Hello week 7.
Gosh this module has been a bit of a tricky one.
But, we’re plodding on and I feel that I’m over a hurdle.
So after all of my research into open source sharing platforms etc etc I got myself stuck down a bit of a wormhole of collaboration v collectives and turned back to the sketchbook to try and work out what on earth I was going to do.
My first thoughts were along the line of an exhibition that has no artwork in it. Just a prompt. The prompt would be a nature based prompt and there would be materials available for people to add their own artwork to the walls.
I’ve been hugely inspired by the work of Kusama and her easily accessible and entirely collaborative installation piece. At the same time the work of Robert Macfarland and Jackie Morris seems to become more and more important and relevant each day.
My idea was kind of a mash up of the two. The exhibition would help to introduce, or reintroduce, people to nature.
As it developed I think I lost confidence in the idea a little, I’d been reading conversations on the ideas wall about the definition of collaboration and it had thrown me off track again. I started instead to think of an idea called ‘The people’s encyclopedia’. Anyone could add an entry. It would be a collaboratively built tool… but then I realised…
My solution already existed…
It’s amazing. It has 2billion visits per month and has consistently been one of the top used websites throughout the evolution of the internet. The cool thing about Wikipedia is that it has enabled the democratisation of knowledge with no commercial bias.
SO… back to the drawing board.
What stops me collaborating?
This was the question that I needed to ask myself to get back onto the right track.
For me it’s location.
I headed back to the Falmouth Geomap.
The Geomap is a digital archive that maps the ongoing growth and distribution of emergent and critically relevant global graphic design studios, resources and places of production. The resource is an ever
expanding insight into global design practice, curated by Falmouth Flexible MA Graphic Design (online) students, in response to a Contemporary Practice module workshop challenge.
What’s interesting is that in Wales there are only two entries. Zero in my county of Pembrokeshire. It’s strange because I know I’m not the only person from Pembrokeshire to do this course, but, what it does show is distinct areas of dense creativity and creatively baron lands… How do you collaborate in the creative wilderness?
Well… people do, they are out there, but it’s hard to find them day to day. A good case study from Pembrokeshire is the Do Lectures. I was actually meant to be there last week but unfortunately some family circumstances meant I couldn’t make it.
The Do Lectures are a now global ‘encouragement netowork’ that started in a cow shed in West Wales. There are some incredible talks in their archive which you can watch and they even have a book publishing company now too.
“Creativity is at the heart and core of who we are” Michael Sheen
I loved hearing this talk from actor Michel Sheen, his words rang true to me. He is from Port Talbot, an industrial town, yet, so are many other famous actors. The town is deprived with high unemployment rates and yet culturally they value the arts… Thats cool.
I’ve veered a little off topic so next I started to look at what directories are already out there.
The first platform I’m going to look at is Dribbble. I’m a member myself however I think for me it’s pretty useless and I’ve never gained any work from it.
I have found it interesting to browse other designers portfolios, it presents really stark design trends within the online design community and that’s pretty interesting to watch. Dribbble allows you to have a portfolio and for a fee you can bid for jobs posted by non designers. It’s not so much collaborative, but it is a directory of sorts.
My next source of inspo is the ‘We Are Makers’ publication. This publication is a showcase of makers from across the globe. It’s such a beautiful book that I go back to time and time again. Flicking through the pages and discovering new, weird and wonderful creatives and getting a small glimpse into their livelihoods. It’s really inspiring.
It did make me think about how a beautifully curated book like this of Pembrokeshire creatives would be an awesome addition to libraries, cafe’s or any space where people sit and stop and take time to look at something. It would encourage random acts of collaboration.
What do people think?
Is there a need for something like this in Pembrokeshire?
To answer this question I took to social media and asked three simple questions. 33 people responded and here’s what they thought:
Interestingly out of the people who responded were the following practitioners:
This span of people is only my immediate network on social media and I know that there is a plethora of creative practitioners that live and work in the area. Personally a reason for wanting to have easier access to collaboration with people would be so that I could forge working relationships with say printers, embroiderers, carpenters and potters that I could bring into projects, visit and I believe create better outcomes.
I used to live in Cornwall and while I was there I would often venture to a creative space called Krowji. I used to have to go there for meetings with the graphic design agency A-Side, we would use film studios there and there was a laser engraving business just down the road that we also used. Krowji is an absolutely amazing creative hub. I think its presence has increased the amount of creatives able to live and work in the area.
Cornwall’s largest creative hub, Krowji provides studios and workspaces for a wide range of creative businesses at the Old Grammar School buildings in Redruth.A connected, supported, professional and above all creative and vibrant working environment, Krowji is constantly driving forward the exciting evolution of the Cornish arts and cultural sectors.
I would like my idea to be a printed version of Krowji… Who knows it could be the start of actually making a physical hub that really would aid collaboration?
I took to the ideas wall to make sure what I was doing was hitting the brief
I like the idea of it being quite a cool little ‘zine’ style directory and having the Creative Tales meet-ups is great. I live in a rural south oxfordshire so I’d actually quite like to know if there are other independent designers, developers, illustrators, copywriters nearby. I have had some bad experiences working totally remotely with some web developers who have gone completely awol on me, and so I’d be your ‘typical user profile’ as I’d use your directory to find a local web developer, someone I can meet in the flesh and blood and know they are real. I also think people who live in the same area – somewhere unique like St Davids will share a lot of values potentially, share some history and culture. The only thing that I would consider is ways to consider the ‘global’ aspect of this brief – perhaps having an online aspect to it so you and reach further afield if the project called for it? Or you could be reached by clients further afield?Flora Hands
Hi Ellie! I really love the idea of a directory. I think you could hit the ‘global’ aspect of the brief by making a simple framework which can be copied by any town/city so all localities can have a similar publication. A bit like a franchise in a way. You could make a strong branding where local areas just change the colours or something and find local ‘ambassadors’ to gather the content & organise printing? I could see this in local galleries and would also benefit new clients find talent.Kim Mcneil
I got some really good feedback from my coursemates… phew. I hadn’t actually considered the global aspect but I do really love both suggestions and maybe I need to think about how I could potentially incorporate both ideas into my final outcome?
So here’s my current proposal…
It’s still being worked on so it is not at all a finished document, however I’ve uploaded it as while I was writing it a new idea came to mind.
Geographically they make sense but also culturally. It is not unusual for galleries to sell artist postcards and I myself have loads of them that I’ve bought at different exhibitions and then stuck on the wall as a bit of inspiration. That could be a nice outcome of this directory? There’s also the postal element of a postcard that could aid collaboration? Could I somehow make some cards that are purely to aid the collaborative process of people in the directory?
whoop whoop, finally…
I had a little browse online to see if could find any examples of the artist postcards I was imagining and I came across this book of postcards you could buy from the V&A. This sort of solution could be perfect!