Jacob Payne, Iris Schoenherr and Jon Alexander from the Rabble Team
In the second of our series of three blogs, introducing the Heritage + Culture Open Data Challenge finalists, we meet Rabble, a great platform that will bring families and cultural institutions together.
What is your product?
On the surface, Rabble is a kickstarter-style platform, enabling families to find local heritage and culture “volunteering” activities. Starting in one city but spreading across the UK and beyond, sites owned by member organisations (e.g. NT, EH, HHA, RSPB) will list projects families can help with (e.g. clear the gardens). Beneath the surface, Rabble’s spread across the country will be driven by and be the catalyst for an open data revolution in the heritage sector.
Who is on your team?
This is an initiative of the New Citizenship Project, a startup innovation company dedicated to creating ideas that inspire people to participate in society as citizens, instead of just flogging them stuff as consumers.
Jon Alexander and Irenie Ekkeshis, the founders of New Citizenship, have backgrounds in advertising and brand consultancy. Jon has also spent three years working at the National Trust. We are joined by Jacob Payne, a graphic and user experience designer, and Iris Schoenherr, an expert in youth participation.
How did you come up with the idea, when and what was the light bulb moment?
This idea comes from Jon's time at the Trust, where he spent a lot of time working on reconnecting children and nature - he was deeply frustrated by the challenge of making it easy for young families to volunteer together as a family at Trust properties. This is despite the fact that families want these opportunities. Agnes Nairn, the author of a recent UNICEF report which placed the UK bottom of all OECD nations for childhood wellbeing, told us that there is a universal desire across all socio-economic groups for opportunities to do stuff together as a family. The light bulb came from stepping out of the Trust, and seeing that a third party can share resource across organisations, and frame this as fun not worthy - thus overcoming both key barriers.
What open data are you using and how does it form an essential part of your proposition?
A key part of our plan is to create a universal visitor attraction site list across institutions and government as a new open dataset. This will power our service as it will make our spread across the country far more efficient, but it will also power other initiatives. To build it, we'll start by integrating the open data already available from English Heritage such as National Parks
, protected sites
and more, to create a skeleton list, which we'll then flesh out through delivering an initial pilot in one city and working manually to identify the ideal data schema.
How will your project help engage more people or more diverse people in UK heritage and culture?
We know young families want stuff to do together that isn't shopping or the cinema, but we also know that very few of them are going to heritage and culture sites - particularly those from lower income households, and certainly not as active participants. This is a huge untapped resource, and we think by providing top up resource, an easy listing and booking service, and framing these activities as fun not worthy, Rabble can resolve the problem.
How do you feel about Rabble's idea? Watch this space to find out if they win the Grand Prize of £50,000 in May!
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