Crowdsourced maps turn democracy into an art form (Wired UK)

Houses of Parliament

A crowdsourced digital art project wants to reconnect the public
with democracy, through the most exciting medium known to
bureaucracy: maps.

Parliament wants the project, called Democracy Street, to result
in an exhibition of original artworks and maps by November

Using a dedicated mobile and web app, Parliament is encouraging
people to discover and explore streets across the country that have
a link to the UK’s democratic history. Some streets may share the
same name as a Parliamentarian, or be related in some way to key
events in the country’s democratic history. Users can discover
“democratic streets” by either hitting “Find streets around me”
within the app, or manually dropping a pin anywhere in the

The aim is for people to upload their responses to locations and
stories they discover, which will then be turned into data and,
eventually, art. Another option is to upload new photographs of
streets they may have actually visited. As a reward, users can
collect up to nine “badges”. If all the badges are collected, they
will be awarded a Mozilla Open Badge.

Democracy Street was commissioned by The Speaker’s Art Fund¬†and Arts Council England, and
will be led by artist Jon Adams.

“The project is democratic as everyone who takes part makes ‘a
part’ of the map, contributing to the bigger picture. We are keen
to involve as many people as possible in this UK-wide digital art
project and I would encourage people to be creative with the images
they contribute, as these will feature and inform the new artistic
maps I will create,” says Adams.

The project is part of a wider initiative called Parliament in
the Making, which is using 2015 as an opportunity to celebrate
several democratic anniversaries in the UK. It has been 750 years
since the 1265 parliament of Simon de Montfort — often referred to
as the first English parliament — and 800 years since the sealing
of the Magna Carta.

“Access to and engagement with Parliamentary history can open
the door to exciting experiences, learning opportunities and
enhanced democratic engagement for people of all ages,” says
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

“Democracy Street is designed to act as a catalyst that inspires
people to find out more about their local area and to go on
journeys of discovery about people and events of historical
significance. “

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27 March 2015 | 5:24 pm – Source:


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