Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Helping Brighton investigate

Well yesterday was exciting. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, Paul Bradshaw approached a group of us in Brighton and Hove who'd signed up for his collaborative investigations site Help Me Investigate. He wanted to know if we would be interested in working together to make it take off here. Since then, I've been talking to people about it (mainly the editor and Mark Walker of SCIP, who I'm working with on their community reporters project) and yesterday, another email from Paul kick-started it into action.

He suggested we begin by coming up with an investigation we'd be happy to start with - and so I've come up with some ideas myself (I think my favourite is the Godless one). I've deliberately made them fairly ambitious, as I'd really like to test what we can use Help Me Investigate to do. And I'm hoping anyone who's interested in joining us will make their own suggestions here too. Oh, and if you want to help us investigate, then sign up here.

  • How does Brighton's status as UK's most Godless city affect it? Looking at measurable manifestations of Christian values, e.g. amount given to charity, number of neighbour disputes. Go through 10 commandments and see if you can find some kind of measurement for each.As Brighton Pride seemingly lurches from one crisis to another, an analysis of its history, turnout, charitable donations and finances.
  • How liberal is Brighton? Its image is of a liberal enclave, but it has a Tory council. Breakdown of voting history by ward/across Brighton vs Hove over past 20 years - maybe finding a representative group of people to do survey of views?
  • Should Brighton divorce Hove? Looking at what political make-up of Hove and Brighton would be if they divorced, and trying to predict how key council policies/spending power might have been affected as a result.