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SEPP:DIGITAL Sampad European Placement Programme for Digital Learning

Leonardo Da Vinci European Mobility 2012-14 Activity Report Linz, 2013 Photo: Bhavnesh Chamdal


Report produced in November 2013

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CONTENTS .

ABOUT THE PROJECT

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Introduction

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Who was involved

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What happened

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When

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Why this is important

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APPLICATION PROCESS

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sampad’s process map

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Criteria for applicants

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PREPARATION

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Cultural and Linguistic preparation

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Training Content

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OUTCOMES

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Benefits to the participants

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DNA

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CASE STUDIES

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List of the participants

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CONCLUSION

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RECOMMENDATIONS

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FURTHER LINKS

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ABOUT THE PROJECT

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Over a two year period between 2012 and 2013, sampad managed a Leonardo Mobility Programme for individuals working in the cultural and creative industries. The Leonardo Programme is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme and supports UK vocational education and training organisations, staff and learners to work together with European partners to improve training, enhance skills and employability.

sampad contributes to the development of the South Asian arts sector via creative practices, education, lifelong-learning and professional development in the UK, and also in part, internationally. We feel that for South Asian arts and artists to thrive within national and international markets, that they need to remain relevant to the shifting ways that people access and engage with the arts. There is always a need to consider the national and international contexts in which we are working, and we are fully aware of the developments being made in other sectors, particularly that of digital technology. The Leonardo Mobility Programme has enabled us to connect with the sectors that serve to cross boundaries between arts and digital technology, enabling the development of artists and creative professionals.

This report provides a concise summary of the programme managed by sampad, complete with outcomes and a few short case study responses by some of the participants.

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Who was involved

6 Ars Electronica, Linz, 2012 Photo: Saranjit Birdi


33 Participants The project was open to:   

Artists with some experience of using digital technology or with the desire to learn more Freelance creative professionals with some experience of using digital technology within arts practices People working in management and project support

There were two vocational levels: 

Intermediate – learners with some knowledge and experience of working on cultural projects and/or with technology Advanced – learners with a good competency in cultural management and/or knowledge of using digital technology

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013 Photo: Geoff Broadway

Linz, 2012

3 Partners 

Medialab Prado, Madrid, Spain: an organisation that is amongst the leaders in the field of developing programmes for interdisciplinary work between artists, computer programmers, designers and engineers Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria: one of the most significant centres of excellence in terms of the development and presentation of electronic arts, science and technology Ars Electonica Futurelab, Linz, Austria: a world leading institution in the research and development of innovative creative concepts STRP Festival, Eindhoven, the Netherlands: an important festival of new media technology and arts serving the northern quarter of Europe

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What happened

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As a result of the success of the first Leonardo Mobility programme, sampad aimed to extend the learning opportunities to a wider pool of people in the sector, with a particular focus, though not exclusively, on South Asian and culturally diverse practices and how they can benefit from the interaction of working with people and organisations skilled in digital technologies. Madrid cityscape, 2011

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2011

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Participants interested in developing knowledge and experience in the use of digital technology, were drawn from a competitive selection process. They were divided up to different groups, following a number of discussions between sampad and the European partners. The skills and experiences of the participants were matched with the array of activities within the respective host organisations.

Ars Electronica, Linz, 2013 Photo: Taz Lovejoy

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This programme was mainly designed to provide potential new work opportunities, whilst bringing home to the region and UK developed skills, knowledge and experience in the use of digital technology.

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013

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When

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The placements took place between July 2012 and February 2014

Linz, 2013 Photo: Bhavnesh Chamdal

The placements consisted of: Research, innovation testing, production and development of digital products at: 

Medialab Prado - 5 participants in 2012 for a three week placement period

Ars Electronica Future Lab – 2 participants: one in 2012 and one in 2013 – nine week placement periods

Distribution (exhibition), dissemination (audience engagement) of digital products and logistics at: 

Ars Electronica Festival – 20 participants: eight in 2012 and eight in 2013 for three weeks, plus two in 2012 and two in 2013 for two months

STRP Festival – 6 participants in 2013 for two week placement

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Why this is important

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Digital technology is making a significant impact upon the way the creative industries operate and how audiences engage with cultural products. It is clear that skills and knowledge development in this area will be increasingly important for individuals to engage with. Also, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic artists and creative professionals tend to become under-represented in this area. As a result, sampad continuously works to develop the digital capacity of future creative practitioners, and broaden the portfolio of skills to support the sector. The key aim of the project was to contribute to increasing the skills and knowledge of artists and creative professionals with a particular focus on minority ethnic individuals.

Bienenstock, Linz, 2013 Photo: Bhavnesh Chamdal

There were three main objectives 

To provide high quality vocational learning experiences at some of the world’s leading institutions.

To open up new opportunities and international networks with a new set of peers.

To develop a much more robust understanding of the potential of incorporating digital technology into artistic products and curated programmes.

Bienenstock, Linz, 2013 Photo: Bhavnesh Chamdal

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APPLICATION PROCESS

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The following diagram outlines the recruitment process:

Competitive open advertisement sent to sampad’s website, mailing list, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, sector websites such as those held by arts organisations regionally and nationally, and key agencies.

Participants sent completed application form and CV by deadline stating the desired placement option.

sampad shortlists and interviews based on application criteria.

sampad presented information to the hosts so that they can fine tune the placement plans based upon participants’ motivations and skills.

sampad informed the participants, provided a participant handbook detailing everything about the programme, and arranged a pre-placement induction.

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The applicants had to demonstrate the following: 

Available to undertake 5 x 2 hour linguistic classes.

Ability to undertake a work placement within the project timeframe.

Be a creative practitioner working across any creative discipline.

Demonstrate an interest in the project, including working openly and collaboratively across other disciplines.

Disciplined in recording and monitoring progress for research processes.

Ability to consider how to incorporate into professional practice the learning received on the placement.

Good communication skills.

Willingness to contribute to evaluation and monitoring.

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013

Ars Electronica, Linz, 2013 Photo: Taz Lovejoy

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PREPARATION

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LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL PREPARATION 

Tailor made language sessions in advance of the placements.

Aim: to get by in the foreign language at basic level whilst staying at a cultural event and to get to know cultural aspects of the country.

Objectives: the listing of situations from the Needs Analysis questionnaire are used as a guideline, in parallel to the UK Occupational Language Standards at Entry level.

Course material: a personalised folder with basic vocabulary and grammar; tutor’s own selection of relevant material.

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013 Photo: Geoff Broadway

Format and timescale: an intensive block of 8 hours over two days.

Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013 Photo: Geoff Broadway

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TRAINING CONTENT Throughout the fulfilling personal and professional experiences, the participants had been given various missions in order to support the teams of staff at the different organisations. Medialab and Ars Electronica Futurelab provided the participants with new practices as artists and cultural professionals, via collaborative working with programmers and software designers, in an open lab environment. They learned how to innovate their artistic practices through the use of digital technology and became familiar with the processes of international collaboration, production and knowledge transfer for research and development. By the end of the programme, all the participants got a greater understanding of the outcomes of participating and assisting with innovation projects, as well as collaborating as part of a wider team to achieve desired results. Ars Electronica festival and STRP festival enabled the participants to get accustomed to new concepts in art and digital technology, whilst understanding the process of curation, exhibition and events management of artistic digital products. The participants embedded new professional skills of working at a European level, especially regarding work as part of a team. Rewarded with valuable knowledge of the digital sector, they eventually got a concrete awareness of the range of artists and networks associated with the artforms. Overall benefits the programme included:  Provision of the highest quality experience in how arts and digital technology can benefit the creative industries sector  Enabling the artist/creative professional to immediately network to identify international peers and support  Supporting the participants in understanding and generating new European markets as well as broader international markets  Creating credibility and employability within the UK amongst the participants  Enabling the creative professional to better understand the position of the arts sector, cultural policy and cultural diversity in a European context  Learning and understanding creative and business processes

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OUTCOMES

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“My perceptions have met my expectations. In matter of technology and collaboration with different organisations, it seemed that the engagement has been on a high tech professional level.” “I feel digital technology could be utilised as an artistic medium, to create more striking visual effects during dance performances and even to add interactive elements.”

“The way in which the staff communicated with each other is inspiring! Even though there are clear heads of departments, everyone is given time to explain their ideas and reservations about ideas before they are put into practice. Everyone is equal, a real democratic way of operating.”

“I had an initial grasp of the language. I learned some of the local dialect and slang terms from my colleagues.” “The interactivity of the learning through the games elements was enjoyable and effective for memorising certain words.”

“One of the key things I have got from working on the festival, is a reminder of the importance of written contextualisation of artistic practice: an important part in the consumption of meaning and dynamic of art. This is something I’ve known for a while that I need to explore more within my own work, in order to develop forward. And this trip has given me desire to just do that.” “My fellow colleagues were equally fantastic, we all learned from each other, we all had fun.” “I made fantastic new contacts and friends.” 22


Linz, 2012

BENEFITS TO THE PARTICIPANTS Learning about arts and digital technology and inspire the development of your practice/work Acquiring new language skills Gaining sector knowledge from a different country Gaining new skills and experience Make new friends and contacts

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Development Needs Analysis . 5.0

4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0

1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0

Experience of international working at a European level

Experience of collaborating with individuals from a different cultural and creative context

Articulating current work areas to others from either a creative or operational context

Ability to enhance working relationships with European peers and colleagues

Understanding cultural differences

Understanding the arts, cultural industries and broader context

Developing new presenting and communication skills

Handling and using technology in the 21st century

Average prior to start

2.2

3.5

3.0

2.6

3.8

3.2

2.9

3.4

Average at the end

4.4

4.4

4.1

4.2

4.7

4.5

4.3

4.2

The chart displays the participants’ Development Needs Analysis (DNA) before and after their placements. This is the participants’ auto evaluation (on a scale of 0 to 5), based on their estimated level before the placements, and then, the skills, knowledge and experience acquired by the end of the programme. There is a significant increase of the average scores related to their self-assessment, as a result of a personal improvement, due to their rewarding experiences of working abroad. 24

t


y

Understanding the comparative differences of existing work areas

The process for devising programmes involving digital technology and artistic practices

How to source and manage with technical experts with an interest in working with artists

What the specific technical developments are and how they are being utilised

The benefits and challenges of artists and technical programmers working collaboratively

How to develop artists and technical/digital programmers

How to market and communicate products to audiences, and communicating to the press

How the infrastructure is supporting, or otherwise the developments in Madrid and how this could translate to Birmingham/UK

2.8

What the potential creative outcomes are in working collaboratively in terms of the type and nature of the product, and the long term benefits of working collaboratively 2.8

2.7

2.6

2.5

2.4

2.4

2.6

2.1

4.0

4.1

4.2

4.3

4.4

4.4

3.8

3.6

3.9

Across all the participants, on average the skills improvement as well as the satisfaction score was increased by 50.49% 25


CASE STUDIES

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“I greatly enjoyed participating on the Leonardo Mobility Digital Placement to Austria to work on the Ars Electronica festival, every aspect of the co-ordination of this project was handled excellently by sampad and I am honoured that I was offered the place. I feel my practice as an artist has incredibly benefitted from my involvement; I have now started to use some of the technology in plans for upcoming artworks. I have also kept in contact with some of the members of the Ars team, with aspirations and encouragement from them to return next year. The experience as a whole helped me develop my social skills and the ability to discuss my work with professionals, regardless of language and cultural differences, formed a friendship with a large number of other arts professionals working in the Birmingham area and gave me the opportunity to enhance my C.V especially as I was privileged enough to help install the H.R Giger exhibition at the Lentos Museum and Art Gallery as part of the festival.” Taz, Ars Electronica Festival, 2013

“Being given the opportunity to travel to Netherlands was amazing. I enjoyed volunteering at the festival and working alongside new colleagues. I had a great experience and would love to do this again... Since the project, I have kept in contact with a few of the other volunteers and I have been working closely with sampad, the organisation who gave me this opportunity, on more of their projects.” Idriss, STRP Festival, 2012

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“I feel more confident, skilled, and authoritative in my field of professional work and personal life. The placement is an amazing opportunity to meet talented people from different parts of the world, with whom you'd maybe like to work with, and make friends.” Bhavnesh, Ars Electronica, 2013

“We'd been VERY CLEARLY ADVISED by sampad that we should be proactive in seeking out interesting roles: I did this and was rewarded with a genuinely inspiring, educative and confidencebuilding experience which I'd describe as lifechanging. It was wonderful and encouraging to meet talented people who quickly trusted and respected me as an all-round colleague. I've resolved to proactively seek work opportunities beyond Birmingham - where I find it easier to overcome any professional insecurities because I haven't known people for years - but also, to go wherever I can find creative working cultures which suit my work and my approach to developing it.” Kate, Ars Electronica Festival, 2013

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“We were incredibly well supported and managed throughout the whole process - we all felt incredibly lucky to be there (in Madrid) with such practical and financial support. I really enjoyed working at Medialab Prado and felt really well looked after by the team, both management and support staff. I learned a great deal about how other artists, designers and programmers are able to work collaboratively in a very wide variety of ways. Interactivos allowed me to contribute my own ideas and skills and learn from others in terms of generating new ideas, problem solving and trying new ways of working together. My European-wide professional network has increased and I have developed many contacts that I will maintain with a view to developing future collaborative projects. I had the opportunity to significantly develop my language skills and made rapid progress in this area. Overall I considered the program a great success and I would encourage anyone with an interest in collaborative working in a new environment to apply. My advice is to put as much energy as possible into getting to know the many people you might be working with, and be willing to put oneself forward to try new ideas and learn skills. I would strongly advise those with only a very basic knowledge of the language of the hosting organisation to learn as much as possible before attending - have a working knowledge of the local language makes a world of difference to the experiences you will have. I can't think of anything that would improve the programme - it was truly excellent.� Geoff, Medialab Prado, Madrid, 2013

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Medialab Prado Geoff Broadway, Sarah Miah, Soraya Nasser, Phil Richards, Sonia Ricketts

STRP Festival Christopher Humes, Alex McCorkindale, Idriss Assoumanou, Simon Parsons, Shelly Knotts, Ana Manea

Ars Electronica Future Lab Bhavnesh Chamdal, Harmeet Chaggar-Khan

Ars Electronica Festival Liam Achaibou, Zoe Aiano, Nadia Akhtar, Surfraz Aslam, Rhenu Bhagotra, Parminder Dosanjh, Harpreet Kaur, Taz Lovejoy, Catherine Maguire, Alex Marasescu, Shamim Miah, Sarah Nokes, Dayo Oye, Joseph Potts, Kate Pushkin, Carl Sealeaf, Saranjit Singh Birdi, Leon Trimble, Kevin Yuma Fataki, Katy Wade

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CONCLUSION

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“The participants were a great help. They provided valuable support to the festival team. The festival would not have run so smoothly if the participants were not there. The social side of the placements was also enjoyable as it helped integration.” Veronika Liebl, Ars Electronica. “All the programme worked really well.” Monica Cachafeiro, Medialab Prado. “We now know what to expect from each other. That’s already a big improvement.” Willem van der Ploeg, STRP Festival. On the whole, the 2012-14 SEPP Digital has been a real success on both sides of the stakeholders. On the one hand, the favourable assessment figures added to the participants’ feedback (by and large encouraging), vividly demonstrate a great satisfaction and improvement from the participants’ perspective. On the other hand, both of the sending and receiving organisations appreciated the outcome, for the stakes were very high, as related to the participants’ self development. Once again, sampad keenly manifested its deep commitment to the necessity of providing the artists and creative professionals with new skills and knowledge about Digital Technology, as well as its determination to make it equally accessible to minority ethnic individuals.

Linz, 2013 Photo: Bhavnesh Chamdal

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RECOMMENDATIONS

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These recommendations are from the hosts and the participants:

“Different profiles and background are really welcome!” “Be open-minded and ready to be part of the “working-process” “Come with a good attitude and try to expand your personal network” “Network and socialise”

“Bring a notepad to jot down your day to day activities and a good camera to capture every moment”

“Immerse yourself in the local culture” “Be very proactive and go beyond the call of duty” “Show off your talents and strengths”

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FURTHER LINKS

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Useful links Ars Electronica http://www.aec.at/news/en/ Ars Electronica Futurelab http://www.aec.at/futurelab/en/ Medialab Prado http://medialab-prado.es/interactivos Leonardo Mobility http://www.leonardo.org.uk/ Sampad http://www.sampad.org.uk/special-projects/sepp-digital/ STRP http://strp.nl/en/

Blogs and photos links http://www.sampad.org.uk/special-projects/sepp-digital/sepp-digital-blogs/ http://strpbrum13.tumblr.com/ http://exhibitsounds.com/ http://ckaotic.tumblr.com http://bhavneshchamdal.tumblr.com/tagged/Ars-Electronica-Futurelab http://katerinapushkin.tumblr.com/ars13 http://tazlovejoy.blogspot.co.uk/

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Sampad South Asian Arts c/o mac, Birmingham Cannon Hill Park Birmingham B12 9QH t +44 (0) 121 446 3260 e info@sampad.org.uk w www.sampad.org.uk Follow us online

Report designed by Bettissem Kadhkadhi

Sampad is a registered charity no. 1088995 37

SEPP:Digital Activity Report 2013  

Report published November 2013 for Sampad's European Placement Programme for Digital Learning.

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