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Making connections

Partnerships, conversations, committees and bus tours: 2011/12 saw the Culture Sparks team making connections across the sector, both on the road and close to home.

Keeping abreast of the national agenda, we travelled to the Cultural Hustings event in April 2011 for a horse’s-mouth account of how cultural issues aligned with the policies and priorities of each major political party. In the same month, the team attended the launch of the Creative Scotland Corporate Plan, and Associate Nina Honeyman represented Creative Scotland at the Visit Scotland Expo in Aberdeen. Later in the year, following a series of MyCake workshops, Director Julie Tait and Ros Lamont of The Audience Business, Edinburgh, met with Creative Scotland representatives to discuss cultural benchmarking across Scotland.

A year’s a long time in the digital world, and Culture Hack Day set the pace for 2011/2012, when the AmbITion project team supported Edinburgh Festivals Innovation Lab to facilitate 24 hours of innovation and leading to the inception of 30 amazing projects. Through the Scottish Government-funded Moving Targets Project, we drew on the digital expertise of Mariza Dima of the Edinburgh College of Art to bring new insights to the Velocity and WhiteNOISE projects. Mariza said,

‘Culture Sparks is a bright example of innovative use of social and new media for a wide range of projects. I was fascinated by the genuinely interdisciplinary way of working among the employees. Each member’s expertise was used efficiently making the collaboration smooth and ensuring success in the realisation of the projects. The knowledge that I brought to the team as a digital media designer was soon appropriately allocated. I strongly enjoyed working with Culture Sparks and I am looking forward to working with them again in the future. They are a real asset in Scotland’s creative sector.’

The team’s digital know-how was shared at AMA’s first-ever Tweetmeet, where Ashley Smith Hammond of AmbITion Scotland and Senior Partner Dianne Grieg each gave presentations on the use of social media; and again at Glasgow Caledonian University where Ashley gave a guest lecture on the use of social media tools for students at the School of Cultural Business Events. Dianne and Ashley also attended Make it Count, a day-long session provided by Google on the best use of analytics, from which they brought back new insider insights to instantly enhance our digital intelligence.

Closer to home, in Glasgow Julie Tait helped facilitate the stakeholder forum and forward planning for the Glasgow Tourism Service in her role as Vice Chair. Nina Honeyman was invited to be part of West Arts Network selection panel, reviewing funding applications submitted to the network. Associate Partner Jim Law delivered a presentation to University of West Scotland music students on research best practice, and University of Strathclyde student Jane Cross joined us in the Culture Sparks office to support us and gain experience of research and marketing for the arts. She said,

“I have gained valuable insights into the reality of the industry, its fast pace and dynamic nature. Having had direct involvement with particular projects – such as Whitenoise – I have grasped just how powerful the tools of ‘social media’ have become … The Culture Sparks team have encouraged initiative and openness at all times, which has made the experience more fulfilling and enjoyable”.

We think our city’s architecture and thriving arts scene are equal to the best in Britain, and we were delighted to share them with AMA Conference delegates in a fringe-style Open Top Bus Tour of Glasgow, enjoyed by over 60 conference delegates from all over the UK.

‘The fringe bus tour was wonderful – thank you so much for offering this great opportunity to delegates!  It certainly went down extremely well and it also helped to swell the second museum tour at GoMA. I’m going to look into this as an idea for Brighton now.’ Annabel Busher, AMA Events & Services


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