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Strategy & Policy for the year ahead - ARC 2012

On May 19, 20, 21 around 200 Equity members gathered in Birmingham to debate, discuss and vote on the motions submitted from across the association which will shape the next 12 month of Equity's policy making, campaigning and industry contract negotiations. It was also a valuable opportunity for members representing their Branches and committees to meet each other to talk shop and drink beer!

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From the arrival at Birmingham New Street Station I was 'on the ground' making media... as I do, when I can. I can't help it. Why? I'm compelled to share. No one can be every where and remote audience engagement is a fascination of mine. This event was special. One, its a direct way I can contribute to the industry closest to my heart and two, it's an opportunity to scrutinise social media adoption and application amongst its workers and practitioners.


As the ARC (Annual Representatives Conference) is not a public event certain confidentiality's must be respected. This meant that as I was intending to blog I wasn't permitted to photograph representatives without explicit permission. I never like posed photos there for no pics with people. The Stage reported on the main debate on the agenda which will redefine the democratic structure of the union.

IMG_1737Did this mean no social media? Not in the least, Equity selectively tweeted, posted to Facebook and the hashtag #ARC2012 was initiated, monitored and engaged enabling interested tweeters to follow the main activity of the conference. The beauty of twitter is it's function as a back channel, being able to connect with fellow representatives and those unable to attend and exchange pleasantries. 

Having watched the twitter activity over the last few years it was heartening to see a mark increase of chatter before and during the conference. The interest in social media, especially twitter has increased too. The concern how ever was the development of skills with a fear of personal networks mixng with professional and fan base connection was high.

Although the FEU (Federation of Entertainment Unions) do provide web training the entry level and resulting real skills Equity members need is that of entry level, absolute beginners with access to the hardware not to mention the connectivity being voiced as the hurdles to engagement.

But it wasn't all work (read Equity's ARC reflection and motion results), there was an opportunity to play. This year the after dinner entertainment was a charity casino night in aid of ICAF (International Committee for Artists' Freedom) I did take a few pics here. It was great fun and for a great cause.



Equity have posted a short article "Equity's conference backs change" gives an overview of the serious business that was carried out over the 3 day conference. The Stage have reported on the structure change too. "Equity restructure plans gain conference go-ahead"

For me I wanted to blog to attempt to give an impression of the event itself from 'on the ground'.


From the inside out. My EquityUK journey begins.

I'm heading to the ARC in Birmingham as an observer this weekend.

A quick intro to the ARC (Annual Representative Conference)?

VoteEquityUK's ARC 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 Birmingham plays host. It is the opportunity for the Council and Representatives from the committees and branches to come together to propose and debate policy, and 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.

You may know I sit on the Independent Theatre Committee so why am I attending as an observer? Official representatives have voting rights and for several years I have attended in this capacity on several occasions. I have one official duty this year and that is to host a fringe session taking an up close and personal look at the much derided Equity website. Love it or loathe it, it's ours. It's not so bad it needs a little community participation but I have to admit it's not straight forward. I hope I can encourage a few represenatives to give the site, especialy the membes area a second glance.

I was asked by Louise Grainger to send a biog and a bit of blurb to give context to my session. I expect that there wil be Equity Facebook and @EquityUK Twitter activity. For me this weekend is about talking to active members. The only way I know I'm engaging with fellow members is to post and chat in the forum where access is via a password. Hope you will enter a dialogue with me. Post your thoughts. Activate the "Watch this thread" box and get notifications as they are posted.

If you aren't an Equity member you can follow the tweets and Facebook posts. If you are a member you will need your Equity membership number and your password to get the inside insight. 

So... this is me and this is what I'll be doing Sunday lunch time 12.30. As it's a biog for the programme its in the 3rd person. Thought I'd share it here too.

Caron worked as a stagemanager before retraining at a web designer in 2003. In 2006, As she realised she was not a designer social media emerged and slowly the realisation hit that being a stagemanager was harder to escape than she first thought! Caron is an event specialist with an unhealthy knowledge of social media! From creating social networks for Arts Council England’s Amb:IT:ion program and Pilot Theatre's Shift Happens conferences, live streaming interactive coverage for Architects Journal and Audiences Europe to Twitter 'conversation curation' (digital show calling) audience engagement and event support are the common theme. As a consultant Caron provides the knowledge and training organisations or individuals need to make media, connect and talk across the web in real time. 

In 2010 Caron, along with video blogger and brand advocate Phil Campbell joined forces as collaborators and set up FibreCamp an HD community web studio and 'on the ground' real time event team. Caron is an elected member of Equity's Independent Theatre Arts Committee and has been an SMA (Stage Management Association) board member and chair of Equity's StageManagement committee. 

Caron has two signature events she runs, MediaCampNottingham and Technology on Trial.

She is here at the the Equity ARC to put the Equity website on trial. In this session we will look at the site from the outside in and gain some insight in to:

   * How we can make this site work for us as Equity members

   * Master its foibles to share and promote our committee and branch activities

   * Optimise our profiles to stay better informed of Equity's activities

   * How we can share Equity's news feed with others

   * What is coming soon to make things better.

Continue reading "From the inside out. My EquityUK journey begins." »

Without Wall... the art of conversation curation

Four days before May's Notttuesday I was asked to talk. A subject of my choosing. I wanted to show a piece of my self and offer an insight in to what PCM has be up to, on-line community development and real-time engagement. Late in to the night ideas bounced around ably fielded by @danielroseart and @philcampbell.

It became an opportunity to reflect on the recent work PCM has supported and helped to grow. 

The condensed presentation from 28 slides is available above. The key points which I attempted to reinforce with the network example slides guided the flow of my delivery.

Architects Journal, Pilot Theatre's Shift Happens, Get Amb:IT:ion, Audiences Europe, Lace Market House and The National Theatre of Wales being drawn upon to illustrate conversational input to social media audience development.

I finished the session without taking questions. Glancing round the room and not wanting to break the tone I suggested beer and continued conversation. I thought it went quite well.

I seem to have another two talks coming up. A workshop on Internet Safety for a Brownie pack and a fringe session at Equity's Annual Representative Conference to lead a discussion focused on the organisation's website usability, adoption and development.

May concludes "On the Ground" with Audiences Europe in Rotterdam for Audiences Inside/Out