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Surfaces and Strategies – Crowdsourcing

Our task in week 3 was “you are asked to work in groups to crowdsource and produce a digital OR paper zine from personal networks and / or within the university”

The ‘rules’ were quite simple:-

  1. Organise into four groups. Each group needed a ‘group leader’.

  2. Establish a theme for the zine and create a ‘call for participants’: a one-sentence objective you would like people to carry out. Keep in mind that your respondents may not have much time to participate, so instructions should be clear and achievable. Please also try to keep your group activities a secret from the other groups!

  3. Share the call for participation and collect contributions.

  4. Collate the images and arrange into a zine.

I quickly organised a group and assumed the leader role.  My group consisted of Philip Morris, Don Hodgson, Kevin Darling-Finan, Tomasz Kondracki and we were later joined by Matus Duda and Rapitse Montsho. Each team member contributed as much as they were able to do during the week.

We quickly decided on a theme and I set up a secret group on Facebook to get the ball rolling.  This way we could keep it a secret from the rest of the cohort. The initial post was:

Figure 1: Sutherst. 2017

The team enthusiastically shared the hashtag #shoesMAFalmouth on all social media platforms.  I also placed casting calls in model sites and other Facebook groups that I belong to.  MA Photography staff at Falmouth were also emailed with the call for images.

Very soon images were streaming in.  Each image was saved in a Dropbox folder under the name of the person who submitted it.  We decided that every image received would be included with little or no editing (we only ended up editing a couple of images to make them fit the available space).

Philip Morris wrote 2 articles for the zine and along with the others, collated sayings that referred to feet and shoes.

By our cut off point we had received over 230 images.  Nothing had prepared us for that level of response.  Images came from friends, family and strangers all around the globe. They were shot on phones and dslr. There were many interpretations of the task and this enabled me to sort the images into groups.

Philip and I had decided on using MagMagz.com for the zine.  I bought a template as the standard free one did not fulfil what we wanted.  Our intent was to maintain the feel of the social media method of submission, so images were first collaged in Picasa, before placing in the zine.

I spent a couple of hours on the zine’s format and published a draft for Philip to proof read.  After that the zine was published to the team.  We delayed the public release until after it had been presented in the 2 university webinars.  A post stating this was placed in the Facebook group and resulted in an increased level of engagement in the project.  More images started coming in.  The anticipation was contagious.


The 2 webinar presentations went well and we received some great feedback. Many were struck by the colours in the images.  Simon Fremont and Philip Singleton discussed how this could be funded moving forwards, maybe even looking for sponsorship.

“You have managed to create a real and actual sense of participant ownership via the Facebook group with expectation – which in marketing terms is jolly significant isn’t it?”

– Philip Singleton

“I love the colours – brilliant”

– Mandisa Baptiste Mauring

“I like all the quotes at the bottom. That is so great. Good work guys!!”

– Ashley Truckey

In such a short time, we achieved a vibrant and exciting zine. We were shown the power of crowdsourcing images and it has sparked ideas in several of us (I will write a future blog post on my ideas).

The resulting zine was released and then immediately shared by many.  We were totally humbled by the response and I have decided that the project lives on.  I am not totally sure of the format of phase 2, but it will happen.

Working in a team can be tricky when you are based around the globe.  We managed this very well and kept to all deadlines.  I am really pleased with how this turned out and am excited for where it still might go.

Online link to zine.

#shoesMAFalmouth #crowdsourcing #June2017

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