I am so amazed at the incredible work of Kelly Meyer,
Graphic Designer, as she paints the Giant Mahjong!
To my knowledge this is the largest Mahjong set in the world (but if you know of a larger one, let me know).
The Giant Mahjong will activate King George Square for free, on 21 February 2013 (1 weeks time) from 5-9pm, as part of the Brisbane City Council's BrisAsia Festival
- it will be well worth coming to check out this incredible work by Kelly!
Kelly Meyer paints a Giant Mahjong tile
A flurry of colourful parasols greet you on your way home. Everyone around you fans themselves on the warm summer night standing under glowing, floating lanterns.
You hear loud, rhythmic drums and are enticed to join the growing crowd. They stop. The crowd parts, and a Giant Mahjong set is revealed.
People call out they are looking for players for the normal sized Mahjong games, and you decide to join them later.
You smell delicious food sizzling on a hotplate, incredibly installed on a bike. You’re intrigued and can’t help but go and grab some gyoza.
Boiling hot tea is being poured ceremoniously into china, and you watch and learn, so you can try it later at home.
Around you are more Giant Games – Giant Chinese Checkers, Giant Scrabble, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four. People of all ages, cultures and background are playing the games and enjoying themselves. Where are you?
You’re in Brisbane’s King George Square on 21 February
2013 at 5pm
for BrisAsia Games
If you want this experience come along to the BrisAsia Games Night
: Date corrected to Thursday night 21 February 2013
Fix what is broken [car dominant society] …
… Not what works [pedestrian infrastructure]
Restrict what kills [cars] ...
… Not what saves lives [bikes].
Sisdel Birk Hjuler presenting at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Berlin
Copenhagen Cycle Chic started with a photo posted by Mikael Colville-Andersen in 2007. Colville-Andersen wanted to show the beautiful lighting of the morning reflecting off the streets in Copenhagen, but what people around the world commented on instead was the bike riders in the photo, riding to work in their regular clothes. Colville-Andersen had never really thought of this as unique, but was intrigued by their interest and started the blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic to capture this culture. The blog has been extremely successful in spreading the message and capturing the “normality of riding”. To Sisdel Birk Hjuler, who presented Copenhagen Cycle Chic at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Berlin, the blog captures “Bicycle Culture 2.0”. Cycling in normal clothes, was normal when bicycles were first invented, but with car domination, things changed.
Other Cycle Chic blogs have started up all over the world, and as a huge fan, I have been tempted to start up one with my cycling buddies. Birk Hjuler commented that a new city starts almost every year, perhaps it is our year! There are some guidelines
on the Cycle Chic website about how to start your own.
It is certainly something that needs to be promoted in Brisbane, and with Lazy Sunday Cycle
and Style over Speed
(which I discussed and promoted in my Powered by Pecha Kucha talk on this day) I have seen more people excepting and realising that cycling in “normal clothes” is normal. However this has not put us in Copenhagen Cycle Chic's Top 80 cycle cities. Birk Hjuler discussed the “Copenhagenize Index for Bicycle Friendly Cities” Top 80 Cycle Cities List that the team at Copenhagen Cycle Chic have recently put together the list to inspire and encourage healthy competition. I think this is a great idea, and will be striving to put Brisbane on that list!
So why is Brisbane not on this list? I did ask this question of Birk Hjuler, but I already knew the answer – our helmet laws. No Australian City was featured on their list, because of our helmet laws. They gave us a “zero” for their criteria of the “perception of safety”.
By wearing helmets our cities are perceived as being unsafe, and I would agree completely. We do not have the number of riders to make our city safe for riding on the roads without a helmet. Our car drivers (including myself) do not know how to safely drive with cyclists around. This has got to change and the only way it can is by riding our bikes more, and encouraging more to do so! I would love to discuss my view of helmets, but will leave that post to another day.So how does Birk Hjuler suggest that cities get more people on bikes?
- Get cyclist from Point A to Point B quickly and tell them how with good mapping! People should only be expected to cycle for quick 20 minute journeys.
- Apply basic marketing. Promote the positives of cycling, in the same way that alcohol brands promote the positivity of their products.
- Stop ignoring the bull in society's china shop. Build cycle infrastructure where car infrastructure is, do not steal space from pedestrian infrastructure. This connects with the quote at the start of this post. It is also something that Berlin is particularly doing wrong, but it's actually something we could commend Brisbane on.
- Use what you have. We have some great cycle infrastructure in Brisbane, we just need to use it!
Next week I embark on a journey to Berlin to participate in the BMW Guggenheim Lab
! While I am there I will be:
I’ll try and keep you up-to-date on my blog with what I’ll be up to. I can’t wait to be involved with this great initiative! Thankyou to Rachel Smith
for including me in the program!
EDIT: I've updated the links so you can find out more about the events.
By day King George Square is vacant, some would call it inhospitable, a thoroughfare with a blaring TV; but once a month at night it is filled with people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures, all speaking different languages, all with different beliefs, all different ages, all playing board games!
It’s called Games Night @ King George Square and it’s aims are to encourage interactions of people of different generations, socio-economic backgrounds and cultures.
The concept for the event came from the observation that, in Brisbane, there are services for elderly people, young people, the disadvantaged, the disabled … but all of these services encouraged people to stay within their social groups, and not to interact with each other.
I am particularly interested in the gap between young people and elderly people in Brisbane. I feel that the divide between these two groups has caused disrespect on both sides, because the two groups could not relate. In other cultures the elderly and the young frequently interact, sharing wisdom and fresh ideas, looking out for one another and respecting one another. I want to see this as the norm in Brisbane.
Although I was not an avid board game player, I could see the potential that board games have to bring people together and I knew that the Giant Games would certainly draw people in!
Games Night is an incredible event. I never get tired of watching people interacting, smiling, laughing with one another and making new friends. It’s a very positive event; everyone is kind and considerate to one another. One thing I find remarkable is that everyone packs up their games after playing them! It’s just something we’re all taught as children and everyone still does it, it doesn’t matter who you are, you pack up the board game.
Interacting with people who are different to ourselves breaks down barriers, and makes us more tolerant. I believe that all of the positive interactions between different people, in our city will inspire people to be kind and respectful towards each other at all other times.
There are plenty of other ways we can inspire positive changes in our city. I am not an events manager, no one approached me to come up with an idea like this, I just had an idea, contacted council and they helped me make it happen. If you have a good idea, tell someone about it, ring council or email your local member, tell a community group about and they could make it happen or just do it! No one would stop you getting together with a group and playing board games in a park and inviting people around you to join in … and if they do stop you apologise. It’s much easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission. Create positive change in your city! If you want our city to be a vibrant place, don’t expect someone else to do it for you.
I spoke about how people can get involved in making their city vibrant, at TEDxYouth @ Brisbane, watch it here
. Games Night @ King George Square has been running monthly since March 2010, on the last Thursday of the month. It is sponsored by the Brisbane City Council. It was awarded a Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Award in 2012.
Find out more at www.games-at-event.com or www.facebook.com/games.at
I have been asked to assist with two Youth Week events this year and helped develop the concept for a third. Youth Week is a National Australian celebration of Youth and Youth Culture. This year Brisbane has over 40 events happening!
On 13 April BABI Youth and Family Service will be producing an event called “Celebrating YOUth” which will feature the Giant Games from Games Night @ King George Square
. The other Youth Week event I am directly involved in is one that Vibrant Places is coordinating on 22 April and is called “Fun and Games”
. The Brisbane City Council asked me to produce an event focused on the Giant Games, but also gave me the opportunity to do more. So I contacted Cody Schaeffer from G-Youth who I met at the Queensland Youth Forum in 2011. Cody was influential in the startup of G-Youth. He is responsible for G-Youth’s recent expansion in to the rest of Queensland. G-Youth are a group of young people offering Hip-Hop dancing, singing, rapping and counseling (giving advice on relationships to homework to family troubles). They use Hip-hop as a way of getting young people involved in their communities and talking with mentors.
At the 'Fun and Games" event G-Youth will combine short Hip-Hop singing and dancing workshops with some short performances. Anyone can just turn up and get involved!
Edit: As the event has evolved, recently Tallulah Grey has come on board and will be facilitating the Photo Hunt! The Photo Hunt will be an opportunity for young people to interact with the Giant Games and Hip-hop dancing happening in King George Square and with the space itself, by taking photos of the activity and having their photos printed and displayed at the event. There will be a prize for the favourite photo of the public and the favourite photo of the Vibrant Places staff and the Youth Week Volunteers. There will be 3 categories for photos:
1. Photograph someone or a group having a great time playing a giant game.
2. Introduce yourself to a stranger and take a photo of them interacting with one of the lion or kangaroo statues in King George Square.
3. Take a fun photo of anyone hip-hop dancing or singing.
I will be managing the Giant Games to encourage interaction between strangers and will also be putting on some handball games, which through social media research I found out is something children are enjoy playing at school at the moment.
I am really excited to be coordinating “Fun and Games” and feel very privileged to be running this event. Cody, Tallulah and I are all young, so I think this event will be particularly successful because it is giving young people the opportunity to run an event for young people!
The third event I am involved with, that I helped develop the concept is “Walk in Our Shoes”. There are 2 events for “Walk in Our Shoes”, one happening in Brisbane and the other at Redcliffe.
“Walk in Our Shoes” came out of the Queensland Youth Forum (QYF11) I participated in, in 2011. It was an idea my group, Danni Brown, Kirralee Parsons and I pitched at the forum. The “Walk in Our Shoes” event is about understanding people’s experiences by walking in their shoes. Once pitched it was picked up by the Youth Voice group, who quite appropriately adapted it for sharing the stories of refugees and will be running the event in Brisbane.
The Redcliffe “Walk in Our Shoes” will be run by be Vocal Be Heard, a group QYF11 attendees Danni Brown works with. She has interpreted the event to be about mental illness and understanding what people experience with a mental illness.
I’m really excited that this simple concept has been able to be developed into 2 great events!
So come and check out these Youth events:
10 March 2012 - Walk in Our Shoes by Be Vocal Be Heard, Redcliffe
13 April 2012 – Celebrating YOUth at the Wynnum Library
21 April 2012 - Walk in Our Shoes by Youth Voice, Roma St Parklands
22 April 2012 – Fun and Games by Vibrant Places, King George Square
See all the other Brisbane Youth Week events on the Brisbane City Council Website
. If you ever want Vibrant Places to work with you, produce or come up with a concept for an event in public space, contact Amy Saunders a