Monthly Archives: July 2013

BUICE: International Conference on Events and AEME forum, Bournemouth University, July 2013


For three days in the hot July sun of Bournemouth event studies researchers, academics and industry professionals gathered for a broad and diverse mix of presentations, discussions and the occasional trip to the beach. You can read up on the BU conference coverage here (featuring a rapt audience listening to yours truly!), with further resources available via the conference Twitter feed. Many of the talks are on YouTube.

I’m going to publish four posts from the event, with three taken directly from the notes that I took during each day’s keynote talks and discussions (one, two, three). This post here is based around notes taken from some of the break out sessions and papers presented by participants and delegates. This one is also special because it features a photo of the beach and some blue south coast water.


Day one papers

Nigel Williams (Bournemouth University)

Nigel spoke on ‘3D Events’ and the role of social media. Much of his research is based on using social media data, which is cheaper and a way to show evidence of meeting event objectives. Social capital themes are present in his work, based around SNA analysis of maps, nodes, connectors and so on. Chosen focal festival was #LoveLuton, which had brought together existing and new events to create a new festival. Twitter was the chosen social medium, being the ‘most democratic’ and the assumed public nature of all open tweets – it was all therefore deemed to be available for use. Data was captured using Tweet Archivist and visualised using NodeXL. It enabled groups to be found and conclusions to be reached in relation to the festival’s stated goals. For the future it was felt that more tweets are including geographical data, enabling more complex analysis. In the Q and A ethics was discussed in relation to using these data; hashtags are apparently in decline; it is difficult to extract the ’signal from the noise’.


Katja Pasanan (University of East Finland)

Katja also looked at social media, specifically the ways in which it is used by festival managers in their new service development efforts. Social media enables customers to have a role in this NSD process, accelerating the process through engagement. Few festivals were seen to have a strategy however and marketing was their main use for s/m, rather that development work. Facebook is the most commonly used platform, but very little on Trip Advisor despite its importance to the tourism market.


Matt Frew (Bournemouth University)

Matt looked at Burning Man. We’re all going to burn…


Day two papers

Jenny Flinn (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Jenny looked at the Exit Festival and its role in re-imaging Novi Sad in Serbia. The research data came from press articles written about the festival since the 1990s, tracking its connection to images of Serbia and the Balkans in that time. As the country has opened up and perceptions have changed the festival has become more mainstream and no longer positions itself as a protest movement to the same extent. Coverage of the festival is also shifting, looking less at its past and more towards its future. In the UK press Exit is often presented as a cheaper and warmer alternative to British festivals.


Matt Frew (Bournemouth University)

Matt demonstrated the importance and validity of linking events research with well established theoretical works, such as Zizek, Bourdieu and many others that regularly feature in his work. The importance of technology – both to teaching and in our experiences of the world around us – was explored with great passion. A ‘hyper-experiential’ reality, going beyond Pine and Gilmour.


Raphaela Stadtler (Griffith University, Brisbane)

In her work Raphaela spoke about knowledge transfers within festival organisations, both formal and informal. Questions of how do you manage knowledge within such organisations, creating know-how and integrating documents, staff meetings, informal meetings and so on. This is the culmination of her PhD work, based on ethnographic data accumulated through time spent working for the Queensland Jazz Festival: the lived experience of a festival volunteer. As such she has been seeking to ‘make visible’ the standard practices engaged in by staff.


Day three papers

Robert Kielty (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Robert fronted a presentation that had been developed between a number of people, including Jenny Flinn. At its core is a story of the professionalisation of rugby union and the shifts in power, policy and politics that have accompanied it. The power of the ‘top eight’ nations is clear to see, leading to discussions about ‘scalar relations’ between the core and the periphery. Economically there is much to be said about the ways these top nations are seeking to keep the profits from the Rugby World Cup between themselves, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the upcoming Japanese RWC. Are they doing enough to keep the game visible after the Cup has been and gone?


For my own part I presented on the theme of social networks at cultural festivals. A PDF of the slides follows…


ICE2013 JARMAN Presentation PDF by davidjarman

BUICE day one, 3 July 2013: International Conference on Events and AEME forum, Bournemouth University

Notes from keynote talks and discussions on day one of the #BUICE2013 conference.


Vinney: BU courses accredited by UN WTO


Nick de Bois MP

  • Sees events as having formerly been under represented and under achieving, back in 1980s at the start of his events career
  • But a time of growth since, eg use of events within marketing mix
  • 2012: demonstrated that UK is a global home for events, eg in green credentials
  • As an MP: discusses role of government as having an impact on events industry, though not often specific
  • All party parliamentary group for events: demonstrating what events sector can achieve
  • £36bn business events impact to UK, growing to £48bn in years ahead to 2020
  • Links music festivals with business events, because they are run as businesses
  • Visiting delegates: bring people to UK, good for local economies, but also build for long term growth by attracting key thinkers and decision makers – building long lasting relationships based on the events industry
  • Is this evidence based? Up to this conference to work towards that goal, to validate itself scientifically in order to affect positive change
  • Government: a role in helping to attract business, though industry seems slow to try and engage ministers
  • Industry: cannot expect to have gov support unless it steps up to the mark to help promote UK abroad, and to shout about it
  • A single voice: events sector needs to work to bring groups together in order to provide a single message on topics, to help lobby, etc.
  • Other countries: Mexico places events at the heart of government, with structures in place to deliver cross government support
  • Q: discussion about the potential for bringing these parts of the industry together in order to reach ministers, etc.
  • Q (Frew): what of the social agenda, to use events to support communities in a time of austerity? De Bois: points towards local government and a chance for local authorities to bring down regulations in order to support events, create jobs, etc. – not really engaging with the cultural theme or wishing to single out events for special exemption from austerity drive
  • Q: should academics act as advocates and cheerleaders for events, or maintain a distance?
  • Q: subvention as a tool – legitimate incentives to bring in business: what can communities do to make choices when it comes to bringing in taxes in order to provide such incentives


Turner: ‘Britain for Events’ campaign

  • To help UK events industry become more internationally competitive
  • Has delivered this speech to many universities – reminding students that they are part of a wider industry
  • Has various resources online to support claims, with more to come soon as new data are released
  • Lots of numbers to show how valuable different parts of the industry are – festivals, conferences, etc.
  • Event impacts: creative policy opportunities if the impacts of an event are reinvested – policy opportunities to make direct link between event and subsequent investment (eg Adelaide and opthalmology industry)
  • Trends:
    • Less is more: time of austerity but people putting more value into fewer events
    • Grassroots events: local agenda
    • Hybrid: events and festivals working alongside digital media, to ignite online debates – eg London 2012 opening ceremony and changing mood of the nation
    • Content and creativity: attending events because of the content, which can move people
    • Experiential: we’re now in the business of creating experiences
    • Dynamism: different sectors can learn from each other – festivals influencing conferences, etc.
    • CSR: creating an argument for why people should burn fossil fuels to attend events in order to get content
    • Who’s paying for my space: events organisers arguing that they are bringing business into a location so shouldn’t have to pay for the venue – but what happens if the space support disappears?
  • Issues:
    • VAT in different countries makes one more competitive than another
    • Visas: need to make it easier for people to come into the country to build up the profile of the events
    • Business or tourism: where do events sit?
  • Britain for Events campaign:
    • Increase competitiveness
    • Support events
    • Support event professionals
    • Identify audiences for the campaign: business, government, industry, consumers
    • Research and reports: plenty of work being produced, but it needs to be more credible – particularly next week’s publication
    • International marketing: come to Britain for its events
  • Challenge:
    • Stay creative
    • Solve problems
    • See the bigger picture
  • Q: how to get the industry talking to each other, to recognise the value of CPD… so suggests organising a tragedy in order to get people to wake up and engage
  • Q: event education often placed within Tourism – is that appropriate when there’s a need to engage with all the fields which hold events?




Panel session: professionalisation in the industry

  • Spibey:
    • Does the events industry have professional recognition? Is the answer changing over time? Talks of developing a professional body, which she now helps lead, working in the conference area: Institute of Event Management (est 2012)
    • IEM now has a business plan, a platform on which to try and secure funding, etc.
      • Professional recognition
      • CPD
      • Body of knowledge
    • Developing through partnerships and steering groups, etc.
    • Accreditation is part of what they hope to do
    • Recognition of experiential learning too
    • On the job learning key: apprenticeships, etc.
    • Picks out the breadth of the events industry and foresees a need for people to develop specialisms
    • Suggests that event managers are project managers with specialist knowledge and experience
    • Supply chain: an events supply chain, taking on board a variety of specialist roles and careers
    • Keen to support education providers, providing resources and advice – linking resources, such as the ISO20121 work done in 2012, likewise Purple Guide


  • Kerr: People 1st (skills council)
    • Context of austerity, new government, new take on skills development
    • Professionalisation is about recognising qualifications, skills, training
    • Why does this matter: to recruit the right people; new entrants can work through the industry; to advertise the skills base of the workforce
    • Industry hasn’t necessarily had difficulty in attracting competent people, but do they have the skills?
    • Questions the provision from FE and also CPD in the industry: gaps in the skills provision
    • A call for industry to get behind qualifications and stick with them
    • Graduates not going into graduate positions is a wider debate than events alone
    • Government focus is on STEM subjects – largely because of the contribution that they make to GDP, which events graduates can’t compete with
    • National Occupational Standards Review: going on through 2013, to look at the national picture, plus international (such as Canada)


  • Rhodri Thomas
    • Argues that the prospects for professionalising the industry are poor
    • We need to think about more than just doing a job well
    • Professional means: certain traits that characterise the occupation, but how do you get from occupation to profession? It requires a level of control: you can be a lawyer if you pass this barrier. If you want to remain in the club you have to do your work by a set of rules: it creates a barrier between the professional and society. There’s a contract: we’ll do the job ethically and well in return for higher status and pay. But does this apply to more modern professions?
    • Corporate professionalisation:
      • Creating a collective identity: does this work?
      • Overcoming a fragmented knowledge base
      • Can you take on board people from a wide range of entry points?
    • On IEM: takes a classic approach at a time when such associations are under attack; how will it sit alongside other organisations; does it lead to further fragmentation; does it put it alongside other sectors that just don’t apply to large parts of the sector?


  • Q and A:
    • Looking at the fitness industry, where membership of a single body (REPS) is a prerequisite for career progression
    • Should EMBOK be moved further on?
    • Are we heading towards standardisation of event management courses?

BUICE day two, 4 July 2013: International Conference on Events and AEME forum, Bournemouth University

Notes from keynote talks and discussions on day two of the #BUICE2013 conference.


Fyall et al: case studies in tourism

  • High demand and high value for case studies, linking theory to practice
  • Multi-source and open-ended, so a very active and subtle way of learning, often longitudinal and certainly real world
  • CCO publications come in book form, but also online, also via channels for library subscriptions
  • Notes that cases take a long time to write compared to articles
  • There’s a free one available too… slides, guidelines, exam questions, etc.


Getz: Event Tourism

  • ET as the next key move perhaps, tying in to his new book
  • Factors are constraining and propelling growth of event tourism, different parts of the world experiencing different balances of these factors
  • Populations of events: cities and regions have multiple events, portfolios that need to be managed as assets; demands new thinking from a policy perspective, hence the rise of organisations that are set up to manage these: EventScotland, Melbourne, etc.
  • How to compete: traditionally a supply side thinking of ‘what do we have, now let’s sell it’…
  • …now a need for demand side: what do we need to invest in, in order to build competitive advantages
  • Dedicated event tourists: who will travel for events
  • Fragmented market:
    • Business
    • Entertainment
    • Sports
    • Festivals and culture
  • Do courses cover all aspects of this market? What of the overlaps between these aspects? Many links to venue management and facilities management
  • Challenges:
    • From top down to bottom up planning
      • eg agencies who take funding outside the big cities to communities
    • From supply side to demand side planning
      • eg catering for special interest groups: case study of food lovers, folk who have the money and interest to express themselves through their adherence to their interest via events
      • Leads to a situation where an event can combine lots of factors: elements of hedonism, plus cooking education, plus authenticity, celebration and ritual, creativity, mastery of techniques, symbolism and heritage
      • Event tourism strategy based on food cluster, with events at their heart
      • Case: activity tourists – trail runners and mountain bikers: what do they do within their portfolio of interests? Developing a career of events, moving from one to the next
    • Portfolios: a need to move away from single event analysis towards broader portfolios
    • Teaching event tourism: few places that teach this as a specific subject, though it has links to event management, event studies
      • Reflecting the growth of new career paths, found within progressive event tourism destinations


Fiona Pelham: ISO20121 and Positive Impact

  • Started off life as BS8901, developed through Pelham into ISO. Big industry input and international.
  • Is being used internationally – London 2012, Denmark, Japan, etc.
  • Focus: your own objectives, issues, situations; not just a checklist for meeting green issues; can be tough because of broad scope, but that’s a role for graduates
  • Future: IOC candidates all signed up to the standard, so it’s now in place
  • Applicable to large and SME businesses
  • Positive Impact:
    • Independent company
    • Lots of internships
    • Keen to engage with student dissertations: giving info, acting as a library for the work
    • Lots of materials available for use
    • Links to industry
    • Opportunities to train students up in order to get the word out to the industry


Liz Sinclair: graduate job market

  • Moving in the right direction since end of recession
  • Work experience is key, ideally within the curriculum: 3x more likely to get work after graduation; often within the same company, which limits opportunities for non-SWE graduates
  • Average graduate salary: £18,000 (overall £29,000)
  • Deciding early where you want to go makes a difference
  • Focus: and Guardian (Monday)
  • Use of LinkedIn: contacts, use as CV, connections to former colleagues
  • CV: a first impression
  • The Eventice: working towards jobs that aren’t generally available; raises the profile of graduates within the industry; gives students a focus

BUICE day three, 5 July 2013: International Conference on Events and AEME forum, Bournemouth University

Notes from keynote talks and discussions on day three of the #BUICE2013 conference.



  • Getz: Event Studies Academy idea
  • Napier: looking ahead to hosting BAFA student event


Industry associations panel

  • MPIUK: Samme Allen
    • Collaboration between partners is key
    • Student membership: E40, with transition rate towards full membership
    • Takes students to events and shows around the world
    • Research: keen to do more, CSR research
    • Student Club: formation of a student organisation to bring students together and build links to industry
    • Young Achievers Award
    • Accreditation
    • Too many organisations, a need to work through what can be offered
  • Richard Limb: National Outdoor Events Association
    • Setting up a student council, recognising that there’s lots to be offered by students
    • Work placements via the organisation
    • Sitting on validation panels for degree courses
    • Advocates that students get involved in events… but also get involved in the trade and industry bodies that support your industry
    • Was also involved in Events Industry Forum, which was the platform on which Purple Guide was written
  • International Special Events Society: James Morgan
    • Creativity at their heart
    • Students welcome, to ask questions, to shine in front of recruiters
    • Practical emphasis to much of their work: how to do stuff
    • Annual educational conference
    • @ISES_UK
    • To be done: a need for more creativity – industry has to go beyond business school graduates to get access to creative skills (video, CAD)
    • Has an office in Edinburgh
  • IFEA Europe
    • An international perspective
    • Links to Breda NHTV
    • Summer camp: September 2013; theory based, but also linked to massive street arts festival
    • Student membership of IFEA is done through international chapter (USA)
  • Rachel Ley: Eventia
    • UK trade body, covering broad mix of members
    • Members’ specialisms are also broad
    • Due to merge with alt organisation to develop new aspects within the events space
    • Advocating recognition that the events sector takes on board the mix of careers and industries involved in events
  • Jane: SEFA
    • Networking, lobbying, broad membership
    • Embryonic… events, training, CPD
    • Student membership
    • Opportunities to further support student activity: USEC 2014?
  • Q: lack of student engagement – an issue of timing? Do students think that the world owes you a living… a need for student action. A need for associations to work together in order to make more sense to the students who have multiple demands on their time
  • Q: lots of student competitions – what opportunity for a single point of entry to these competitions? This is apparently happening
  • Q: universities should be developing student networking skills and professionalism, making them aware of their opportunities for careers – what’s the career path?
  • Q: develop skills in production – industry says this is what’s missing in graduates
  • Q: customers driving change – what are customers and clients interested in? What do the students have in mind in terms of who they’d like to work for/with?


Nick Dodds: FEI and Cultural Olympiad

  • 11 months working for LOCOG on 2012 Festival
  • Planning for a four year Cultural Olympiad, but that turned out to be a long time to sustain the drive despite a good start: worries started to rise
  • Creation of CO board featuring top names, who recruited Ruth Mackenzie to develop the closing months
  • Operations
    • Curated festival, but only really worked because of partnerships
    • Festival delivered through third parties – 250 partners, 600 productions, 13,000 performances
    • Case: Mittwoch aus Licht – challenging opera from Stockhausen
    • Partners: benefited from being part of 2012, despite scepticism at times; £4m marketing budget made a difference, bringing people on board
    • £63m overall budget from many sources
  • Commissions and premieres
    • 160 world and UK premieres
    • eg Streb
  • Unusual locations
    • Taking artworks into many new sites, showing off the uk to the rest of the world
    • Stonehenge: fire garden
    • Hadrian’s Wall
    • Giants’ Causeway
  • Free events
    • 80% of attendances free
  • Olympic themes
    • Tying in to IOC themes, such as Truce
    • eg Peace Camp
    • eg Peace One Day at Derry
  • ‘Unlimited’
    • Deaf and disabled artists
  • Evaluation
    • Full report online from Liverpool Uni (Garcia?)
    • Looking ahead, foresees lots of sporting events having cultural programmes alongside them
    • Legacy of new venues now available for creative work


Philip Day: licensing events

  • Paterson’s Licensing Act publication
  • Government has also published advice
  • Presentation based on 2003 Act which was designed to deregulate, but hasn’t quite worked like that


Jago: events as a serious research area

  • A need to get back to core disciplines
  • Tourism programmes have slumped at the same time that events has risen: programmes, journals, graduates, phd work
  • But are there jobs for the graduates?
  • Also caught between industry needs and old school academic needs
  • Tourism: researchers there were anchored in older disciplines (geography, etc.)
  • Hospitality: staff came across from industry to teach
  • Events: somewhere in the middle – out of tourism, but without the hands on experience either; lacking the research professors that others have
  • Publications: tend to reference events literature, rather than core discipline sources; a lack of overview with research too focused on single events
  • Mair and Whitford (2013) look at research focus
  • Negative views on events publication: too much on economic impacts; repetitive structural equation measures; poor sampling
  • Going forward: go back to core disciplines; look across more than one event to reflect on the field in general; develop theory; publish in non-events journals; attract non-events researchers to look at events; develop research only positions; research academy; capitalising on enthusiasm for events among researchers

Dutch lessons


In early July 2013 I did my first spot of external examining. For the uninitiated this practice is embedded in Higher Education: someone from outside the institution is invited to cast judgement on the methods and standards employed in the assessment of students. At Edinburgh Napier we ask our external examiners (who generally all work at other universities) to look at the module packs which underpin our modules (weekly topics, assessments, etc.), then to review a sample of the work which is produced by the students. All being well they will offer some comments and suggestions on the former, and agree the marks given to the latter. My inaugural experience of being the external was somewhat different however, with a variety of points worth picking up in case they have merit for others embedded in the UK system.

NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences is an institution with whom I’ve built up links over the past few years, as reported on this blog. They asked me to play a part in their end of programme assessments and flew me out to Breda for a couple of blissfully warm summer days to do so. I was involved in the assessment of four students who were at the end of their four year programmes. The closing assessment, worth 10 ECTS credits (one sixth of a year) worked like this…

  • The focus of the assessment was a one hour interview session, featuring the student, their thesis supervisor, the marker of their thesis and perhaps an external.
  • In advance of the session the student was asked to prepare four documents:
    • A short paper (perhaps 1,500 words) based on their thesis
    • A recent vacancy for a graduate level job that they feel capable of getting
    • A covering letter for their application to that job
    • A cv to go with the application
  • These documents are submitted well in advance of the interview and distributed to the panel.
  • At the start of the session the panel chair asks the student to get themselves set up, then to leave the room for a few minutes while the panel has a quick chat about the format of the session.
  • The student returns and gives a five minute presentation covering a wide variety of topics: their development over the course and some key ideas from their thesis predominate.
  • The student leaves again, there is a short discussion and often a provisional mark is awarded for what’s been seen thus far.
  • The student returns and a 30-40 minute interview-discussion is carried out, with different members of the panel having particular interests and perspectives. Themes from the written work and the presentation are developed further and the student is asked to develop a range of points.
  • The student departs again and the panel spends a few minutes reviewing the session and finalising the mark that’s to be awarded.
  • The student returns, reflects on how it went and is given their mark. If they passed then there are handshakes all round and the student has successfully completed their degree – they can only reach this stage if everything else is already under their belt.

The Dutch system has a ‘competencies’ based approach, with module through the course of the programme designed to develop different competencies from this list of ten. The closing session is therefore the student’s opportunity to demonstrate and argue that they are ready to enter the professional workforce, that they have identified their strongest competencies and can convey that information to others. From an industry perspective they therefore have a number of strings to their bow when presenting themselves for jobs and vacancies. They are also driven to contextualise the learning that they are doing within industries with which they are interested and familiar, and this applies across all four years of the programme.

Within the context of recent developments at Edinburgh Napier this has relevance to the more ‘programme focused’ approach that is being advocated from the university’s senior executive (and others). The students are encouraged to see all parts of their course as ultimately leading towards their employability, links are drawn between different modules, students are required to reflect upon their own development and they can see a final point towards which their degree is headed. That this whole process is credit bearing and a requirement for the successful completion of the degree is very important: their efforts are rewarded.

I enjoyed my time at Breda and I hope they ask me back next summer to do it again! The staff are engaged with the progress of the students and have a clear idea of where their strengths and weaknesses lie. I think it has benefits for the students, staff and the institution itself – maybe some of these strengths could be exported to Edinburgh in due course.


Another nice touch that I picked up from Breda related to dissertation supervision: as at Edinburgh Napier they have a system that in theory allocates a limited number of hours to each student for supervision, so why not put the onus on the student to decide how those hours are to be spent? How many meetings and of what duration; how many drafts and what level of detailed comments?

IMG_0752 IMG_0758 IMG_0760

The images are from the NHTV campus, showing some of the spaces in which both students and staff work. The exterior shot is of some expensive Dutch apartments nearby!

Culturing our Creativity: Edinburgh, 17 June 2013


Back in June 2013, some six weeks ago, I attended a one day conference for the creative industries, held at the lovingly restored Assembly Rooms on George Street, Edinburgh. This same venue is currently at the heart of a transformation to get it ready for the Fringe, which will also see most of the street closed off to traffic and given over to al fresco hedonism. We await the results of the bacchanalian town planning revolution.

My notes from the conference are brief but hopefully give a flavour of the themes being discussed on the day. The event was produced by AmbITion Scotland, among others, and further details are available from them just here.


Eleonora Belfiore (University of Warwick) opened the day to discuss ‘Reframing Cultural Value’. She hosts a blog with resources on ‘the #culturalvalue initiative’. Among the points made were that ‘cultural value’ is at the heart of policy decisions relating to the cultural sector, but that the debate was based on market logic. This logic now permeates a ‘marketing society’, seeping into previously market-free areas of policy and activity. This has introduced new characteristics to relationships between stakeholders, the public sector and so on. It also throws up issues of market failure, but in a social sense rather than economy. She cited FS Michaels as an exponent of the idea that an economic narrative is now dominant, with value established a measure of return on investment.

Belfiore commented that this has seen something of a de-politicisation of the value debates relating to the arts: arguments are not being made on the basis of intrinsic values, but rather technical questions related to ‘impacts’. This puts the arts and cultural sectors into the invidious position of attempting to argue their case in economic terms, but they fail to fully engage because their passion is elsewhere and ultimately they don’t really ‘understand’ the nature of the discussion. It’s a charade and audiences and agencies recognise this as well.

How then to reframe the arguments away from economics: It is necessary to ask and establish where the value lies for the wider public, how do they perceive and appreciate the arts? To also ask where in the arts ecosystem cuts can best be made, while maintaining the key elements of that system? To also ask what the arts are for, and ultimately who gets to decide? This is a strategic discussion calling for strategic vision, thinking further ahead. Fiona Hyslop’s speech has served to create a space in which we might have such a debate, to enable difficult questions to be asked and to show that Scotland is taking the debate into new areas compared to the rest of the UK.


The Art of Living Dangerously’ was introduced, a project being conducted within Scottish Higher Education and a report due for publication later in 2013. Among its themes are: risk, collaborations, spaces, sustainability, planning and power. Among the international comparisons being made is Denmark where a welfare system exists that supports artists, without stigma, incentivising work that can be toured. Policy ideas being suggested for the UK include a voucher system that could see venues and organisations competing for artists: the intention is to see a degree of power shifting to the artists as they then bring the money with them.


Ben Cameron spoke, bringing a strong New York accent to proceedings. He advocated the importance of having a clear strategic underpinning to creative industries organisations: a vision (on which such organisations tend to be quite clear); a mission (less clarity here); values (this is an area where organisations have a choice). He called for a form of ‘arts reformation’.


Bob Last discussed the concept of the ‘creative industries’ as a legacy of Chris Smith’s time in office during Tony Blair’s years. Part of a neoliberal project perhaps? The terminology enabled the merging of more art forms into a ‘one size fits all’ solution as far as policy makers are concerned, also leading to an ‘uncreative’ wasteland? In an era that demands evidence-based analysis, what happens when you are unable to produce the sort of clear-cut answers and evidence that is more readily available to others: the arts produce emotional outputs, rather than the clearer data associated with (e.g.) medical science.

Last proposed that the debate be framed around ‘intent’ rather than outputs. He also put forward the notion of ‘collective capital’ as something that the broader industry can invest into, if a way can be found to value it.


Hannah Rudman, of AmbITion Scotland and Envirodigital, introduced an explicitly ecological thread to the day. Her resources are available here: The environmental theme was linked to broader questions of justice, civil liberties, equality and so on. As such it was argued that although the creative industries may bear only a small responsibility for today’s environmental problems they can play a larger part in their solutions. Social media plays its part here too, enabling the social network to become visible around events, festivals, cultural organisations and so on – individuals are thus enabled, engaged, given agency and able to help establish norms for their communities. As a result practical steps such as car sharing and other sustainable practices gain a foothold. Rudman also advocated that artists engage with scientists in order to tell stories.


Questions to finish the day

A round of questions to a mixed panel finished off the day. Points to emerge included the idea that ‘everything’s now in play’ when it comes to funding: Kickstarter, etc. Such tools can also act as ways to encourage engagement with your work, for some they are a way in to particular arts-based professions. When it comes to public funding the point was made that organisations and individuals need to show that they can make work independently first – the public sector needs to have confidence that it is investing with some chance of success. It was felt that although artists have little problem arguing their case for what they bring to society the policy makers and funders are less clear on such points. Finally, the theme of ‘audience engagement’ was reframed as ‘who do we need to attend in order to make this event kick off?’ – a more targeted approach with rewards that benefit the event as much as the ‘desired’ audience.


Image: ‘Ceiling features, the Music Hall’  |