Lessons from the Emotivate Project for Increasing Take-Up of Big Society and Responsible Capitalism Initiatives

Lessons from the Emotivate Project for Increasing Take-Up of Big Society and Responsible Capitalism Initiatives

Jonathan Bishop (Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems, European Parliament, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2122-0.ch019


Cooperation and respect for different opinions have been considered prime didactic goals in environmental projects which encourage citizen participation (Tsevreni, 2011). Through the realisation of the UK Government’s Big Society project, families, individuals, charities, and communities can come together to solve problems through galvanising, catalysing, prompting, encouraging, and agitating for community engagement and social renewal (Cameron, 2009). Environmental activism has long been touted as a necessary addition to the education system (Sanera & Shaw, 1999), and this chapter shows how the Big Society was made a reality before Conservative Party Leader David Cameron first presented it. However, as it usual in British politics, despite being in keeping with the aspirations of the other parties, partisanism is holding it back. For instance the Labour Party believes in “joining the forces of cooperation with competition” yet opposes the Big Society using superficial reasoning. Equally, the Co-operative Party, which is affiliated to Labour, appear more interested in attacking the Conservatives past record on cooperativism than engaging with them to further the cooperative movement. On its own, this shows that the Big Society, where people take action outside of government is needed, especially when one considers that Labour Governments rarely get anti-statist cooperative measures through without the support of other parties, such as the Conservatives in the case of the Cooperative Trust Schools in England. The Big Society therefore needs to be market-led on the basis of responsible capitalism rather than government-led such as via state socialist or state capitalism.
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The Emotivate Project was conceived by the author after walking through an underpass that had the tile-work either smashed or burden off, and was frequented by youths who acted anti-socially. This project, envisaged as a way to bring together aspects of environmental, social and educational change. The project therefore aimed to demonstrate the strategic implementation of sustainable development through a unique blended learning model, or ‘bLearning’ model, which was designed for enabling young people to design and paint a mural using knowledge gained through e-learning. This was achieved through applying the Learn, Create, Communicate model and P4 and the tangible realisation of the mural (illustrated in Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The St Dyfrig’s underpass, before (left) and after (right)


It also aimed to give the directors the chance to develop credibility in the business community as ‘responsible capitalists’ and ‘community cooperators’, through providing the opportunity to gain a strong and demonstrable management track record of personal achievement. This was achieved with them gaining fellowships in the Royal Society of Arts and BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT and/or becoming parliamentary candidates within the year. Since the murals were installed in 2009 until the present date there has been no major reports of crime in the area, and common problems like drug taking, and harassment had vanished, perhaps due to sense of ownership in the scheme by young people, who included not just law-abiding ones, but young offenders as well.

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