Climate leadership not climate denial

January 28, 2020 by

As a tediously conscientious Artistic Director of a theatre company, who receives the lion’s share of its income via Arts Council England’s Project Grants, I subscribed to ACE’s new podcast series “Creative Matters: The Art of Leadership” and gave them a listen. (What do you mean you haven’t heard them yet??!)

Episode 1 was nicely produced and provided some insight about relationships between CEOs and Board Chairs, and they’ve got that Kirsty Lang from the BBC presenting it. So far so good.

Episode 2 was where the problems started (listen from 24:30). It advertised itself as discussing “how organisations can demonstrate good leadership and governance in times of conflict and crisis.”

It featured a guy called Tim Crarer, Chair of Wiltshire Creative, who put forward his concept of good governance which involved taking sponsorship money from fossil fuel companies like BP. He also chucked in a factually incorrect statement about the effect of the RSC ending their BP sponsorship agreement on their cheap tickets for young people. His climate denying opinions went unchallenged in the discussion, and were agreed with by some. This is not my idea of good leadership in 2020.

To provide some context: this is a podcast released by the culture sector’s major funder, the distributor of state funding for art. It styles itself as providing best practice examples of cultural leadership. It is essentially an informal training aid endorsed by the state funder.

In ACE’s new ten year Strategy announced yesterday, Environmental Responsibility is one of their ‘Four Investment Principles’. Their desire is that “cultural organisations to act as leaders within their communities in terms of taking an environmentally responsible approach to running businesses and buildings”.

Tim Crarer’s comments couldn’t be further from ACE’s stated principles. So why are they endorsing his opinions by providing a platform for them?

Maybe you could argue that he’s just a bit out of step, its hard to raise money for the arts, issues that the public get wound up about are always changing – where do you draw the line about what is good money and what is bad money, and can’t you just take the bad money but do something good with it? He makes many of these points himself, check out the transcript.

What these positions ignore is the gravity of climate and ecological breakdown, its not just ‘another issue’, as ACE itself states in their new Strategy “The climate crisis and environmental degradation will be the most significant challenge facing all of us over the next decade and beyond.”

Fossil fuel companies like BP are not neutral players in this arena, far from it. Lobbying group BP or not BP highlights that BP has made the third biggest contribution to climate change of any company in history.

Art not Oil explains why fossil fuel companies pursue such sponsorship arrangements, and why these are so problematic:
“Oil companies cultivate arts and culture sponsorship relationships to help create a ‘social licence to operate’. This contributes to the veneer of legitimacy that enables them to keep expanding operations at a time of climate crisis and to stifle the demands for justice of those communities who live on the frontline of their destructive, polluting operations.”

In the light of the climate emergency the culture sector needs to stop using their social capital to launder the fossil fuel companies’ filthy reputations. And those who endorse the taking of this dirty money are engaging in a form of climate denial.

Its going to be a tough process to turn cultural organisations’ thinking around to dovetail with ACE’s new environmental principles, but the least you could expect is that they would lead from the front.

If you’d like to get involved with getting fossil fuel money out of culture, check out BP or not BP’s planned action at the British Museum on Saturday 8th February 2020.

(Image published under Creative Commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quarriephotography/11443527473/)

A Moment of Madness in development

January 10, 2019 by

Here’s a few photos of the project in development.

Playtesters Wanted! Help us playtest our new immersive theatre experience

January 24, 2018 by

Date: Saturday 3rd February 2018, 2-3pm / 4-5pm
Location: BOM (Birmingham Open Media), 1 Dudley St, Birmingham B5 4EG
Free but advance booking essential via this link: https://goo.gl/forms/BTIB9RVMGYIalp7I3

As we continue to develop and refine ‘A Moment of Madness’ our immersive theatre meets urban gaming experience, we are looking for a group of willing volunteers to help us test some of our new material.

So if you’re happy to look beyond some very rough edges, and you’re excited about trying out a new interactive real-world game really early in its creative development, you’re exactly who we need right now!

This playtest will focus on getting to grips with the narrative, and we will be seeking playtesters’ input into what aspects of the story are making an impact, and where we need to work harder to make things clear.

Each playtest session will last 1 hour, and testers will work as a group. There will be an opportunity to provide feedback at the end with Katie Day, Artistic Director, The Other Way Works and John Sear, Technologist and Experimental Game Designer.

No experience is necessary to take part, only a willingness to engage. (16+)

Please sign up here to book your place – thank you!

Katie Day & John Sear
www.theotherwayworks.co.uk

(If you have any further questions please email them to info@theotherwayworks.co.uk)

A Moment of Madness is supported by BOM and Arts Council England.

Project funding success for A Moment of Madness!!

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We’re very excited to announce that we’ve been awarded funding from Arts Council England to make A Moment of Madness a reality.

An immersive theatre meets urban gaming experience, A Moment of Madness explores the morality of surveillance and our expectations of the private lives of public figures.

The project pioneers exciting new ground in the areas of digital technologies and interactive performance, bringing these together with puzzle-based gaming in a way that we have never seen done before.

We’ll be developing the production with support from our partners BOM this year, with the premiere scheduled for Spring 2019. We know that’s quite a long time to wait, but we promise it will be worth it!

In the meantime watch out for opportunities to test some of the elements in development over the next few months.

Protagonist Feasibility Project: Related Activity

January 20, 2015 by

The Guardian: Facebook apologises over ‘cruel’ Year in Review clips

Facebook has apologised after learning, yet again, that not everything can be done algorithmically. Some things, it seems, need the human touch.
http://gu.com/p/44fgx/stw

 

BBC Your Story

This web app uses your Facebook profile (or manually entered personal info) to create your life story through the BBC News Archive.

http://yourstory.pilots.bbcconnectedstudio.co.uk/

It appears to filter the content displayed using your date of birth, and whether you like Music, Comedy, Politics or Sports.

New collaboration for Lightwoods Park – Development blog – Katie Day

January 17, 2013 by

Katherine has been busy over the last few months researching for the Lightwoods Park, Sandwell Bandstand piece. This is a completely new story, developed through conversations with several community groups and park users.

One of the main features in the park (apart from the Bandstand obviously) is skate ramp. We were keen to involve this in our story somehow, and feature the people who use it regularly.

This led us to Mr Naylor, a local MC, keen BMXer and skate park regular. We’ve asked him to write some small sections that will be part of the audio experience, and eventually we’ll record him performing them too. This is our first collaboration with an MC, so its all new territory. We like the rough texts he’s sent through so far, so we hope that we can bring it all together in a way that makes sense! His style is very different from Katherine’s (who is writing the rest of it), so it might be a bit of challenge to integrate it all. We do think its worth the trouble though, as it adds a local authentic voice to the piece, and has the potential to open up the finished piece to a different audience.

Bandstand Development Blog – Old photos and things I am thinking about… – by Katherine Maxwell-Cook

January 27, 2012 by

Bandstand Development Blog – Old photos and things I am thinking about… – by Katherine Maxwell-Cook

We are currently making two new Bandstand Audio Experiences for the bandstand in West Park, Wolverhampton. We are working with our commissioning partners Black Country Touring to develop and promote these new works.

I’m Katherine Maxwell-Cook, and I’ll be writing the story and the text for the experiences. One will be for a solo listener/participant/audience member, and one will be written for a pair to experience together.

(more…)

What is Bandstand

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Bandstand is a collection of digital audio performances for Bandstands from The Other Way Works.

The audio performances are located in the landscape, and can be discovered and experienced using your smartphone’s GPS in conjunction with our Bandstand App.

We are currently developing this platform, and will be creating three new pieces of site-specific content for Bandstands in the Black Country, West Midlands in collaboration with Black Country Touring. We will publish the App through the Apple and Android App Stores along with this new content in Summer 2013.

We are seeking further commissioning partnerships with Festivals, Venues and Promoters to extend and develop this digital platform in 2013-2015, through the commissioning of site-specific content for Bandstands around the UK and beyond.

WHAT

The Bandstand App represents a new way to experience Theatre.

With the App running on a smartphone (iPhone/Android), users will discover interactive content when they come within a short distance of real-world Bandstands in parks across the country. These well-loved historic features once centres of music and live performance are now often empty and deserted. This App reinvigorates these spaces, filling them with memories and images, in the form of new performances.

Bandstand is a location-based app that feeds off inbuilt maps and uses the built-in GPS sensor and compass in iPhone and Android smartphones. Bandstand locations will be logged in a database and integrated with Google maps.

WHY

It’s so sad to see these spaces empty and deserted, when once they were the hubs of entertainment, music and dancing.

They are also irresistible empty stages, in almost every park up and down the country, and beyond. Its exciting to start filling them with memories, images, and new performances.

THE EXPERIENCE

Immerse yourself in a site-specific theatre experience every time you visit a Bandstand in your local park. With a solo or two-person option, just plug in your headphones and get ready to experience a new way of seeing. Ideal to be experienced alone on a quiet Saturday, or with the buzz of other participants as part of a festival or event.

Solo version: The beautifully scored soundtrack will draw you into an imagined world filled with ghosts of the past and chance meetings yet to happen. Let your imagination be led by the meeting of the real location and the stories and sounds that you hear in your headphones. And if you’re feeling brave, accept the invitation to take to the stage and breathe new life into this forgotten performance site.

Two-person version: Make your own piece of theatre for each other on and around the Bandstand. Its a lyrical story of love and loss, with a few laughs thrown in, and a sprinkling of old-time dancing. You are cast as both actor and audience member. The soundtrack will prompt you to make small actions. In turn your partner will perform their own part, augmented by the soundtrack in your headphones which will make sense of their actions and create drama, tension and hilarity for the two of you.

ARTISTS INVOLVED

Katie Day – Will lead the project as concept designer and director

Katherine Maxwell-Cook – Writer and researcher

Mark Day – Composer and sound designer/engineer

App Developer – We are working with Bristol-based Calvium’s locative media design tools AppFurnace to develop the iPhone/Android Application, and as technical designers to publish the App through the Apple and Android App stores.

Download

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We have created a proto-type Bandstand App, which can be downloaded for iPhones below (iOS4 or above).

The App is designed to be used on location at the Bandstand in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham (the story strongly references the actual location), but the audio can be experienced anywhere by pressing the ‘EXPERIENCE NOW’ button if you’d like to try it out.

How to get the Bandstand Non Geographic App on your iPhone

Get with QR Code (Barcode)
The easiest way to get your Test Version is with its QR code, below.
Step 1: Download & Install Calvium Player. It’s a free app.
Step 2: Load Calvium Player, and click the + icon.
Step 3: Click ‘Scan & Add’ and scan the QR code. Your Test Version will start downloading automatically.


Step 4: When it has downloaded, tap the entry in the list and press PLAY.
Get with URL
Step 1: Download & Install Calvium Player. It’s a free app.
Step 2: Load Calvium Player, and click the + icon.
Step 3: Type in the URL http://the.appfurnace.com/test/gG1BD/ and hit download.
Step 4: When it has downloaded, tap the entry in the list and press PLAY.

No iPhone?

If you don’t have an iPhone, you can listen to or download the mp3:
Download the audio

iPod users can download the podcast:
iTunes

Brought to you by The Other Way Works

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Bandstand is a new project by The Other Way Works.

The Other Way Works is a Birmingham, UK based theatre company formed in 2001. We create highly interactive performance experiences, frequently for an audience of one at a time. Our theatre is playful and draws the audience into the very heart of the experience.

We create our work in a deeply collaborative style, and constantly push these collaborations in new ways. Our work often responds to ’site’, and we find it stimulating and rewarding to create and perform our work in non-traditional spaces.

Our previous productions include the acclaimed Black Tonic, a hotel-based interactive thriller that was performed in hotels in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and London; and I am waiting for the opportunity to save someone’s life, a performance and installation in the Mailbox Shopping Centre, Birmingham.

The Other Way Works is made up of a group of talented artists (performers, composer, film-maker, writer, scenographer) brought together under the artistic direction of Katie Day, who directs all of the company’s productions. The company was largely dormant throughout 2010 while Katie took up an invaluable Cultural Leadership Programme Peach Placement secondment to iShed/Watershed in Bristol, where she produced the pioneering Theatre Sandbox (http://theatresandbox.co.uk) scheme in collaboration with six national venues.

The Other Way Works returned to producing new work in Spring and Summer of 2011 with the successful creation and premiere of Avon Calling.

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