like me i bet you have bought someone a present because you secretly wanted it yourself? if you live with that person it's quite a good strategy! anyway i bought jen a zine called the side project report - she is working on a side project so i thought she'd enjoy it and hopefully find a bit of practical wisdom and encouragement. she has now read it (and loved it) so it was time for me to sneak it away from her desk and read it. i couldn't put it down and i think i pretty much read every word. i would love to get a copy for every pioneer training at cms because it's so helpful whether you are running a project as a sideline or as a main thing.
it's published by the guys who run the do lectures which has been going nearly 10 years and was founded by the people who set up howies. their web site is really worth a look and you can order the side project and a whole load of other cool looking books from there as well as watch what look like some really interesting lectures. i'll be popping back.
but in terms of innovation i think side project is a really interesting thing to pay attention to. it made me realise i always have some ideas spinning and usually am getting one or two going - i jotted down a list of a dozen things i have done over the years that are sideline type things - books, exhibitions, networks, proost. i am actually working with a couple of others on a zine publication right now called future present (watch this space). side projects can be a spare time ting that you fit around your main thing and the challenge can then be finding the time, but it is also the way i have got new things going within my work - start them on the side and let them grow until they can't be ignored. it was great to read something that said side projects are a brilliant way to get a project started. it also made me reflect how helpful that could be for pioneers. of course there are some people who will have a pioneer project that is a main thing - they manage to raise money or there's a paid role. but i suspect a large percentage of pioneer projects might better fit the idea of side projects. the challenge with sidelines is time of course and it needs determination to focus on doing what needs doing. but the big plus is that they don't have to bear the burden of putting bread on the table - they can run alongside other things and the best driver is passion or love not money anyway.i also think that there is very little threat in the idea of a side project - if it doesn't take off no problem. but if it does then that can be the time to give ore investment and resource to it.
there was a really interesting (as ever) article by george monbiot in this week's guardian on volunteering and how in our changing world for many people meaning making may be associated with volunteering as much as with work. that combines perfectly with the notion of side projects.
there is some research, some stories and a kind of earthed practical wisdom in areas like time and money and habits/behaviour (and what i think could be described as spirituality).
i think i am going to be thinking for quite a while about side projects and i have arranged a catch up with someone next week where among other things we want to have a conversation about how long it's been since we did something creative so we need a new side project!