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Archive for September, 2012

Happenstance: clarity is key and don’t forget the non-digital

September 30, 2012 1 comment

As part of continuing series of posts for this blog, I’ll be asking some questions of the experts behind the Digital R&D Fund to see how their answers compare and what other, perhaps smaller arts organisations can learn from…

Last time we heard from the Dero project, and what the team would have done differently had they had another chance at it – this week we ask the same questions of Katy Beale from the Happenstance project

If you could do the project again, what specific things would you do differently and why?

The programme may look deceptively simple, but actually there’s a huge amount of organising that goes into running it. From recruitment, to trouble shooting to establishing a common language and expectations across the organisations.  Even though, on paper, Site Gallery, Lighthouse and Spike Island are similar organisations, they are each very unique and had different concerns and practical issues to consider before we got going. There was a lot more preparatory work than we anticipated, but this was beneficial because it built relationships and began to get everyone to a shared understanding of what the project was about.

“We worked closely with the three organisations to place complimentary pairs of residents into each of their teams. Although we attracted great candidates and residents, for future iterations we would expand the recruitment process and make sure we were clearer about the residency roles and what sort of skills we were asking the residents to bring.

“The benefits of integrating digital technologies into the everyday working culture of the arts organisation include better internal communication, greater tolerance for risk and failure (because when technology fails, it doesn’t signal the end of the project) and a more collaborative, open culture. Something we didn’t anticipate is how much the residents changed the non-digital aspects of the host organisations: at Lighthouse, particularly, they influenced the wider team culture and this might be something we would put more emphasis on in future iterations.”

The Dero project: public broadband just doesn’t cut it!

September 18, 2012 1 comment

As part of continuing series of posts for this blog, I’ll be asking some questions of the experts behind the Digital R&D Fund to see how their answers compare and what other, perhaps smaller arts organisations can learn from…

We’ve already heard from a few of the projects their answers to the first question (what do you think the key to success has been for this particular project?) but now it’s time to hear what they have to say about question number two:

If you could do the project again, what specific things would you do differently and why?

Claire Harvey, one of the digital bods behind the Dero project at Sage Gateshead, offers her thoughts:

“The project can been seen as a success in what we learned, rather than necessarily by delivering a product perfectly. In hindsight, we could have chosen a more populist programme of concerts which would have boosted the viewing figures, and spent more on marketing the concerts.

The other key problem was relying on the public broadband network which let us down at a number of critical points. This really affected the Mixed Arts Venues who were forced to abandon concerts. We are immensely grateful to their audiences and their understanding of the R&D process and inherent pitfalls! While the public broadband network is expected to improve, at the moment it is not sufficiently reliable to deliver live streaming to rural and remote locations.”

Punchdrunk and podcasts

September 11, 2012 Leave a comment

As part of the next series of posts for this blog, I’ll be asking some questions of the experts behind the Digital R&D Fund to see how their answers compare and what other, perhaps smaller arts organisations can learn from…

Previously we heard from Jo Johnson, digital marketing manager at the London Symphony Orchestra, and Claire Harvey, one of the digital bods behind the Dero project at Sage Gateshead. This week we ask the same question of Pete Higgin, enrichment director at Punchdrunk, and find out about what he thought was the success to his project.

Question 1: What do you think the key to success has been with this particular project?

“The key to success has been good communication between all teams involved. The challenge was always to co-ordinate a project in New York, which was being conceived and built in London, Boston and New York. Undoubtedly the support, resource and opportunity offered by the project team in New York was key to making the project successful too.”

We’ll be asking this question of the other projects in due course, and finding out their answers to some more. In the meantime, have a listen to the latest Arts digital R&D podcast, the third in the series. This one is all about using digital channels and technologies to distribute arts and cultural content and reach the widest possible audience, including new and international ones.

The Dero project: make sure all the partners are committed and content

September 4, 2012 2 comments

As part of the next series of posts for this blog, I’ll be asking some questions of the experts behind the Digital R&D Fund to see how their answers compare and what other, perhaps smaller arts organisations can learn from…

Previously we heard from Jo Johnson, digital marketing manager at the London Symphony Orchestra – next up is Claire Harvey, one of the digital bods behind the Dero project at Sage Gateshead.

Question 1: What do you think the key to success has been with this particular project?

Claire says that for a project like Dero, where so many different partners and organisations are involved, success rests on commitment and a willingness to take the plunge!

“The Dero project has been a very happy and successful project because all of the partners were committed to working together to making it happen.  One of the key risks to this project was the number of partners. We are 11: 3 orchestras, 4 mixed arts venues, 2 tech partners and 2 research partners spread from Berwick upon Tweed, through Northumberland, Yorkshire, Manchester to Cambridge and London. We also had 3 media partners including the Guardian Online, Medici and BBC Classical Music Magazine. We set up a virtual project office immediately and ran the project through fortnightly calls which were well attended. The project was very process driven, and that created a structure for the myriad of issues to be sorted and agreed.

We were helped by 2 key factors: All the partners were incredibly generous with their time, their expertise, their willingness to take the plunge, and their optimism. And secondly, we were developing a new product out of new processes, but using existing technologies which reduced the risk to manageable proportions.”