Wednesday, August 16, 2006

International Conference on Arts In Society - Report from Day One

Despite numerous setbacks including many last minute cancellations and numerous delegates having only the clothes they arrived in with their luggage and presentations stuck at Heathrow, the conference began well yesterday. Many speakers have had to abandon their prepared scripts and multimedia presentations and have instead spoken from memory and started dialouges with the audience. This has proved no barrier, having enhanced the sharing of stimulating ideas.

I presented a paper on FreqOUT! as part of the 'Arts In Communities' stream. The reception was very positive – many congratulating the project on its innovative approach to education and track record in nagivating the complexities of new technologies, artistic practise and multiple funding streams. Since then I have been approached by a wide variety of organisations for more information about what we do - including English Heritage and Universities in New Zealand and the USA.

Another presentation that particularly impressed me and which has parrallel aims to FreqOUT! was the 'SayIT' project from New York State, led by Professor Terrance Ross (New York's Adelphi University) which teaches literacy skills to young people through media critique and film making. Prof Ross talked about ‘building on young people’s interests', in order to enage them in wider dialouges.

Before my own presentation was one which set up a dialouge on the outcomes of community art initiatives given by Dr Martin Mulligan and Pia Smith from the Globalism Institute at RMIT University Australia. They have conducted wide ranging research on the efficatiousness and use of community arts in society. Part of their research acknowledges that community arts activity can ..."make the invisible (people) more visible and give a voice to the voiceless; leading to more open discourses on how to reduce social exclusion". That certainly has alignment with the goals of FreqOUT!

Links to the relevant bodies and parctitioners I have mentioned above:
Professor Terrance Ross / Adephi University
Martin Mulligan / RMIT University
English Heritage - Characterisation

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