A Moment of Madness explained

December 6, 2016 by

Two of the key ‘A Moment of Madness’ collaborators have written very useful blog posts explaining what the project is, and what its like to experience it as an audience member/player.

Tim Wright, Writer

John Sear, Game Designer

Is the use of digital technology by the theatre and cultural sector really declining? A (ranty) response to the 2015 Digital Culture 2015 Report

December 18, 2015 by

Nesta, AHRC & Arts Council England have just released the findings from this year’s survey into Digital Culture.

Download it here:
http://artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Digital-Culture-2015-Final.pdf

The Stage (https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2015/digital-technology-in-decline-in-theatre-sector-claims-report/) have jumped straight in the claim that digital technology is in decline in the theatre sector. But what does this actually mean?

I’ve completed the previous two years of surveys on behalf of The Other Way Works, but this year the request languished in my inbox unopened. So much of the content is focused on ‘digital’ systems and marketing, with narrow and oddly specific questions on particular areas. I didn’t feel that the data I would be contributing would be reflecting our work and relationship with technology in the way I think is important or interesting.

The summary suggests that “digital technology has become seemingly less important to certain aspects of arts and cultural organisations’ work”. They may well have a point, but I wonder how much this is just a case of much of today’s administration and marketing work just being ‘digital’ by default and not considered to be in a special category anymore worthy of particular note?

Surely its no longer news to talk about the fact that your arts organisation has a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Website, sends eflyers, e-newsletters, emails, uses Skype or Hangouts, cloud-based databases, uploads content to video & audio streaming sites. Isn’t that just the way that individuals and organisations operate these days? This isn’t ‘digital’ anymore, its just work. And its definitely not ‘digital innovation’. When there’s a free, consumer service, that as individuals we use on a daily basis for communication and leisure, just using it to help you run your arts organisation isn’t really worthy of note.

The Stage’s claim that Digital Technology is in decline in the theatre sector specifically highlights the stat that ‘only’ 8% of theatres live-stream their performances. So what? That’s just one (albeit one overly focused on by the funders, see The Space & Nesta R&D fund) use of digital technology. And a pretty dull one at that. I think its disappointing or maybe even embarrassing to judge a live artform’s engagement with digital technology with so much focus on this metric.

The report quotes representatives from some of the funders pointing fingers at the sector for ‘stepping back’ from investing in digital technologies. This seems a bit rich to me. The focus of investment in specific areas by organisations is surely heavily influenced by the funders own priorities and the funding streams they create. And it is these that are perhaps exacerbating the problem.

Nesta/AHRC/ACE’s Digital R&D fund decided to make large grants to a few to act as ‘examples’ for the rest of the sector to follow. The responsibility to succeed and the fact that larger more ‘reliable’ organisations were selected meant that the levels of possible ‘innovation’ within these restrictions were questionable. The money flowed to the few rather than the many. And to buildings more than to independent producing theatre companies, making the future even more unevenly distributed. And don’t get me started on The Space (in fact you can hear me making my points to the panel on the video of the 2nd Q&A session at their recent information seminar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLrRq4FeMUe-fYjtA7we1rI9ms-3ymR1EP&v=Pe1sCXHEGj0 at 11:50 in).

Their own metrics paint a picture of their pet funds’ failures to seed digital innovation in the wider cultural sector.
And on the bright side? Well maybe there is one…

The potential positive outcome of this report could be that it makes the case for the funders to be able to make more money available for digital experimentation, ideally with a focus on the independent sector and to creative exploration within the artform itself rather than in the marketing of it. And to make more, smaller grants to allow a much larger number of organisations to get involved, try things out, make more things, make better things, to engage experimentally with digital technologies as new tools with which to create their work – essentially to innovate in this area.

Credits

December 18, 2014 by

Winner of the Hello Culture 2014 Open Data Award
Commissioned by Creative PIE 2014 on behalf of Creative Enterprise

Produced by The Other Way Works
Creative Director: Katie Day
Developer: Ed Porteous
Bird Illustrations by: Luke Thrush
Design by: Sebastian Harding
Scientific Inspiration: Prof Debra Skene, University of Surrey

Data from Creative PIE 2014

December 17, 2014 by

We captured the data from over 100 delegates at the Creative Pie 2014 Conference. Using this data we created the charts above which break down our findings.

Extreme Owl: Characteristics & Habitat

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Characteristics: You’re practically nocturnal! You really start to hit your stride around midnight, just when everyone else is flaking out. Mornings are rarely seen.

Habitat: Can be spotted tripping the light fantastic at 4AM. If not outside then you may find them working late into the night within doors.

Owl: Characteristics & Habitat

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Characteristics: You’re the ultimate night owl. As the sun sets you come to life. Mornings are for lie-ins, or if you have to get up early there had better be coffee, and lots of it.

Habitat: Not often seen before midday. Usually found by night with a glass of red hidden in the depths of a wine bar.

Owlark: Characteristics & Habitat

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Characteristics: You’re a bit of a ‘franken-bird’, part lark and part owl. Mornings hold no fear for you, but you like evenings too. You’re having your cake, and eating it.

Habitat: Adaptable to most environments. Often spotted outdoors in daylight hours.

Lark: Characteristics & Habitat

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Characteristics: Your motto must be ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Mornings are the best, why would anyone waste them lying around in bed?

Habitat: Always wakes by around 7.30 AM. Can be seen commuting around an hour later.

Extreme Lark: Characteristics & habitat

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Characteristics: You are the living embodiment of that phrase ‘up with the lark’. A super-early riser, evenings tend to be a total write-off as you’re tucking yourself up in bed by 9pm.

Habitat: Can be found at 5:00am noisily making breakfast

2015 Tour Dates

December 2, 2014 by

Theatre Royal Winchester

Sat 14 – Sun 15 February 2015
Sat 28 – Sun 29 March 2015

Tickets now on sale (all now sold out!)

http://www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/avon-calling/

Sat 14 Feb 3pm (SOLD OUT)
Sat 14 Feb 7pm (SOLD OUT)
Sun 15 Feb 3pm (SOLD OUT)
Sun 15 Feb 7pm (SOLD OUT)
EXTRA DATES ADDED
Sat 28 Mar 3pm (SOLD OUT)
Sat 28 Mar 7pm (SOLD OUT)
Sun 29 Mar 3pm (SOLD OUT)
Sun 29 Mar 7pm (SOLD OUT)

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