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Plymouth, United Kingdom


New Member
OK, maybe that should be Devon and Cornwall or Cornwall and Devon but people will argue about the order. I've been a gnome in the tall grass of youtube and various other places for a long time. Since joining LoR I've also had a very long period of unemployment/finding myself/lazing about (18 months in fact - thankfully now over as I'm in gainful employment again). In that time I discovered twitter, and thankfully a more enterprising individual than I, skeptikitty, has set up a Skeptics In The Pub in our fair city. That was late last summer.

That seems to be bubbling along nicely - we will be graced by Sue Blackmore later in February - and even had her down to our group as an audience member rather than a speaker when we had Edzard Ernst down. That regular group, plus skeptikitty's various other projects, have led to all kinds of other networking opportunities. So now I'm attempting to gatecrash the reboot of the Plymouth Humanists, and it's just possible they might put me in charge of their cash tin. There is a TEDx event in Plymouth in March, but even my gatecrashing skills might be stretched with that one. There is a regular Scibar in Plymouth, and an ancient (in more ways than one) Astronomical Society. We're trying to support the students at Plymouth University to sort out an ASH-type organisation, we have regular joint socials linking some of these groups, and skeptikitty has other projects supported by Peninsula Arts - sciscreen and a debate group The Disputables. We had a great Uncaged Monkeys tour event down in December and that's usually a reason for pre-event socials, and stands at the events, which have brought more people in to our groups. We also hung around after like groupies for photos and shoutouts.

I don't have much status in any of these groups, and maybe I'm just a hanger-on, but I take a wide view, and would like everything to fit together. A lot of this stuff is happening through the enthusiasm of one or two people, and I'd like to see us do some institution-building and ensure that things remain sustainable for a long time, or permanently. We'll see how that goes, but I'm in it for the long haul.

So just putting that out there in case someone on here is looking at this area and expecting a desert. The groups are in the all the usual places, like facebook and so on, plus websites we run. In the next couple of months I'd like a lot of that to be better organised, but again, that is down to my patience and gatecrashing skills.
As an update to this, I'm starting to make more of a nuisance of myself as part of SITP, basically being a web gimp. I'm closer to the SITP organisers and am beginning to bring information together in one place on a wiki. Meanwhile with Plymouth Humanists I'm now the elected treasurer and am beginning to build up a membership secretary role. We have had quite a high-profile local to-do with the Totnes Cancer Clinic, a woo enterprise, and this is leading us to make more contact with the Mid Devon and Exeter areas. Devon Humanists are also trying to reinvigorate their Exeter area group too, and that might be an opportunity to piggy-back on their event.

So in prospect:
Regular SITP events - April and May seem to be booked in - see SITP site.
Next week - Dara O'Briain pre-gig social - joint SITP and Humanists.
In prospect but indeterminate time - a meetup in Exeter, maybe coinciding with Evan Harris doing a talk.
Ok. Haven't been on this site for 6 years. In that time I've had three nervous breakdowns and two jobs.

In Plymouth the SITP and the Scibar have stopped, but Plymouth Humanists have remained stable and maintained a programme of talks and events. They also want to restart the SITP and BSA branch.

I had a spell running a modest SITP in Exeter, and I'm restarting that again this year. I am also admin for Atheist Republic in Plymouth and am starting an atheist meet up group. I also run a Meetup group for Peninsula Rationalists, covering rational events in Cornwall, Devon and nearby.

I gatecrashed Devon Humanists before they collapsed, and now I'm Development Officer for Devon. I'm looking to start humanist groups in the various towns. I'm supporting Exeter Humanists.

I also have a crazy idea to build up a street university, which will exhibit all my usual eccentricities. That is based around @PlymJedi on Twitter and The Faculty of Badass on Facebook. I am also now a Fellow of the RSA.