I have a stack of about 60 business cards

Yes the Arts Council conference went well. Exceptionally well. Audio recordings already up. When I grow up I want to organise a conference like that. Very very well planned. Best organised conference I was ever at in Ireland. What I liked the most was the BarCamp style spaces idea. Want to talk about something? Then do. So a structured and unstructured part. Free grub at lunchtime, swimming pools of tea and coffee. AV people in every room recording all the talks and providing mics to the audience. Impressive.

Mark Rothko
Photo owned by libbyrosof (cc)

And the content? Andrew Keen appealed to the luddites and kept talking about monetising everything. I didn’t realise Arts was so vulgar as to stick out your paw and demand money before doing something that’s meant to be a passion and a career. I never noticed the F1 style stickers on the Mona Lisa. He talked in half-truths and rhetoric that appealed to those that wanted to keep us all living in a world where only certain people could give their opinions and tell you what you should like. It was good to see him spar with Charles Leadbetter too because while I think Keen did nothing more than write a gutter journalism styled book, he was the only one that really said “woah there a second folks, let’s face the reality of this.” Nick Carr does this too though oddly not in book form. We need people with contrarian views around what is sometimes snakeloiling.

I made a few empassioned pleas during my workshops and on a panel I was at for the Arts community to get using the web and the latest tools. They need to stop being so inward looking and find new people to work with and show off too. I pointed out that there are dozens of music bloggers in Ireland now and who are doing a fantastic job of promoting music but where are people from the Arts? I pointed out that Darragh is going to various events as a volunteer and promoting them but why is it pretty much Darragh on his own doing this? I think I may have gotten everyone in the room to invite him to all their future events too. Loads of content from Darragh to come.

The future is engaging with people and speaking their language and sharing your work and your talents with them. I also may have been harsh with David McKenna from RTE when I said what they do for the Arts is pointless as only people in the Arts listen to their shows and that audience is dying. RTE are doing nothing for the Arts where the current generation is and that’s online.

Later I asked David McKenna again (poor guy, I wasn’t picking on you!) to give us OUR content back. We’re the taxpayer, give us the raw data back and let us play with it and promote it using our tools on our spaces. A podcast is not enough. Or an RSS feed. Don’t build channels, just let us take it and distribute it. David mentioned licensing issues but as John Kelly and Andrew Taylor pointed out, everything from tomorrow on can be done with a new contract so live versions of whatever songs or performance pieces can be redistributed.

Photo owned by Tom Hemmings (cc)

I’ll have further thoughts on this in the days ahead so this is my first take. Overall a great great day, O learned a lot, people asked me a lot of questions which always makes me happy and now I need to send Online Marketing documentation to all those business card owners.

Update: Don’t forget that you can comment on the official blog too.

Disclosure: I got paid to give workshops at this event. I’d go again just to participate though. Well worth going to.

23 Responses to “I have a stack of about 60 business cards”

  1. Paul Clerkin says:

    Everything in the arts is about money. We do nothing without justifying last years expenditure, our expenditure for next year etc. It’s nigh on impossible to get corporate sponsorship unless your event is already funded by the arts council or a household name (Abbey). And now I have the newly arrived on the Arts internet scene telling me how I should be online…. argghhhhh

  2. […] organisations in Ireland are utilising social media and other web 2.0 technologies in their work. Damien Mulley and Fearghus Ó Conchúir have already recalled their experience at the conference on their blogs. […]

  3. Darragh says:

    I think I may have gotten everyone in the room to invite him to all their future events too. Loads of content from Darragh to come.

    You have no idea… 😉 Loads of interest and I agree, fantastic conference.

    For those reading this who weren’t at the conference but run events, promotions or basically anything for the public, can I repeat that bloggers are, in their way, online journalists who would be only delighted to help promote your event, often for nothing more than a couple of free passes. Talk to us about your blogs, your online presence, what you could be doing. We all have good ideas, but it would be better if you came and asked us. You’ll find quite a few of us on Twitter and on Irish blogs as Damien pointed out.

  4. Michelle says:

    So disappointed that I missed the conference yesterday..
    I am new to this ‘New Media’ world but am slightly intrigued..
    Having recently attended another conference where I sat in on a marketing lecture.. with a room full of leading people in the Arts in Ireland.. when asked how many of those there had a social networking site for their event/festival/org I would say 3 out of 50 people reluctantly raised their hands..
    When I went into the search engine on artcouncil.ie there was no sign of the conference listed…
    I would love to know who actually attended?? Was it those who already utilise the various elements of new media or were there, like me, any virgin bloggers.. those in the arts, or heading that way, enthusiastic to embrace anything that might help!?

  5. annette says:

    Michelle the conference website is here http://www.artscouncilnewmediaconference.com. If you click on ‘register’ and then ‘public delegate list’ you can see the list of delegates who opted to have their attendance made public. The conference was publicised through the Arts Council’s ‘news’ (if you sign up to their RSS feed you’ll get all updates about their events and awards etc).

  6. Mike says:

    Excellent conference Damien allright. From the moment I arrived and registered I was made feel very welcome by a very friendly and helpful organising staff who were genuinely interested in generating debate and awareness of social media.I really enjoyed the seminars especially Conn’s
    Great wifi connection
    It was great to Twitter live from the conference and follow Darragh’s Twitters from another seminar taking place.Well done Darragh for all your coverage .
    Cheers to the staff also for providing excellent AV facilities. I really enjoyed giving a talk on video podcasting and the fedback revieved and it is testiment to the ability of the staff for having the vision to organise the Your Space talks also.
    Excellent analysis and review of the conference Damien Well done
    Forgot to mention the food – thanks very much for the hospitality

  7. Excellent conference, terribly well organised and chocolate biscuits too! I learned a lot and met some interesting people from different ends of the arts/tech-head spectrum.
    Are you being ironic saying arts shouldn’t soil itself regarding money? What worth is put on art if the artist can’t eat/live/survive without a rich sponsor/ government grant?

  8. No irony. His attitude reminded me of a spoiled brat that would only do something if he got some bribe in return. Money was the central thing, not the creative process. I’d still train people on blogging and online marketing even if I wasn’t getting paid because I love doing it, I love sharing information and I love seeing the reactions to what I teach. I’d find other ways of making money or get a dull job but I wouldn’t stop doing what I do because it’s what I like comes first, making money directly or indirectly comes second.

    Many people admire those in the arts because of their strong beliefs and principles but Keen made it sound like they were in effect shows that would only happen once money was put into a greasy till.

  9. annette says:

    Damien it’s great that you do what you do out of passion and interest. But the only way you can do that is if you subsidise it with other income and the perpetual problem with the arts is that there is massive hidden subsidy. Artists have to pay rent, feed themselves and have a life – are we really saying that it’s ok that this should be done on the back of passion alone? Another way of thinking about that is that art isn’t worth it – it’s all grand if it’s free..so long as we perpetuate the notion that it’s a split between passion and cash then we can delude ourselves that art costs nothing to produce – it costs a hell of a lot. There’s no such thing as art that’s created in the absence of money and the arts do not function in a vacuum from the rest of the world. Look for the hidden subsidy – it’s always there. Wanting to make a living at what you’re passionate about – be that blogging, banking or art shouldn’t be an either/or – speaking to many artists after Keen’s presentation they were pleased that he put this issue on the table. That’s why he was invited – and I think he made some very relevant and pertinent points that need to be articulated along side the great ideas that Charles Leadbeater invited us to think about.

  10. @Annette Great points and I see your viewpoint and mostly agree 🙂 but I think this line:

    Another way of thinking about that is that art isn’t worth it – it’s all grand if it’s free

    It’s this statement that I think Keen takes to the extreme and says anything in the Arts and elsewhere is only worth doing for cash. Doesn’t that kill altruism? It’s almost having a boring old company making you fill in a form for the business case for doodling.

  11. annette says:

    Ok I’ll go some of the distance with you on that one Damien 🙂 I guess because I spend so much of my time with artists and arts organisations who are underfunded and expected to do it in the absence of any kind of proper money that I appreciated Keen’s point of view. I don’t think the guy on the You Tube video that Charles Leadbeater showed is doing it for money but I also suspect that he’s not faced with a family, a mortgage or other bills to pay either. These myths about money really need to be taken out and looked at more thoroughly in my view – art and money are always linked. Always. It then becomes a choice about the business model (public subsidy, personal subsidy, poverty, commercial etc….) that makes it happen. There’s a fine line between generosity and exploitation and the altruistic view of art only allows us to devalue the process and delude ourselves into thinking it’s only valuable as some kind of sacrificial act…

  12. There is a definite issue with clueless web evangelists who think people should make digital versions of their work and just give it all for free, because others have done so and it got them attention. It’s far far more subtle than that. You’re right too that people will devalue themselves if they do this without putting a value on each “free” piece they give away as being part of a marketing/communications budget.

    Then again we also have clueless evangelists in every niche that recommend stupid and downright dangerous exercises so for that, Keen is good for reining people back.

  13. David McKenna says:

    Hi, Damien. I didn’t think you were even slightly harsh, or getting personal. But you’re wrong about radio and TV arts coverage being only for people “in the arts”. The audience response and ratings tell us that there’s very passionate and wide interest in our review shows, documentaries, music programmes, on-air book clubs and so on. Sure, you’re right that there’s people we’re not reaching; we’re working on that, partly through engaging with conversations like the ones on Tuesday. But the situation isn’t as bleak as you seem to think.
    I think your point about content use is real food for thought. Legalities can be changed if everyone – not least the participants in programmes – agrees. It’s the issue of a public and publicly owned space for commonly owned content which is really important to our future as a community. And the impact of media tools which allow the community to use and interact with content in new ways is a really interesting issue which European public media/broadcasters are addresssing. And should be talking about more frequently to people like yourself.

  14. […] and the conversations are continuing on and off line.  Some comment and analysis is available from Damien, Emily, Eoin, Fearghus, Conor, Eoin, Omani, Dermot, The Model and Niland Galleries and I’m […]

  15. David, sorry if it was personal, not my intention. You were unfortunately the RTE person with most power in this area that was there on the day. I’ll be asking other RTE people in various areas as I meet them too.

    Your commentary at the end of the day too, before I event asked my question was very encouraging. Looking forward to the changes!

  16. David McKenna says:

    Didn’t think it was personal for a moment, Damien – which is what I was trying to say in the comment. Onwards!

  17. I’m now wearing my glasses David! Major DUH on my behalf. Did and didn’t look different under a lens.

  18. Marie Ennis-O'Connor says:

    Damien, I couldn’t agree more with your comments re organisation of conference. It was a masterclass on how to do these things. From pre-event, event to post event, everything ran expertly and smoothly. As a participant I felt like I could really fully participate in the day, thanks to the Open Space fora. The staff and facilities were fantastic. I lecture on event managment and will be using this as an example to my students of how to do things right! And I really enjoyed your session – very entertaining and informative. The only problem with it was that it was far too short – you were only warming up….

  19. Why not leave comments over here too on the official blog? 🙂

  20. […] the last session, Damien Mulley had a dig at David McKenna about why RTÉ wasn’t allowing archive material to be released to […]

  21. Fearghus says:

    I wonder if the model of free software online is useful for us to think about. I’m thinking of software that’s distributed free but where enhanced features require payment. As a choreographer, I distribute a whole lot of video of my work for free online. I do that to engage people who enjoy what they see and to enthuse them to come to see the live performance if possible. in my mind the live performance is an ‘enhanced’ experience that deserves being paid for. But since I’m not performing all the time, the online video is sometimes the only method for people to encounter my work so I want to make that experience positive in itself.

  22. I can sympathize. As an artist myself –well alot of people want me to work for free. I have bills to pay, work to do, and time is money. On the other hand –I’m always up for good will sharing of information over beers. If someone shows up to my office though and asks for free advice, well thats what a blog is for.. and I definitely don’t short change people on info there.