iOpener has a sister project, iMuse, which looks for lowcost ways to help everyone engage with museums, galleries and other public and cultural spaces using IT.
iOpener encourages trail-making online. Our idea is that we all look at things in a different way if we make a trail around our surroundings. iOpener will run small, lowcost projects with other organisations, providing technical help to publish trails both virtually and on paper. From mid 2015, iOpener is being run by the Reading-based charity, RG spaces.
We captured people’s views in several ways – making trails directly, discussion and placing trail-points on a map.
Participants in iOpener’s March 2015 events put forward ideas on best things in central Reading. We’re gradually building up a trail round some of them. Thanks to Tony Short who makes his photos of Reading available free for charity use.
iOpener in Reading’s gazebo in Town Hall Square on Saturday 14 March. Note David’s cunning hoisting method for the banner and the discussion about favourite/least favourite parts of the town centre over our high-tech table cloth map. More on Saturday 21 March. Come along!
What’s your view of Reading? Do you just see it as a functional town, or is there actually much more to see if you look more closely?
The iOpener project encourages everyone to explore beyond the ordinary, to take a closer look and let everyone else know where they have been and what they have seen. Participants are encouraged to walk around Reading town centre and make a trail showing some of the interesting things they find – these could be beautiful, historic, personally significant or just plain quirky or fun.
Participants can use a free fun-to-use mobile tracker app or upload information to the iOpener website on where they have been. Those that prefer the low-tech approach can record their trails on a paper map and hand them in. The mobile app runs on smartphones and tablets and participants can also use it to add photos, audio and video to their trails.
Annette Haworth of Access-Ability Communication Technologies (AACT), the charity behind iOpener, said: “On the surface, towns can often look very similar, with the same range of shops and other facilities around the high street. We are aiming to demonstrate that there are many different ways that you can view our town, to get people thinking beyond the ubiquitous modern signs, to see and capture what’s unique about Reading.”
The iOpener trails project is part of Reading Museum’s new project called ‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ and is supported by Reading’s Cultural Partnership. ‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ will ask questions about the future of our town, promoting debate about how happiness for all Reading citizens can be ensured in a growing urban environment, while safeguarding the town’s precious natural heritage.
Do you want to have a go at making your own trails around town? The iOpener team will be outside the Town Hall on Saturday 14 March and Saturday 21 March from 11am to 3pm and can help you get started. Further information on the project and how to get involved can be found on the web at www.iopener.org.uk
About the ‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ project
‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ will ask questions about the future of our town, promoting debate about how happiness for all Reading citizens can be ensured in a growing urban environment, while safeguarding the town’s precious natural heritage. It is funded by the Happy Museum, a national initiative looking at how museums can build links between environmental sustainability and happiness.