I’m really excited that the Cultural Learning Alliance has been launched. It’s very close to my heart as the value of cultural learning in everyone’s lives is my enduring creed, and also the value of collaboration and online sharing is a core message in Flow’s work with clients. This unites both those beliefs and the title says so.
Sally Bacon, Executive Director of the Clore Duffield Foundation, says about the Alliance: “The arts and culture bring pleasure, participation, self-expression and essential skills into children’s lives: they are a life-enhancing, essential part of human existence. The Cultural Learning Alliance is for everyone who believes that children and young people should have an entitlement to quality cultural experiences.
Sign up here http://www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk and help to create a community that promotes, protects and builds access to culture for all children and young people. By signing up you are showing your support and helping to build a vibrant, coherent and constructive voice for cultural learning and participation. The Alliance is a united cultural education community which will share ideas, information, evidence and influence – and you can send us your own stories, research and examples.”
I shared my own story, my childhood memory of cultural learning: “It’s hard to recall one memory because I was lucky enough for my childhood to be filled with culture. My parents were arts educators, so there were museums, books, music and inspiring friends. We know parental influence is a vital factor in young people’s confidence in exploring culture. To pick one memory, it’s Edward & Ruth Barker’s sculpture studios in Norfolk. My dad taught summer courses there. We kids hung out in their garden, drawing giant hogweed, squidging clay into tree bark, flicking through books about Picasso. I remember feeling that art was something we could all do, children and adults, as it was simply looking and playing, over and over. I was privileged, not because of any special talents, but because I lived with adults who knew how to keep art in their lives.”
In this story I mention Ruth Barker, a wonderful, smiling woman who had an enduring impact on my career. She died a few months ago and here is her obituary. As well as being influential on my earlier childhood she was my art history teacher at school, during which time she let me stay at her house in Norwich. She gave me the idea that my career might combine art history, museums and education, for which I’m very grateful.
I’m quite chuffed tonight at the reaction to my photography I’ve received today. I’ve displayed some big prints (on lovely matt Hahnemule paper) in the Telegraph Hill Festival Open Studios. I’m showing with my husband, Brian McKenzie.
The photos are a selection from my portfolio. There are two main themes, both crossing over in some of the images. One is to do with coastal heritage that is threatened by rising sea levels. The other is to to do with children, nature, freedom and safety.
I’ve been blogging more on my other site for a while because I’m gearing up for an awareness week about Climate Action in Culture & Heritage, taking advantage of some relevant events such as a symposium at Tate Modern. We want you to talk, blog and tweet about it, whether you attend one of these events or not.
The week has already begun:
I’ve changed the name of the website to Climate Action in Culture & Heritage and will continue raising awareness after this week. You’re welcome to write a guest post as Climate Action is a co-authored site. The latest guest post is from Claire Adler about young people’s views on museums and climate change.
The twitter hashtag is #CACH
If you’re willing to blog/tweet, please add a comment on the other site to introduce yourself.
And it would be great if you could spread the word, especially if you know people going to relevant events that week.
The events are all in the UK but it would be great to hear from other initiatives around the world.
If you write your own blogpost or article, will you tweet about it with #CACH and/or tell me about it on firstname.lastname@example.org or @bridgetmck on Twitter.
If you’re stuck for something to write about, you might want to respond to the Framework for Climate Action. Or just raise questions…
Everyone’s talking about the BBC Trust’s Strategy Review, open to consultation yesterday. I responded to the consultation but since then I’ve been having a think about what this means for the cultural & heritage sectors as public sector broadcasters. I’d welcome your comments.
The summary of the Review is:
“Reprioritising nearly £600m a year, around a fifth of the BBC’s cost base, to higher quality content
by 2013 and, on a continuing programme, across everything the BBC does
• Investing £50m a year from within this total to raise quality and originality including across BBC
Two, children’s output and journalism
• Committing from 2013 not to spend less than 90p in every licence fee pound on high-quality
content and getting it to audiences.”
I agree with focusing on high quality as long as this doesn’t mean focusing only on a small amount of extremely high-budget commercial output that can be sold worldwide.
I agree with improving children’s content but given that children and young people engage much more online, it’s hard to understand why this includes cutting their web content by half:
“Focusing the BBC’s website on the five content priorities
o Halving the number of sections on the site and improving its quality by closing lower performing
sites and consolidating the rest
o Spending 25% less on the site per year by 2013
o Turning the site into a window on the web by providing at least one external link on every
page and doubling monthly ‘click-throughs’ to external sites”
I agree with consolidating but I am uneasy about simply closing lower performing sites, as the content or approach of some of those could be valuable. I agree that they should provide more external links. The BBC site is like a country of its own and you wouldn’t know that there was a whole connected cultural, science and educational world out there. I don’t believe they should reduce expenditure on the web by 25% as they already spend less on the web than on the process of recouping their licence fee. It’s already too uninteractive and old-fashioned. We are already 10 years into the 21st Century. Which direction are they travelling in?
“Recommending the closure of teen offerings BBC Switch and Blast!”
This is mystifying. These sites are quirky, and still only in Beta, and the only key resources they do for teens online. They could consolidate by absorbing Blast into Switch or the other way round, so that young people’s creative content could respond to BBC output discovered via Switch.
“Opening the BBC’s current and future programme library, as well as working with partners like the
British Library, BFI and Arts Council England to bring other public archives to wider audiences.”
I would really like the BBC to start giving due coverage to the whole DCMS family and the pivotal role of the DCMS when it talks about partnerships.