This time last week (written 6th Aug 2016) Dan and I were building bookcases, the weekend prior constructing desks. As I write this, I have a bookcase filling with books and a small step closer to unpacking the many boxes not just those from the old house but boxes already filled and in some cases never unpacked when I moved into the last house. It's brought me to a place where I can tackle head on the sometimes crippling sentimental attachment to the palpable nostalgia and memories evoked when in the presence of the items. In a world where we define ourselves by experiences, keeping these things reminds me of who I am, where I have been, and the evidence is the contents of the boxes. In themselves, they were selectively retained well at least not thrown away at the time, and now my active cache is full! There has to be room for 'now' life.
In recent years the accumulation of physical items has been reduced by the collections of files, documents, photos, videos, spoken audio and music in digital form. Some sit on the Internet my AudioBoo, my Instagram accounts, my Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and iCloud. Then there are the offline digital archives on external hard drives and old media storage, cassettes, floppy discs, CD-ROM (read only memory) and as the final bastion of the analogue legacy, paper.
I realised this wasn't about choosing what memories to keep it was about optimising the storage. What space can I afford this sentiment, this record? Can the resonant importance assigned to the physical stuff be digitised? It's only relevant to me. When I am gone, the objects will become just things. Without 'my context', they are inconsequential unless they have a cultural importance. That is a rare thing and not what any of my ephemera has.
(pic above) My ‘Small Things’ collection - TIMEHOP 6th May 2015
#69unbox is about reducing items to digital files and occupying less physical space. Initially taking photos and on occasion with a collection of related bits, recording video. I can not capture the sentiment, that is within me, the recollection of moments, the knowledge gained, the lesson learnt they are me. I guess I feel the experience in a fresher way returning to the objects and have greater clarity than relying on the continued perception that my memory is inadequate. It's my source material!
Using the hashtag started a dialogue between myself and the innate desire to keep everything for fear of it's not yet realised necessity. This is, I know is untrue of a lot of what I have.
The first task is to identify the genuinely intangible, ephemera (my small things collection) and photograph them (some I am keeping) and if not retained, disposed of, or prepared for digitisation.
I think Round One will occupy me throughout August.
(first posted to Social Media Womble postach.io blog 6/8/16)
Where academic reporting meets musical theatre
Yes, you are reading that correctly! From March to May 2016 I was commissioned as The New Optimists Social Media Producer. They wanted someone to 'DO' social media. With the budget I received this is what I did. I cam up with the title Social Media Producer.
That is producer, not maker. Whats the difference? In this blog I hope I can explain.
Firstly, what is a producer anyway? This definition illustrates my point
"Producers play an integral role in the television, film and video industries. A producer will oversee each project from conception to completion and may also be involved in the marketing and distribution processes. Producers work closely with the directors and other production staff on a shoot...the producer deals with all the practical and political aspects of keeping a project running smoothly, so that the director and the rest of the team can concentrate on the creative aspects."
Now, a producer in these terms is a scoped role far more extensive than I delivered to The New Optimists but the sentiment of how I approached the commission are reflected in the tasks producers carry out. To me a social media person is integral, sees a project through from concept to completion, may be involved with marketing and works closely with the direct and production staff. As a social media person the reputation and portrayal of the project online and understanding the multitude of social media accounts distributing context appropriately while nurturing an audience is an important part of what I do. Pre - Performance - and Post. Legacy is is important to me too.
Being new to the organisation my first task was to understand who they "The New Optimists" were, what resources thay had for me to work with and what their overriding expectation of social media output was going to be.
The expectations were to
- provide contextual resources relating to each song in the musical to be tweeted in real-time during performance
- raise the profile of the project to attract audience
- build a simple web presence to begin separating The New Optimists main website from their Narrativium creative project based work.
- support the creative and production team with social media output
As producer I was able to step back from the creation of the social media out of necessity, with the budget little time was available for editing or considered composition. For example, I requested company members write a short blog post each. I took the text, accented the posts with a photo before publishing the posts on the The Optimists website.
All the blog posts were tagged StopFoodCrime - Read them HERE - that tagged category produced a URL from the website containing only those posts tagged StopFoodCrime.
With a limited budget the effective use of folksomony is extremely valuable. Hashtags are folksonomic. User defined terms to provide quick access or knowledge retrieval.
My second task was to make it all happen with as little impact on the creative production process as possible. I want to iterate that this role was not about marketing or advertising, it was about defining an audience and a legacy. What happens next to this project is unknown to me but my objective was to deliver a collection of media to act as a beacon online for what ever comes next... at a guess the further work of raising a general awareness about Food Crime and the work that is on going to protect the integrity of out food supply, globally.
Wow, big stuff when you see it in writing like that.
So... understanding. For every project or client I build a digital scrapbook. This is a page hosted on my PCM website where feeds and content embed widgets can be collected.
Its a mish-mash, not particularly elegant but serves a purpose, to pull all the available media relating to the project together.
Now the project is over this is it's PCM legacy.
Greetings PCM Adventurers (I've just posted this update to the Equity (unofficial) Green Room, a social network hosted on Ning to provide the social networking opportunities not currently present as part of the EquityUK official members area)
I love green rooms like I enjoy railway stations. They are full of purpose and intent but provide stasis and space to prepare. Waiting for action is the purpose of the occupation. Do you feel similar about green room spaces? or train stations for that matter?
Unexpectedly however social media networks like Facebook and Twitter do not make me feel this way. In fact I experience alarming levels of anxiety on occasions but its not a reflection on digital engagement but the chaos those platforms contain.
The online spaces I work to create have the green rooms and railway stations sentiment in mind when in development.
Where do you spend time 'comfortably' online? (responses in the comments please)
1. The Online Branch is up and running. It is open as a pilot welcoming all Equity members. We have until the end of August to let it run free! Its unique features are its human enacted moderation and the architecture developed to support the proposal and progression of motions. The first motion to pass through the Branch has been about the Housing Crisis.
- Opening discussion in the Chat Room prior to the motion's proposal [LINK]
- Formal Motion Debate (Comments tab) [LINK]
- Amendment propositions and discussion (Amendment tab) [LINK]
A second motion has been tabled today called The "Equity 'Special Attention' List - Can it be used to better effect?" This started off as a chat room thread back in February by Ian Seale, [LINK TO CHAT THREAD] and was transposed in to a motion during the Housing Crisis motion mentioned above.
Are you an Equity member?
2. Equity's Annual Representative's Conference is this weekend.
What is ARC? Annual Representative Conference (ARC).
This takes place every year, usually in the Spring. It is normally held in London for two years running and then in a different part of the country (the members choose, this year it is being held in Bristol), and is the opportunity for the Council and Representatives from the committees and branches to come together to propose and debate union policy, as well as move forward the work of the union.
Decisions that are passed at the ARC with a two thirds majority are binding on the union and become policy. Representatives are elected and the conference usually lasts for 2 days with the agenda being broken down into debates on Recorded Media, Live Performance, Union Structure, Equality, Health and Safety, Communications and Membership Services.
Members who are not involved in a committee or branch but would like to attend the ARC can come as an Observer. Information about how to get a place is always published in the spring issue of the Equity Magazine.
3... finally for this update The Stagemanagers' Guide to Buyouts Booklet
On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee hosted an open meeting to discuss the issue of buyout contracts discussing...
- What’s good about them?
- What’s bad about them?
- What can Equity do about them?
- What can you do about them?
I'd like to share this with you the resulting prepared for print booklet.
Its not just for Stagemanagers. Check it out.
Thank you for reading this update.
Readers of the blog please let me know if you like these live performance industry updates in the comments.
Illustration by Kevin Cornell
Anybody associated with the arena of web design even on the periphery as I am has heard about responsive design. The concept of designing a single web site that adapts (responds) to the devise it is being displayed upon. A time was that it was by analysing the stats of your visitors you could predict the most likely size of monitor and resolution being required and provide a selection of sites sized accordingly along with a client side query to determine the size expected and deliver pages in response to the query. Then there came mobile! At least that's how I understood it in my limited experience. I was down the rabbit hole! It was at this time I became aware of reciprocity, propinquity and normalisation. Coding a design could be rigidly and inflexibly set in tables with sliced up graphic elements with hotspots and links. These would 'explode' and 'break' displaying in what seemed like an arbitrary manner depending on your favoured browser. The separation of code and style enabled consistency and including a set of instructions to overwrite different browser margin defaults helped. The Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). I was an advocate for responsive as soon as it became a thing. I expect these 'zero default' style sheet addenda still exist and form the basis of secret design formulae many pure coders still closely guard. Its tricky to achieve... or things might have changed.
Many blogging platforms and BYO are now to a greater or lesser extent 'responsive' to varying degrees of success. It is an art. The transition through absolute and relative positioning to fully responsive adaptive web pages has been aesthetically essential to the seamless, cross platform, multi device user experience.
Returning the premise of this post ...web presence and the ability to create one being the objective of my web building education... left me forever needing to learn something new to keep up to date! I just want to gather resources and information for inclusion in one space with a link to share. Simple as! But...
Although BYO and Blogging platforms (the ones I use currently) offer responsive templates and elements, the media I gather from around the web and the media I create and upload are embedded using html code snippets, podcasts from Audioboom, audio interviews stored on Soundcloud, videos and playlists on YouTube, PDF documents published on ISSUU, presentation slide decks on Slideshare or Photo galleries from Flickr or Instagram they are traditionally fixed in size (height and width).
Yes I'm getting to the point!
The straight copy and paste of these html embed snippets don't adapt to a responsive environment. I was overjoyed when I was introduced to embedresponsively.com - "It helps build responsive embed codes for embedding rich third-party media into responsive web pages." It was created and is maintained by @jeffehobbs based on research and work by Theirry Koblentz, Anders Andersen and Niklaus Gerber.
I love it, I wanted to share it - here it is! embedresponsively.com
Everyone has a story. We are analogue beings adapting to a digitally enabled world. This is my story. It all starts with a square peg and a round hole. It’s about personal perspective, about understanding your own story and its place beside everyone else’s. When did you plug in?
I'd been capturing, live streaming and producing media for projects for the last few years and my presenting confidence had plummeted since I hadn't done any talks for a while. I also found myself out on my own after being in a collabortive partnership where I'd taken a different direction to my original career journey. As sad as the close of that era in my life was I had to accept and embrace change to move on.
Standing up where I knew it would be recorded and provide me with an asset of me presenting not created by me was my key motivator.
So thank you Ignite Liverpool for this opportunity.
I do hope I get to present again in 2016 but, and this is why Ignite Liverpool had been on my radar I will be attending via the livestream they run each time.
On the 26th Jan 2016 I watched the live stream.
I love attending via travel but attending via the web can provide an alternative and equally as informative experience.
Emerging out of the results and lessons learnt from the 2014 Arts and Audiences Conference in Rekjavik, where the Digital Audience Experience (DAEx) was conceived as a real time experiement to extend the reach of the physical event audience using digital tools. Extend The Audiences was commissioned by BAFA - British Arts Festivals Assocation's Mind The Gap conference in 2015.
Check out the legacy scrapbook webpage. It also hosts the audio of the talk I delivered to provide context to the initiative.
I wish to begin by talking about the finances. Essential expenses are non-negotiable, (travel, accomocation and the provision of a sensible meals allowence) a digital audience expeience can cost a little as you can afford. I remember well something I learn attending various business seminars, Marketing should be seen as an core investment not an extranious expense. The same is true of when considering an audience. What is the value of your online audience? Do you want them to pay for the online offering? Do you want them to subsidise the provision on the venue-to-web content? Is the content produced by a social media team as bragging-promotioanl-ambient-fodder or, Do you want to encourage the participation of those who wish to join an online audience 'experience'? Are you wanting an active or passive audience?
The pursose of both events (Arts and Audiences / BAFA's Mind The Gap) was to bring together like-minded professional working in the sectors of 'arts and culture audience development' in regards to the Nordic Councils' Arts and Audiences Conference and for organisers or arts, music, culture and science festivals in regards to UK based oganisation BAFA.
Ever since the conception of MediaCampNottingham which chose to run a business event on a saturday, my own audience demographic tartget has been those looking to continue their own personal and professional development, often refered to as CPD. Depending on where within an organisation you are employed opportunities to develop knowledge can be limited. Being a regular conference delegate on behalf of your employer is a privalege afforded to a few. That opportunity may require a report back to the wider employ in the department or it may be a peer privelige to provide opportunity to meet fellow professionals working within the sector in which you work. This tends to be primarily to share findings, research and resulting case studies. Influental people are invited to deliver talk, presentations and lead workshops.
A good conference can be inspiring, informative, enriching and instrumental to developing further from a knowledge and industry underderstanding and in networking with future project partners.
But not everyone gets to attend. Extending the Audience is about embodying that sentiment. With wifi and connected meeting rooms with projectors I've long been an advocate for streaming events into board rooms with refreshements, or groups meeting geographically to collectively watch a livestream of an event. Platforms like Appear and Google Hangout can take 8 connections. That can be single face to face conections or windows on entire satilite micro events or gatherings all connecting to the 'video room' for a untiting experience using the digital environment as the common space.
I'm always looking for organisation wanting to explore the digital potential of extending their traditional audience offering.
Using existing mainstream platforms and direct dialogue with the registered digital audience registrants I create online audience experiences with real value to those individuals participating remotely. If you were wondering I am an independent social media practitioner and capable of operating independently of a venue's infrastructure. I require power and a good 4G mobile signal.
For BAFA's Mind The Gap - Extend the Audience the following apps formed a toolset shared with anyone wanting to take part.
- Appear.in a browser based online video meeting space for post session discussion after watching live streamed presentations or for digital audience lounge-chat breakouts
- Periscope/Bambuser to mobile livestream
- Blab.im to deliver panel discussions with digital audience opportunities to join the panel and enter the discussion.
- BEME to facilitate fly-on-the-wall, first person perspective video streams of the guided tour event elements independent of the fixed location conference venue.
All the apps in the toolkit for that event are details on the scrapbook page along with download links for iOS and Android versions of the apps where availible. Its also about enabling the audience you have geographically being able to share with ease with thier own networked audiences too.
I have so many plans for this initiative. So much potential for audience reach as well as legacy documentation.
Open Meeting - Buy Out Contracts - with attending online option
On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee are holding an open meeting inviting stagemanagers (Equity membership not necessary) to join a discussion about buyout contacts, our understanding and their impact on our profession. Integrated in to the London meeting at Equity's offices there will be a video link up opportunity if you are unable to attend geographically. The video link up is being organised and hosted by SM committee member and Online Branch moderator Caron Lyon using the "Online Branch Video Room".
The video room can facilitate up to 8 people/connections and places can be reserved on Evenbrite here >> http://bit.ly/olbsjpetckt
- What’s good about them?
- What’s bad about them?
- What can Equity do about them?
- What can you do about them?
Equity's current BuyOut guidelines document (drafted in 2011, document reformatted 2015)
The meeting will take place in The Council Room, Guild House, Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9EG and is open to all stage management. Come along, have your say and find out about the work Equity and the Stage Management Committee are doing around the issue of buyout contracts.
If you would like to join the meeting using the online video room please reserve your ticket and the Online Branch Chair & Moderator, Caron Lyon will get in touch. Caron is also a member of the Stagemanagement Committee and will be hosting this online event from the meeting in Equity's Guild House head quarters in London.
If you would like to attend in person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Book ASAP if you'd like to attend via the video link up from where ever you are. There are only 8 seats/connections available in the online video room.
Technical Requirements to attend the video link.
- Web browser on any desktop, laptop or mobile devise - Chrome, Firefox or Opera (The video room uses appear.in)
- Internet, 3G or 4G access
- mic for audio
- webcam if you want to be seen
We are all familiar with work and its lovely if it comes hand in hand with pay but 'life' and 'balance' are trickier beasts to lure. Have you had your future changed by the career path you chose? Do you have children? Did children never happen? Did you ever think children would be part of your future? Has having children changed the way you are perceived in the work place? On 28th September Equity hosted a meeting to discuss the event and the new campaign. From the table discussions its seems certainly a YES that many parents are seen differently post child arrival.
LEFT: photo taken from a remote access location showing the view of the online host.
Providing attendance options other than traveling to venues, especially for meetings that take as long to travel to as the event duration itself is a digital reality with the state of current social technology right now.
As an advocate of 'making good use of the things that I find' hence my other online persona; The Social Media Womble, it is Google's suit of apps that holds great promise especially for collaboration and cross compatibility of most existing mobile and desktop technology hardware.
Google Hangout is Google's video chat and meeting app. For the PIPA Equity Info meeting this facilitated 2 connections with 9 participants (7 at the venue and 2 remote connection visible just within the shaded lower title box in the photo to the left)
Over the last year I've hosted Hangout to run along side Equity events and meeting as well as a series of sessions called 'Meet The Moderator' inviting Online Branch members to login and share their hopes, frustrations and expectations regarding Equity's online and digital offering in an attempt to conceptually establish an online spacial presence where members can meet and connect both socially and for industry sector knowledge insights.
Can we let go of our physical necessity to attribute meaningful experiences to 'being there'? Can we envisage participating remotely with each person being physically located not where the experience is unfolding and recognise the collective propinquity of 'taking part'? Is the disappointment of not being somewhere or the envy of physical experience a human factor we can ever over come?
I proposed a remote audience access option where this Hangout (see photo above) was part. After all the nature of parenting often exclude mums and dads from attending events directly because of childcare responsibilities. The mind set of the venue technical staff closed down the possibility of this being realised at the launch on the 16th resulting from the misleading self determination of the potential of modern social technology provision offered by practitioners such as myself.
I have host live theatre livestream with chat rooms running and been delighted to discuss with viewers the experience of one lady watching theatre while stroking her cat sleeping on her knee, And a couple watching from home with their newborn sleeping soundly. These audience experiences touch me deeply and as a theatre practitioner audience stories in the age of social are what drives every social media platform from Twitter and Facebook to Yelp and YouTube.
It is all to easy to focus of capacity for box office break even but what about the reason we create and perform? To entertain and inform. As a technical arts practitioner and stagemanager I delight in providing access being to the suspension of disbelief on stage with props, lighting or sound to the facility to open the production doors wider than ever before and welcome in the digital viewers and provide more than marketing or web design but a hosted social experience where attending from home or remotely organised satellite event can be as meaningful and being a 'bum on a seat'.
PIPA - Parents in the Performing Arts Campaign Launch
16th October at Young Vic Theatre, London
Equity Childcare Motion at TUC 2015: http://www.pipacampaign.com/equity-childcare-motion/
On Wednesday 7th October 2015 I went to my very first networking event since relocating to Long Eaton. Held at Leicester's Exchange Bar on Rutland Street in the heart of the Cultural Quarter. I made my way on train which was super easy only being a 5 min walk from the station.
I wasn't sure what to expect as I've become rather jaded when it comes to networking events if I'm honest. It was a useful evening, lots of talk, lots of buzz, a good range of digital business types with varied interests which for me can be a bit overwhelming so I stepped aside to reflect ...
check out my AudioBoom - http://bit.ly/leicdigiex01
I did ask my self 'Why was I there?' to which I answered, 'to build new connection and perhaps find some consultancy work.' It was only after my podcast reflection I realised I was credibly a blogger and enjoy making media to share, especially when once the event is over its never to be repeated.
There may be future events under a brand banner but the circumstances and people attending will never be repeated. This was the launch of Leicester's Digital Exchange and as I had by vlogging stuff in my bag I ask Lead Organiser Ann Stanley MD of Anicca Digital I was interested to know why the event had been conceived and what drive was behind its delivery. Ann answered all my questions with passion and future vision. These Digital Exchange meet ups are going to be monthly. There is also E-Commercial - Ecommerce Marketing & Technology Conference on the near horizon (Nov 3rd) taking place At Curve in November.
Here is my video posted to my YouTube channel
Leicester Digital on MeetUp.com http://www.meetup.com/Leicester-Digital-Exchange/
Leicester Digital on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Leicester-Digital-8383261/about
Thank you Ann for sitting down to chat.
VIEWING PLEASURE NOTE!
I never like suggesting how to watch a piece of media, it shouldn't be necessary but... if was suitably and cosily casual in the Exchange Bar's cellar and the lights were low. Probably best watch smaller rather than larger on your screen. Also, to stop me over producing regards the edit there are no titles or incidentals to keep the piece simple. After all I keep telling myself its the sharing of the media that matters.
Enjoy - Hope to see you at a future Leicester Digital Event
Rebooting my PCM... In Conversation web series for YouTube. Skype chats where we provide our tipple of choice, I provide the initial chat outline, we make a video episode all about your latest endeavour. Let me know if you'd like to be a guest. First recording 19 Oct with Kate Kavanagh @BustingFree
Check out this last chat. I'll be putting the previous episodes on my YouTube Channel in the next few weeks.
more to come....