Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

Reaching the parts…

Bit of a turn up for the books today – the Sexperience sex education/information site I commissioned from Mint Digital and Cheetah TV to complement The Sex Education Show on Channel 4 in September/October is now really making its mark on Google…

Searching "sex"

Searching "sex"

Searching "sex education"

Searching "sex education"

So #1 for “Sex Education” and #2 for “Sex” itself – with 660,000,000 returns for the latter on Google that’s a pretty competitive space, making it quite a result for an 8 week old UK public service factual cross-platform project.

When I checked a few weeks ago Sexperience was running at 6,000% of the traffic of the official government sex ed site for teens (the sponsored link above). Meanwhile, the interactive dimension of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies which I commissioned from Maverick TV in Birmingham and which broadcast last week on C4 prompted 99,000 online STI Checks during the week of broadcast alone. So the big question for me remains how on earth do you get the government and its services to plug into and support this kind of energy, interest and engagement? Now those are parts that are harder to reach than you might think…

A Frog of Good Taste

Here’s a heart-warming review I came across today of my current project – Sexperience – in FroggBlog, the words of wisdom of a UK-based online marketing consultancy.

The mini site that’s accompanying Channel 4’s ‘The Sex Education Show‘ is remarkable.

Visitors to the site can browse statistics, watch a number of high quality videos based on the experiences of real people as well as answer questions that they might normally be afraid to ask courtesy of some excellent online content and tools.


Now what Channel 4 have done is not only create a website which supports the sex education television show in terms of online advertising but it strengthens their association with and commitment to education, enhances their authority as a provider of quality and accessible information (whether it’s broadcasting or reporting online) and ultimately strengthens their relationship with users, both young and old, who might view such a resource as valuable.

The Sexperience site provides an interesting case as to how businesses, both large and small, can involve themselves in other methods of communication, whether it’s through harnessing video content, integrating social tools and feedback facilities, sharing knowledge or by investing in quality content which fulfils user need at all stages of the buying circle.

There is inspiration all around… and acting upon these brainwaves can get people talking about you and your business. And that’s a good thing.

[To date (in its first 15 days) Sexperience has experienced over 280,000 visits racking up over 2.6M pageviews, with nearly 6,000 user-generated contributions (comments and questions).]

Sexperience was produced by the talented folks at Mint Digital and Cheetah Television

(article and picture reproduced courtesy of FroggBlog)

Alpha Mails

sexperience

Sexperience - The Sex Education Show on-line

Following up my recent in-depth analysis of the Daily Mail, I return to that august journal to gather together some of its readers’ comments on the article it published yesterday about The Sex Education Show on Channel 4 whose on-line presence is Sexperience.

Mail/male journo says: “Channel 4 has been accused of peddling obscenity… school pupils asked to discuss pornography… In the programme a group of boys were shown close-up images of penises and asked which they thought was the average size… A male model’s genitals were also shown in close up as a female doctor described in depth the anatomy of the penis… a group of schoolgirls looking at pictures of different size breasts… Shocked viewers said Channel 4 was guilty of broadcasting indecency into family homes… One viewer contacting a TV message board said Channel 4 was ‘reaching new lows’… Conservative MP David Davies added: […] ‘do we really need to have these things graphically discussed by schoolchildren at 8pm in the evening when we are having our tea?’ “

Mail readers say:

My husband and I watched it with our 12 year old son, and it sparked a really honest and helpful discussion. The pictures of genitalia were not prurient or arousing and it was actually helpful for him to see how other normal people looked, without resorting to porn. The point that the program made with those pictures is that normal people don’t look like porn stars, so be happy with your body. A pretty good message for young men and women, I think!

Well done, Channel 4 – we’ll be watching next week!

– Annie, Lincoln, UK

Personally as a parent of teenagers I thought it was a very informative and “real” programme. I think it would be far more useful to show teenagers a show like this instead of the tepid sex education stuff they usually get at school. If they got real life education such as this then maybe they would have less STD`s and less unwanted pregnancies.

– Jeff, CHESTER

I thought it was extremely well done, it was not vulgar or seedy in any way at all, in fact at 48 with 4 children I learn something new, I could never understand why condoms were so tight and hard to put on until I watched that programme and found out there were different sizes available! Shouldn’t teenagers know that? Fantastic useful and educational, well done channel 4

– David Burns, COVENTRY

Channel 4 has a special remit – it is neither a channel designed for ‘everybody’. The real disgrace is no other broadcaster would make such a program because they are paranoid about offending viewers at that time – 8pm is the right time but no earlier.

They have done nothing wrong – clearly educational even when containing explicit detail.

Viewers were warned about the images multiple times – do they have no responsibility or do they just rubberneck for the sake of being offended?

– Ali, Liverpool

This show is educational. Society needs to be less scared of talking about sex. Unless you prefer teen pregnancy that is.

– Arwen, Edinburgh

We can do without this on TV. It is the sort of thing that was subject of some banter on the mess-decks of the RN, and even sailors would not have been so vulgar in another environment.

– LionelB, Dundee

There is always the “amazing off switch” for viewers to use, if they do not like what they are viewing or are embarassed by this programme.

– John Rodwell, Rye

I didn’t watch the show, but i had already heard about it. Why is it so wrong for boys to look at a photo of a penis? Or girls to look at breasts? I don’t understand? Surely it educates children and dispels alot of myths.

– Michaela Cerda, Essex

It’s about time this country developed a grown up attitude to sexual matters.

Just what were those viewers who complained expecting from the programme?

For God sake GROW UP!

– David Maggs, Devizes

If I don’t need to see male genitalia on tv at all, let alone before 9pm, then I very much doubt kids do either!

How many children will have still been awake and watching tv (likely unsupervised in their rooms) at this time?

Ridiculous.

Grow up C4!

– Anonymouse, UK

The teenage boys shown in the photo, which I assume are a good example of modern youth, look look a bunch of thugs, I doubt that they learnt anything new by watching the TV.

– Robert the EX-Brit, Sumter, USA

Robert the EX-Brit… the teenage boys in the photo do not look like thugs at all. This witch hunt against teenagers needs to stop. As for the program, their parents consented to it, so it’s fine, in fact, we need a culture that is more open and understanding about sex.

– John, Sheffield

Robert the EX-Brit, I watched this progremme. The school boys on the show (pictured) came across as thoughtful, eloquent, intelligent young men. It is obvious from your remarks that you did not watch it (being in the US). Please do not tar all youngsters here in such a way. Remember, sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and let everyone know you are an idiot!

– WA, Oxford

So it’s ok to show fight scenes on Coronation Street, domestic abuse on Emmerdale and advertisements for films where people routinely slaughter each other, but it’s not ok to educate and inform young people who are having sex ANYWAY about the dangers out there. What a load of hypocrites.

– Janice, London

one reason I never watch channel 4

– Christina Crosbie, LESMAHAGOW SCOTLAND

Oh for goodness sake, I wish people would wake up!

This is a modern society where our children and teenagers are exposed to the internet, they know the airbrushed, highlighted and soft pornographic side of sex which is zero education, this programme showed the honesty and reality of sexual organs and sex in all its gory detail, its what responisble parents should be doing anyway, not glossing over the birds and bees story to a 13 year old child who is then more than likely going to naively get into trouble.

I wish more parents would speak to their children so honestly, this isn’t the 1950’s anymore! And if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, there’s plenty of drivel on the other channels to switch your brain off to and brush the ‘shhhhh… sex’ chat under the carpet.

– Ellie, London


Guardian/female journo says: “This is not my kind of thing, as a rule – people talking openly about sex, how much they’re getting it, what kind they’re getting. I’d rather clean the oven. But this show claimed to present both teenage and adult perspectives on all matters sexual. And because I have both a 16-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter, any advice on how to broach this stuff in a way that is less likely to scar my offspring for life is gratefully received.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to make notes, because teenage son decided to watch it with me. Which I guess was what Channel 4 intended when they gave it a pre-watershed 8pm slot, but was entirely unexpected and potentially horrifically embarrassing (no, for ME, not him). He wandered in at the start, asked what I was watching, and decided to “give it five minutes”. By the end he admitted it had been “interesting” and “useful”. And in the mumble-heavy vocabulary of a 16-year-old boy, I believe that counts as a glowing review.

So was it any good? Well, yes, I think it was”

Screen from the Sexperience website

Screen from the Sexperience website

Practically living in The Sun

Anna Richardson and Sexperience

Anna Richardson and Sexperience

My next project, Sexperience (aka Sex Education), has sneaked out quietly into the world…

…in The Sun.

That’s two Sun spots in a couple of weeks (Osama Loves hit that august journal on 23rd July). It’s good to break out from the narrow confines of the broadsheet world from time to time and enjoy the super soaraway expanses of The Sun. Which reminds me, I’m off on hols at the end of the week so no action in these quarters for a couple of weeks.

Osama Loves in the Currant Bun

Osama Loves in the Currant Bun

(Talking of wide expanses, Osama Loves made the evening TV news in Canada the day before yesterday)

Update 01.09.08:

Here’s the holding screen for Sexperience (including an indicative video clip) which launches tomorrow

and here’s a rather good mash-up of that Sexperience clip by Paul Carr, a man with delightfully too much time on his hands 😉

Currently reading Paul’s new book Bringing Nothing to the Party which won my Phrase of the Day the other day with: “the litigious little cunt” – not quite Swift but made me laugh out loud on the Tube in context

Evidence of Body

embarrassing bodies

embarrassing bodies

It’s unusual to be able to see the direct impact, in terms of actual changes of behaviour, produced by a public service interactive project but in the case of Embarrassing Bodies this has been possible. A quick trawl through the comments on the site yields such evidence (there were over 3,500 pre-moderated comments in the first four days of going fully live). The core of the project is a set of Self-check videos. What’s so innovative about that? Primarily their openness, clarity and unflinching nature – very Channel 4 and it just wasn’t out there before in the ocean of web video. They show you what you need to see to be able to do what you need to do. The most telling comments for me are the ones where people realise they’d been checking themselves wrongly before seeing the video.

Another salient component is the creation of a rolling temporary community. I never set out to build a community per se. I was also keen not to reinvent the wheel of support provision in this area. So the dynamic is that people arrive in a just-in-time, task-oriented way – looking for the condition they are worried about (through any of the three search mechanisms). They then tend to hang out in the community just long enough to find which is the best support group or other help to plug into. In this way Embarrassing Bodies online becomes the glue to pull together a wealth of existing support and enable the best to emerge through detailed personal recommendation, rather than treading on the toes of niche communities and specialised support.

One other aspect worth highlighting is the use of the private space of the mobile phone (away from browser histories and prying parental eyes etc.) to enable people to make use of the material where, when and how they want – 12,000 mobile downloads occurred in those first 4 days. My hunch, for reasons including privacy and access, is that mobiles should play a major role in public service interactive media – from my observation, people in our circles get too obsessed with PC-/web-based delivery.

So here’s what 15 minutes trawling the comments reveals:

“this has helped me to make my mind up and go for help thank you

Really helpfull and i now check at least once a week …. Thank-you x

watched various videos and found them very very useful. wouldn’t have felt comfortable talking about some of these subjects with my doctor. they have taken the mystery out of the examination and treatment. thank you.

i suffer from this too, and its not something you like going to the doctors about. This site has been SO HELPFUL, as i now know its not only me!!

thank god 4 this website i am so grateful. it has started 2 get me down. (…) I had tests done then chicken out on the results. seein this has made me book an appointment with my doctor. its such a relief knownin im not the only person sufferin, thankyou!!!

i found all 3 self checking very useful. we all know we should do it but not nessesary how and are too embarressed to ask our own GP. i check my breasts yet i’ve been doing it wrong the video was an ideal way to show me the basics.

Hi, i just watched this video and checked my balls and i actually found a small hard lump on my left testicle, im only 16 is there any chance it could be cancerous (sorry if the spelling is wrong)?!

Thanks so much this has been so informative. My auntie died last year from Vulval cancer, not knowing that she was suffering from it. Now I know what symptoms to look for and how to self check I will do so regularly.
[Vulva Self-check]

Although now middle aged I was never sure when you were supposed to check your breasts. Thanks to your program I now know when and how. Many thanks and keep up the good work.

My boyfriend refuses to check his balls so thanks for the guide on how to as now i can do it for him.

WOW, i never knew how to do this check, i’m so grateful for this video its helped me immensely. thankyou
[Breast Self-check]

Interestingly, my friend watched “Embarassing Illnesses” last week, and they did something on checking moles, so he checked his out and noticed one had changed colour, so he went to get it checked and it does in fact need to be removed. So these programmes do something towards awareness!

i had it but i went to the doctors and now am recovered thanks !!”

This throws up the interesting question of how does public service networked media measure success and impact? Here we have evidence of positive behavioural change. For me the Comments stats are very telling. Then you’ve got video views. Return visits. UGC uploads. Session lengths. Buzz radiating across the Web. All manner of metrics. I’d argue that for most projects you can pick out a specific measure which captures the essence of the project, and which measure that is will vary from project to project.

Osama Loves

Farrah and MasoodThis morning two young British Muslims, Farrah and Masood, set off on a 50 day mission right across the Islamic world. Their goal: to meet 500 Osamas. Why set out to meet so many people with the same first name? ‘Osama’ conjours up the most prevalent cliches of Islam in the minds of most non-Muslims. By seeking out 500 people with that name – people of all ages, shapes and sizes, backgrounds, hopes and loves – Osama Loves seeks to undermine the cliche and put a human face on Islam, whilst showing the diversity of Islamic culture across the globe.

The project came about when my fellow Channel 4 commissioner, Aaqil Ahmed, came to ask me if I had any ideas about how to give his Islamic culture TV season (The Wonders of Islam) an online dimension. He had commissioned a very special documentary about the Qur’an, a series about the Seven Wonders of Islam and some other programmes, all highlighting the diversity of Muslim culture beyond the Middle East. So that was the brief: show how varied Islamic culture is across the world.

I had been talking to Andy Bell at Mint Digital for a long time about doing a project together but it never quite happened, the right thing hadn’t come along. From chatting to Andy I knew he had recently married a Muslim woman, that he had a strong interest in things spiritual, and that he had insight into both worlds. We bounced a few ideas around, brought in other colleagues from Mint, combined a few themes and merged some ideas until we had the participative journey that is Osama Loves: Searching for 500 Faces of Islam.

So today that journey starts and Farrah and Masood are going to need all the help they can get… If you know an Osama or can help them on their travels in any way please do let them know via the site’s blog comments.

The question came up while we were developing the Ed Spec, what if they find That Osama (the cliche one)? We wrote into the Specification that if that were to happen Mint definitely get a second series with a decent budget 😉

Another important question is why are our young travelers bothering to cross continents in search of names and faces? Let me briefly tell you Farrah’s story. She was doing her medical training in East London when one day she finds herself in an operating theatre into which is wheeled a patient for an amputation. It struck her as odd how young this patient was – usually there are years of artery furring abuse behind an amputation like this. To cut a long and sad story short, the patient that day was one of the victims of the 7/7 bombings in London. Suddenly the reality of that outrage, committed by men with very similar backgrounds to Farrah herself (a fact that quickly struck her), that outrage shook her identity to the core. Now she’s on a mission and this time it’s personal: to prove that That Osama does not represent her community, to explore what Islamic culture and belief really means to her, and to provide insight into the day-to-day realities of Muslim communities, their concerns and hopes, their perspectives and loves. “Osama” and “Loves” are not two words you often hear together, or expect to. This initiative is yoking them together whether That Osama likes it or not.

Talking of Thes and Thats, for now I’ll leave the last words to Matt Johnson of The The. I met him once when I was working with Tim Pope and Pete Goddard who made some of their best promos – Matt made me a cup of tea the first time he came into the office in Marshall Street – tea-making was my realm at that point in my first job so it was a generous gesture which hasn’t been forgotten. Writing the last paragraph punctuated with “Loves” reminded me of this song of his about two people walking away from death and conquering with love:

Me and my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning.
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter ain’t what it seems.

Here come the blue skies, here comes springtime.
When the rivers run high and the tears run dry.
When everything that dies
Shall rise

Love love love is stronger than death
Love love love is stronger than death

In our lives we hunger for those we cannot touch.
All the thoughts unuttered and all the feelings unexpressed
Play upon our hearts like the mist upon our breath.
But, awoken by grief, our spirits speak
How could you believe that the life within the seed
That grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried
Could ever die?

Love love love is stronger than death
Love love love is stronger than death

Shall rise, shall rise
Shall rise, shall rise.

Kiss and tell

A piece from the Guardian today by Jemima Kiss:

jemima kiss

Inside some of Channel 4’s new media projects

Channel 4’s latest cross-platform project rolled out quietly this week. Picture This uses the talent show format to follow a group of digital photographers with Magnum’s Martin Parr, Alex Proud of Proud Galleries and Brett Rogers of the Photographers’ Gallery as judges.

….

The common theme with all of these is that they are thought of as “living projects”, pushed into the world by Channel 4 but then taking on a life of their own. For as long as new media departments are given the space to create those kind of projects without too much over-analysis of the market or preoccupation with a fixed end result, we might just end up learning something.

THE FULL ARTICLE

What’s up doc?

 

kurt & courtney

Enjoyed the afternoon helping judge a Mediabox/FourDocs short documentaries competition. Also on the panel were Nick Broomfield (The Leader, His Driver & the Driver’s Wife; Kurt & Courtney; Biggie & Tupac), Molly Dineen (Heart of the Angel; The Pick, the Shovel & the Open Road; Geri), Peter Dale – Head of More4, and Patrick Uden (The Apprentice).

Media Box is a DCSF fund to enable 13 to 19 year old disadvantaged young people to use creative media to express their ideas and views, gain new skills and get their voices heard.

The winner was a real stand-out piece but I can’t reveal it right now as the film-maker hasn’t yet been informed. [I’ll come back here and update this once it’s officially announced.]

Nick was very generous in his appraisal of the films, spotting the seeds of talent in the smallest details. Molly was incredibly thorough and assiduous. Patrick chaired with his usual purist standards (thank God there are still some around). Peter also enjoyed the viewings, impressed by the finalists’ get-up&go. He set less store by the presence of narrative than me – he reckons that will come in due course.

I suggested that the briefing should consist simply of two bits of advice:

  • tell a story that matters to you
  • and that said, for the most part, show – don’t tell

Patrick sets great store on deconstructing other people’s films, especially really good ones.

It was a good fun, good will-filled couple of hours and, of course, a privilege to kick thoughts around with such seasoned documentary makers.

I first came across Nick Broomfield when he was making ‘Driving Me Crazy’ (1988). I was working at Solus Productions, a co-op whose partners included Roger Deakins (Sid & Nancy, The Shawshank Redemption, Brother Where Art Thou, etc.)). Nick knew Roger from the National Film School and wanted him to shoot the film (he didn’t in the end, Robert Levi did). ‘Driving Me Crazy’ is about a film project going tits up – a theme/device Nick has used throughout his career. Hearing some behind-the-scenes stories from a couple of the mentors on the Mediabox competition, it was evident some of the entrants had experienced that sort of documentary trial&tribulation. A film about a neo-nazi about to enter the British army turned into a parody wildlife film on chavs when he pulled out. A young woman’s film about the joy dancing brings her got hijacked by a specialist dance director. That’s the great thing about documentary film-making – the development and production is often a story in itself.

BIG ARTicle

Public Art in Canada

When I was over in Canada last month, speaking at the NextMedia interactive media festival and the Banff TV festival, I had the pleasure of chatting with journo Jenn Kuzmyk of C21 about some of the stuff I’ve been working on recently – yesterday the fruits of our convo showed up in Jenn’s C21 Factual weekly bulletin:

C4 factual arm gives power to the people

What does user-generated content (UGC) mean in the factual television space? Sometimes it has very little to do with television at all. Jenn Kuzmyk profiles the Big Art Mob and Hot Shots [Picture This], two new interactive social media projects from Channel 4’s factual unit that are to be fuelled by contributions from people throughout the UK – and perhaps the world.

The Big Art Mob is billed as the first major mobile blogging project to come from a British broadcaster. It’s also the UK’s first comprehensive survey of public art, and will be based entirely on pictures (or audio and video) from the camera phones of art-lovers nationwide. Launched in April 2007, a full year before its TV component will roll out, the project aims to record for posterity the wealth of artworks in public places across the country and serve as the focus of a dynamic national conversation.

The project is a spin-off from the Channel 4 Big Art Project (3 x 60′), a series for the main terrestrial network that will culminate in the commissioning of six large-scale pieces of public art throughout the UK some time next year. The TV portion, to be produced by the UK’s Carbon Media (Jump London), won’t launch until the mobile blogging portion has been running for over a year.

“We can do something that couldn’t have been done before,” says Adam Gee (above), C4’s new media commissioner, noting that the Big Art Mob was in part inspired by the BBC’s mass user-generated climate change studies Springwatch and Autumnwatch. “If people think something is worthwhile, they’re quite willing to put the information up there, and they’re quite assiduous and careful about it, as well,” says Gee, emphasising C4’s belief in UGC.

C4 devised the Big Art Mob with moblog:tech, a UK mobile blogging facilitator that has worked with the likes of Universal Music, Greenpeace and Warner Music. Essentially, a user takes a picture (or video) of some public-domain art that they love, they MMS it to a number and it drops straight into an online map (below) that tracks contributions from across the nation. C4 first contacted niche groups that already have an interest in public art, and is now going out to people whose parts of the map are under-represented, to encourage those regions to submit.

Contributors can add any information they have about a specific piece of art that they have submitted, but the opportunity is open for others to tag someone else’s image and complete information such as title, important dates and the history of the artist or piece. “It’s like a simple Wikipedia, really,” describes Gee. “It has the same openness as a Wiki, in that the person who submits the picture can have a right of veto over what is put up about the picture. It also protects against abuse,” he says, noting that people can also see who has last visited their picture, which encourages connection among users.

Gee’s remit is to focus on pop factual projects with a tendency towards public service, and for the Big Art Mob there is, of course, an underlying learning element, and something Gee classes as an “interpretative” function: something that can spark debate and conversation. “You have to decide what public art is. I could put a bronze statue up there but I could also put up the piece of graffiti around the corner as well,” he says, noting that at the moment the balance is probably around 60/40 in favour of street art (below).

Now that the infrastructure for the initial UK effort is complete, it is transportable to other territories, and a few possible spin-offs are already being thought of. “It’s designed to have legs before and after the broadcast, and the overheads are relatively low. Now that we’ve done it once and know how to do it, we can replicate it for next to no money. We’d like to roll out to New York and Paris next, making the ‘Big Art’ map really big,” says Gee. “If C4 ever pulls out of supporting it, which is not really on the cards because it has very minimal overhead, then we could give it to a public institution and they could carry it on and keep it, but it is being established for the long run.”

The Big Art Mob and other projects in the works are part of a push to experiment with C4’s public service and how that role can be carried into the interactive space.

Next up is Hot Shots, an integrated TV/web project being produced in association with online photo-sharing outfit Flickr, which is involved via an ‘in-kind’ exchange. “They are very supportive of the project. They’ll [Yahoo!] promote it, and we’ve traded the TV sponsorship for that, really. It helps us to do a project that has some serious scale,” says Gee.

The rest of this article is available at C21.

Me New China

view from ICA

Hooked up with Philip Dodd (of BBC Radio 3 arts and Made in China) fresh from an appointment with posh dim sum – that fella is seriously immersing himself in the culture. He spends about a third of his life these days on planes to and from Shanghai – his carbon footprint must be of Charlie Caroli proportions.

We were talking about taking the Big Art Mob to China which would be a real kick. I hope I can interest Buddy Ling Ye of Wang You Media in the initiative (Philip connected us last year) as the reach of his outfit is way beyond lil’ ol’ British dreams.

Alfie Dennen over at Moblog was up for the challenge of tinkering under the bonnet of Big Art Mob to take the baby on the road to China. (Which reminds me, I must ask Philip what it signifies that Made in China is based on Burma Road.)

Philip of course was formerly Director of the ICA which brings me neatly on to another highlight of the week – the Petcha Kutcha which launched the Cultural and Creative Leadership Mentoring Programme at the ICA on Tuesday evening. The programme is DCMS backed with Arts Council England, MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives) and London Development Agency support. I met my mentee for the first time, Caroline Bottomley of the Radar Festival, an annual competition and allied activities for emerging film-making talent centred on music promos (4Talent, by chance, features among their partners). I’ve only ever mentored very tall Afro-Caribbean 16 year olds before, at a comprehensive school round the corner from Channel 4, so this will be an interesting contrast.

Petcha Kutcha is a speaking format originated in Tokyo by Klein Dytham architecture. 20 speakers with 20 pictures each speak for 20 seconds per slide. It seems consistently to produce inspiring events. As a speaker, the parlour game aspect was highly enjoyable, encouraging a loose, free-flowing approach.

The people who charged my batteries this time included Sydney Levinson, a Creative Accountant, the first of this breed I’ve come across I could really call inspiring. He is Chair of Cockpit Arts and supports young creatives at the RCA, Crafts Council, etc. He seems to have had a left-field brush with punk (in the form of Generation X) and to love spreadsheets and music with equal passion, which can’t be a bad thing.

One of the speakers works out of Cockpit (and obviously loves her subsidised studio space there) – Annette Bugansky radiated the commitment of a genuine artist/craftswoman, explaining a lifetime of mastering her disciplines. She has melded an early career in tailoring and wardrobe (including cutting for Jean Muir) to a later flourishing in ceramics, in the form of white porcelain pots and other exquisitely pure pieces whose surface textures are created by literally dressing the moulds in fabric clothes before casting and painstakingly hand-finishing.

Contrasting masterly experience with youthful energy, Claire Louise Staunton was very endearing. She is the dynamo behind the Late Night Programmes at the Whitechapel Gallery, which appears to have been a hub in her lively career to date. She is interested in bringing sonic arts to museums, especially lesser known ones. (Note to self: hook Claire up with Martyn Ware if they aren’t already in touch).

Other colourful speakers included Victoria Bean with her art typographical books created at Arc, a collective of similarly oriented artists; Mark Downs of adult puppet theatre specialists Blind Summit; John Newbigin, formerly a colleague at Channel 4 and now co-trustee at 24 Hour Museum; Trudie Stephenson of Emineo Fine Art who was MD at County Hall Gallery and has evidently helped a lot of fine artists make the money they deserve.

To round off, the ever amiable Paul Bennun of Somethin’ Else took us through a day in his life – his 20th slide bringing us right up to the moment as he photographed the audience from the stage. Among the audience was Philip’s successor Ekow Eshun. And so the circle is closed.

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