Summer of Colour (part 2) – Delivery of The Framework

Delivery of Summer of Colour was led by a freelance Creative Programmer who was appointed in late December 2013 and started in post in January 2014. Much of the delivery was in partnership with external artists and organisations many of whom are based in Margate.

What we did, how, with whom
The Creative Programmer established a framework under which the Summer of Colour programme could be broadly divided into three types of activity.

  • Turner Contemporary projects: many of these were core to Turner Contemporary’s summer programme and were led by and delivered by Turner Contemporary’s staff and team, some were already programmed and discussions under way eg, Carlos Cortez “Moving with the Wind”
  • Turner Contemporary co-delivered/co commissioned: these were projects which, based on the aims of the Summer of Colour we were keen to bring to Margate. These included projects which we instigated and some where the Turner Contemporary’s team assisted in delivery – either through part funding, assistance with securing Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts funding or other support.
  • Partners’ delivery: these were projects, events, installations or performances which made a significant contribution to Summer of Colour and were key to the success of the programme. Turner Contemporary supported these projects though funding, marketing, support in kind, use of Turner Contemporary as a venue. These were almost entirely led by and instigated by partners, using Summer of Colour as a framework in which to situate the work or as a catalyst for it. We supported projects where there was a clear link to the Summer of Colour aims, for example the presentation of work already commissioned by South East Dance – Cubing Bis

In addition we wanted to encourage those planning and delivering their own events to share that information and use the Summer of Colour as a platform for marketing and comms, to contribute to the sense of a vibrant and exciting series of summer events and to enable them to benefit from our promotion. We commissioned the Summer of Colour website, using a re-skinned One in a Million site with added functionality to allow easy upload for events, plus photos to the Gallery page.

image Moving with the wind by Carlos Cortez

Moving with the wind by Carlos Cortez (photo: Manu Palomeque)

How we delivered the festival
We created a clear framework, based upon the overarching aims (cross art-form, paired events, inspired by colour, offsite and in unusual spaces, aiming for non-arts and local audiences) and invited ideas and contributions to the programme through a series of face to face meetings.

Over the first three months (Jan-March), the Creative Programmer made contact with over 70 individuals and organisations and had meetings with at least 30. This face to face approach, often off site and in the town was beneficial in demonstrating the commitment of Turner Contemporary to work collaboratively. Over a third of the partners had not collaborated with Turner Contemporary before and 100% of partners have now said they would like to collaborate with Turner Contemporary in future.

We gave a clear message that whilst Mondrian and Colour was Turner Contemporary’s exhibition, the Summer of Colour belonged to Margate. The clear framework and the aims, plus the commitment within the aims to collaborate with external partners, across art forms, made it easier to say yes to projects and ideas and to take creative risks, and it made it easier for artists to approach us with their ideas.

The ownership that we feel and that hopefully the town feels, has been in place before now, but this, the Summer of Colour feels like it’s very much a kind of “here’s the platform, now stand on it” – so we can have people semi-autonomously putting proposals forward from commissioned based pieces of work, shops got involved and as artists and creatives and as a member of Resort Studios up in Cliftonville we felt like part of, an integral part of, what was happening”
~ Emrys Plant

Image On Margate Sounds, First Friday

Summer of Colour: On Margate Sounds, First Friday

In addition to sharing the overarching aims and ambition with partners we devised an approach to the programme with ‘pairs’ of activity on and offsite. The intention being to encourage two-way traffic between events which took place at the gallery and those delivered by our partners in their locations, to broaden our reach and attract a more diverse audience. We focused on programing non-visual arts activity by seeking out music, dance and theatre partners and delivering work such as the newly commissioned tango, inspired by Mondrian developed by Morgan’s and delivered in the gallery.

As well as thematic or art-form pairings, we aimed to create clusters of similarly themed activity in order to create high points in the programme, days or weekends when multiple activities would take place in several locations. An excellent example was the Margate Jazz Festival in mid June which took place across the town over three days, popping up in bars and cafés, as well as on the terrace at Turner Contemporary and in the gallery spaces.

Image Jazz on the terrace of Turner Contemporary

Summer of Colour: Jazz on the terrace of Turner Contemporary

Read the previous post: Summer of Colour (part 1) -Background and Headlines

Tracking Down Cultural Data (part 3)

This is the third blog summarising the challenges around setting parameters for our ambitious data pilot. At this point it is probably a good idea to remind ourselves of the guiding purpose of the pilot:

The aim is to create a single data source that can be used as the basis for a variety of digital platforms and applications that can, in turn, help to:

  • Showcase Kent’s cultural assets to the broadest audience possible.
  • Promote the county as a cultural destination for residents and local, national and international visitors.
  • Ensure people are aware of what’s going on in every part of the county, wherever they are.

It’s also important to remember that the project has grown a bit since its first inception and now includes more qualitative experiments in collaboration and engagement to achieve the three bullet-points – but which can also feed into the data-driven work.

As the last two posts have shown, with data collection and management, the devil is in the detail. We now have to wrestle with some specific decisions on how to progress.

It doesn’t seem reasonable to expect people to input data into a new, separate database so, if they only input data once, should it be into a central source from which relevant information is pushed out to their websites? Or should we make something that pulls that information from what they are already doing into our central data-pool? Or could we just select one of the data sources currently available and adapt it and encourage others to use it (e.g. the Visit Kent website, the Kent Online website)?

Which are the organisations whose information is essential to give us a worthwhile critical mass? How do we make sure it is still relevant and easy for smaller cultural organisations to take part? What’s our definition of cultural? Would it be useful to have information about restaurants, bars etc as well as the traditional arts / culture organisations? Could including this kind of information lead to an application which would help visitors plan whole itineraries? Or would it dilute our primary purpose?

Should we try to work out one big master plan? Or should we try to use more Agile-like processes?

And when we have our amazing data pool, what are we going to use it for? Probably not yet another website, given the proliferation of websites currently available … maybe an app or, what? And once whatever it is built, how will we market that tool? Questions that we will begin to answer over the next little while. We’ll let you know how we get on!

Read the previous post: Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 1)

Read the previous post: Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 2)

Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 2)

The last post talked about how difficult it is to define the categories of “cultural” data and decide what information to collect. This post is all about the problems of gathering information from lots of different sources. A much more detailed explanation can be found in the Culture 24 report – available to download at the bottom of this post.

“The mapping exercise attempted specifically to identify sources that either aggregate cultural data or publish aggregated cultural data” (Culture 24 report p9).

So how is data aggregated? And how is it published?

As the report outlines, there are three main ways to gather information:

  • Collect and input it yourself
  • Get people to input their own data
  • Automate the process

There are pros and cons with all three methods. Collecting it yourself is time-consuming (therefore expensive), and there is no guarantee the information is fully accurate. If you want to get people to input their own data you need to give them a very good reason for taking the time – so you have to prove your website(or other digital platform) reaches more people, or a specific group of people, than they can reach through their own sites. Automation can be useful but it can be costly and you still need to have a good, ongoing relationship with the providers.

And once you have the information? Online data sources themselves need to be marketed, so the way the information is presented may be:

  • Targeted at people with a particular interest (e.g. folk music or visual art)
  • or Centred on a geographical location (e.g a directory of information for local people or the tourist attractions of a specific town or city)
  • or For people with common needs (e.g. families).

Some sites just list the venues or organisations, while others include event information too.

In deciding how to collect and present data, Culture Kent will prioritise the way that best delivers the intention to increase the number of visitors to Kent’s cultural organisations.

Read the full report here: CKP Culture24 Data Mapping Research FINAL

Read the previous post: Tracking Down Cultural Data in Kent (part 1)

Pathfinders: Kent County Council

We are committed to being a Pathfinder because we understand that the project will deliver outcomes that will meet an identified business need of the arts and cultural sector in Kent to deliver greater opportunities for economic impact by:

  • Reaching new visitors and audiences
  • Encouraging existing visitors and audiences to attend additional activity
  • Encouraging understanding and knowledge between culture and tourism sectors that will inform the development of approaches and product

We are pleased that the pilot is focusing on an information and data infrastructure which has the potential to facilitate the pooling of information and knowledge and enable its free flow between the culture and tourism sectors and audiences.

As well as the value of the project in developing a common approach to listings, data and information sharing we hope to work with partners to develop the project to have a particular emphasis on free access to data to encourage widest possible use and the subsequent exploration of a range of digital media to enable a variety of users to engage.