key project Ration Me Up, was led by environmental performance artist Clare Patey working with nef climate scientist Victoria Johnson and designers Thomas Matthews. Ration Me Up consisted of a modern day carbon ration book featuring ‘carbon stamps’ that could be spent on a range of activities, up to a personal carbon ration ceiling for the month.
Launched at The Bigger Picture event on the South Bank in London with a 1940s-style performance, a follow up project website encouraged volunteers to try and live a month using the ration book. Their experiences were documented on the site.
I worked with nef to develop and seek funding for the project and I curated Ration Me Up.