Hello Culture

Or, O Hai! Kultcha, as one commenter referred to it.

Anyway, on Thursday 17th November I attended Hello Culture at Zellig in the Custard Factory. It was billed as a day “to explore how the cultural sector can exploit digital technology, innovation, knowledge and skills” and I had a little speaking slot on a panel in the morning about social media and user generated content.

Helga Henry was our MC for the day and introduced the first speaker Peta Murphy-Burke, from Arts Council England. This was a good start. Peta spoke about funding, in particular about the Digital R&D projects that are being funded by the Arts Council in conjunction with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) at the moment. There has already been £0.5m allocated for an initial eight projects, but this is just the start of a £20m programme.

We then had a keynote from Jeremy Davenport about the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network. He spoke about the work of the KTN and the future of collaborations between the creative industries, science and digital technologies.

Jeremy Davenport‘s Presentation

We went into workshops and my first was the social media and user generated content panel that I sat on with Sarah Ellis from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Nick Booth ofPodnosh and Skinder Hundal of the New Art Exchange.

We were chaired by Paul Bradshaw who mercifully asked us to speak very little and then opened up the floor for questions. I thought that was a good way to run the session and hope the attendees enjoyed it as much as I did.

We had questions about how to reuse content on the web, ways to promote the good work that people were doing and whether sometimes it is better to go to other people’s online spaces rather than trying to drag everybody to ours.

Then lunch. Which was rather nice.

For the first of the panels after lunch I went to the Mobile, Location and Games session with Jon Bounds , Katie Day from The Other Way Works, Nikki Pugh who has helped set up BARG and FizzPOP and Jason DaPonter of The Swarm.

There were lots of interesting points to the discussion. Jason was good on new emerging technologies, Katie talked about performances that are created around location and Jon told us about his sentiment analysis project Is Birmingham Happy? Apparently the answer is not very, most of the time.

My favourite part of the session was Nikki Pugh’s demonstration of her sonar goggles (see below). Nikki has blogged about a variety of games she has created using them. Her work is very much focused on us and our interactions with the spaces around us. Especially when Nikki can mess about with this using technology.

After the break I started off in the session by Keith Evans on Digital Transformation: Changing your Business Model to Enable Digital Engagement. Keith was keen on how to bring a Banff Centre type organisation to Birmingham.

To be honest, that was a bit too focused on the creative industries end of things for me and I wasn’t sure that I understood the discussions involved. I nipped out and popped across to see the end of Helga and Pete Ashton‘s talk on Connections that Count. My first impression was that this was about how best to stalk people and so was obviously right up my street.

Or even somebody else’s street.

In a Fedora and a trenchcoat.

Anyway, it turned out that the session was based on the Metapod programmeand was about strategies for getting to meet people through and for work. Helga and Pete have a very neat double act going with Helga explaining offline networking techniques and Pete online ones.

It was interesting to see them explain the difference and similarities between behaviour on and offline while demonstrating that wherever you are it is people and relationships that matter.

It was pleasing to see a healthy number of people still around by the final plenary and a lot of discussions were continuing as I left.

Digital Birmingham are proud to be a part of Hello Culture. We think it is really healthy that there is something in the city which brings digital and creative types together – and recognises that they are often the same people.

A lot of thanks for the success of the event is due to the hard work of Big Catand Lara Ratnaraja and my colleagues Nicola Bryant and Donna Galt here at Digital Birmingham. The social reporting and media streaming was done byNat and Julia and the Event With Me team. None of it would have

been possible without the kind help of our sponsors who are listed on theHello Culture site.

If you missed it, or want to relive it, then a load of content from the day has been put on The Posterous.

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