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Friday, 5 October 2012

Moving over

Hello readers. Just to let you know that I've revamped my main website and this conversation will continue as a blog there instead. Please come to the new place with me and have your say. Find it here:

See you soon ...

Monday, 13 August 2012

Quality of life

Canada Square 12 August 2012
The Mountain Biking.
Photo David Steel
Dea Birkett's piece in Arts Industry this week speaks of frustration that the Get Ahead of the Game's messages succeeded in putting a lot of people off going into London, unnecessarily. Well yes, yes, and again yes. I'm sure she's right. But.

For those of us living and working in central London, the absence of the usual crowds and traffic has been gleeful. I'm sure some of the cheerfulness and welcoming smiles that Jacques Rogge and others commended the capital for in speeches last night were possible because we've been given back the space and time to be human in. We could put behind us the usual scurrying and urge to push people out of our way.

So when, on the Today programme this morning, there was a discussion of whether Sunday trading laws should be further relaxed in the wake of the Olympics, I found myself firmly in the 'keep Sunday special' camp. I've liked the feeling of special days, a different mood and the time to focus on other things. Things that enrich - whether art, sport, religion or your own hobbies.

Other people’s insights

(c) James Irvine Foundation / WolfBrown

Following my 6 February posting about audience/ visitor participation, I’ve been following the topic in other blogs and articles. In case you missed them, here are some interesting perspectives:

Simon Trevethick’s final article of his series unpicking aspects of the new UK Arts Index for the Guardian Culture Professionals network, looked specifically at the subject of public engagement.  As he says “Art relies on audiences – if satisfaction and attendance fall then there's no argument about funding to be had.”

Piotr Bienkowski, as project director of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation initiative Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners (which I mentioned in my blog) discussed in the Museums Journal the need for evolution in audience participation to be long-term and at the level of whole-organisation change to reach “deep into the heart of everything you do and affect every member of staff”.

Meanwhile, a report Getting In On the Act: How Arts Groups are Creating Opportunities for Active Participation from the James Irvine Foundation took insights from over 100 non-profit arts organisations in the US, UK and Australia to develop its model for understanding engagement – including the rather groovy graphic explanation of the Audience Involvement Spectrum shown here.


Monday, 30 July 2012

Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

... are much easier to live with than this sports fandom. How do people cope? After the highs of communal bell ringing and the mass participation arts project that was the Opening Ceremony, I was all ready for the glory of my one true sporting mania – the cycling road race.

After all, I followed the Tour de France long before it was hip. How could Wiggo, Cav and Miller and Froome fail us? And then they did. For very good reasons, and not their fault, as I explain in detail to whoever will listen. But I do accept substantial blame for hitting the champagne too early.

So that was it. The Games were over for me. How do people bounce back, week after week when their football teams lose?

I consoled myself with the final part of The Hollow Crown – Henry V – and was fired right back with all the patriotism. We few going once more into the breach. Once more … to the men’s gymnastics. The highs: Bronze! The even higher: Silver! Then the review: Bronze …

Note to self: stick to the Arts, it’s easier.