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:

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:

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.

‘Feeling Bodies’ at Queer Asia Film Festival

66893402_10156096847931599_6446023381832695808_nLast week, Estrella Sendra joined the panel ‘Film Festival as Method – Curation, Challenges, Content’, following the themed curated films ‘Feeling Bodies’, as part of the third edition of the Queer Asia Film Festival. Seven short films from different part of Asia were screened to shed lights on different ways of embodiment of queerness across the continent.

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The panel included different organisers and researchers of queer festivals and further festivals curating queer films in their programmes from the UK, China and India. Poorva Rajaram shared her experience in the Bangalore Queer Film Festival. Matthew Karen and Will Dai spoke about the case of CINEMQ in Shanghai. Theresa Heath discussed the Queer Wotever DIY Film Festival. Estrella Sendra shared her views on the queer films curated as part of the Cambridge African Film Festival, which she directed in 2014 and 2015. All members of the panel stressed the role that the festival plays as a space where to perform, embody and reflect on queerness, beyond the engagement with the curated films as art and text. They all shared the challenges of curating queerness and the political choices made in the curatorial process. The event was chaired by Daniel Luther, a SOAS graduate and one of the co-founders of Queer Asia, currently director of the film festival.

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posthuman creativity

The Transforming Creativity Research Group hosted a panel at the recent Cultural Histories Creative Futures conference at Winchester School of Art. The conference is the third in an ongoing relationship between WSA and the Culture Industry Research Centre at Nanjing University. A major international conference, it brought together scholars from the UK and China to engage with the past, present and future of scholarship in culture, history and creativity.

The ‘posthuman creativity’ panel argued for the significance and applicability of theoretical debates around critical posthumanism to contemporary creative production and cultural experience. Megen de Bruin-Molé, Danielle Sands, and Matt Hayler sketched out the key aspects of critical posthumanist theory and to their own research and industry networks, focusing on the real-world impact and potential of posthuman thought today. Dan Ashton interrogated assumptions and misassumptions about the role of automation and robotics in creative industries and work today, testing predictions for automation against the material and economic relationships prevalent in creative labour. Seth Giddings argued that everyday life has been posthuman since at least 1979 with the arrival of playful AI in the form of videogames – and that existing relationships with virtual animals offer insights into an emerging human-nonhuman culture.

What is to be done with the arts?

A public talk hosted by John Hansard Gallery. Full info here.

Professor Julian Meyrick (Flinders University, Australia) will be introduced Laboratory Adelaide, a research project based in South Australia looking at the problem of evaluating cultural organisations and events. Since 2013, the project has investigated principles-based approaches to value reporting that emphasises integrated narrative, multiple time horizons, informing context, direct experience, and meaningful language use, as against “the metric tide” of abstract, quantitative data gathering.

Following introductions from Dianna Djokey (John Hansard Gallery) and Dan Ashton (Transforming Creativity), Julian offered suggestions for principles for assessment and evaluation and explored ongoing conversations with public administration, environmentalists, and science communicators. This was followed by responses by Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde and a group discussion.

More on Professor Julian Meyrick here. More on Laboratory Adelaide here.