This is a guest blog by Katie Brown
1. The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts.
We twitter, facebook, we have blogs, tumblrs, and instagram and the share button is ubiquitous with us now. We share, reblog, retweet, pass on and on and on we go. We follow people online that we know and that we don’t know, we may follow them for a variety of reasons, they’re interesting, we like them, we don’t like them and they share things that matter to us.
We’ve got savvier at understanding our online voice and what people are interested in following us for. I can tell you that when I post about social issues on my social media they will be commented on, shared, almost as much as a video of kittens. When I post about rock and roll, not so much. In platforms that enable and encourage multi purpose conversation we make judgements about how following someone and what they post, is relevant to us. We revel in finding that one twitter person who also has a bizarrely nerdy love of pens and talks about them in detail, posts found photos of terrible graffiti and has in-depth knowledge of motorbikes. Well, maybe that’s just me. But you know what I mean, someone who has similar and possibly more knowledge on the things that interest you and shares them in a way that is funny and insightful and engaging.
The emergence of curation as something no longer restricted to galleries, museums and research collections, picked up on this social sharing phenomena.
Wikipedia is crowd-sourced curation of world knowledge. Quora presents the best answers to questions in your areas of interests in a monthly round up email.
Cowbird provides one with the means to create collections of stories written by others.
At some of the more progressive and crossover festivals that attract unique, innovative and experimental artists and attendees we’ve seen the return of the music artist as curator. We see how powerful this idea is in Yoko’s residency at Meltdown in London’s Southbank. Her connections and canon in rock history enabled her to bring together artists (content, if you will) of such a powerful, iconic ilk.
Curator as definer in popular culture is taking on greater resonance.
Maria Popova of Brainpickings is one of these ‘celebrity’ online curators. Celebrity, is a strange word to define someone who is a nerd for information, works at home and likely you would never skip a beat if you saw her on the street. But she is well known for her work, with over 436K followers on twitter and write ups in the New York Times. Brainpickings was included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012.
Her ability to weave beautifully put together ruminations on artistic, creative and philosophical visionaries and icons and their role in society. Brings books, art, ideas to life and makes them both accessible and gives them a down to earth relevancy.
Innovation is not necessarily brand new ideas, innovation can be bringing ideas from one sphere and applying them to another. Curation moving from real world artifacts to online artifacts is one such example.
I’m curious as to why mental health as a sphere has been slower to adopt some of the onlineism’s that other areas have picked up more readily. I was around at the very beginning of digital mental health and been involved right through to it’s verge into mainstreaming (of course I have some caveats on what exactly defines the mental health mainstream, but that’s probably a post for another day).
I think its time for mental health to innovate by adopting the online cultures that are now becoming our defining norms for how we share, disseminate and build our knowledge and networks.
I think its time for mental health to get its curation on.