As an outsider coming into Great Yarmouth, it was essential to find a hook, so linking a local man from the 1800s, James Paget with technology and AI may prove to provide the perfect avenue of engagement. 

For interventions to have any value, it is essential to have Patience, Perseverance and Hooks. Attempting something original, by original meaning new to the audience being engaged, requires patience. It takes time for people to even acknowledge something different, never mind become involved. Perseverance comes with refusing to be deterred or discouraged by those who only see something not working or who are determined to see something not work. However, being dogged and determined is of little value if there are no hooks. By hooks I mean subjects or objects that people can engage and relate to fairly easily, and not in some abstract way.

Finding paths, methods, stories to engage the disengaged or disinterested sits at the heart of the intervention process. In the UK at least, so much is imposed upon communities and individuals. Too often, this imposition comes from a misguided belief from those in power that people are intrinsically disinterested. What is seen as disinterest may as likely be a lack of clear avenue into what is being discussed or proposed. Provide the avenue and often people will overcome scepticism, and often fear, to engage.

Paget Garden and AI

The Paget Garden is such an avenue in Great Yarmouth. Most people locally know James Paget’s name because that is the name of the local general NHS hospital. Beyond the name it’s clear little is known of the man amongst the local community – and this makes for a potential perfect hook! Paget has a fascinating story and connection to the local town, and this can be utilised to draw in the community and create an avenue of engagement with Fourth Portal, Portal B.

As with the name James Paget, a great many local people may have heard the term AI, Machine Learning, even possibly linked data and The Fourth Industrial Revolution, yet few are likely to have an in-depth understanding. So this has presented an opportunity to link these two seemingly unconnected areas, technology and James Paget, together as a fun introduction to both.

James Paget

Along with his brothers, James Paget published Sketch Of The Natural History Of Yarmouth And Its’ Neighbourhood, which listed all the fauna, flora and birds that they discovered around Great Yarmouth before 1834. Paget’s life desire was to access a modern microscope, the AI and Machine Learning of the time and an instrument that would not only seal his name in history but also significantly advance medical science. Paget changed the course of treating cancer, leaving a legacy of conditions named after his name, the most common of which is Paget’s Disease.

Making Connection

Using existing plant apps that identify plants, freely available to download, the Paget garden will encourage visitors to Portal B to begin identifying the different plants in the garden. The intention over time is to create a Portal B open source game app of our own that encourages participants to try and identify the plants and birds from the Paget list of 1834; a little along the lines of Pokemon Go game! In doing so, the ambition is to begin a wider conversation and introduction to AI and other advanced technologies, how they work and how a person can utilise them for their own purposes.

This post should be read in conjunction with JAMES PAGET, PAGET GARDEN and PAGET GAME blog posts to follow.

John M.


  1. Great to read this. I’m interested that you use the word “disinterest”. That’s a word which has changed its meaning very fast. I always thought it meant impartial but gradually (actually really fast) it has come to mean lack of interest. Soon It seems it will come to mean ignorance.

    Both posts are full of interest and ought to attract a wider audience. I love the typo calling your inspiration Huge Sturzaker! G

    Sent from my iPhone

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