Musings on the AmbITion Roadshow/Art of Digital Symposium

twitter2A full two days incarcerated within the lovely Sadler’s Wells, and all I’ve got to show for it is a rather annoying new addiction to Twitter! But only annoying to those around me – I’m loving it… and yes I know I’m a bit late to this party.

On a more serious note, it was all very interesting although I had hoped there would be a bit more about audiences, which is only to be expected working for Audiences London. I’d like the input from the experts to move on from ‘there’s all this stuff you can use to communicate in different ways, and it’s all free, so use it’ (albeit with a bit of a caviat that they’re only tools – mode, not medium) to… ‘who is it we’re engaging with, and what kind of engagement does that result in, through using digital media’. It is clear at one end that it’s working for participative activities and at the other end results have been recorded in terms of global profile. However, there’s a whole world of ‘engagement’ between those two.

Some random quotes and thoughts were… ‘websites should be based around pull and shared content’ (Hannah Rudman). Hide and Seek’s Alex Fleetwood was living example of how you have to trade relinquishing control for greater visibility.  A strong theme emerging was that if you collaborate, consult or even just open the door to others it can help to develop and improve what you do. Rohan of Missions Models Money mentioned that you’re just helping people do what they already do – which begs the question, are we really reaching new or different audiences, or just deepening the engagement of existing audiences through all this digital activity.

Ekow Eshun of the ICA kicked off the Art of Digital Symposium with words of wisdom along the lines of…  the arts have a responsibility to respond to the world around us, so you can’t claim to be a  contemporary space and remain relevant if this does not include engagement with digital opportunities. He also made a very valid defence of his motivations for integrating ‘digital’ responsibilities across the organisation, rather than having a hived off separate department. Although he didn’t get a chance to answer a question about whether he’d consulted his audiences about the ICA and its digital engagement.

And Ed Baxter of Resonance FM – who I I think I want to adopt said… ‘If you learn something share it, if you make a mistake point it out’. Which seems to me very wise and should be at the heart of any thriving community.

My remaining questions are … who is the twitterer ‘sealtree’, and would I really want to go to a ‘geek camp’… And please tell us what you’d like to know about how your audiences engage with digital media, or share examples of what’s worked, and what’s not…

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