Since taking over as Chairman of Creative Republic I have been working on identifying the purpose and goals for the organisation in 2010. Along with the building of a new team and a few other initiatives is the main project concept for summer 2010. I have outlined the initial conversation starter below that the team is currently working on. Timescale is short so we plan to make the decisions this month and launch the project at the start of June.
Creative Republic Mission
Creative Republic’s core mission is to: Connect, Promote and Influence. This project is designed to promote and connect, and with the archive and final outcome produce something of tangible value that can be used as a resource during influencing.
You could say it’s a ‘nice problem to have’. In this reason, especially in Birmingham, groups and organisations tend to work in isolation, delivering events, services and products to their inner networks but often failing to reach outside those networks. This means exciting creative ventures are regularly exposed to ‘those in the know’ but it’s easy once inside these networks to start thinking that the wider world is aware of what is going on. These groups and organisations create and perform valuable, interesting and creative functions and should be celebrated on a wider scale.
Many of these relate directly to social media, in which Birmingham is very strong, but once inside the social media bubble it’s very easy to forget that not everyone gets all their info from Twitter and Facebook…
For the purposes of this document I will refer to these projects, groups and organisations from now on as ‘nominations’.
This project is designed to address elements from ‘the problem’ whilst meeting Creative Republic’s remit to connect and promote.
Connect: A program of promotional activity designed to bring together the many disparate creative groups, projects and events under one common thread, exposing them all to each other’s networks and audiences and a wider audience.
Promote: Creating a central point for syndication of content via existing networks and media resources to promote activities on a one by one basis AND by creating a wider collection of MANY activities that together show an active, vibrant and creative city with something going on for everyone. Things that make you smile, think, proud and teach you something new.
This is probably the area widest up for debate. Here there are several different audiences and the reach of this project would depend on several things:
What ‘content’ is being promoted in each nomination, and therefore who it’s of interest to
The capacity and abilities of the team to reach the audience
The cooperation of our partners and media resources to promote
I see the audiences to be:
Firstly the people from each of the inner networks that are involved in each of the nominations. The goal here is to expose them to other nominations that might be of interest and also might be of direct relevance to their own work
The wider business community, not currently involved in the creative networks. This audience is important for assisting economic activity within the creative sector. We reach this audience to expose and engage regional businesses to encourage them to ‘buy in the region’. This goes for the private AND public sector.
The wider regional community. Creative AND cultural activity has a direct impact on the soft factors that make a city/region a place you want to live and work. Word of mouth is still the best way to spread awarenesss
Finally audiences outside of the region. Specific nominations will be of interest to groups outside the region, these are usually best connected to via social media because of it’s ease, directness and cost, or lack of. In addition though a completed, packaged program with a final output can work as a marketing tool for the city region, starting this year but more importantly continuing in future years building on the foundations of what is achieved this year.
This project may not be everything to everyone in it’s first year. With resource and lead time quite limited it might be unreasonable to expect to take on the world right now, but this does not mean we do nothing and sit around planning something HUGE for 2013. I see a project like this building with a regular organisation and promotion of content, a drip feed of those smaller activities that are always ongoing.
??Discovering a Creative Birmingham
Summed up in this title we are basically setting out our stand that this project is designed to help people discover creative activity that is already going on around them but they are unaware of.
Nominations Website: We are asking people to nominate creative and cultural activities that they are involved in or aware of. This would consist of a short and very simple process:
- Title, intro paragraph, image, link to more information (i.e. their own website), contact person
- These would be in the categories:
- – Things that taught me something
- – Things that make me proud
- – Things that make me think
- – Things that make me smile
- People can vote and leave comments on each nomination
- Promote and syndicate: As a team we would weekly select our, or the public, favourite nominations to promote further:
- A syndicated blog post/article about the nomination, published in multiple locations in social and traditional media
- An interview with the nomination organiser
- Promotional videos of selected people/events
- Direct people to events or activities that are ongoing that relate to a nomination
Period: 3 months of activity, June, July and August with a final event/exhibition (see outcome below) in september.
There are 4 main outcomes from this program:
Web archive of nominations and comments, providing links between a web of different organisations and activity. This would be an archive of activity for 2010. We would be aiming to collect an archive in 2011, 2012 etc…
Invisible City: Discovering a creative Birmingham, a book. The carrot for nominees is to be published in this book. The most popular voted nominations will be featured as page spreads in each of the 4 sections of the book (think, smile, proud, taught me something etc…). The book will need an initial print run, albeit a small one such as 1000 so we could distribute the finished book to Birmingham’s libraries, selected locations and local outlets. This takes content out of the social media/web domain and into a completely different media and target audience. The previously discussed ‘awards panel’ would effectively be an editorial team. The book would also be available as print on demand, a digital ebook and with all the final content syndicated on the web.
Promotional video. With so much going on it would be foolish not to compile a video of activity from the program. This would be created as a final 5-10 minute promo video and distributed on the web, plus a video archive of filmed nominees could also be created.
Final book launch/event/exhibition. This has the largest scope for creative thinking. Initial discussions revolved around an awards ceremony, or party, but this is rather traditional don’t you think? We could potentially run a short exhibition with a launch party. This would include
- Displays of the favourite nominations from each category in the book/program. Would these be large A0 posters, displays or even performances or public displays
- Official launch of the completed book, with sales etc…
- Public open exhibition to run for 1 week
As I mentioned this year might not be everything to everyone, but it’s reasonable to think we can bring together enough exciting and unusual activity within the city and region to expose people to something new, things that are happening anyway but from outside their initial network. At the end of it we will have a tangible, finished product as well as the usual web archive.
I would aim for this year to be a year to test the water, produce something interesting and distribute it, giving us a case study to build on next year and get a wider involvement as the project evolves.