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
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.
A Greater Manchester-based, year long, participatory project involving community groups and activists in discussions around sustainability and local impact. The project featured a series of ‘journeys’ in which community activists travelled together, for example by canal boat, bus or train, visiting other voluntary organisations pioneering innovative sustainable projects. This culminated with ‘Communities for Change’ a celebratory, public event held at the Manchester Metropolitan campus in Didsbury, South Manchester. I acted as a project manager, facilitator and researcher.
I was a co-founder of UHC Collective, an arts/activist and ethical marketing organisation which began in 2003. I was involved as an activist researcher and artist and acted as account manager for marketing operations. I left to pursue my own projects in 2007.
A 16 feet, oak table, designed and built in 2006 by UHC Collective, etched with a diagram, mapping power relations between key interests associated with the regeneration of Manchester. The work sought to reveal the links between multiple interests including private sector, public sector and educational organisations. I contributed the research that formed the map.
UHC Collective Works is a monograph documenting UHC’s OpenCity, anti-regeneration activist art work during 2005/6. The project critiqued the housing-led, neoliberal regeneration of Manchester, identifying increasing inequality and the transfer of public assets in to private hands. I worked as an artist and lead researcher on the project. This is me with a modified shopping trolley displaying anti-regeneration propaganda messages on LED signs.