Great conference, opening in the blazing sunshine which attracted masses of people to Brighton, affording me the luxury of gazing at the sea while siting in a traffic jam on the sea front.
There is something about being beside the sea and hearing the drag of the waves on the pebbles. Reminded me of Bill Fontana’s fab new commission, White Noise, outside the Wellcome Foundation on Euston Road. Fontana uses sound as a sculptural form creating a three dimensional space, without visual barriers, through which you can move.
The most compelling paper for me at conference was given by John Holden of Demos.
Based on the publication Network Citizens, he discussed the power of networks as a new, dynamic, organisational structure. He argues that organisations with traditional hierarchical structures are good at producing products but that networks, with their fluid structures and emphasis on a complex network of relationships are a stronger model for the future.
I love this model because it’s purpose driven; bringing people together to achieve a particular outcome. We all know that in reality things happen because people know people who know…. Every member of the network is equally important as each contribution is key to success. I also like the idea that networks evolve and disappear as the purpose shifts or is achieved.
Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage has found networks a great way to share expertise and make things happen. We are part of Turning Point West Midlands, a network made up of artists/makers and visual ars organisations coming together to build and strengthen an infrastructure for the visual arts and crafts in the region. Check out Matt Price’s new essay. The Marches Network, formerly the Marches Curators Group, represents museum services of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the Black Country delivering joint projects such as the mobile museum bus, available for hire across the West Midlands; it can get to those places that are hard to reach!
The mobile museum bus