Happenstance: putting people and technology first
From what I’ve been hearing from the teams involved in and behind the Happenstance project, it’s all about the people, so when I caught up with Lighthouse’s Honor Harger about how the project was coming along, the biggest challenge she said is finding the right residents and putting them with the right arts organisation.
“Finding people who are open, sharing, have a collaborative nature, and are skilled at building trust is the most important challenge of the project,” said Honor. “Thinking hard about the recruitment process was crucial, as was ensuring we had the right arts organisations, who were prepared for the changes the residents were being invited to stimulate.”
The Happenstance project, she said, has been fortunate in that it has found six inspirational residents who have brought energy, knowledge, generosity and open minds to the organisations, and that there had been some clearly observable positive changes at Lighthouse already.
“Our residents, Natalia Buckley and James Bridle, have got us talking more openly with one another, by implementing Agile management techniques,” she said. “And this has had the immediate effect of increasing efficiency.”
“The software tool they’ve designed to help us journal and share our thoughts – Offbot – has been something of a minor revolution within the team,” she added. “It’s helped each of us develop a greater awareness of the nature of everyone’s jobs, and the uniqueness of each voice within the organisation.”
Honor and the team at Lighthouse have already been looking at how to integrate the tool into wider project collaborations, and she says making technology more familiar in the arts workplace along the way will only help make arts organisations ‘digital by default’.
“The Coding Club, which Natalia Buckley established, and James Bridle’s This is A Working Shop has helped demystify digital technology and coding,” says Honor. “It shows the team that technology doesn’t need to be the preserve of specialists; it’s something that all of us can get involved with and that’s been a real revelation for many of us.
“We feel inspired, empowered and motivated and wish our residents could stay on board for longer!”
Matthew Caines is a journalist currently blogging and posting updates from all eight projects involved in the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture
Find out more about the Happenstance project here