AmbITion North West Roadshow – Introduction

This is a live blog of the AmbITion Roadshow North West  event at the NOVAS Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool.  If you spot any errors or inaccuracies or would simply like to contribute to the conversation, leave us a comment!

And we’re off!

We’re coming at you from the Lau Theatre at Liverpool’s NOVAS Contemporary Urban Centre this morning.

Dave Moutrey from the Cornerhouse, AmbITion project co-ordinator now doing the housekeeping announcements.

Free wi-fi access announced.

#getambition hash tag in use on Twitter.

First speaker: Sarah Fisher from Arts Council England.

Sarah is sharing how Digital Opportunities is one of four Arts Council priority areas for the period 2008 – 2010.

On Twitter, lots of the younger ‘constituents’ using digital not s much for the old.

Why is it important?  It’s impacting  the world.

The Arts Council programme

Research, learning and policy development
There’s work looking into arts development and digital and where the most exciting stuff is.

Building Digital Capacity
“People are already on board. There is some really clever and clear digital thinking out there.  Not yet across the board though.”

Developing partnerships for the public service content economy
This is about how we fund public service communications, what was broadcasting.

Looking at how we develop forms of working where public funding to develop content actually comes to the arts sector.  Think about how much money the BBC get!

Roadshows are a way to disseminate the stuff learnt…

The Art of Digital – North West

8 events during 2009 delivered with the sector – partnering with AmbITion, FACT and folly:

  • 2 sector discussions
  • AmbITion Roadshow
  • 4 themeed workshops
  • Culmination event

FACT – working with/at the events.
Folly – practical projects to engage with the sector.

One such example, a practical widget that looks at who comes to your website.  Allows audiences with different levels of interactivity with different websites.  Will be explained at the Culmination event.

Up next: Hannah Rudman, AmbITion director

Hannah is talking about the societal shift to digital.

Digital natives easily defined now: strictly defined as those under 28.

For the rest of us, feeling like a digital migrant is OK.  No need to put your head in the sand about it.

All this change means we are seeing new audience behaviours.

It affects how art is delivered, how audience participation works.

What do we hope to achieve today?

Excite – share – show – inform – network.

Sharing learnings of the AmbITion project.

Show good practice in approach to digital development

Show resources available to arts organisations in developing.

Live blog announced from the podium.

<Virtual Wave!>

Hannah shares a quote:

“Our focus should be not on emerging technologies but on emerging cultural practices.” Henry Jenkins, Professor of Comparative Media, MIT.

AmbITion is not just about technology but about helping arts organisations develop digitally.

The AmbITion Approach

  • Risk Assessment – “make no mistake this will change your organisation.”  Checking you have the capacity to cope
  • Audit
  • Diagnostic – finds where you need to change
  • Develop a formal Business Case – gives argument to take to board or funders
  • Managed implementation
  • Continuous reflection

It’s not just about the technology!

Audit & Diagnostic is “cross-departmental”
Business cases embeds thinking and management
Is scaleable.

Show me the money?

  • AmbiTion consultancy
  • $0, open source/free apps
  • Redirected own funds
  • Redirected or chose to use G4tA funds
  • AmbITion funds, on strength of biz case

What Digital Developments have organisations involved with AmbITion actually implemented?

CRM, CMS driven websites, database integration, interantest, wi-fi
Productivity tools
Broadening digital channels and networks
HD Digital content capturing /recording kit
Upgrading networks

Everyone is reporting better relationships with audiences and more live attendances.

Ludus Dance now uses of film to engage with their audiences.

Hannah now shows an interesting video created by Ludus Dance using video to present their dance classes (basically selling the Product).

That video has enabled them to sell £10k more dance classes than before the y used it because people are block booking classes now they can see what the classes are like before they attend.

Other examples:

Hide and Seek which will be sharing how they used digital to create a poetry festival(?)

Oldham Coliseum who are developing a youth community play using social media technologies.

Other aspirations:
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new website model.   It’s all ab out audiences pulling what they want.  Big social media push using YouTube,,, Facebook, dilettante, iTunes, Twitter, RSS and more.

Digital is about enabling new forms of funding for organisations.  An investment into staff training as well.

An opportunity to exploit new business models.

Litfest have used digital to publicise Flax, their new writing group. They’ve taken these typically offline group work and turned them into PDF publications which can also be ordered as actual books.

They receive 500-700 downloads for the PDFs.

Podcasts allow people to listen to what the authors sound like as well.

Litfest tried video and said it didn’t work so it’s not entirely about doing everything digitally.  Find out what works for you.

Next up:
Alex Fleetwood, director of the Hide and Seek Festival


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