Tag: anafmora

A Dance for the Republic (and other uses for blogs)


So one day way back last summer, my friend Pep tells me about this book he’s recently published, Un ball per la República, which is the story of the Spanish Civil War and the Republic in the village of Alcampell where he grew up. And so we get talking and I ask if he’s going to do an English version, but he says it’s impossible because it’s published by a small Catalan publisher, and I suggest blogging about the book and, you know, making it more than a “book”, with hyperlinks and maps & photos and all the sorts of stuff that a small publisher can’t afford to do, even if they had the vision. Pep loved the idea and A Dance for the Republic was born.

I’m sure “the author” will excuse me for saying that he had a very linear & chronological approach to writing and it took him a few meetings to get his read around the idea of using the blog structure as a platform, the use of categories etc. Check it out if you’re at all interested in the subject matter or how an “online book” can work.


Ricard Espelt is well known to visitors of this blog for both his role as councillor for new technology in the village of Copons, as well as interviews & posts for TalkingAbout. Right now Ricard is doing a Phd on technology & rural communities and I’ve been helping him a little on his English language blog which he describes as:

“This blog is a platform to communicate with the rural communities and develop a research space for my Phd. My intention is to  use this blog to help my Personal Learning Environment to find more connections and more dialogues with the rural-local researchers.”

So here we have blog repurposed as a publicly available academic research document and communication vehicle. Check it out here


[gfa] is the working title of a blog which we are using to document the investigation into the fascinating and obscure of life of Ana’s grandfather, Gerardo Fernández Agüadero. Read the post about it here or go to the blog itself

[gfa] A story worth telling


When I first met Ana, she didn't tell me that both of her grandfathers had been in prison after the civil war in Spain. That's understandable, but when I first visited her parents place, there was a framed yellowing newspaper article on the wall which was unavoidable. And it spoke of her grandfather, of his time in a dungeon in Venezuela, and then the rest of the story came out. More or less. Because there are an incredible amount of contradictions in the story, but it is a story well worth telling. So after many years, and false starts, we've begun investigating, and now we have the tools to tell thae story as we go along.

Here's the introduction Ana has written on the "project" blog:

Tenemos una tendencia a mejorar nuestros recuerdos, a cambiar los hechos a nuestra conveniencia, no es mal intencionado pero cuando hablamos de un pariente explicamos nuestra versión, y no nos preocupa, demasiado, la veracidad. Si le queremos solo explicamos las cosas buenas y sino ya sabemos que hacemos…

Me gusta escuchar a mis padres explicar historias de nuestra familia, pero como los dos son hijos únicos acaban pronto. Pero hay una historia que siempre ha captado mi interés, la vida de mi abuelo paterno, un hombre que siendo muy joven emigró a América, que estuvo diez años en una mazmorra venezolana, que salió de esta porque le dieron por muerto y le tiraron a los cocodrilos, que le robaron su fortuna, que regresó a España, que lo encarcelaron durante tres años al final de la Guerra Civil , que contrajo matrimonio en artículo mortis, y que como él dijo en una entrevista: "lo que no pude desde entonces es huir de aquel recuerdo…, huir de mí…"

Mi interés por saber qué sucedió, dónde ocurrió y por qué, me ha llevado hasta aquí.


We have a tendency to improve our memories, to change the facts to our liking, it is not malicious but when we speak of a relative we explain our version, we are not  too concerned about the truth. If we liked the person we just explain the good things and if not, well, you know …

I like listening to my parents tell stories of our family, but as both are only children the stories end soon. But there is a story that has always captured my interest, the life of my grandfather, who as a very young man emigrated to America, spent ten years in a dungeon in Venezuela, who came out of this because he was thought  dead and thrown to crocodiles, who had his fortune stolen, who returned to Spain, was imprisoned for three years at the end of the Civil War, who married in articulo mortis on his deathbed, and as he said in an interview, "what I could not do from then on was escape this memory… run from myself …"

My interest in knowing what happened, where it happened and why has led me here.

Kapow! It’s the Cataspanglish Summer Special!


Back in the prehistoric period that was my childhood I used to spend my summer pocket money on these "summer special" comics (images taken from this great post on the subject by Lew Stringer). And this summer feels just like one of them, so much stuff crammed in within the covers – so I just wanted to recap a little what's happening in the world of cataspanglish…

Right now we're up to our eyeballs in PodCamp Barcelona 2010 which takes place in El Masnou, September 13-18. Instead of following the format of the last two years and making it easy on ourselves, clever cataspanglish decided to change the format, adding some workshops to give back, through our knowledge, something to the good folks of El Masnou who bankroll the event. We also decided to limit the number of "presentations" and, at the suggestion of @Moof who is working on PodCamp with us this year along with @pdavenne, make the afternoon part of the "main" day of PodCamp Barcelona an after-lunch discussion forum based on the "sobremesa" – the long, leisurely after-lunch, over coffee and liqueurs chats around the table typical of Spain.

Moof and myself had discussed this kind of event idea after attending the 1pound40 conference held by Amplified in London late last year. Much of the thinking about PodCamp Barcelona 2010 has been inspired by the concepts of Sue Thomas and Toby Moores about participation, involvement & creativity which they experiment on through Amplified projects, and conversations with Steve Lawson and Lucy Windmill who came over to PodCamp Barcelona last year. I'd say that what we bring to that (and which complicates everything intensely), is our intent to create the conditions for real time, genuine but informal communication to take place but amongst people expressing themselves in different languages simultaneously. We have the speaker on the podium simultaneous translation thing down, but how can we extend the peer sharing of knowledge and ideas in a real time multilingual context? Maybe through transliteracy?  We'll keep you posted on the results of our experiment and if you've got any thoughts, please share them in the comments.

The other big issue, and one we haven't had the resources to deal with this year, is that of inclusion of disabled and deaf people. We have added a plugin on the Spanish website which reads the posts (need to find one those for Catalan and English too), but the budget didn't stretch to having sign language and attempts to get volunteers has (so-far) failed…

Whew! this getting too damn long for a single comic strip so I'm going to have to use that great expression "to be continued…"

Blam! (update)
Can't believe I forgot to include the Tweetlation real-time tweet translation that Moof set up at PodCamp Barcelona 2009 and which he and Patrick are going to be running this year. Check out Can you tweetlate?

Kfé Innovación – Innovation Café


Ana's off to Seville today to take part in the first Kfé Innovación .

The idea of the café is to get some "experts" to sit down with a maximum of 10 interested people from business, education and the public sector and have a real particatory discussion about what innovation means to them and how they can use creative ideas in future projects. The event is organised by Kpacita a  Seville and Catalonia based company who want to rethink "conventional" wisdom both for themselves & their clients.

Over coffee Ana will be facilitating the 3 hour session today on the concept of innovation and how the internet can be the perfect stage for social & business development (Kfé Innovación blog post – in Spanish). On June 9th our mate Enric Senabre will introduce a discussion on social networks and knowledge networks, and on June 23rd, I'll be getting plenty of tapas provoking everyone about online contacts, social networks and the crossover IRL (In Real Life).

It'll be interesting to see how the format works and hopefully the typical event of experts and public will be replaced by collaborative thinking and a lot of crowdsourced, practical conclusions. Hats off to Kpacita for taking the risk and hopefully the Seville experts can guarantee me some excellent tapas…

The hashtag for the series of Innovation Cafés is #kfesev

pdf pack (in Spanish)

The UrbanLabs Club?


It’s been a crazy, inspiring, tiring month or so with the Citilab presentation at the CCCB, my visit to Birmingham and then UrbanLabs – and a lot of time reflecting, analysing and plotting.

Something’s been bugging me for months now & I’m beginning to understand what it is – ever since my first visit to Birmingham I’ve been trying to put my finger on the “difference”, on what is happening there, what is (or isn’t) happening here, on the role of Citilab and on the part of Cataspanglish in all this.

It all seems to have gelled in the last 48 hours – the “difference” or “solution” is twofold, sharing & community.

The Birmingham scene is the way it is now after around two years of people getting together, doing things and having as much a relationship offline as on. Dave Harte showed in his UrbanLabs presentation how this had happened and backed up my own experience when speaking with peeps from Brum. Twitter seems to be the fabric that holds their community together and the other important point is the willingness in Birmingham of the people to come together and use their skills & knowledge to to participate in, criticise and construct a wider community (not just the geeks) throughout the city and now further afield.

Oh yes, and with a sense of humour.

Citilab Presentation October 2009 - Digital Cities-1

So everything seems so deadly serious here (usually – thank you Platoniq for the construction of the Twittometer for the Grande Finale of UrbanLabs!) and often the concept of sharing seems like something from another planet. There can’t be community when people won’t share and there are clearly many in Spain (& elsewhere of course) who are using social media as just the latest tool on the block. While I was in Birmingham I spoke about social media in Spain to a group of students and lecturers from the Birmingham City University, talking about the difference between the way social media is usually used in Spain and a few inspiring projects such as Copons 2.0 (created by Ricard Espelt). A Spanish student said that he doubted anything would change as in his opinion his fellow countrymen & women are too entrenched in the status quo.

Ironically while I’ve been writing this, Ana has already posted a call to arms – and that’s what I want this to be. If we are to form communities amongst those of us who are doing or want to do, we cannot have just have these great, inspiring events once a year. So what I want to suggest is taking the spirit and PRACTICE of UrbanLabs and turn it into something more frequent. Let’s have some sort of follow up on a regular basis, a Saturday morning every couple of months and with participation through video-conference for those who can’t be there in public. Let’s get the UrbanLabs Club going and continue the narrative, the dialogue and the sharing. Let’s make the bloody community!

If you are interested in making an UrbanLabs “Club” please leave a comment.

Pasemos a la acción!


foto de UrbanLabs'09 pool



Acabo de volver de UrbanLabs #ul09 donde he aprendido mucho, he escuchado cosas interesantes y algunas no tan interesantes, donde he conocido a gente que tiene unos proyectos muy interesantes y otros no tan interesantes, pero lo más importante es que hemos compartido ideas, conocimiento y risas entre los que estábamos ahí.


Mi cerebro no ha parado desde entonces, cuando asisto a jornadas así me cargo de energía “analógica” para transformarla en “digital” y enviarla al depósito del social media para intentar hacer “algo”, por qué de eso se trata ¿no? Está muy bien que nos reunamos y trabajemos juntos durante unos días, pero después qué ¿A dónde va todo ese conocimiento? ¿Emprendemos alguna acción?


Quizás es un poco pretencioso pero los que creemos en el social media somos revolucionarios, gente que queremos que las cosas cambien.

Barcelona Girl Geek Dinners



In most of the events, workshops, seminars, meetings etc. related to Internet that we’ve attended, the majority of the speakers and public have been men. A little depressed by the low female presence, Ana began to think about organising an event where the majority of participants and organisers are women and then she found Girl Geek Dinners. She thought it would be interesting, fun and positive to get together from time to time to share experiences at Barcelona Girl Geek Dinners with some good food, wine and company.


En casi todos los actos, seminarios, talleres, reuniones, etc. que hemos asistido relacionados con Internet la mayoría de los asistentes y ponentes son hombres. Un poco decepcionada por la baja presencia femenina, Ana empezó a darle vueltas a la idea de organizar algo donde la mayoría de asistentes, participantes y organizadoras sean mujeres; descubrió Girl Geek Dinners y por eso propone reunirnos de tanto en tanto para compartir nuestras experiencias en buena compañía, con buena comida y buen vino, en el Barcelona Girl Geek Dinners


A gaire bé tots els actes, seminaris, tallers, reunions, etc. que hem assistit relacionats amb Internet la majoria dels assistents i ponents són homes. Una mica dessabuda per la baixa presència femenina, l'Ana va començar a donar-li voltes a la idea d’organitzar alguna cosa on la majoria d’assistents, participants i organitzadores siguin dones; va descobrí Girl Geek Dinners i és per això que proposa reunir-nos de tant en tant per compartir les nostres experiències en bona companyia, amb bon menjar i bon vi, al Barcelona Girl Geek Dinners