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Refuturing creative work and remixing creative education

In early September, Dan attended the 3rd CAMEo conference in Leicester. Dan was part of a panel on “Re-Futuring Creative Work” with Professor Susan Luckman, Professor Stephanie Taylor, and Associate Professor George Morgan. Dan’s talk was linked to the “Unexpected Enterprises” project (details of past workshops are here). A chapter (co-authored with Emma Agusita) linked to this project and talk will be published within an edited collection that is part of Palgrave’s new series, “Creative Working Lives”.

Some of the Twitter posts on this:

George Morgan talk: Creative Calling

Transforming Creativity and MA Global Media Management were pleased to co-host George Morgan from Western Sydney University for the talk – The Creative Calling: Vocation, Career, and Enterprise.

George 1.jpg

George explored creative work and the ‘new spirit of capitalism’, creative education and labour markets, and class as an obstacle to creative careers. George provide narrative stories from research participants and closed in exploring precarious work and frustrated ambitions. The talk was followed with a lively discussion with staff and students from WSA.

The Creative Calling: Vocation, Career, and Enterprise

Transforming Creativity Research Group and MA Global Media Management present:

“The Creative Calling: Vocation, Career, and Enterprise”
Dr George Morgan (Western Sydney University)

Wednesday 30th October 4-5.30pm in Lecture Theatre A, Winchester School of Art

Creativity Hoax cover

Creativity has now become a buzzword for western economic renewal. In our book The Creativity Hoax, (Anthem, 2018) Pariece Nelligan and I argue that the idea of the creative or cultural economy contains an implicit promise that work will become more fulfilling and that the worker can realistically aspire to make a living and a career from their artistic calling. This seminar will explore some of the contemporary myths of new capitalism and the way they provide symbolic bridges between the youthful non-conformist origins of creativity and the highly neo-liberal circumstances of the market for creative skills.

George Morgan is Associate Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. His recent research deals with creative skills and in particular the obstacles encountered by young people from disadvantaged/ minority backgrounds in building creative careers. His book The Creativity Hoax: Precarious Work and the New Economy (Anthem Press), co-authored with Pariece Nelligan was published in 2018.

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Creative Calling (full abstract)

Remembering the creative city

Dan presented at the second Creativity, Knowledge, Cities conference hosted at the Watershed in Bristol. The programme is here. Dan’s talk was exploring the UK City of Culture competition. This talk builds on the roundtable at last year’s conference and a number of collaborative activities.

Here is some of the Twitter coverage:

Dan also chaired a panel on Creative Governance:

Connecting Culture

Dan Ashton and Seth Giddings are co-investigators on the just-announced ‘Connecting Culture’ initiative, a two-year project supported by a £75,000 grant from Arts Council England and involving a large consortium of arts organisations and child-focused services, led by the University of Southampton, to catalyse a new future in the arts.

Children and young people from across Southampton will be at the heart of the project, which will address the question of how the city’s thriving Cultural Quarter can enrich the lives of those aged five to 25. The aim is to enable young people to produce a Young People’s Manifesto and Map to be adopted by ‘Child-Friendly Southampton’ and create a sustained programme that reflects their needs.

The project will involve: 

  • over 350 participants, aged 5-25, and Early Years families in a city-wide artist-led consultation;
  • the recruitment of 10 new ‘Cultural Connectors’, a programme for young people aged 16-25 integrating ‘youth voice’ leadership and organisational development;  
  • the commissioning of a series of new public artworks led by young people;
  • the use of data gathered by the consortium, participants and partners to trial, develop and shape activities for children and young people – now and in the future.

The ‘Connecting Culture’ consortium includes Artswork, Art Asia, ArtfulScribe, ‘a space’ arts / God’s House Tower, Black History Month – Southampton, City Eye, John Hansard Gallery, Mayflower Theatre, Mayflower 400, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, SeaCity Museum, SOCOMusic, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton Central Library, Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton Music Hub, SÓN, Turner Sims, Unity 101, Voice FM, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre.

Strategic partners for the project include: Southampton City Council (SCC) Children’s Services (Children, Young People and Families), Southampton Youth Forum, Southampton Children in Care Council, Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP), Southampton Education Forum (HE/FE), Virtual School Head (Maria Anderson), Primary Heads Conference, Southampton Cooperative Learning Trust, Youth Options, No Limits (Young People, Young Carers), Diverse City (Dorset/Bristol), Creative Youth Network (Bristol); UoS: Public Engagement with Research Unit, Widening Participation Department, Social Impact Lab. 

Connecting Culture will commence in Autumn 2019.

creatures in Cologne

Seth Giddings was invited to give a talk at Beyond Humanism: cyborgs – animals – data swarms, the Cologne Summer School in Interdisciplinary Anthropology, a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities, University of Cologne September 23rd-27th 2019.

Entitled ‘AI and other animals: ontologies and ethologies of the cyborgian everyday’, the talk addressed artificial intelligence and artificial life in videogame play; forms of nonhuman agency that have transformed everyday media culture and could be regarded as harbingers of an emergent posthuman world. It took play with synthetic animals – zoomorphic videogame characters and robot toys – as an extended case study, bringing together two broad streams of critical posthumanism: technoculture and inter-species relationality. It argued that studying playful artificial animals offers insights into established and emergent cyborgian relationships between the nonhuman and human: relationships of play and being played with, of training and being trained, nurturing and being nurtured. And that the animality of AI and A-Life entities is real and not metaphorical, opening up ontological questions of AI: what kind of speciation gives rise to particular agents, what habitats and what kinds of behaviour characterise their existence? What anthropological or ethological methods might we employ to study these behaviours? And how is the status of both ‘animality’ and ‘intelligence’ achieved from the cyborg assemblages of code, digital hardware, animated imagery, bodies and minds in play?