Tag Archives: edfest

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: ‘Big Bang’ on 1 January 2013 #blogmanay

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One element of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is often a piece of street theatre designed to capture the audience’s imagination, provide a spectacle and some encourage some re-imagining of the city as a cultural, creative space. Some of Edinburgh’s most iconic thoroughfares have been used in the past, including the Royal Mile and George Street. Last night, 01/01/2013, an expectant crowd gathered in and around Buccleuch Place, in the university area of the Old Town near George Square. The air was still and dry, though cold, for a production from Plasticien Volants of France – a piece called Big Bang. There was plenty of humour in the show, the soundtrack went through different genres and we had occasional pieces of commentary to provide a little narrative and context. The biggest delights from the audience were when the flying ‘objects’ transformed themselves in mid air – the blobs in the first photo (body parts?) turned themselves inside out and became fish. Sometimes the French performers brought the balloons down to almost head level, and there were plenty of times when they engaged with each other to good effect.
This post is mainly for the photos that follow. They were all taken with an iPhone 5 and you can see from some that I was playing with the panorama feature, with mixed results! They are presented in chronological order and I’ve tried to tidy them up a bit. I think the phone did well in the low light conditions, handling the colours and contrast ok although failing to get particularly sharp focus at times.
Fortunately there’s greater focus in the work that goes into putting on such events. During the three days of Hogmanay the Torchlight Procession, Street Party, concerts, events and New Year’s Day activities set Edinburgh apart in what it’s trying to do by way of entertainment, shared experiences and destination promotion. Edinburgh’s a great place, made all the better for such high points through the year.

These images are also up on my Flickr page and you’ve welcome to use them should you wish, with attribution please: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsrjarman/sets/72157632409335571/

The Future of (Book) Festivals: West Port Book Festival, 26 November 2012

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A trip to Inspace is always a treat – they put on a series of events that are broad in their scale, ambition, range and content, yet always intimate. Back in November I went along to an event which was being produced as part of the West Port Book Festival, focusing on the future of festivals, with book and literary festivals to the fore. Nick Barley was on the panel, representing himself and also the Edinburgh International Book Festival. We were also joined by Claire Squires of Stirling University and, live and direct from Melbourne via Skype and a very early alarm call, Lisa Dempster. The notes that follow are not a full minute of the event, but hopefully flag up some of the topics that came up and the opinions of the key contributors. The theme of ‘change’ was in the air: the size of the book festival market growing; the influence of ebooks; the place of social media in the festival experience; the need for festivals to find/retain their sense of personality and character.

Please read on and note any questions in the comments.

And happy new year!

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The Future of Festivals
Part of West Port Book Festival

On the panel…
Claire Squires (University of Stirling)

  • Nick: future: festivals will have to be better, know their speciality, have a personality
  • Nick: festivals coming to rely on passion: of organisers and audiences
  • Claire: in a digital age festivals have a role in providing a connection between authors and readers, while high street shops close down, etc.
  • Lisa: agrees with Nick that the current festival boom won’t last forever
  • Lisa: festivals bring people together, a focus for debate and connections, a site for fun too – leading to a more relaxed type of event with more engagement and a move away from the lecture plus q and a model
  • Lisa: festivals need to know what they’re for and who they’re working with, what their expectations are
  • Claire: commenting on uses of social media to widen the audience for an event, even though it breaks the physical link
  • Nick: says he has a journalistic role, editing an event to meet a variety of different audiences and interests; but also present a world view that brings some degree of consistency and focus to the event
  • Nick: flags up the differences between festivals of different scales, what can you achieve with the larger festivals?
  • Lisa: Emerging Writers Festival in Australia: lots of work with social media, redefining the structure of the event in order to bring in the audience and their expertise, alongside a Twitter audience
  • Lisa: Twitter has facilitated a community around the festival, giving people a chance to contact others – including enabling Twitter users to meet each other
  • Lisa: resistance to Twitter? Festival board brought some resistance to the idea, so needed convincing, but once it was shown to work it built up steam; recommends not apologising and just going for it
  • Nick: resistance: notes that some feel that tweeting during events is annoying; Nick appeals for the joy of losing yourself to the experience of an author and an expert chair – tweeting is great, but the key to the event is the quality of the conversation on stage
  • Claire: financial sustainability: different models of book sales – giving it over to a company like Waterstones, or doing it yourself? What sort of revenues are possible through digital books?
  • Nick: envisaging that festival boards are likely to be asking their festivals what their ebook strategy is… such as eibf who are trying to delay the switch to move to digital. Switches focus to production rather than consumption: what do authors demand of their authors and will this change as people’s commitment to reading changes?
  • Lisa: believes that festivals and bookshops should provide means by which customers can get hold of books
  • Nick: media driven by what people have written, whether it be social media or mainstream news, which helps reinforce the value of the book as a generator of these news cycles
  • Lisa: books as an antidote to the sound bite; sophisticated audiences who can engage with numerous ideas through different media
  • Are pure festivals de
    ad? More cross genre festivals to reflect our lives? Lisa: maybe yes… cites Latitude, though it’s still a way away; though notes Adelaide writers festival is part of the wider arts festival
  • Nick: doesn’t see an end to the literary festival, examples exist of successful festivals around the world which have their niche
  • Nick: reflects on 2012 Writers’ Conference as a shift in focus from books to writing, authors talking about why they write
  • Claire: what of those who don’t want to engage with all the new event types? There will be some authors who are not as effective on stage, whose work is effectively less favoured in the festival model
  • Lisa: agrees that festival producers need to reflect on what works best for each author
  • Nick: it’s about giving each author the opportunity to present their work; programming is about a conversation with authors – what works best for them?
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Image: ‘Mini Book II: Inside cover’  |  flickr.com/photos/bzedan/107727353/

Dr Simon Gage: Edinburgh Napier University, 27 September 2012

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Back in September we welcomed Dr Simon Gage to Edinburgh Napier University, part of a rolling series of public talks by the directors of Edinburgh’s foremost festivals and other guest speakers. Simon heads up the Edinburgh International Science Festival, which has enjoyed a very successful 2012 with some innovative new events and the second instalment of their Abu Dhabi takeover. I remember the date as it was my birthday, but I’m only now making the time to post my notes from the evening. They might be a little opaque without having been there to set them in some kind of context, so any questions in the comments will be answered as best I can.
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‘Geek chic’ as a new cultural phenomenon and the role science festivals play in making it so
Dr Simon Gage

Science in popular culture
  • Aspects of science that have made their way into popular culture
  • Methods and media: broadcast, publishing, museums, hands-on science centres and festivals
  • On science centres: engagement is generally between human and machine, while human to human is more engaging
  • Science events: stealing from other performances ??? theatre, etc. Kids performing fake operations with real kit. Dad dancing… based on testosterone levels?! Coffee event: what’s the science behind the drink?
  • Festivals: good sci festivals have allowed those with enthusiasm for science to find an audience that otherwise they couldn’t reach
  • Examples: Genoa learnt from Edinburgh; Abu Dhabi using Edinburgh, aimed at children, with the same activities being toured to different places; New York (‘World Science Festival’) commissioning major artistic works based on science, performed on Broadway
  • Beyond science festivals: Uncaged Monkeys is mainstream; Secret Cinema; Guerilla Science popping up at other festivals… science outside the ghetto
  • iPhone apps: Dream:On, from Richard Wiseman, getting social neurology into the public eye, finding a massive sample for research
  • Things are changing: science is reaching out and is being done professionally

  • What’s driving the change?
  • Very few trying to do it for money…
  • …but there are various stakeholders who want to see it happen:
  • Economic impact: councils, etc. want to attract investment in science: knowledge based economies, with talented people attracted to your location. Notes that the richer a country gets the less likely its population is to want to work in science and technology. There’s a role for festivals in providing opportunities for kids to experience science and find their vocations
  • Recruit young talent
  • Engage with public: governments aware that they need to get public support for spending on science, so they spend a lot of effort explaining what they do to try and win over the public. Note recent controversies that have seen the public oppose science
  • Educational desire: formal and informal
  • Scientists keen to share and find and audience: see Richard Wiseman at Science Festival; Richard Dawkins wanting to get his message out
  • Each festival has its own drivers for making them happen: Fringe, Tattoo, etc.
    • The market?
    • These audiences have to be created and found ??? they’re not there to be pinched from others
    • Once you’ve found an audience you can put stuff in front of them in new ways
    • Bring someone else’s audience to you: bring in stars, the BBC, existing brands

    • Questions:
    • Identifies a local, not national audience: stakeholders want to attract a local audience, although tourism is on the horizon
    • Abu Dhabi: benefits Edinburgh through money, opportunities to see talent around the world, a need to sharpen your game to meet high expectations
    • Reaching out to new industries: forging links to new stakeholder groups from the arts to new university departments
    • Science take up: anecdotal evidence that science festivals increase take up of academic courses… but very tough to provide evidence on a firmer basis

    Making a festival
    • The growth of science communication as a recognised profession
    • Notes that there’s a learning process: to get from a homespun event to something that looks great
    • Go the extra mile to produce something wonderful and it becomes truly engaging and magical
    • Recipe: science, communication, training, working together
    • The lack of functioning markets in this content: other cultural areas have an established market, but it’s hard to see where this is for science festivals; without the market the industry is lacking, a market will speed up the trading of ideas, content, performers and buyers
    • Some events can be pretty techie, but if you know your audience and you can put them in the right environment you can be ambitious
    • Competition: pitching yourselves against others in the same quadrant: high participation + high impact
    • Work with
      your competitors: the zoo, theatre companies, shopping malls, etc.
    • Edinburgh: very competitive, so you gotta be good to survive in this city; but you can learn from the other festivals; the city helps set Edinburgh apart, likewise their work with families

    Future of EISF:
    • International contracts
    • Plans to invest in training teachers
    • Continuing to be good, rather than pushing for growth
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    Image: ‘2010.0807 Spirit of the Wild’  |  flickr.com/photos/27751389@N07/4468275509/

    Culture Hack Scotland (#chscot) and Citizen Relay (#citizenrelay): on events and projects and communities and networks

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    Here are some notes on two projects I’ve recently been involved with – shame on me for not getting this onto the blog before now. On consecutive weekends I attended Culture Hack Scotland (Glasgow) and Citizen Relay training (Edinburgh).

    From Culture Hack Scotland (27-28.04.2012)…

    //April 27-28th//SocietyM, Glasgow//Come make stuff//#chscot

    Culture Hack Scotland is a fast-paced and highly creative event that challenges designers, technologists and artists to make innovative new culture-related projects in just 24 hours.

    …that about sums up the premise: get some very talented, creative folk together in an environment that breeds collaboration and experimentation, then (to some extent) let them get on with it. This is the second hack weekend in Scotland with a cultural theme, so I’d imagine the organisers were able to apply some of the lessons learned from the first running and be more ambitious. So I don’t think there was a coding workshop last time around, but charged with their inaugural success they knew they would be catering for a wider audience.

     

    Then from Citizen Relay (06.05.2012)…

    #CitizenRelay is a participatory project which relies on the involvement of people from across Scotland to effectively report on the untold local stories and creative ways that Scotland’s citizens are interacting with the Olympic Games.

     

    …it’s another project that relies on people getting stuck in and creating work: collaboration through the kit in your pocket and the tools at your disposal. Led by staff and research students at University of the West of Scotland it taps into existing networks (through academia, etc.) in preparation for the imminent arrival of a newly applied connective tissue, soon to be sutured onto the winding roads, villages, cities and suburbs of Scotland: the Olympic torch relay is coming.

     

    Three questions for this blog to address:

    • What did I do at these events and why?
    • What’s the bigger picture?
    • What could be the upshot… what happens to this work?

     

    Ivory Tower Syndrome has a tendency of catching up on me from time to time: I view in awe and wonderment the folk who get on and do stuff, rather than reading, writing and talking about it. The chance to make a small contribution to these projects was too good an opportunity to pass up therefore, drawing on both some academic knowledge and expertise, as well as my former life spent working with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (managing box offices and so on). The nature of the Fringe cycle, as with many an annual event, is of course that you get to know a lot of people very well for a few weeks or months… and then you go your separate ways. It can be a powerful way of working and often breeds an intensity of effort and a willingness to get the job done that might look out of place in a ‘regular’ job. (One without quite so many trips to the pub perhaps.)

     

    For me one of the biggest differences between Fringe work and entering academia has been a greater degree of autonomy, matched with more personal responsibility. Collaborative processes are not always at the heart of my job, or at least I don’t perceive them to be: if I’m not ready for a class no one is going to step in and solve that problem, but within a box office you work together to build the events on your system, refer customers to your colleagues and so on. Of course there are collaborative projects in academia, but the teams tend to be smaller and there’s less overlap of skills – each person has their own expertise, it isn’t such a ‘flat’ structure.

     

    All of which leads back to those experiences of working together in order to keep the festival moving, day after day after day, living in each others’ back pockets. Until it ends. So the project we conceived and started building at Culture Hack Scotland sought to provide an online space to maintain those links, as well as retrospectively piecing together the communities of old. Thanks to the expert design prowess of @rufflemuffin (Sarah) we pieced together an interface that would allow users of the website to add their memories to a piece of Edinburgh festivals history – maybe a festival in a particular year, perhaps a venue within that festival, a show that was performed there… ultimately even individual performances would be ripe for photos, written memories, perhaps video clips and links to other sites and contributors. It’s a way of recreating the collections of administrators, performers and audiences that made the festivals hap
    pen: last year, the year before and right back to the 1940s.

     

    I spent over a decade of summers in one bit of the festivals or another, and loved almost every minute. Back in the olden days there was no social media to link people together once they’d drifted apart, you simply didn’t know what had happened to most folk until miraculously half of you gathered together again at the allotted time to do it all over again the following year. So there’s a community aspect to it, with its attendant social capital potential, but there’s also an archival opportunity – I have a couple of degrees in social history, so that sort of thing appeals to me. Right now where can people get their online fix of Edinburgh festival history? There’ll be a few annual reports kicking about for sure, as well as a barrel load of reviews, previews and old news from the last decade or so; but further back? Not so much. We envisaged our site being populated with some curated content: pictures, listings, perhaps some documents and the like …a unified hub for this information with the scope for constant improvement, investment and development at the hands of anyone with a connection to the festivals – ‘citizen curators’ if you will.

     

    At which point I turn to Citizen Relay, with its growing band of citizen journalists, getting tooled up to hit the streets and cover the Olympic torch relay from the host communities’ perspectives. Until the training day I wasn’t aware that the project is part of the Cultural Olympiad, so to an extent officially sanctioned to go out and deliver some Games legacy whether Scotland wants it or not. There’s less of the historical archive at the heart of this project, at least not yet – this is about real time coverage of the biggest peace time event the world will have ever seen, yet one which risks remaining out of reach for most of the UK population apart from fleeting glimpses of a torch and the mediated spectacle of the competitive action. #citizenrelay will be despatching reporters and interns to all parts of Scotland as nation speaks unto nation through the catalyst of the torch relay – it’s a great project made possible thanks to the small pieces of technology so many folk carry with them every day in their pockets and bags.

     

    As for the upshot of all this relay coverage, there’s a particular Scottish motivation for this work because as with everything Olympic it’s just a dress rehearsal for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Does that mean Glasgow and Scotland stand a better chance of delivering enduring legacies from its mega event after this learning experience? The trial run isn’t going to do it any harm that’s for sure. (Either way I’ll have had time to learn even more about what can be done with a humble smart phone.)

     

    The Culture Hack project may well have a legacy too, beyond the bleary-eyed show and tell that ended the hack weekend. One of the contributors, Jennifer, works for Festivals Edinburgh… the perfect organisation to take this sort of idea further, give it some funding and get other partners on board. Who knows, maybe Jay (the patient programmer we worked with) will adapt it to work for mega sporting events as well as cultural celebrations.

     

    *

     

    Update: now with added logo!

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    Created, in the blink of an eye during Saturday lunchtime, by Dan Frydman (@danfrydman). Dan was with us in Glasgow on the Friday, then had to head back to Edinburgh. The joy of the internet meant he could keep in touch and lend his considerable talents to the project.

    Lecturer as shoemaker.

    As today’s guest lecturer from the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab is unable to join TSM10107 and me (due to a dental emergency not conducive with public speaking) I’m using the blog to plan, set out and run an alternative session. Why shoemaker? It’s going to have a cobbled together feel to it.

    First up, some videos that I either like or have been told are well worth a look.
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    Introducing the Festivals Lab with Andrew Dixon from Creative Scotland:

    Discussing its work, such as the Ideas Challenge…

    (The Ideas Challenge is open until 31 October. It’s free to submit your ideas and get involved in the discussion, voting up the ideas you like. There are many prizes up for grabs too: vouchers, cash, iPads and fame!)

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    Another project has been Culture Hack Scotland (Edinburgh, 6-7 May 2011)…

    A short introduction from Ben Werdmuller, which puts digital innovation in the context of wider moves to open up data for wider use:

    The results of #chs11!

    More Festivals Lab videos are available from their Vimeo channel.
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    Tom Uglow, from Google, on building digital capacity in the arts (a video which I won’t have seen before I play it in the lecture, but have been told is well worth a look):

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    This is just the start of today’s plans – imagine what I can come up with in the next 35 minutes before the lecture starts! (Best submit this post now though, to check it works.)
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    10:52 update… I’ve just played with a new (to me) piece of software to put together a short presentation, which will hopefully appear below:

    …well, sadly the embed link didn’t work. Here’s an alternative way to reach the Prezi.

    Digital Audience Development, courtesy of Inner Ear.

    It was very good to see a large audience for the 2011 ‘Digital Audience Development‘ session at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Run by Inner Ear Ltd. again on Thursday 4 August, this was the second time I’ve seen them present ideas and case studies to help those who would like to use social media to spread the word about their work. The presenters were Dougal Perman (@dougalperman)and Anny Deery (@adeery).

    Why the larger audience? Partly because the tools are more pervasive within the arts community I should imagine, but also because more people want to use them and are keen to learn. The fact that this event took place before the official start to the fringe made it all the more impressive: visiting artists should probably have been spending their time settling in, doing their tech rehearsals and buying waterproof jackets. Something that particularly impresses me about Inner Ear is their knowledge of the range of social tools available, with pretty well defined ideas about the strengths of each and when it could/should be employed by different users. There was a mixed audience for the event in terms of social media experience, but I think it’s likely that as time goes by they will find ever more savvy audience members who come to these sessions with their own ideas of what works in this space. To this end it’s great that those folk can tap into Inner Ear’s expertise just as effectively as the relative novices who need some guidance on where to start.

    For a recommendation however I think there is scope for a follow up session on a more ‘workshop’ based level, where people can show and tell the methods and approaches that have worked for them. There’s no reason that this couldn’t still be set up for the 2011 Fringe, I’m sure it’s already taken place on a small scale many times over as people discuss stuff over a pint, but something more formal could be very rewarding for all.

    To finish this post, as suggested by Dougal, you should find their presentation embedded into this blog just below (although it needs Flash). The slides are hosted on Slideshare and contain a heap of good ideas and suggestions.

    View more presentations from Inner Ear

    In response to Eli Pariser and online ‘filter bubbles’.

    In The Observer on Sunday 12 June, Eli Pariser sets out a vision of the web which is heavily influenced by the information we submit each time we visit a site, carry out a Google search and otherwise give away a little bit more of ourselves and our interests. In a passage from the article, which itself an extract from his new book, Pariser discusses three aspects of the ???filter bubble??? which surrounds each of us each time we go online. My comments below seek to discuss the bubble in relation to attendance at festivals and events, such that they also provide us with a distorted reality for the period in which we engage with them. The closing paragraphs seek to extract some value out of this comparison, for event producers their audiences and collaborators, and other stakeholders they seek to involve in their events.

    Link: Pariser’s Observer article.

    ???An invisible revolution has taken place is the way we use the net, but the increasing personalisation of information by search engines such as Google threatens to limit our access to information and enclose us in a self-reinforcing world view, writes Eli Pariser in an extract from The Filter Bubble.???

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    1. ??????you’re the only person in your bubble. In an age when shared information is the bedrock of shared experience, the filter bubble is a centrifugal force, pulling us apart.???

    Live events can help overcome this, for they bring us together and provide opportunities for discussion, dispute and agreement??? but at least all attendees are in the same space and contribute to the debate. This could be a cultural performance, a corporate conference, community festival or collaborative happening. Each person???s contribution will necessarily vary, whether delineated along the lines of performer/audience, or something more akin to the Belbin test. Whatever the form of event, whatever your contribution, the in-person event is one which individuals can experience unmediated by the cookies on their browser and the constraints of their social networking site of choice.

    2. ??????the filter bubble is invisible. ???Because you haven’t chosen the criteria by which sites filter information in and out, it’s easy to imagine that the information that comes through a filter bubble is unbiased, objective, true. But it’s not. In fact, from within the bubble, it’s nearly impossible to see how biased it is.???

    The bubble shapes the environment in which we navigate the web and on which we make our choices: forms of entertainment, consumption choices and political opinions. It would disingenuous of me to propose that live events overcome this when so many are openly predicated on achieving those same goals: the Virgin-sponsored music festival; the slick Apple product launch; political rallies demanding revolution. Then there are the events which belie their deeper meanings and wider implications: witness the London Olympics and the work behind #media2012 to explore that festival in all its guises.

    My scratch (naive?) argument here is that these events are generally less surreptitious in their attempts to shape the audience/consumer experiences. The savvy consumer buys into a festival or event knowing that the producer is trying to elicit a particular set of responses, many of which are perfectly agreeable to the consumer ??? else why engage in that transaction? Pariser???s argument above is based on the premise that we aren???t aware of these influences online and there???s little we can do to engage in that discussion. But with the Virgin festival we can react against excessive branding; Apple???s commercial message may or may not appeal and we can vote with our wallets. In a democratic society public funding is arguably relatively transparent in its support of particular events-based projects, with funding application forms and mission statements transmitting the values and goals of government agencies. Either way, the event attendee can target the producer and their funding partners with their questions and concerns, engaging with and interrogating the event bubble.

    I tempered the paragraph above with a suggestion that the views are ultimately naive, whether through poor analysis of the information available, lack of appreciation for the deeper motivations of those guiding the events industry or in the degree to which consumers are indeed savvy in their choices. An alternative set of arguments, which reflected the altered reality of events and thus the ways we let our guards down and become open to covert messages, are equally appealing. So how should these views be reconciled: through a recognition that each event has the potential to build an exploitative bubble around its contributors, but that not all do? Perhaps, but then maybe each event is in fact part of a much grander project that few of its stakeholders are aware of.

    3. ??????you don’t choose to enter the bubble.???

    Pariser???s third argument is that in many instances the filters we view life through are actively chosen by us, ???you can guess how the editors’ leaning shapes your perception. You don’t make the same kind of choice with personalised filters. They come to you??????. The majority of events and festivals need some of this buy-in from audiences and contributors, hence an engagement with the objectives of the event and a choice about whether or not to engage: to buy the ticket, to sign up to the workshop, to march with the protestors. Very few events demand our attention as free agents: an employer may require ones presence at a training event, but a gig in a local club can pass us by unnoticed. The exceptions include events which visit us, landing in our neighbourhood and imposing themselves on our route to work and perhaps breeching the peace of a good night???s sleep. They also include revolutions and large scale happenings which capture the media???s attention (both traditional and ???new???): choosing to ignore half a year of protest and violence in north Africa and the Middle East, or a Royal Wedding, isn???t easy to do regardless of one???s engagement with society at large. The extent that an event is a bubble, shaping the information that reaches us, is one which we ??? generally ??? choose to enter.

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    But why put forward these arguments here: after all, Pariser isn???t arguing about what it???s like to go to a concert or an agricultural show. It???s several months since Rohan of the Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab put forward arguments on why the Edinburgh festivals are like the web, a theme he later explored at South by Southwest I believe. In a similar vein a comparative piece on the issues identified with modern web culture, placed alongside the experience of attending festivals and events, can help identify areas where they can enhance each other and the value users derive from engaging with either. The value to event producers of this approach is that potential concerns or opportunities can be identified and managed ??? the extent to which visitors feel exploited, or the authenticity of event is questioned, perhaps.

    Pariser is encouraging us to question the honesty of the web, both in terms of the companies we engage with online and the degree to which the search results we view are ???true??? or limited thanks to our web history. Can some of this mistrust be overcome by in-person meetings? He draws on Putnam???s Bowling Alone for an analogy of where ???every
    body expected??? the internet to take us: to the town hall meetings that Putnam felt were important in generating the ???bridging capital??? which binds a disparate society together. Instead we are shepherding in as much ???bonding capital??? as will squeeze into an online session: we associate with folks like us and to a larger extent than before, not so much destroying the disparate and complicated public space as neglecting it to wither away. We fail to engage and therefore we and our society are diminished as a result.

    Pariser???s closing paragraph:
    If “code is law”, as Creative Commons founder Larry Lessig declared, it’s important to understand what the new lawmakers are trying to do. We need to understand what the programmers at Google and Facebook believe in. We need to understand the economic and social forces that are driving personalisation, some of which are inevitable and some of which are not. And we need to understand what all this means for our politics, our culture and our future.

    The internet and live events bring people together as a result of similar forces, arguably fostering the forms of capital discussed here and suffering the same limitations in terms of engagement with the public sphere. To what extent does our modern culture, which champions social media and social gatherings, reinforce our predilection for bonding capital at the expense of the more nourishing bridging capital which can bring powerful benefits to the individual and society? What are the implications of this for event producers, policy makers, marketers, the third sector and socially connected individuals like you and me in the network city?