What makes a good school?

We’ve embarked on what’s shaping up to be a really interesting project with Moseley Primary School (who we worked with on the 110m Hurdles project last year). The school is due an Ofsted inspection, and this got us wondering what – if you asked them – children themselves would set as the features of a good school? Would they tally with Ofsted’s criteria? And how might they decide to inspect or measure these?

So we thought we would ask them…

The Junior Leadership Team at Moseley has begun to explore what is good about their own school, and what they think could be improved upon. They’ve been grappling with what features or qualities make a school good – and one that you might want to get up and go to every morning – and with how their own school measures up to this.

The next step is for them to design a survey to enable them to find out what the rest of the pupils, the staff, the parents and the neighbours think. That’s next – after half term – watch this space…

When we were Data Miners [blogpost] #tbarchive

Ten years ago, we were Data Miners in Residence at Vivid. Ten years is undeniably a long time and things were different then: Vivid presided over a suite of film making spaces in the Big Peg in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the web was less crowded, less wordpress-y and peppered with primitive (and largely ridiculous) flash animations. At Vivid, Talking Birds embarked on a terrifyingly ambitious programme of data collection, working with professionals across some of the era’s most influential sectors. By email (which had only relatively recently lost its novelty value), our Data Miners rigorously questioned volunteers, collected data, clarified points, sifted findings and pruned data trees until we were confident our results were sufficiently robust – and what startling findings they were! The results enabled our Data Miners to formulate ten ground breaking theories about the world, which were then published online for peer scrutiny before being ratified. Although the statements may appear outlandish, you should bear in mind that they were hailed at the time as “strangely plausible”.

And now, ten years on, what do you think?

If you participated in the research, did the Web Demographic project change your life as much as you thought it did at the time? And, 10 years on, (whether you participated or not) are the theories still pertinent? We’d love to know your thoughts! We’ll publish the responses that make us laugh – and award a coveted Whale t-shirt to the one that pushes the Talking Birds giggle-o-meter to the highest level…

The 10 Web Demographic Theory Statements

1. All first memories feature singing or the number four.

2. A disproportionately large number of people found fame in 1976.

3. Most people believe that the place where they are is really somewhere else in disguise.

4. People in Scotland are most likely to be spurred on by strangers to make a reckless world record attempt.

5. Cameras lost in Birmingham are most likely to turn up in Bucharest.

6. Families are more authentic in old photographs.

7. The identity of people in the South East of England is defined by the colour of their door.

8. Colorado Springs, US is an exact replica of Worthing, England, revolved through ninety degrees to the west.

9. Demolition is most likely to be welcomed in the west of England.

10. Nothing is mundane.

Where to find Web Demographic:

Bits of Web Demographic still exist online but do remember that as it’s been there for an awfully long time, it is a little cranky and some of the embedded flash links have sadly expired. You can find the remaining bits and pieces here.

What people said about Web Demographic:

“Followers of Talking Birds’ growing reputation will not be disappointed by their skilful delivery of sharp, almost surreal, humour…The straight faced satirical delivery…is joyful. The project is mischievous and absorbing.” [a-n magazine]

“Outlandish and surreal, but at the same time, strangely plausible” [participant]

“This is silly but compelling…You can read some wonderful cod-scientific explanations for the theories then vote on whether you agree or disagree.” [Cobweb Express]

“Even the apparently silly things can be tricky to refute…” [Birmingham Post]

“Many thanks…for highlighting the ridiculousness of the internet. And art. And of Worthing.” [participant]

– See more at: http://www.talkingbirds.co.uk/pages/online.asp#sthash.TXnICq3U.dpuf