Reflections on Digital City Culture Day: “Fostering an ecology of experimentation”
Last Wednesday, 6th November 2013, the BBC hosted the Digital City Culture Day (#BhamDCCD), an event about the future – funding, investment, opportunities – encouraging cross-discipline collaboration in the cultural and digital industries in Birmingham, showcasing best practice and offer networking opportunities.
One of the more inspirational presentations from Wednesday’s event was by Matt Davenport from the most brilliant Pervasive Media studio to talk about their work and projects.
I am a fan of what Pervasive Media do, and have followed their work as well as other businesses and programmes at The Watershed over a number of years. In addition to Matt providing a number of case studies (such as the Danceroom Spectroscopy project, the Hello Lamp Post in Bristol or Makey-Makey-styled inspired Piano Stairs in Stockholm from a few years now (see below)), it was in PM’s approach that was most interesting.
Beyond the projects themselves, which undeniably appeal to the creatives in us, what stood out was PM’s approach of fun and play, what Matt called “an ecology of experimentation”. Matt invited us to embrace some key principles in their approach:
- Fail good and fail fast
- Be up for a punt
- The importance of community
- Tell brilliant stories
- Be promiscuous
Hello Lamp Post from PAN Studio on Vimeo.
Behind these projects, there’s a lot of serious hard work required to realising “great creative ideas”. Peta Murphy-Burke commented that a key part to all this is the role of digital cultural producers working across the arts and cultural sector to work on good programmes, ensuring great ideas become collaborations, services, products, solutions – not just artistically but also, importantly, commercially.
There is a great amount of knowledge and expertise in Birmingham – and there is such opportunity to share resources. Being the host, the BBC can (obviously) play a big part in this, and this was explicitly alluded to by the Beeb themselves at the event. I am intrigued to see what The Mailbox can/will offer to the business community!
The role of Universities are also vital in brokering opportunities and collaborations across the creative, cultural and digital sectors such the CATH project at the University of Birmingham, the Cross Innovation programme at Birmingham City University.
In the spirit of play and fun, and to pool such resources, I am running an event hosted by Birmingham City University at their new Parkside Campus with support from Arts Council England on Tuesday November 26th, which is all about fun, play and operating within the fore said “ecology of experimentation“.
Building on the #Gallerycamp13 unconference held in September, whether you’re a cultural or a digital professional, producer, consultant, geek, mover, shaker or entrepeneur, this is an open source/open space event to build great ideas/opportunities/products (using Makey Makeys) based on key themes/issues highlighted for galleries (including artists, curators, managers etc.) and related arts individuals/organisations, encourage people to work out of their silos or work cultures.
This is a great time to pool resources and get those creative ideas into motion. In a nutshell, let’s make stuff! To book your FREE place on the event, book here. Places are limited.
For more on the day, check out Ashwin Bolar’s #Storify of the event here.