Hurrah! I can finally reveal one of the exciting things I’ve been frustratingly opaque about on Twitter for the past week or so. This Thursday alongside Andy Field and Laura McDermott I shall be convening a Flash Conference as part of the ACE/RSA State of the Arts conference. Here’s a taste of what that means:
The Flash Conference is an imaginative new project designed to create brief but electrifying bursts of thinking and conversation amidst the main State of the Arts programme. Harnessing the spontaneity and collective energy of a flash mob, we hope to bring people together to create a flood of brief but provocative responses to the following questions.
How can art of all kinds play a more meaningful role in mass protest and popular resistance?
What makes a good home for art (and for artists), and how can we ensure there are more of them?
In an environment in which success is too often only measured by perpetual growth, how do we ensure that small remains beautiful?
(How) Can art make more people’s lives better?
Whilst recognising the absolute importance of large scale events like State of the Arts, we also wanted to acknowledge the complex ecology of our sector, an in a space that much more resembles the way we communicate and collaborate in the contemporary world. Hence our conception of the Flash Conference, and, much credit to ACE and the RSA, their inclusion of it in the main conference programme. The Flash Conference (from flashmob) will centre around the above four question, we aim to create a buzz of provocation and debate in the body of the conference, and online, to in fact create a space for dialogue between the two for all those voices who might not have access to the opportunity to speak at, or even attend State of the Arts.
And because of this, we need you. If you have something to say in response to the above statements, now is the time to say it. If you’re on Twitter, you can use and follow the #SOTAflash hashtag, and anybody with an internet connection can access http://flashconference.co.uk where you can simply go to ‘submit’ and post any text, image, audio, or video (audio and video will have to be hosted elsewhere – i.e. Youtube or Audioboo) of anything you have to say. There’s also lots more information about our plans, and 3-4 potential people per question that we’re inviting to offer a one-minute response to get people’s ideas flowing.
We’re going to endeavour to post these provocations, if not live-streamed, minutes after they’re given, and we also intend to continually feed back online content into the room, and vice versa. And there’s absolutely no time limit on submissions, if you have something to say, a statement of intent, your own one minute manifesto in relation to one of the above questions, an image, a video, please do post it. Simply head over to flashconference.co.uk/submit and follow the instructions. Or if you’re coming to the conference, head up to the Thames Room where you’ll find a bank of laptops for you to post your on-the-day reactions, and three large screens following the #SOTAflash hashtag, and displaying content submitted by others.
Laura, Andy and I are really excited about the potential of this in opening up a trad conference format, so please, if you do have something to say about the state of the arts, follow the hashtag and the site, and do contribute.
(The Flash Conference was conceived by Andy Field, Hannah Nicklin and Laura McDermott in association with Arts Council England and the RSA.)