Saturday 16 January 2010

changing state of the arts

There were plenty of good contributions at the first-ever State of the Arts conference this week, which was attended by more than 500 people.

There's the Guardian's report of Jeremy Hunt's speech here; and you can read the RSA's chief executive Matthew Taylor blogging here, Andy Field's speech here, Marcus Romer's slide show here, Jack Hutchinson's tweets here, and a pdf of all the day's tweets here. [Update: Charlotte Higgins blogs in the Guardian about the Tory arts proposals and the Arts Council's Mark Robinson gives his take on ArtsCounselling. 18 Jan.]

Quite a few people spoke about the changing dynamic between artists and audiences (more hybrid, immersive, interactive and cumulative). But the event itself demonstrated very little of that shift.

The organisers have asked for feedback. First off, it was a very rewarding event. Well worth doing again. A number of people have said that if there's one next year, it should be outside London. This blog would also add:

- distribute some key speeches in advance, so some sessions become Q&As.

- cut promo films from TV execs

- encourage chairs to frame each session, pursue key points, and insist contributions are brief and focussed

- livestream main sessions

- take more questions from audience (but no speeches)

- keep intros to minimum (we have the biogs)

- get panellists to interact earlier

- appoint moderator for whole day to draw themes together

- make Wi-Fi available everywhere

- encourage online debate in days before conference

- take questions from Twitter

The anthropologist Grant McCracken blogged usefully a couple of years ago about reinventing the conference.

Our world has been decentered, flattened, destabilized, distributed, and made participative, anarchical, elite indifferent, cloudily networked, self organizing, and concatenating. So it’s natural that we’re having to rethink entertainment, information, elites, experts and especially speakers. Who now wants to sit in a room and hear someone hold forth?

This weekend's conference Science Online 2010 went a lot further down this road.

1 comment:

  1. Would have been good to have had more diverse audience, more young people to talk about their present and future and more artists