mervin and iStreet are back!

Edgers who’ve been paying attention might remember a very special guest we hosted last year – our international resident mervin Jarman. For the uninitiated, mervin’s a community arts and technology activist and social entrepreneur who’s won international awards for his work with marginalised young people in his native Jamaica, and beyond.

As well as being a handy artist and musician, mervin does cool stuff like setting up community media labs in old shipping containers and wheelie bins. He gives young people a chance to learn new skills and make their voices heard. Growing up in poverty in rural Jamaica, mervin knows what it’s like to be dismissed as a young “bad boy”. Having used community media to change his own future, he is passionate about giving other disadvantaged young people the chance to do the same.

Well, we’re very excited that mervin will be back again this year with some very special projects for Queensland.

The iStreet Lab is mervin’s wheelie bin wonder, and we’ll be rolling them out onto the street in Queensland. What’s in the bin? Up to six laptops, graphic design and web production software, video cameras, a projector, sound system and wireless internet. With access to an iStreet lab, a kid on the corner can potentially record a song, film a video, post it to YouTube, burn CDs and design packaging for it – without leaving the community they’re comfortable in.

Mervin will be working with The Edge and Stylin Up crews to inject iStreet labs into Inala, and Cairns. The Stylin Up festival is a yearly reminder of how much music and dance talent comes out of communities like Inala, so it’s going to be exciting to see how they use the iStreet labs. The labs will have a snowball effect for community development, as community leaders learn how to use the gear and then in turn teach others, helping them build skills and even get jobs and start businesses.

mervin Jarman stands next to his iStreet yellow wheelie bin

mervin Jarman stands next to his iStreet yellow wheelie bin

In the meantime, a bunch of fresh young brains from QUT will be working with academic experts and community representatives to reverse engineer the wheelie bin labs. Deconstructing the technical aspects of equipment but also considering how the human element of how to make the wheelie bins work in Queensland communities .

Where would you like to see an iStreet lab? Do you have any suggestions for making the wheelie bin labs work for Queensland? What gear would you want to use – and what kind of projects would you try to create? Hit us up in the comments.

Learn more about mervin’s mission with this video from mervin’s visit last year.

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