5 Projects

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As promised in my previous post, here is a brief overview of each of the five projects that I am currently researching.

We Found Art

You may already be familiar with my project ‘We Found Art’ as I’ve blogged about it along the way. I have chosen to include it in my research as the reason that I set it up was to learn more about how web 2.0 technologies can encourage innovative, creative interactions online and challenge the traditional concept of collaboration, participation and engagement.

We Found Art explores notions of value and beauty in objects that have been lost, forgotten or discarded.  Between March and August 2011 online participants were invited to post small found objects to the We Found Art HQ, along with a note of where they were found and why they were chosen. The objects were catalogued and accessioned as they would were they to be joining a gallery or museum collection.

Participants were also invited to add their thoughts, stories, photographs, sound clips and films relating to the act of collecting to the project blog. All objects submitted were professionally photographed and joined an evolving online gallery and touring (caravan) exhibition; The Moveable Museum of Found Objects.

52 by 52

Photo credit David Gillett

52 by 52 is curated by designer David Gillett.

‘A weekly photo challenge is set by fifty-two accomplished photographers throughout the course of a year. Each week the 52 by 52 members interpret the photographer’s challenge in whichever way they feel appropriate and submit a photo to the Flickr group.

The project aims to stretch its members creatively, encouraging experimentation in terms of approach as well as aesthetics. Community is an important aspect of 52 by 52 and the support of the group will be helpful to spur members on throughout the year. The project started on the 1st of September 2011 and will run for a year, it’ll be possible to join the project at any time during the 52 weeks.’

365 Jars

Photo credit Kirsty Hall

365 Jars is curated by artist Kirsty Hall.

On (almost) every day during 2011, Bristol artist Kirsty Hall made and released an art jar into the wild for people to find and keep. Each jar was left in a publicly accessible place; the 365 Jars’ web address and the number of each jar was written on its lid and it was accompanied by a friendly note telling people that they could take the jar. ‘Jar finders’ were requested to register their jar on the project’s blog.

Throughout the project Kirsty documented each jar on the project’s blog. She described the contents of the jar and photographed it both in the studio and in situ (in the wild). The location of the jar was marked either on a GPS iPhone app or by photographing the nearest street sign. Found jars were logged on the blog with details of where and when they were found and the finder’s motivations for picking them up.

The Big Jar Adventure was another strand to the project and Kirsty encouraged Jar Finders to re-release their jar with the intention of placing one in every UK city and beyond.

#Plateaknit

Photo credit Giles Babbidge Photography

#Plateaknit was developed by Ingrid Murnane, a textiles historian and maker and was led by her through @platea, a global online public art collective.

#Plateaknit combined social networking and knitting by crowd sourcing tweets to create a knitting pattern or recipe during a five day ‘performance.’

Performers took part in #Plateaknit as an instructor, a maker or both. Instructors used the hashtag #plateaknit to give the makers instructions in a tweet. These instructions took the form of

  • traditional knitting abbreviations eg ‘k1, p2, k1, p3, k2, p2, k2, p1, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p3, k1, p2, k3, p2, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p1, k2, p2, k4, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k3, p2, k1, p4, k1, p3, k2, p1,k1’
  •  were open to personal interpretation e.g ‘change your colour to reflect what you ate for lunch and knit 2 rows of moss stitch. If you ate too much switch to a larger needle’
  • or related to the maker’s twitter stream e.g ‘wrap & turn, a short row, when anyone in your twitter stream mentions #Blair or the #IraqInquiry’

These instructions were picked up by the makers and incorporated into the piece they were knitting. Makers could choose to follow all of the instructions in the Twitter feed or to dip in and out. Inny created a scarf by following the entire instruction feed of the performance.

What Cannot be Seen

Photo credit Lucy Phillips

What Cannot be Seen is curated by photographer Lucy Phillips

Lucy’s inspiration for the project idea came from experimenting with pinhole photography and an interest in the work of Sophie Calle and her use of photography as a secret recording device.

What cannot be Seen has developed into an ongoing postal photography project. Lucy mails homemade matchbox pinhole cameras loaded with photographic paper to participants, inviting them to photograph ‘what cannot be seen,’ a brief that could be interpreted in various ways. The cameras are then returned to her to be processed, accompanied by an explanation of what the participant has photographed and why.

Photographs are constantly updated in Lucy’s project Flickr set and have been exhibited at the De La War Pavilion’s as part of its ‘A Nod to Cage’ season.

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Crowd Sourced Research

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Since embracing web 2.0 technology 18 months ago I have experienced a monumental shift in my practice, which is rooted in participatory arts. How I organise and promote myself; involve and interact with people; produce and share; and understand and value my work has completely changed. It has been a period of intense creativity where I have been challenged to re-evaluate what I do, where I am and where I’m going. Through exploring online spaces both as a participant (QR-3D and 52by52) and as a curator (We Found Art) I have experienced new ways of working and re-interpreted my respective roles.

As a MA Arts Management student I have viewed these experiences as the prologue to my dissertation which I have yet to write. I am interested developing this initial research to better understand how web 2.0 is changing the context of participatory arts practice and specifically how projects are being developed and interacted with, and who is involved. I particularly want to know what the challenges are from an artist/curator/arts organisation perspective and where the similarities and differences lie between on and offline practice. I would really like to explore participatory projects that evolve online and have a later offline counterpart and if such projects are encouraging new models of practice.

Much has been written about free and open art with ACE recently producing a comprehensive archive of material relating to Open Source activity in the arts. Although I anticipate a proportion of my research to be concerned with freedom and openness in the arts and more specifically, freedom to participate/collaborate, it is not my intention to focus on researching Open Source activity. Much of my offline participatory arts experience has been grounded in the everyday; using craft/DIY culture to connect and initiate creative interactions. I want to see how this type of activity translates online (beyond networks and forums) and this will form another facet of my research.

My thinking so far has been hugely influenced by David Gauntlett’s ‘Making is Connecting; The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0’ and Charles Leadbeater’s ‘We Think’. Abstracts presented at the University of Westminster’ Transforming Audiences 3 conference
encouraged me to think more about

  • Absent present participants (Asa Stalh and Kristina Lindstrom, Malmo University, Sweden)
  • Motivations for content creation and sharing (Tim Riley, University of Westminster London)
  • Everyday creativity and wellbeing (Roni Brown, University of the Arts London)

I have also started to compile a reading list for my literary review: Reading

Initial research into how contemporary arts organisations, curators, artists and audiences are responding to the influence of web 2.0 on openness, participation and collaboration has led me to Cornerhouse’s action research project The Art of With (QR-3D, previously mentioned, is a micro commission and part of this research).

If you have read this and it resonates with what you do, whether you are a participant, artist, curator or organisation, I would love to hear from you. I am looking for examples of online participatory projects that involve craft/DIY culture and have an offline counterpart (exhibition, event, offline phase of participation for example). I would also be very grateful for recommendations for my reading list or of people that I should talk to. Please either use the contact tab above or the reply box below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, it is very much appreciated.

 

The Moveable Museum of Found Objects

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I am interested in how web 2.0 encourages innovative, creative interactions online and challenges the traditional concept of collaboration, participation and engagement and how this compares to the live experience. As a kinaesthetic learner I thought that the best way to find out more about the how it would be a fantastic opportunity to set up my own online project (for readers with small children this concept works like ‘Little Howard’s Big Question’). The project is We Found Art which has now reached the point of an online to off-line shift which I thought I would blog about.

When I set up We Found Art online, it was my vision to exhibit its collection off-line in an unconventional space. I also liked the idea of engaging with an audience that might not choose to use their leisure time as cultural tourists. With this in mind I drew up a list of places that my family and friends enjoyed spending their free time. Shopping centres, car-boot sales, markets, campsites and the seaside all featured highly. It became apparent that to realise my vision these were the places I should be and to visit them I would need to be mobile!

As a caravan obsessive, the answer seemed obvious; create a Moveable Museum of Found Objects in my 1988 Avondale Perle Olympus touring caravan and take We Found Art on the road! (Of course, the idea’s not new and Jan and Chris at the Caravan Gallery have been doing it for years). A hectic summer of caravan curation ensued.

Last weekend, the Moveable Museum pitched up for its first public engagement at the Bathing Beauties Festival in Mablethorpe. Although it was a baptism of fire in terms of extreme caravan manoeuvring and required nerves of steel to get it on and off the seaside promenade, I’m pleased to report it was a huge success.

Myself and Nigel Blackamore, Curator of the Brecknock Museum, welcomed over 200 visitors into the 5 berth space over the course of the weekend who explored the crowd-sourced collection with awe and wonder, curiosity and intrigue. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of these visitors who shared their stories of finding and collecting and even brought us treasured objects. I have tried to capture the essence of the festival and have created the ‘Virtual Book of Mablethorpe’, a visual diary of our Bathing Beauties experience, which can be found over on Flickr.

My main observations from the museum’s first outing are that we have been able to maintain the community focus of We Found Art and that it has encouraged the same imaginative creative exchanges between people offline as it does on. The use of the unexpected (but familiar) space of the caravan encouraged visitors to enter the museum and feel comfortable to engage with us and with the collection. By directing visitors to the project online (through print or QR codes) we have been able to enhance their understanding of it also providing opportunities for participation. The latter is something that I hope to develop more.

The Moveable Museum of Found Objects is set to tour from Spring 2012 and We Found Art welcomes bookings. For more information, please contact me (Katie Smith, Project Curator), by email: wefoundart@gmail.com

We found Art is part of the Culture on Wheels Network

Waterloo Sunset

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I recently visited the Southbank Centre’s celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain for the launch of its Schools of Creativity Pavilion.

The original Festival of Britain heralded the dawn of a new age of optimism. The post war era was a boom time for creativity, innovation and
idealism defined by the Declaration of Human Rights which stated ‘everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in the scientific advancements and its benefits.’

The Festival of Britain embodied these values with culture clearly identified as the fabric of civilised society. It was described as a ‘tonic for
the nation’ and after the Blitz and years of rationing British people were given the opportunity to celebrate their freedom uniting across class divides. The site itself was chosen to bridge the affluent areas North of the River Thames with the slums of the North symbolizing a ‘practical utopia.’

The more I read about the 1951 Festival of Britain, the more I wonder if it was like visiting the future. The sprawling site whose modernist
architecture was inspired by the Bauhaus principle of form following function was intended to present a new urban landscape. It included a dome of discovery with an ‘escalator to outer space and sky’ and its symbol, the Skylon, levitated in the air with no visible means of support.

Navigation was by foot and although the visitor could expect to see 50 murals and 30 sculptures by British artists including Barbara
Hepworth’s first public commission ‘Contrapuntal forms,’ they were just as likely to encounter a herd of jersey cows! I would heartily recommend a visit to the Museum of 51 at Royal Festival Hall to discover more.

The Southbank’s 60th anniversary of the Festival celebrates the exuberance and optimism of the original site. There is so much that I enjoyed from the urban sea side and its customised beach huts and bunting to the emotive voices of the Lion and Unicorn installation. I have captured my
best bits here in photographs.

The primary reason for my visit was to attend the launch of the Schools of Creativity Pavilion. The 1951 Festival had a series of ‘Pavilions’ celebrating all aspects of British achievement from agriculture and engineering through to education. The aspiration expressed in the New Schools pavilion was for all children to access the latest resources needed to learn. The Schools of Creativity Pavilion celebrates this legacy showcasing the positive impact of creative teaching and learning in British Schools.

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I am thrilled as Fulbridge School’s Creative Agent to have six of my photographs included in the exhibition which document our seaside project developed to encourage a life-long love of writing. 42 schools have been selected to show work and each presents
exemplary practice which is unique to the challenges of each setting.

Since visiting the Pavilion I have spent time reflecting on the future of creativity in English schools. The English education system is currently facing austerity and the Coalition Government will not be funding the Creative Partnerships programme beyond this academic year. The programme has worked with nearly 1.4 million children and over 125,000 teachers, delivering more than 8,500 projects in 5,800 schools which have involved nearly 9000 creative practitioners and arts organisations in England since 2002. Its positive impact on the UK economy, attainment and attendance in schools and parental engagement has been well documented.

My initial thought was to question whether we are celebrating the end of an era rather than looking towards an idealistic future. I may be naive but I don’t believe this to be true; as a Creative Agent the impact of the programme on my own professional development has been huge and just writing this blog is a result of CPD from CCE. I feel well equipped to face the future and I know that there is a critical mass of people including teachers, creative practitioners and young people who have embedded sustainable creative teaching and learning into their school’s curriculums and lives and will not be turning back.

The loss of CreativePartnerships will present a considerable challenge but will be the catalyst for many to develop more creative ways of being creative which has certainly been the case for me! I am passionate about learning, participation and the creative use of technology and have been liberated by the latter to explore new models of engagement.

Scan me!

My recent involvement in the QR-3D project is an example of this. The brief was intended for individual artists to create a 3D textiles QR code but I instantly saw the potential for a crowd sourced collaborative project. I chose to invest my time not in making but facilitating, engaging over 200 people in the effort.

I used the resources available to me; Matthew Brown a CP practitioner, gave up his time to help me create an instructional film with my Fulbridge School Mini-Agents. Individuals could watch the film online and make a postal contribution and schools and groups took part in session that I led. The piece involved making 1089 felt balls which would probably have taken me over 100 hours as an individual. I invested the same amount of time in the group effort but was able to promote the creative use of technology, teach felt-making skills and highlight the possibilities of collaborative working. I also enjoyed the process of creating the piece far more.

The future for creative teaching and learning in schools is going to be tough; there is no doubt about that. Maybe the key is to be open to, and seek out opportunities to collaborate through networks which engage and mobilize people into action. I have not worked out how to pay my bills and
feed my children yet but am excited by the new direction in my creative journey!

A Year’s Worth of Learning

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A year ago today I had an inkling that I had struck lucky. I had overcome the first challenge of the day by successfully finding where I was supposed to be going with all the confidence of a sniffer dog! A quick sweep of the training venue, the fabulous Wallace Space, revealed a kitsch 50’s style toilet with complementary smellies, a posh cafe providing a lavish breakfast (my second of the day) and the promise of a thai curry for lunch. All boxes ticked!

It was not what I was expecting however, and neither was the rest of the day. On 10th May 2010 with a keen mind and wearing a knitted tank top, I embraced new technology. I didn’t think that we’d make a good match but a year on, we are still going strong! We have connected through social media, slightly more competent IT skills and a love of digital innovation. On our first anniversary, it seems fitting to reflect on how what was initially a 100hr challenge has paid dividends and proved to be the most influential CPD opportunity in my career.

Why so? Well, I have recently been reading Charles Handy’s ‘Gods of Management’ and have discovered that I fit best into a Dionysian culture. Dionysian’s learn from life, by immersion and by new experiences. They can be difficult creatures to manage and Handy describes in a nutshell, their feelings towards self development: ‘Dionysians will resent any attempt by others, particularly an organisation, to plan their futures or to develop their abilities. They want opportunities, but demand the right to choose between them.’ Hmmm, approach with caution.

The training that I attended (led by Ewan McIntosh and funded by CCE) was elective, I wasn’t sent or made to go; I wanted to be there and I wanted to learn. Touch paper lit, I launched myself  like a rocket on a voyage of techno-discovery. Over the last year, through 365 hours+ of digital exploration rooted in social media my world has become more vibrant, challenging and fulfilling:

  • Twitter has given me access to an army of brilliant minds; I have posed questions, offered opinions, read research and been inspired by innovation on a daily basis (in 140 characters or less!)
  • WordPress  has encouraged me to reflect and document on what I do and why I do it, improved my IT skills and helped me to connect to the wider world
  • Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr hold the processes and products of my first online project and encourage collaborations and random encounters

Like a viral marketing campaign, my enthusiasm for social media has spread through my work. I have encouraged and supported teachers and creative practitioners through Creative Partnerships at Fulbridge School of Creativity and St Mary’s Change School to use blogs to reflect on and document their creative journeys. The quality and volume of blogged material has been overwhelming and creates a persuasive argument for the use of social media in the classroom.

My family have not escaped unscathed from the social media onslaught either! My 10 year old son Jude has become a competent blogger. Previously a reluctant writer, he will now happily write about places he’s visited and ‘stuff’ he’s done peppering his compositions  with slideshows of photographs he’s uploaded.

Embracing web 2.0 technology has enriched my life. What I am most surprised about is what I have learnt about the social meaning of creativity. I realize that I have only dipped my toe in the water but with a background in community based participatory arts I am hungry to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between making and sharing creative material online and doing it in the real world. This will keep me going for the next 365 hours at least and will be formally captured through my MA dissertation. I have just bought David Gauntlett’s ‘Making is Connecting’ and after I have cast Handy aside I think his discourse of how creativity, craft and community intersect I’ll be off on my next adventure!

If you haven’t taken a peek already, please do check out my online project ‘We Found Art’ and get involved. If you are reading this and we’re friends on facebook or you follow me on twitter, thank you for the companionship (and more) that you have contributed to my amazing learning journey! I will stop now before I descend into an Oscar style speech… If I cry, I may fuse my keyboard and will be restricted once more to old skool learning!

Sharing Big Ideas for Learning

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Sharing Big Ideas for learning

The start of term has seen creative activity in the Kateosphere cranked up to full on warp mode! During September I was involved in two exceptional events that have challenged me both professionally and personally. One involved mummified rats in an ice age cave and the other a forest of trees created through frenetic activity from garden parasols; both have reminded me why I do what I do and love it so much! The experiences have left me feeling that I am on the cusp of my next big adventure.

When I was asked to lead the Lincolnshire’s Creative Partnerships Change School sharing day, ‘Sharing Big Ideas for learning’, I felt both thrilled and terrified. I was also suspicious as to why I had been asked and questioned whether the description often applied to my character as being ‘LOUD’ had been a deciding factor.

 After much careful thought and deliberation, I chose to face my fears and rise to the challenge. I must stress at this point that I was in no way the headline act and the event was very much the product of ‘Team Lincolnshire’ working together. The team comprised of CfBT Arts Co-ordinator Katy Vine and Creative Agents Al Muir, Dawn Harris, Rosie Ward and Leanne Taylor.

The format of the event had been determined by research around what participants wanted to get from the day. Feedback had suggested that opportunities should be tailored to the unique attributes of each school and the achievements that they hoped to realise through their CP work. With this in mind a conference style format to the day showcasing past projects through presentations was rejected. The alternative put forward was a participatory event using the metaphor of a tree as the creative concept to draw out the vision and aspirations of each Change School attending.

 I was challenged to facilitate a series of participatory creative activities that would encourage a rigorous exploration by each school of where they were, where they wanted to be and how they wanted to get there.

This event was unusual as the 70 participants invited were Teachers, Pupils (primary, secondary and special needs), Creative Agents, Creative Practitioners and representatives from Lincolnshire One Venues.

The diverse nature of the group and the vastness of the space to be used (The Collection, Lincoln) was the source of my initial fear! I was also taken out of my comfort zone by being given a pre defined creative concept to work with. I had to dig deep into the reserves of past experiences to work out how an environment could be created that would support learning and was meaningful to each participant.

 I decided to focus on making the space work; I considered how it would be defined, introduced and would fit with other elements of the day. I filled the space with seven green wooden framed parasols (which came with the creative concept!) which groups of participants would work around. I then split the day’s making activities into six mini sessions; each would represent part of the tree and would describe the school’s various components and characteristics, the achievements that it hoped to realise through its CP work and the methods that it would employ to do this. 

I hung themed bags of resources from the parasols which were labelled roots, branches, leaves, fruit, pollinators and blossom. I also included a written prompt to clarify the objective of each element of activity and to initiate a response.

By setting the space up in this way I hoped to define areas of self contained activity, create intrigue and curiosity and encourage experiential learning! I was also very aware that the focus of the day would be to explore aspirations through creative activity but that the actual was making subordinate in this process. The trees would become a visual representation of discussions taking place in each group…. At this point, the fear crept in again and I had flash backs to the TV series ‘School of Saatchi’ and wondered if it was all a tad conceptual and pretentious!

The build up to the day was far more nerve racking than the event itself. My inability to eat my buttered breakfast crumpets the morning before caused me great mental anguish!  As participants arrived at The Collection they were guided through the space.

Rosie Ward’s Fulbridge seaside installation looked stunning playing on loop across three screens in the AV Theatre. Her ‘Making of’ film documenting the process introduced participants to the Temporary Gallery where the bare parasol trees stood waiting in anticipation for creativity to sprout.

In Orientation Hall, Fosse Way Pupil’s choreographed sound piece ‘Sharing Big Ideas for learning’ was played through the twenty two speakers of the Sound Wall. The pupils also interviewed arrivals asking ‘What is the colour of creativity?’ (They went on to work with Rosie throughout the morning to feed the responses gathered into their piece which formed an audio backdrop to lunch).

The making activities worked well and it was interesting to observe the interactions of each group and their responses to the tree metaphor. I think that the metaphor worked because of the way in which participants had been skilfully prepared for the event by Creative Agent Al Muir. This preparation had included assigning support for the two special schools pre event and brought everyone into the space with shared expectations.

The zoning of space worked well too and encouraged collaborative working between different Schools, Creative Agents and Creative Practitioners. Feedback from a Creative Practitioner that I was particularly interested in was that she hadn’t realised how targeted CP work is; in that it responds to a specific need or needs of the School’s Development Plan. This made me think about how the programme plan is shared between project partners and gave me something else to consider for my work this year i.e sharing the vision.

This event was an important experience for me. As a risk taker, I think people often perceive me as more confident than I am. I was actually quite scared about leading the event! I was very aware that if I failed publically it could be damaging professionally especially in the current climate where there is so much competition for work. I didn’t find leading easy but I think that it was a useful lesson in; confidence can sometimes come across as arrogance, feel ing vulnerable has reminded me to stay grounded.

The event also reassured me that I have the ability to contribute effectively in a team situation. As part of my Arts Management MA last year I took up an Events Management module. I was assessed on a group presentation where in a team we had planned a young people’s participatory event linked to the Cultural Olympiad. Although I enjoyed the module, I found the group work challenging. As a mature student with real life work experience it was difficult not to take control and at times I felt like a dictator which was not a comfortable feeling!

Sharing Big Ideas for Learning gave me the opportunity to apply my theoretical learning to a real situation. I really enjoyed working with Al, Rosie and Katy and feel that because of our existing professional relationships we found natural openings to capitalize on our strengths and areas of expertise. We were also a very supportive, harmonious group. We were reactive to issues as they arose and communicated well. Whereas the artificial group situation at University had left me questioning my ability to work as part of a team, my ‘Team Lincolnshire’ experience confirmed that I could. Perhaps what I have learnt by drawing this parallel is that working within a team of equals suits me better than taking the role of leader.

So,  the mummified rats? I think I will leave that for another time.

Three weeks have passed since my last blog!

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The Confession(s)

Three weeks have passed since my first broadcast from the blogosphere and I feel the need to make several confessions! During week one I had a couple of technological disasters which I underplayed through neglecting to mention them. The first was the net-book-hoover-disaster. I have recently discovered that if I take my laptop with me on long train journeys I can get a lot of work done. I have a short attention span, am easily distracted and can’t sit still. Train travel  acts as some kind of obedience training when combined with laptop usage! I have completed CSDF’s and worked on university assignments with gusto just because I am unable to leave my seat until I reach my destination. This does rely on fellow travellers to some extent but I have discovered the ‘quiet carriage’ which is like stepping onto a parallel universe of whispers. (Any trains travelling from or to Skegness though are a risk as the incident with the three excitable little holiday makers breaking wind on the seat behind me highlighted). Thus, I decided that if I incorporated my 100hr challenge into train travel and continued with my tireless regime of work too, a net book would be an excellent idea. I purchased one during a spontaneous moment with my children who egged me on with words of encouragement. I had barely parked the car on the drive at home before they had the small brown cardboard box open and were exploring the contents a little bit too excitedly. Using my ‘mum training,’ I assessed the potential hazards and put a control measure in place. With the net book safely on the table connecting to the internet (which was taking some time), and children eating handfuls of chocolate eggs, I decided to multi task and hoover the carpet. Somehow I managed to get the hoover and net book cables entwined with disastrous consequences. The net book fell to the floor and a beautiful crystallized pattern appeared on the LCD screen.  I have estimated that this sequence of events took approximately 7.5 minutes; it will take 28 days for repairs to be made!

My second confession relates to my sub challenge of one word and one photo to be posted on twitter every day for a week. I kicked off with ‘slippery’ which was a strong start and set the bar perhaps a little too high, leaving me in desperate need of inspiration. The guilty source of inspiration came in the form of two delicious jam and fresh cream donuts which I joyfully consumed in a supermarket carpark. I then found a skip to recycle tin cans and got my shot. Bizarrely when I posted the link to my photograph on twitter it directed my followers to someone else’s account and a photograph of a cake (am I a techno-psychic?). The one word/one photo challenge has identified more avenues that I could explore during my 100hrs. I have never really engaged with digital photography preferring to think nostalgically instead about my art college days spent in the dark room. I have had a digital SLR for over a year now and have rarely taken it off its automatic setting. Having to look for a photograph a day has encouraged me to use my photographic eye and my camera creatively and reminded me how much I love taking photographs. The school holidays will be an ideal opportunity to learn how to use my camera properly and I may even experiment with photoshop. I have linked my blog to my newly created flikr account and will continue to take up photography sub challenges and strive to improve my digital knowledge.

My third confession is the reason for taking three weeks to post my second blog; total techno meltdown! At the end of week two, I broke tweetdeck on my desktop and even though I followed helpful forum advice, I just couldn’t get it back! I threw in the towel and left behind technology for a whole week preferring to holiday in Cardiff with my boyfriend! I continued to send myself a postcard each day with edited highlights, snippets of which I’m sure would have delighted and entertained my twitter followers! I got to hang out with TV lovies, witnessed a lady shopping in her pyjamas, got told off at an antiques market and when I took the air at Penarth I saw a fat man having a wee in the sea! I enjoyed my week and decided that I had made the right decision to trial a temporary separation from technology, as I didn’t want my challenge to become a chore. I returned home ready to do battle with tweetdeck and reinstalled it on my desktop. I also set it up on my phone and my weekly trip to roller skating provided the ideal opportunity to test its potential. I tweeted photos of Disco John the MC and the old ladies who run the tuck shop (who told me that they have been there since Bernard had his stroke in 1981). Today I have been working in my role as Creative Agent at Fulbridge School of Creativity which proved to be an amazing opportunity to share the mid-point of our programme through social media. I tweeted photographs and updates throughout the day and gathered some new followers after a mention from CCE.

The connection(s)

After I wrote my first blog, I emailed pretty much all of the creative agents, creative practitioners and teachers that I know in an attempt to share my ramblings with an audience. I was overwhelmed with the response; 70 views in 1 week.  Fellow agent Al Holloway contacted me to see if my 100hr challenge would link into a CP project that he’s working on in Slough. It’s called Get Digital and is a series of five monthly online chats starting mid June where people who use ICT in a learning context are invited to share their practice with the group. There is a blog which explains more about the idea, getdigital2010.wordpress.com.  I’m really interested in the concept, how the technical aspect will work and if it is something that could be used within networks of schools, practitioners or even agents. If anyone else is like me and taking their first tentative steps into this new world, Al’s project would definitely be worth taking part in. This connection has also proved to me that using participative media can stretch the reach of creative agents in particular and could see some really interesting partnerships being set up. It has also made me ponder the etiquette of leaving comments on blogs. If I read something of interest, I am inclined to email the author directly to offer feedback or to find out more information. After experiencing the usefulness of comments made on twitter, I got to thinking about how if my blog feedback was made public  it could maybe then spark another connection in another reader and so on and so on. From this day on, I will be leaving comments on blogs!

The next step

After being genuinely thrilled by the response from the Fulbridge Tweets and through discussion with Lead Teacher Charlotte Krzanicki I will be posting another full day of tweets on Wednesday 16th June. This will be an exciting day for Fulbridge as they enter into a partnership with corporate communications company CTN to develop an online learning resource to share their journey as a National School of Creativity. CTN is based in St Martin’s Lane London and has high profile clients such as the Navy. Charlotte and I will be taking eight year five ‘Mini Agents’ to London to meet with CTN’s creative team. We are hoping that parents will give us permission for images and films of their children to be posted on the internet through twitter, you tube and flikr, to present a visual diary of the day as it unfolds. As well as sharing our day with a wider audience of arts/education organisations and creative professionals, teachers, pupils and parents will be able to track us and witness what we are experiencing as it happens. We will be sharing everything right down to the contents of our packed lunches!

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