For this month’s #EastLothianHour, we are going to discuss intentional, anonymous acts of kindness performed in playful, creative ways for strangers.
So what does this actually mean?
If you give someone £2 for a cup of coffee, that’s a nice, decent thing to do.
If you campaign for fair trade coffee, that’s activism (there a good selection in Earth Matters, North Berwick).
If you stick “Pay Your Tax” stickers on Starbucks, that’s subtervising/guerrilla stickering/culture jamming…or something (Some local, independent coffee establishments are listed here, but there’s heaps more).
If you and your pals run on to a train, dressed as waiters, set down a tablecloth and pour free cups of coffee for the bemused passengers that’s, well, frankly, that’s just brilliant (but not recommended on the morning commuter train to Waverley).
We’d love to hear your ideas for Random Acts of Kindness or ideas to make East Lothian and beyond, a wee bit more pleasant.
Join in the discussion, from 9p.m. – 10p.m. on Friday 1st April and use the hashtag #EastLothianHour
Prizes to be won!
Not taken part in an #EastLothianHour before? Don’t be shy. Just jump right in and tweet your suggestions or share your experiences – as an incentive, everyone who contributes to the discussions will be entered into a prize draw.
A pair of Gardening Scotland tickets
A pair of Scotland’s Big Nature Festival tickets.
Stuck for ideas? An A-Z of Guerrilla Kindness might look something like this:
Action for Happiness – @actionhappiness helps people take practical action for a happier and more caring world. And guess what? Being kind, makes you happy.
Bus Shelters – Bus shelters are the perfect places for random acts of kindness. East Lothian has it’s own tweeting bus shelter @PPansBusShelter where it is rumoured you may catch a glimpse of tiny people waiting for the X15. With a rather larger budget that the Prestonpans prankster, Pepsi created an amazing augmented reality stunt at a bus shelter:
Next time you’re going for a bus, why not leave a pair of gloves, a joke or a book…or a chair? The Guerrilla Upholsterer a.k.a. @mick_sheridan leaves beautifully restored chairs in bus shelters.
— bloc hats (@_bloc_) January 21, 2016
Change the World for a Fiver – Change the World for a Fiver is a book, priced at a £5, which is packed full of ideas on how to change the world for a better place. Buy two and give one to someone. Better still buy your copies from Hive, the network of independent bookshops.
Deeds – You’ve heard the expression, Actions speak louder than words. It’s true. Social Media makes it easy for us to say kind stuff, retweet kind stuff and like kind stuff but don’t forget to DO the kind stuff. (Having a Digital Detox every so often is really good for you and frees up some time too).
Flashmobs – A flashmob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Who can remember the Puffin Flashmob outside the National Gallery? Take a look at this Mannequin Mob…would something similar work in East Lothian?
Guerrilla Gardening – @ Guerilla Gardening is the act of cultivating a neglected area. This can be setting up a community garden growing vegetables or planting up a neglected roadside verge with brightly coloured flowers. A sideshoot is Incredible Edibles which includes projects in Dunbar.
Hugs – Free hugs is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places. You might not be entirely comfortably making physical contact with a stranger, but would this ball pit experiment work here?
Jokes – Jokes, pranks, silliness, high jinx and tomfoolery – when good humoured, and made with the intention to make the ‘victim’ laugh as much as the prankster – can really lift a person’s spirits. Take a look at these daft ‘memorial’ bench plaques. Cuthill Park in Prestonpans played a trick on locals when it announced the installation of a plaque to commemorate ‘physicist’ Avril Fish. Yes, it was an April Fool’s joke.
Kids – Free cakes for kids is a community service to families who find it difficult to provide a birthday cake for their child. In Prestonpans, a small group, working in conjunction with Prestonpans Community Council & East Lothian Foodbank, provided Christmas gifts to the children of families frequently using the Foodbank service.
Little Free Library –Little Free Libraries build and install Little Free Libraries across the UK with the aim of increasing access to books for children, young people and their families. Find them on Twitter @. If you like this idea you will love the Athelstaneford Book Nook. On a similar vein is Bookcrossing. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. Why not leave a note inside a library book for a stranger to find.
Microfinance –@ is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world. Learn more about how it works. Sign up here.
Nice Graffiti – No, we don’t mean illicit artworks in that beautiful French city (if that’s what you want, look here) we mean, uplifting non-destructive, temporary kind using chalk (see here) or moss (see here)
One Action – @is Scotland’s global action cinema project linking audiences, movies, campaigners and communities. See the change you want to be in the world!
Pay it Forward – if you’re lucky enough to be the recipient of kindness or good fortune, pay it forward. The vision for Pay it Forward UK is to assist people to have the opportunity to give to others – particularly those less fortunate than themselves. One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can help us to become better people. @ is on April 28th this year. East Lothian man, Jamie Morris aims to fund a racing wheelchair then use it to raise funds for others. Follow his ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign here: raise funds for a racing wheelchair.
QR codes – Environmentalists have used QR codes to great effect to sticker products and give consumers information that companies prefer to keep quiet. As well as being used by activists, an enterprising person has linked QR codes with kindness and sell kindness ‘tokens’ with a QR code on that ‘tracks’ the journey of the token.
Random Acts of Kindness – – Kindness Day is held on 13th November every year. It is a day to celebrate and promote kindness in all its forms from giving out chocolate at train stations to flash mobs. In February this year, a mystery samaritan left cash to pay for a parking fine while the car owner was in Edinburgh’s Sick Kids. The recipient was so moved by this act of kindness that has paid the favour forward with a fundraising drive for the hospital. That’s how kindness works, like a ripple in a pond. Still stuck for ideas? Look here >> https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas
Subtervising & Stickering – @WeFixYourAdvert are ‘improving’ certain prominent adverts in their own sassy way. Although technically illegal, a similar guerrilla stickering campaign on the London Underground has brightened up many a commuter’s morning. Make Magazine produced a series of stickers which could be stuck on some products in toy stores to highlight how playtime is becoming an endangered activity.
Urbanism -It’s easy to fall in to the trap of thinking that big cities and towns and unfriendly, uncaring places and wee villages have a wonderful sense of community. A group of North Carolina residents mounted walkable direction signs around their town. What changes would you make to your town to make East Lothian a wee bit more pleasant for residents and visitors? Public bike pumps? Vegetable vending machines? . Check out some of the the improvements that three designers made in Paris. If you want proof that cities can be caring places, read these examples. Better still, be the example.
Voice activated – You know how it is, you have a new label maker, you’re feeling a bit mischievous and next thing you know, there are confused shoppers trying to operate a ‘voice activated’ trolley. No? Just me then. Also works well on doors and hand dryers. Have fun.
— East Lothian Loop (@LothianLoop) August 28, 2015
Weird and Wonderful – Using materials found in the local environment and some basic artist supplies such as clay and paint, Mark Buckman crafted unique quirky pieces and placed them back on the Littlehampton beach where he had found them for beach visitors to discover. Perhaps you’ll find something at Dunbar’s Stone Stacking Challenge….
X – X is for Crossing -Would Remi Gaillard’s famous prank work in East Lothian? And where should we carry it out?
Yarnbombing and craftivism – Crafty members of @ have been decorating the Honest Toun with all sorts of creations to foster interest in the forthcoming Riding of the Marches. Follow the #ROMArt hashtag to discover more.
Zzzzz – that’s it.
Be kind to everyone you meet, not because of who they are but because of who you are!