This report is by League of Culture’s Director, Vicky Prior, and is not intended to wholly reflect the views of the League
I’m writing a very different end of conference report to the one I thought I’d be writing. I thought I’d tell you about all the amazing speakers I heard at No Boundaries 2014 (Jude Kelly, Russell Willis Taylor, Peter Bazalgette, Benjamin Barber). I thought I’d give you a blow by blow account of the session the League proposed on Attaching Value without Money. It went brilliantly, lots of people turned up which delighted me, we had a link to Bristol which didn’t work but the conference book tells me they had a great discussion as well. The record of our discussion in York was ditched for a response from punk poet Henry Raby which to be fair is terribly cool and rather more interesting. But a huge thank you to everyone in York who pitched in and argued about how to present value in creativity.
OK, so that’s what I thought I’d write covered, now here’s what actually happened. The conference was developed ‘TED’ style, with a series of 10 minute talks by clever people which the audience would then respond to via twitter. This response sort of happened organically but the less tech savvy amongst us felt a bit left out and would have liked more conventional Q and A opportunities.
For those of us glued to twitter (and if you’d like a run-through of what happened, search #nb2014) it was easy to see what the conference was getting right and what was not quite gelling. Abigail Posner from Google promised much but delivered a sales pitch overly reliant on screaming goats. If you think this sounds bad imagine what it was like to actually be there. We all loved the food (something of a Bacchanalian feast) but queried whether this hadn’t pushed the ticket price up.
The same criticisms began to emerge, and I had the bright idea of pulling these criticisms together to make an alternative conference. I wasn’t the only one, it looks like Bryony Kimmings will be creating a new event of the back of No Boundaries. Anyway, clever old me tweeted that maybe the League should make a conference that was totally online, free, led by artists, and with a focus on rural communities, thereby scooping up everything that had been missing from No Boundaries. Twitter went bananas for the idea, lots of feedback was given and I don’t know when or exactly how but it a few months time, this conference will happen and you are all invited!
The other major change was that whereas before people had been happy to placidly follow us on twitter and be followed back, now they wanted to know who and what the League was. Who are shadowy figures behind the twitter feed? Where did that woman (that was me) flying round and drinking an obscene amount of tea in York fit in? So I’m making some changes to the site. It will shortly feature bio’s of me, Vicky Prior, and Sara Hyde, our wonderful Political Advisor. I’ll write a proper post all about how we created League of Culture and why we think we’re qualified to run it, but for now, me and Sara have years of arts campaigning between us but basically we really bloody love the culture sector and want it to thrive. And if we can help that to happen then we’d be super happy. Being an advocacy body, we’re finding meeting criteria for funding bodies a bit tricky, so we will fairly often plead with you to donate. We suggest £5 but 50p will do! We’re entirely shaped by the ideas we pick up from our supporters so please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) to tell us what you want.
To be continued…