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Dadamac Connect is increasingly connecting with Croydon – as demonstrated by the way my week began.

Preparing for Dadamac Day 2015

Monday October 12th was a great start to the week. I met Nikki Fishman (of Dadamac) and Leon Conrad and Giles Abbott (of The Academy of Oratory) at a Cafe Nero close to Croydon station. We explored storytelling structures and how they relate to the real-life stories of our Dadamac changemakers in Africa.

The “Dadamac Day” connection is an event we’re planning together. Every year, in November, Dadamac arranges some kind of UK-Africa event. Like most Dadamac things Dadamac Day has emerged over the years. It began in 2005 as a kind of “first birthday party and at-a-distance reunion” around the work that John Dada and I had started with his local teachers in rural Nigeria in November 2004, and we’ve done something special every November since.  Last year we celebrated Dadamac Day with a GlobalNet21 Webinar. This year it’s an event on Monday November 9th, 6.30 at Impact Hub Westminster. For more details and booking see The Power in your Story: Storytelling and Action.

Matthew’s Yard Croydon

Tuesday I was back in Croydon, this time at Matthew’s Yard.

For most of our time together in Dadamac, Nikki and I have worked from our homes. We meet at my place if we need to work together, and go to Central London for meetings with other people. Recently however Nikki has wanted Dadamac to do more work in a public space and thus make it easier for people to get involved with the Dadamac Changemakers. There are various reasons Nikki wants Dadamac to be in Croydon including:

  • Her personal connections to the area over many years
  • Her Collage.net (Age of Collaboration) initiative during 2012, which she based at  Matthew’s Yard
  • A new Dadamac changemakers’ story-telling project that will need to find a home
  • Other Dadamac ideas on the horizon
  • Opportunities that are popping up in Croydon

Tuesday therefore found me at Matthew’s Yard with Nikki for our usual once-a-week online UK-Nigeria meeting with John Dada, which is followed by whatever else Nikki and I need to tackle together.

It turned out to be worth swapping the ease of home-working for my tram ride to Croydon. The rewards were some new contacts at Matthew’s Yard, and then the welcome arrival of Andrew Orford. Andrew and I cross paths frequently, but he and Nikki haven’t met since 2011. That was at a Meetup she and I organised called Stronger together – exploring the changing world of work. When Andrew arrived and reconnected with Nikki she had made her point. At Matthew’s Yard connecting informally is easy.

Andrew  tweeted afterwards – Great to see @Pamela_McLean and @DadamacN today to check out “what’s on the boil” with so many shared #ict4d #socent #changemakers projects.

That tweet exactly expressed Nikki’s vision for being back at Matthew’s Yard.

Sussex Innovation – Croydon

Nikki knows her way around Croydon and what is happening where. After our work down at Matthew’s Yard she took me up the hill to Sussex Innovation – Croydon. It’s an attractive new business incubation hub on the eleventh floor at No. 1 Croydon (on twitter ). It has East Croydon Station and the Tram Stop on its doorstep.

At present when I arrange to meet people I choose Impact Hub Westminster or the RSA (both near to Trafalgar Square). If we’re going for the kind of ambitious plans Nikki has for Dadamac Connect and its practical projects down at Matthews’ Yard, then we’ll need somewhere close to Croydon’s transport links for some of our business meetings, instead of having them in Central London. Sussex Innovation seems ideal.

We Mean Business Expo 2015

Wednesday in Croydon was We Mean Business Expo 2015 at the Fairfield Halls – more at event website  and on Twitter

Nikki had been given a table in the Sussex Innovation – Croydon room at the Expo, so she asked me to go along and help her. I had no idea what to expect, and I was impressed by the buzz. There were plenty of people around and I had useful conversations, learning what was going on in Croydon, and practising my explanations about Dadamac Connect (including its connections to Dadamac Foundation). As a result I have two specific new initiatives to action. In general I was encouraged by how well people responded to Dadamac Connect, and what that means for where we’ll take Dadamac Connect in the future.

Nikki, unlike me, has a long history of connections in Croydon, including many that pre-date Dadamac Connect. As a result, she was meeting a mixture of familiar faces and new ones. I understand that she had a different, more complicated and varied, collection of interactions with people. Some were to do with Dadamac Connect itself and some were to do with connected initiatives i.e. the kind of things that she will be actioning out of Matthew’s Yard.

Croydon as the place to be

There was lots of energy in the place. As one of the exhibitors put it “Croydon is popping”.  Now I’m sharing Nikki’s enthusiasm for Dadamac to be there.