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British Council Cultural Leadership International Programme – building international links and inspiring a new Curated Place residency programme

2 Aug

In October 2011 I was lucky enough to be taken to Istanbul by the British Council as part of their CLI programme.  From over 180 applications seven of us from the UK were taken to Turkey with the aim “to engage the new generation of cultural leaders around the world in the discussion and development of common strategies to tackle global cultural issues”.

The seven of us taken from the UK were Haidee Bell, Innovation Programmes Manager, Creative Economy, NESTADaniel Gorman, Director, Firefly InternationalRohan Gunatillake, Lead Producer, Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab, (now Sync) ; Karena Johnson, CEO/Artistic Director, The BroadwayLaura McDermott, Joint Artistic Director, Fierce FestivalElhum Shakerifar,  Creative Producer, Postcode Films; and me

The programme revolved around two key areas: management and leadership development. On the one hand the programme focussed on developing core cultural management skills of participants, through quite traditional seminars and workshops. However, where most people found most benefit was through the chance to get to know their peers – all emerging cultural leaders looking to develop their international exposure and experience.

Alongside my participation in the programme Curated Place also sent out a documentation crew to capture the ideas behind the events.  Again we sought not simply to capture digital footage that was relevant only to people around the immediate time of the events but to interrogate the experience and knowledge of those involved in the programme – both presenters and the remarkable CLI participants.

By filming more intimate discussions with interviewees, instead of simply capturing raw footage of scripted conference presentations, we wanted to get a personal insight into the professional worlds of those in and around the CLI programme – creating a resource that would give longer term insight into what connections could be made from the programme across international arts communities rather than just those within the room.  By ensuring these videos and that knowledge was available to anyone with an internet connection we aimed to dramatically increase the impact of the programme and the longevity of the investment made over the week of the programme.

Later this year as part of the programme I’ll be travelling to the middle east to establish new reciprocal residency programmes for UK artists and curators to develop collaborative projects with local artists at a similar point in their career – seeking to extend their creative horizons out of the regional and national to an international programme.  All of it building on the insight and relationships started by CLI in Istanbul.  More on this next week…but if you’re desperate to know follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear the latest.

Just back from British Council CLI Programme in Istanbul

30 Oct

Lost in Istanbul
The last week has been a real eye-opener.  Even with everything Curated Place taking off in the last year (hence the quietness of the blog) getting out of the UK to meet with cultural leaders from around the world has truly been a career highlight.

Over 5 days an incredible group of 47 participants selected by the British Council from 18 countries discussed the power and worth of cultural policy, the impact of culture on society and the opportunities afforded to cultural practices by digital technologies.  I was one of the participants but I also worked with the superb filmmaker Maria Gabriella of LittleStar and social media expert Jenny Jones to document the whole programme in a format developed by Curated Place and LittleStar that we’ll be rolling out across the arts and cultural world later this year (get in touch for more details if you’re doing an event and want it professionally covered with more panache than a corporate sales pitch).

Some on-the-fly films and audio are already available but we’ll be producing more lyrical mood pieces over the next two weeks that completes the package as a useable resource post-event.  Here’s a link to Audioboos with participants, and you can see some of the films here. Should give a hint at where we’re going with it.

Josephine Burns, BOP Consulting at Cultural Leadership International, Istanbul from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

The full list of CLI participants is on the British Council website and it makes for impressive reading but meeting these impressive people in the flesh exceeded my already sky-high expectations.  With a professional development programme to implement over the next year I’m extremely excited to capitalise on the networks created and the friendships started in Istanbul.  My head is still spinning from the whole experience but somehow I’ve got back to the UK with a remarkable clarity about the possibilities and the priorities I need to focus on over the next 12 months.

Thanks to all CLI participants.  2012 is going to be incredible.

Tamara Takishvili at Cultural Leadership International, Istanbul from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

Salwa Mikdadi, Head of Arts and Culture Program at Emirates Foundation from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

Ce n’est pas une pipe

16 Jun

Very excited to see that Sylvain Chomet’s latest feature, The Illusionist, is opening the Edinburgh Film Festival this evening.  Having been a huge fan of the incredible Les triplettes de Belleville I’m sad that I can’t be there for the UK premiere.

I’m just starting work on a piece about authenticity vs truth in constructing ideas of the Scottish capital so I’m especially intrigued by the attention to detail that’s been put into reconstructing Edinburgh in 2D; not just in terms the visual but also culturally.

It’s clear that Chomet’s team went to great efforts to capture the essence of Edinburgh; given his track record of conjuring the quaintly fantastic in his work I’d love to know more about the decision making process where authenticity and truth conflicted.  In describing part of the process in a recent Guardian article Chomet reveals a little about his own sense of authenticity from a stereotypically French cultural landmark, food:

We really researched Edinburgh of 1959 right down to recreating the famous chip shops of the time where everything, including the lobster, is battered. You know I miss Scotland a lot, but it is true the food is a bit special. This idea that you have to do violence to food before you eat it. Batter it up good and proper.

Inspired by Iceland

10 Jun

Great promo video for Iceland using music from Emiliana Torrini, one of the most charismatic live performers I’ve ever seen.

Inspired By Iceland have happily admitted borrowing from Where the Hell is Matt but the addition of helicopter shots and an unusual amount of sun in the North Atlantic takes this campaign to the next level.

Fired out via Facebook/Twitter etc. etc. to just about every Icelander I know with instructions to pass it on, makes for a great use of social media.

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