1 min read
Thu 30 Mar 2023 Writing

Month Notes: March 2023

A new prototype that generates enriched membership data, a website for Autonomy’s Annual Deprivation Index, Green New Deal Rising campaigns, our Digital Organising training course and a website of our very own.


Thanks to the support of the Civic Power Fund , we’ve prototyped an idea we’ve had on the back of our mind for ages: Mapped .

This tool helps organisers visually spot where their supporters are and in which constituency. This helps with identifying areas that need extra attention in recruitment, canvassing or fundraising.

Image detailing how the tool identifies the parliamentary constituency, code and ward from a supplied csv file

How it works

  1. Upload a spreadsheet in any format.
  2. We auto-detect postcodes then add in UK political geography names and codes, like constituency or ward.
  3. We plot the results on a map.
  4. You get an enhanced CSV file to download.

We’ve had some promising initial responses to the prototype and have identified where we’d like to take it next. If you have any feedback on this version, send us an email!

Annual Deprivation Index

We designed and built a site for Autonomy’s Annual Deprivation Index , which provides the most recent data on core deprivation metrics in the cities, towns and regions of England.

Screenshot of The Annual Deprivation Index homepage, with the name displayed on the left of the page, and an image of a town with statistics of asthma cases in the area overlayed.

The index presents the three core indicators of deprivation: unemployment, health and crime. It is focused on local levels and comes out more frequently than other indices, in order to help researchers and policy-makers build up a more nuanced picture of deprivation in England and Wales.

Thanks to designer Arby Hisenaj for your work on this! 🙌

Green New Deal Rising campaigns

We revisited the identity we designed for Green New Deal Rising in 2021 by creating sub-brands for two of their current campaigns, aimed at Labour and SNP respectively.

The words labour: be bold, accompanied with the green new deal rising icon (16-point star with the top half in a heavier weight), over a green and purple background
The words SNP: No More Talk, accompanied with the green new deal rising icon, over an orange and purple background.

The campaigns are geared towards getting both parties to commit to a Green New Deal, with demands around expanding public ownership, promising green jobs for all and taxing fossil fuels companies and corporations profiting off the climate crisis.

An instagram post used for the Labour: Be Bold campaign from Green New Deal Rising, suggesting how money raised from taxing the ultra-rich could be used to enrich other parts of society.
An instagram post used from the SNP: No More Talk campaign from Green New Deal Rising, arguing as to why we need a wealth tax in the UK.

Digital Organising course

The 8-week course on Digital Organising that we’re running in collaboration with Act Build Change has just kicked off. We are tremendously excited to be doing this work.

The course will help people sharpen their digital organising craft, build confidence and develop new ideas on how to create more safe, joyful, purposeful and accessible spaces to engage in online.

We’ll be joined by organisers from groups like Migrants in Culture , The Engine Room , Small Axe and Green New Deal Rising who will share real-world examples of good digital organising.

It is a course taught as a cohort, but do email us if you are interested in having similar training at your organisation. We love training!

New website

We quietly launched a new version of our website last month. We’ve included pages for each of our services that explain our approach, interspersed with example projects and testimonials from people we’ve worked with:

A screenshot of the Common Knowledge website homepage.

The site was primarily built by Anna Cunnane as the final project of her software development apprenticeship. She’s written a bit about the process on her blog . Without her help, we probably would have gone another two years without a new website, so we’re very grateful!

Other co-op news

We went on a team retreat to Glasgow in late February. We hired a small space at Agile City’s Civic House where we worked together to explore the challenges and puzzles we face and to develop our strategy for the next year or so. It was lovely to spend time together in person — the first time that all seven of us have been in the same room!

A photo of the team from the Glasgow retreat, they are in conversation around a wall of sticky notes, it is sunny and everyone is smiling.

April 1 is handover day for our responsibility areas! Every 6 months, we rotate the stewardship of critical co-op functions: Governance, Financial Administration, Public Communications and Opportunity Development.

This helps balance the workload between co-op members and ensures that each area of the co-op has someone to advocate for it. It’s also a way to skill share across the co-op, so everyone knows what it takes to run the different areas.

  • We’ve become even more international, with Everin joining the co-op from Sweden and Gemma moving to Portugal!
  • Jan is currently reading Hope in Hopeless Times by John Holloway, a book of political theory about the concept of Hope in the present political crisis.
  • Gemma has been enjoying Joshua P Hill’s newsletter New Means , particularly this recent post about collective vs individual power .
  • Alex watched Aftersun and loved it — one of the most beautiful films of the last 20 years.
  • Anna C is reading The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow.
  • London Renter’s Union are looking for two member solidarity organisers .
  • Platform recently launched #OurPower , ten demands devised by offshore workers to transform our energy system.

What’s next

  • A lot of our energy at the moment is going towards an exciting new project with The Social Practice in the US. We love working with The Social Practice because they really get big organising. Co-founder Becky Bond literally wrote the book on big organising — Rules for Revolutionaries — which has been a foundational text for our work. They are passionate about how technology can enable organising while keeping the human factor as central. So are we.
  • We’re just wrapping up a project with Uplift , a research and campaigning organisation supporting a just transition away from fossil fuels in the UK. More on that next month!
  • We’re kicking off new projects with Solidarity Knows No Borders , Public Interest News Foundation and SWARM .
  • We’ve started plans to expand our engineering team and will start recruiting next month.