Synergy Events are community out-reach and engagement events that harness the power of creative and cultural media to raise awareness of topical social issues and facilitate dialogue and consultation between a variety of organisations and individuals working in the grass roots, voluntary sector.
The events seek to raise awareness of issues relating to climate change, sustainable development, well-being, new economics, healthy and conscious living, diet / nutrition, development, social justice – seeking to develop new and sustainable ways of living as we prepare for an era of peak oil, increased energy costs and the challenges associated with developing a low-carbon, low emissions economy. The events, in particular, seek to explore whether the changes required for adaptation to climate change and peak oil will require the sacrifices that are often portrayed as necessary or whether many of the changes will in fact improve the overall quality of life and well-being of the wider population.
The events feature a combination of components:
- A mini-conference / symposium on a topical social issue, featuring invited speakers from NGOs, local, regional or national government, grass-roots community based voluntary organisations and members of the wider public.
- Music performances from DJs, live bands, acoustic singer-songwriters, spoken word performances, visual art exhibitions and other forms of performance art, particularly those with performances that are inspired and informed by social issues relevant to the theme at hand together with recognition of local and social environment.
- Films, videos and video installations, both entertaining and informative, pertaining to the theme of the event.
- Information stalls and displays from participating NGOs, statutory agencies and grass-roots community organisations.
- Workshops and other activities to raise skills and awareness.
- A café serving healthy food and drink to promote healthy living, nutrition and diet
The aims of the events are to facilitate a greater degree of engagement, dialogue and consultation between government and local communities by creating an entertaining and therefore attractive forum in which people can gather, share experience, best practice and connections and thereby develop collaborations and partnerships to promote the welfare and well-being of people living in Brighton and the surrounding area. Synergy Events draw on Synergy’s impressive track record of ‘conscious event’ management to create attractive and welcoming events that will be more effective in engaging with communities that often do not engage effectively with statutory services and are therefore characterised as ‘hard to reach’.
Synergy Events seek to develop an extensive network of organisations and individuals working in the broad area of well-being, ecology and healthy living to share contacts and knowledge, develop collaborations and partnerships – particularly between the third and public sectors. This approach is recognised as a highly effective way of working in the regeneration sector. This network will enable participating organisations to share information and opportunities via a monthly email out, to which organisations and individuals will be invited to contribute information about forthcoming events, initiatives, campaigns etc.
Synergy Events also seek to engage the active participation of volunteers and interns on work placement schemes in the design and delivery of the project. Capitalising on Synergy’s considerable social capital and the strong emphasis attached in the organisation to a culture of empowerment, active citizenship and ‘Do-It-Yourself’,
Synergy Events therefore act as a focus for a broader community mobilisation and engagement strategy that seeks to develop social capital and community capacity to promote grass-roots led social, economic, cultural and spiritual regeneration. They are part of a model that combines the dynamism and efficiency of the social enterprise sector with a strong understanding of the need for stronger networks between different agencies working towards shared goals.
The standard model for a Synergy event is an all-night format, running 10-6 or even 8am. This caters for a younger demographic, although the conscious content of Synergy events is such that it attracts a more mature audience than most standard club nights. Current plans for the Brighton Centre, once fully opened, are to have only one all-night event a month, attracting an audience of 1500 people.
At the SOne Club in London, where Synergy was born, a wide variety of different forms of entertainment were offered along side a ‘conscious’ fringe of awareness-raising stalls, debates and discussions. The main hosted dance music, a live room hosted festi-folk and world music bands, the Chill Out had a variety of different performances as well as DJs and a gallery space combined chill out DJs with visual art. The healing area provided a deep chill environment, welfare services and a variety of complementary health services such as massage.
In addition to one all-nighter a month, a number of all-day events, with workshops, films, discussions, debates etc during the day followed by an evening of multi-media entertainment are proposed. Projected figures for these events are lower, with the production being run more on a community, semi-voluntary basis, creating opportunities for trainees who will be learning production and management skills as part of the mid-week delivery to help to put on the show. Once again, a series of bonus rounds will give those participating an incentive to market the events and to generate the audiences.
We anticipate that the Synergy All-Day events will be more attractive to audiences in the winter, autumn and spring when the competition from the sea-front will be less than in the summer. For this reason, 2 events per month are proposed, except during May-August when this figure will be 1 per month. As and when these events become established and successful, their frequency can be increased. However, while they generate more social outputs than events run by outside promoters, they are potentially less financially lucrative, due to the higher CPPP figure associated with some audiences. A balance will therefore have to be struck between the social viability of Synergy All-Day events and hire-outs to external promoters, a balance that will be in turn be informed by licensing considerations.
Synergy Open Mic
While based in Camberwell, every Tuesday the Synergy Centre hosted an acoustic open microphone night. At ‘Synergy Tuesday’ members of the community gained exposure and experience as well as connecting with other local creative people. The open mic sessions served to provide an entry-level performance opportunity to aspiring musicians or spoken word artists to develop their performance skills at the same as providing more experienced performers with an opportunity to showcase their work, network and seek further opportunities. This participatory aspect will be incorporated in to the Synergy All-Day events described above.