New York City - Digital Strategist
Why take steps when you can just leap towards said future aim? This is just an example of a typical question Michael Martin asks himself. He's a natural community organizer. He's also a radical digital solutionary. And if you ever have a coffee with him, he'll blow your hair back.
TSP: Would you mind telling us a little bit about where you've been? The different places, unique situations and jobs you've experienced?
MM: I grew up in the upstate New York (in retrospect it seems I was a bit of a country boy.) I did my undergrad in New York and a year abroad in Amsterdam; both places left a deep imprint on my imagination about social life and cities. After that I moved to New Orleans for four years - talk about a city of the imagination! - where I ran a non-profit that focused on community & economic development and creative placemaking.
TSP: That sounds incredible, Michael. From the country to the city, thoughts of social constructs to pursuing creative civic enrichment works in New Orleans, it seems you prefer to leap as opposed to step forward. Can you tell us about where you are today? Maybe a few projects or ideas?
MM: I'm back in New York helping build, or at least nicely design, the internet. Aside from my day job, I'm exploring ways to push forward a few ideas at the intersection of placemaking, digital engagement, art museums, and cultural community organizing.
TSP: There're some wonderful through-lines, here. We're sure NYC is happy to have you back in its hood. So, what's next? Where do you want to go?
MM: Somewhere warm. Ok, really - I'd like to have my own strategy consultancy that will focus on two immediate projects: helping establish art museums as hubs for local cultural communities to organize, build capacity, and collaborate; and work with cities, organizations, and companies to creatively integrate digital engagement with their community organizing initiatives.
TSP: There's nothing wrong with warm. There's also nothing wrong with building a strategy consultancy dedicated to strengthening the social and creative fabric of cities across the country. How do you plan to bring this to life?
MM: Keep on having conversations with as many interesting people as possible and push to implement plans when the most clear opportunity presents itself. This sounds an awful lot like "planning by happenstance" but there is strategy to the seeming chaos...
TSP: How can we, The Somewhere Project community, can help you make the next step towards your future aspirations?
MM: Spread my ideas for these projects far and wide and if you think you know someone who might be interested, ask them to say hey. Also, do you know Jeffery Deitch?
Michael Martin on Twitter