Life Bridge

Why Continue?

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IMG_3582It’s a binary choice.

Do or don’t do.

It is not a question of trying or not. That is a distraction, because the reality is that many things are exceptionally difficult for all sorts of reasons, and we must try in order to finally do.

I have felt the weighty obligation to those who have supported me to continue. My continuing is not transactional, but I am very aware of the responsibility I have to my supporters.

I suppose it might have been possible to shrug my shoulders in the past many years along this Quixotic journey and to say that I tried. I have helped crowdfund a promising book which was never delivered, and the would-be author wrote a note to say he was done trying. So I know what that feels like, that is I know what it feels like to be left with nothing.

And yes, there is risks involved in delivering a project. But I don’t think it is enough to pass this risk entirely on the consumer. In this case, I believe the consumer has every reasonable right to expect an outcome. The problem being in this case is that time has marched on a considerable distance beyond that which might have been anticipated.

So I made a choice to continue. That was a very early decision. The reason I thought it worth to continue was that the reason for championing this cause was important enough to invest my time into, even if that came at considerable inconvenience.

I have learnt an enormous amount. It has been a baptism of fire. Mostly I have learnt lessons about satisfying customer demand.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m picking up this conversation again here in the public domain through this blog. I made a short commentary of how the satisfaction of the book ‘Life Bridge’ is progressing.

Tomorrow I’ll write more about how I see that occurring. I am well past a point of managing expectations, and appreciate that most of these have been well and truly stretched to the point of disbelief.

Suffice to say three things, especially to my supporters.

Firstly, I apologise for the delay. I appreciate that there may be some disappointment which would be understandable.

Secondly, thank you. Thank you for your earlier trust and support. I write that in full knowledge some may be disappointed in the result to date.

And thirdly, I’m continuing. I’ll deliver. Late. It’s all on me.

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Progress

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all greatness
All Greatness Stands Firm In The Storm

It’s been a while.

How many times have I begun a post like this here? Many. Too many? Hard to say, except one thing I do know is that progress matters, no matter how slow.

There is a case for speed, and not going too slow. The problem being addressed through this project is time sensitive, in as much as delays result in opportunities lost. The stake that is on the line is the wellbeing and lives of many people who live life unseen in poverty.

And that is the balance. Too hasty, and there will be an outcome, but maybe without impact. Too slow, and it results in a perfect solution, although too late. Paraphrasing General Patton:

A good plan now is better than a perfect plan hatched from within the walls of a prisoner of war camp.

This project is about an idea hatched in 2010. It led to the completion of an epic quest at the beginning of 2015. What remains is the publication of a book to help frame a ‘Design Forum’ to discuss this issue about child survival with the broader context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Most of those delays have been my responsibility, and largely related to my ability to extend myself because of resources at hand. Some might say, including myself, that it indicates a failure of imagination not to proceed, but there is also a need for pragmatism and balanced risk. Things don’t always work out. Sometimes we need to constrain ourselves waiting for a better day.

The important thing is that progress is being made. As if within a cocoon, most of that progress is unseen by others. That metaphor is useful, and I really need to turn the inside out in order to make a difference.

Here is what I have to report on as of now:

The book which was to underpin the journey already completed through pre-sales is in the process of being written. The book, Life Bridge, is a photo essay and will feature 24 artists each with a contribution on the theme human bridge. I expect that these artists will all come from Korea, for no other reason than there is a particular aesthetic towards the collective and design which is interesting from Korea. Seeing a broad range of contributions will also be easier to compare and contrast if generated from a similar background. From the perspective of addressing poverty Korea is also an interesting case study. It is a country which has overcome the wreckage of war, and while now by no means perfect, does give some clues to how best to proceed with progress.

The Design Forum will take place in May 2018. Before that can be organised, there is some preliminary work that is required. More on that soon.

Today is the anniversary of the Armistice signed in 1953 which brought to a temporary cessation hostilities on the Korean peninsula. That too was progress, but also unfinished business.

In the meantime, I’ll begin to blog more frequently on a daily basis and get this back on track.

For all those who have supported this effort to date, thank you.

Life Bridge: true voyage of discovery

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This photo I took on the island of Bagabag back in 2011 out to sea from the north coast of PNG is what captures a 'Life Bridge' for me: the bond between a mother and her healthy child. That doesn't mean it will be in the book, and doesn't mean it is a standard by which to judge others. It is about your imagination and revealing your universe with its narrative about the importance of connection through a photo.
This photo I took on the island of Bagabag back in 2011 out to sea from the north coast of PNG is what captures a ‘Life Bridge’ for me: the bond between a mother and her healthy child. That doesn’t mean it will be in the book, and doesn’t mean it is a standard by which to judge others. It is about your imagination and revealing your universe with its narrative about the importance of connection through a photo.

The vision for the 10 City Bridge Run was ambitious. Ridiculously ambitious, but even though it is taking longer than first thought, I believe that delay is acceptable towards achieving a far better outcome and lasting legacy.

The initial concept from when it was first conceived in 2010 is unchanged. The execution has differed, but only in ways so as to improve the journey. There are three parts to that concept:

  1. Running 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries as a stunt to open a conversation about improving child survival (completed successfully!)
  2. A Design Forum to address the conversation asking “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?” (commenced, in progress, culminating at the end of October 2015)
  3. A book with a working title ‘Life Bridge: the importance of connection’ which will feature 100 photos of human bridges to illustrate the importance of our connection which is necessary to both flourish and also to solve any problem

The concept for Life Bridge is simple enough. A human bridge might be a photo which would describe the importance of connection in the mind of the photographer, maybe in collaboration with the subjects. Each photo is a design project in its own right.

While the concept is simple, organising this task has taken time. It is a collaborative effort. Soon we will be underway.

I will be the first to admit that the delay in the book Life Bridge is unwelcome, but I also acknowledge that the space which has been created because of the time has helped to mature the concept defining the book. Presently, I see the curation, design and distribution all being events which will compliment and contribute towards the conversation that is unfolding through the Design Forum.

I just finished reading a book which I highly recommend by Alan Gregerman called “The Necessity of Strangers: the intriguing truth about insight, innovation and success.” He opens the book with a quote from Proust which succinctly frames the concept for Life Bridge:

“The only true voyage of discovery would not be to visit strange lands but to posses other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them holds, that each of them is.” 

The 10 City Bridge Run involved a journey, and through the Design Forum we are learning to see. And not just to see, but to do.

Life Bridge will be an important book. It is a call to action for all who read it, by being stimulated by the imaginations of the holders of one hundred universes. It will be beautifully published in Korea, and present itself as a fitting coffee table book, but one with a difference. My hope is that every time anyone reads Life Bridge, it will change the world beginning with the reader.

By way of thanks, I also wanted to clarify that everyone who has contributed to this journey will receive a copy cod this book. I don’t regard your engagement as transactional, but it is the tangible thing which many have effectively pre-purchased by supporting this journey. There is no more you need to contribute to receive the book. And thank you for your patience as we uncover the alchemy to weave together these one hundred universes seen through the eyes on another.

Advice from a Master Story-Teller

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Photograph
Photograph (Photo credit: http://www.robertorey.es)

It is worth listening to Ridley Scott who gives good instruction in this clip below titled Life In A Day. It was part of a collaborative video project he started in 2010, the same year that the 10 City Bridge Run commenced as an idea.

Scott gives two good pieces of advice in telling a story through capturing an image:

  • It must be personal.
  • Capture what appeals to you as the photographer/curator.

Great advice from a master story-teller.

Tell your story through photo in our photo collaboration. Anyone can enter, and there is no cost to submit a photo.

The Importance of Connection” is a photo collaboration on the theme of a ‘human bridge’. The best 100 photographs selected from among this collaboration will be captured in a book called “Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection”.

Find out more details or submit an entry here.

Photographs might express one of four particular themes:

  • Tell a story. Provide an interpretation of “a human bridge”,
  • Bridge the Imagination Gap,
  • Connect the Near and the Far, and/or
  • “With empathy comes connection”.

Connect like you give a damn! It won’t be the same without you.

We want your photo!

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Mother and child. The most important human bridge?
Mother and child. The most important human bridge?

Not just any photo. We are collecting photos on the theme of a ‘human bridge’ for a book that has been a while in the making called Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection.

Feeling creative? Please join us on this journey by submitting a photo of your human bridge.

There are two quotes which frame an ‘artistic brief’ for this project drawing inspiration from Bill Shore’s inspirational 2010 book: “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men”.

The first quote is written by Bill Shore himself where he describes “the imagination gap: a narrow but vitally important space between the impractical and impossible.” He writes:

The imagination gap is a place where hope lies waiting to be discovered, and cannot be extinguished once it has. Most failures in life are not failures of resources, or organisation, or strategy or discipline. They are failures of imagination.

The second quote is taken from a graduation speech by Ophelia Dahl (cofounder of Partners in Health and daughter of renowned children’s book author Roald Dahl) when she quoted Adam Hochschild who earlier wrote about the importance of “drawing connections between the near and the distant”:

Linking our own lives and fates with those we can’t see will, I believe, be the key to a decent and shared future… Imagination will allow you to make the link between the near of your lives with the distant others and will lead us to realise the plethora of connections between us and the rest of the world… and this will surely lead to ways in which you can influence others and perhaps improve the world along the way.

The compilation of this book funds the 10 City Bridge Run which is a citizen led initiative that asks a simple, but important, question: “how might we use our networks to improve child survival?” The image of a ‘human bridge’ helps to illustrate this question.

So please, help us out and send us a photo of your human bridge. It won’t be the same without you!

Overcoming a dilemma: building a bridge

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AI USA Maternal Death Clock Launch
I thought this was an unusual photo. Pointing to the Amnesty International “USA Maternal Death Clock” at the launch. I wonder how it is going, the clock that is? (Photo credit: Amnesty International)

In my last post I wrote about a dilemma I faced. Come too far to stop, but not enough backing to start running on 12 December 2012. It was a real dilemma. I had been training hard to make this journey possible since early 2010. Many false starts, many injuries, but not yet enough of what I needed to begin the journey.

The journey involves a stunt. I will run 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km each in 10 cities across 10 countries all inside of one month. The stunt is to open a conversation about how might we use our networks to help reduce child mortality within the context of the Millennium Development Goals.

Every time I had delayed the start in the past was a difficult decision. I felt as though people who were supporting me would be disappointed, I felt the embarrassment of having to change plans from what I said I would achieve, I felt the difficulty of needing to refocus my mind to a new set of dates.

The good thing was that many people really did help me with some good advice when I shared this last dilemma. Their advice: take your time if you need it, get it right, find some space to rest your mind and get clear on what you are wanting to achieve.

So, to those people who have been a great support, I just want to say thank you.

The new start date for running is 24 February 2013. The dates I had earlier outlined will obviously need to be shifted, but that gives us an opportunity. Through the ‘Supporters Passport’ I have sent to those people who have helped me, we now have a straw man of the concept which we can build upon.

And there are some good opportunities emerging:

  • ‘Conversation Partners’ have now been identified to help with the journey.
  • A significant partner is likely to help to frame the experience. More on that opportunity shortly I hope!
  • Just over three months from now until I start running, so much better time to build the conversation before running.
  • Running outside of the Christmas break so can build a more focused conversation.
  • Looking at a launch party on 31 January 2013, with a very good MC agreeing to help out on the night. More on that shortly!
  • Some good performers also agreeing to help out at the launch event!

It is regrettable to delay, but in this case it helps to build a stronger conversation. Building a bridge over a dilemma. That is what is most beneficial to the outcome, and that is what is most important.

One of the outcomes is the definition of a Three Year Plan. The run will now take place at the beginning of that Three Year Plan. We will be living it out as the plan unfolds. Every decision we make has real consequences.

Thanks to everyone for joining the journey. We welcome many more to come with us if you are not already on board.

Over the coming months, I will be asking for your advice. Looking forward to hearing from you!

10 Day Sprint

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Ελληνικά: εκκίνηση
Run hard!

Starting tomorrow, I will be head-down on a 1o day sprint. It is an all-in 100% guts-effort to welcome 100 new sponsors to join this journey.

I am still carrying most of the expense out of my own pocket for this initiative, as I have been doing for the last two years. What that means essentially is that I am still short to meet the required amount to board a plane to start the journey.

I am convinced it will happen, and just know that there is some hard work ahead of me between now and then.

In 10 days time I want to be able to book my air travel with confidence that I have the necessary funding in the bank to start and complete the journey.

There are essentially three levels of sponsorship: $5, $24 and $240. You can sponsor me at www.pozible.com/lifebridge or if you would prefer to use a different payment method contact me by email or leave a comment below.

It is more than just giving money. In return for your sponsorship, you are in effect joining the journey, and so I will be sending you your own 16-page passport which describes this initiative in detail. At the end of the journey, you will also receive a copy of the book Life Bridge featuring 100 photos of human bridges.

I will be working hard to engage my networks. Would you help by passing this news to people you know. Please help us to reduce child mortality by sponsoring this initiative. Thank you!