Talent Development And ‘The Space Of The Talkaboutable’

It seems that one of the many obstructions to the balanced discussion about resourcing talent development is the semantic gulf between the (perfectly understandable) sense of entitlement that some artists have about their art, and their art-practice and the impartiality that has to be built into the structure of any resource body (whether its an arts centre, educational facility, funding body, collective or festival). The outworking of that impartiality can often seem like a personal affront to the artist’s sense that their own work is of huge significance Continue reading “Talent Development And ‘The Space Of The Talkaboutable’”

Have You Ever Been Funded?

Today I’m in Edinburgh with Amplified, at the ‘Talent Development Symposium’, co-sponsored by Festivals Edinburgh and The Arts Council. The Amp stuff will be posted at http://www.amplified10.com/tds10/, and there’s already a post I’ve put up there with a series of questions that face The Arts Sector.

So one thing I thought it’d be good to chat about is funding, and experiences with funding thus far. So, as the title says, have you ever been funded? Continue reading “Have You Ever Been Funded?”

CC-Style Music Licenses For Small Businesses?

Much has been made of this article in the New York Times about the work of the BMI in enforcing the law that any business in the US playing music (radio, CDs, spotify, live etc.) needs to pay a public performance license, the cost of which is based on the size of the business.

There’s much in the article that has been attacked – the suggestion that they take money from struggling businesses, the idea that their ‘enforcers’ are referred to as ‘sales people’, and of course, the much bigger problem that very little of what gets played ever gets paid for thanks to the reporting process using ‘sample data’ – from local TV and radio – to decide what’s likely to have been played. Continue reading “CC-Style Music Licenses For Small Businesses?”

Adding A Soundtrack To Your Blog

One of the wonders of the ‘tearable web’ (cf. David Jennings book, Net Blogs and Rock n Roll) is that we can put our music and video up in sharable, widgetized formats that allow them to become elements in any site that wants to help us spread the word.

So, for you bloggers, here’s a suggestion – add a Bandcamp album embed or Soundcloud widget to each post. Assuming that your blog readers are predominantly desktop readers, it’s a great way for people to discover new music while reading about a wholly unrelated subject. the player is pretty lightweight in terms of load-time, and any time soon they’ll be adding an HTML5 embed so that it’ll work on iPhone/iPad as well… Continue reading “Adding A Soundtrack To Your Blog”

Why Collaborate? A Chat with a Computer Music Geek from Goldsmiths College

Mick Grierson is Co-Director of the Masters in Fine Art – Computational Studio Arts, BSE program in Creative Computing at Goldsmiths College in London. He’s also very interesting indeed. Here’s an audioboo from my chat with him this morning about the Centre For Creative Collaboration Website:

Goldsmiths are an ideal early partner in the Centre For Creative Collaboration as they’re already fairly focussed on interdisciplinary work, and as you’ll hear Mick explain as you listen to the Audioboo, they are already working on projects with some of the other colleges within the University Of London and with UCL

Mick highlights the need for collaborative work, given the focus on delivering measurable output for the public funding that the department is receiving, which often just doesn’t happen without collaboration.

Also, computing of the kind that Mick and his department do lends itself to modular work – where different teams can share the load and do what they’re great at.

The limitations of funding are what makes a project like the Centre For Creative Collaboration so vital in the current climate – as Mick says, the relationship between tiny-but-deeply-significant ideas and observable outcomes that the funding bodies need to see to be able to measure the value are often found when people have time and space to throw ideas around, to experiment, collaborate and see what’s possible.

The neutrality of the Centre For Creative Collaboration makes it an ideal place for that kind of idea-development to happen. The range of interested parties will allow for cross-disciplinary involvement in a way that may rarely happen if left to the departments within the various colleges to organise.

Have a listen to the whole conversation with Mick for more of his thoughts on this.

Building a Website In A Day – The Centre For Creative Collaboration

If you’ve been to Tuttle over the last few months, you’ll at least know where the Centre for Creative Collaboration (C4CC) is – it’s physically a building near Kings Cross. A former sculpture studio that acts as a fabulous multi-purpose space for the kind of open ended fun and games that drive the thinking behind the Centre.

The idea is that it’s a ‘safe’ space for collaboration, firstly between the different colleges within the University Of London – UL covers a huge range of subjects, most of those are siloed even within the colleges, let alone across the various colleges that geographically cover a BIG area of London. Like so many other big academic institutions, collaboration is often an after-thought, in a world where the race for funding, accreditation and dominance in a specialist field drive evermore-focussed specialisation, with little room at the margins for the serendipitous goodness that happens when, say, a musician and an architect meet up to swap ideas. Or a physics undergrad gets to talk to an environmental scientist about the application of their work in eachother’s fields.

It does happen, but it’s pretty rare and the terms are often loaded.

So what happens when you create a neutral space for such things, one that’s well resourced and has a dedicated team making things happen there? Well, that’s what the project will find out.

And today, in the collaborative spirit that drives the entire project, we’re going to assemble a website in a day. And by ‘assemble’, I don’t just mean ‘install and design’, I mean concept, content, everything.

‘We’ in this instance is a collaboration between C4CC and Amplified – so the web monkeys that are doing the back end and design stuff are Ben Walker and Xander Cansell, the co-ordinator is Brian Condon (who straddles both worlds, running C4CC and being a core Amplified person too), Laura Kidd, Debbie Davies (co-opted in from the amazing pool of creative collaborators that gather at the C4CC for Tuttle on a Friday morning) and me, with the incredible Lucy Windmill making it all actually happen, as is always the case with Amp stuff.

So, follow the #C4CC hashtag today on twitter, or each of the participants, and before too long, we’ll post the URL and you can hopefully see it all happening before your eyes. The content will start diffuse, existing in each of our own web environments, but Twitter is the place to look for the links…

Digital Economy Bill – My Relevant Posts In One Handy List

I had an email from an MP earlier today, asking for some background info on my position on the Digital Economy Bill.

So I sent him this list of links (it’s far from complete, but the poor guy’s got a lot on, so 50-odd links weren’t going to help!):

http://www.stevelawson.net/2010/01/dear-rock-stars/ (particularly the bit about Bono claiming Hollywood is screwed on the same day that Avatar became the first movie to gross a billion dollars)

and the one I sent last night,

oh, and the point in this one about spending on Entertainment Media being WAY up, is vital…

Enjoy – please do share the link around to this page, or to whichever of the individual posts resonates best with you.

Another letter to my MP, Jim Down, about the 3rd Reading of the Digital Economy Bill

I’ve just watched 6 hours of live debate from Parliament. I can’t remember the last time I watched 6 hours of anything. Some of it was riveting, some of it was appalling. Major respect to those MPs who had REALLY done their homework and stepped up to the task of debunking some of the nonsense in the Bill.

As far as I’m aware, my MP Jim Dowd wasn’t there. I don’t know why – he may have  a really good (professional or personal) reason for not attending. But I’ve written to him again asking him to turn up tomorrow to the 3rd reading and oppose it.

Here’s the email – Continue reading “Another letter to my MP, Jim Down, about the 3rd Reading of the Digital Economy Bill”

Email to my MP Jim Dowd about the Digital Economy Bill

[I wrote to Jim before, but didn’t post it here. Anyway, here’s the follow up that I just sent him.]

Hi Jim,

just a quick note ahead of tomorrow’s debate to express again my fear that highly contentious and misunderstood elements of the Digital Economy Bill will get pushed through in the wash-up. I was most grateful to receive your message that you don’t think the majorly contested parts of the bill will get pushed through in the wash-up, but I’m seeing a lot of reports elsewhere that suggest that that is still a possibility. Continue reading “Email to my MP Jim Dowd about the Digital Economy Bill”

The Power Of Play (Ada Lovelace Day)

Ada Lovelace Day has rolled round again – a day to celebrate women in technology. Always a good thing to do, given the disparity STILL present in the tech world in terms of opportunity, representation and credit for what they do.

This year, I’m going to write about the power of playful tech usage. Jamillah Knowles works at the Beeb, and makes Pods And Blogs – the only podcast I listen to regularly (that in and of itself is worthy of note). She spends her time single-handedly making awesome broadcast journalism about the social web and the fun things that happen therein. She’s an advocate for it, and an incredibly sharp and savvy user of the things she write about. Continue reading “The Power Of Play (Ada Lovelace Day)”