Arts Council New Media Conference

It’s embarassing from a blog output point of view that the last two entries here now refer to conferences I have attended or watched. Thankfully, New Year resolutions are close to hand.

What motivated me to catch a 5.45am train from Sligo and attend the arts council conference? Of course the main one was to see how the creative community in Ireland is dealing with the online world, and the other was just to have an interesting day with non-geeks; everyone needs to get perspective.

But first off was Leadbetter vs. Keen. It was fun, with arguments which resonated from both sides; As Roy would say though “at the end of the day”, Keen does sound like a scratched record. If the discussion had gone on any longer, I fear it it could have got embarassing.

In particular, he is still being incredibly narrow in his view of direct monetisation of online content  and the view that everyone that publishes wants to monetise; clearly this is not the case. I think that one of the closing remarks would however have caused shivers for the audience – the idea that online content can be reduced to marketing only  similar to the way in which bands give away the music for free, and monetise for example on concerts and box sets.

I purposely attempted to steer away from the workshops that Damien and Conn ran on the day – not because I didn’t feel I could learn something, but see If I could learn something about where the artistic community is coming from.

Some of the common themes that resurfaced during the day were ownership (and copyright), following the patrons/customers and being found, and the leadership/champion gap. I don’t think the first two surprised me; the idea of being generous and sharing online – enacting creative commons – must be a difficult step to take;  however knowing where the customers are, and the best way to follow them – is something that can be learned.

The leadership bit  –  this is probably the most surprising one. Other sectors have grasped this, and typically offer courses, reduced rate training, seminars and so on; It sounded as if a lot of those attending could also do with something like this.

The most enjoyable part of the day was the Your Space breakout. I joined a small group led by a NCAD Master student (cannot remember name) as well as Conor McGarrigle and Con Kennedy. We chatted for forty minutes or so, and personally I would have continued on for a lot longer. Our topic was knowledge and lost knowledge and we made the context of this nostalgia, family history, lost skills and storytelling. Fantastic stuff.

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