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The Secret Art of Publishing Wildlife Photographs Prof. Michael Parnwell

Buy a camera, wait 53 years, get lucky, anticipate fame and fortune, go back to the day job

This six-image sequence of a drenched Kestrel, one of which was published in the Daily Telegraph on 8 January 2021, was taken just up the road from the West Yorkshire village of Mytholmroyd, birthplace of the former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. The ingredients of a successful image? “Take telegraph wires, a lonely moor, and fit them together.”(1) “Wind. Cold. A permanent weight to be braced under. And rain.”(2) The harsh daily struggle of Calder Valley wildlife is stoic more than poetic, but it is great subject matter for the wildlife photographer. Which is what I now am. Officially.

My interest in photography started at the age of 14 when my father bought me an all-manual East German Praktica MTL3 single lens reflex camera with a 50mm Pentacon f1.8 lens. Photography for fun followed, then something slightly more serious – slides in support of teaching, bringing life in Asia to the classroom in Yorkshire. Now back to fun, my camera a window on the natural world. And hours stood in woods, parks, bushes, beaches, or crawling on my belly in fields full of ticks, in the freezing cold, pouring rain, burning sun. Not for renown and recognition, but for a sheer love and appreciation of nature.

A week earlier, while still under Tier 2 conditions, I had been risking frostbite trying to photograph a pair of Kestrels hunting on the updrafts of Pen-y-ghent, but they were either too quick, too far away, being mobbed by gulls, or the light was abysmal. But the Calderdale Kestrel was a gift. I noticed it as I was driving down Cragg Vale, was able to pull into the side of the road, get my camera gear from the boot, set up in the back seat, use the car as a hide and a home-made bean bag as support, all without spooking the saturated raptor. I had time enough to experiment with camera settings, settling on a slow shutter speed to turn the rain from drops into stair-rods. Then I noticed that the bird would occasionally shake its feathers to clear some of the deluge, so I waited anxiously for the right moment to press the shutter, not my usual millisecond late. Fortunately, not only did I catch the ‘shake-down shuffle’ but also the ‘spin dry’, which is the image the Telegraph was most keen on. I must thank Simon Czapp at Solent News and Photo Agency for spotting the images I posted on the British Wildlife Photographers Group on Facebook, recognising their popular potential, and approaching the main news outlets on my behalf. Unfortunately, recent events in Washington determined that the media’s focus was elsewhere when my images were being offered, otherwise I might by now be retired…

Prof. Michael Parnwell is an Associate Lecturer in ICCE
Instagram: mikeparnwell

(1) “Telegraph Wires” and (2) “Wild Rock”, in Ted Hughes, 1979, Elmet, London: Faber & Faber, pp. 126 and 32.

Festival Cities: Culture, Planning, and Urban Life

Festival Cities, John R Gold, Margaret M Gold, Routledge, 2020

Festival Cities grew out of our interest in the relationship between festivals and their host cities.  We had previously considered the rationale for hosting one-off mega-events such as World Expos, the Olympics and European Capitals of Culture, but this book looks at the annual, biennial and other regular festivals that contribute to a city’s events calendar.

Festivals have always been part of city life, but their relationship with their host cities has continually changed. With the rise of industrialization, they were largely considered peripheral to the course of urban affairs. Now they have become central to new ways of thinking about the challenges of economic and social change, as well as repositioning cities within competitive global networks. Festival Cities aims to provide a reflective and evidence-based historical survey of the processes and actors involved, charting the ways that regular festivals have now become embedded in urban life and city planning.  After considering the historical context, there are four case study chapters charting the origins and evolution of the ‘pioneering’ festivals in Venice, Salzburg, Cannes and Edinburgh.  This is followed by a chapter analysing the proliferation of festivals – particularly in the last forty years taking theatre festivals, literary festivals and biennials as examples.  A further chapter analyses the way in which festivals can assert identity as in the case of carnival, St Patrick’s Day Parades and Pride Parades.  The conclusion reflects on current trends and challenges for festivals (including Covid-19).  This book is essential reading for those interested in a fuller understanding of the relationship between culture, planning and the city.

Margaret M Gold is an Associate Lecturer in ICCE and teaches on MA Events & Experience Management.

Accelerating Change in the Film Industry – Datafication & the Streaming Era by Michael Franklin

Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths, University of London

This September ICCE Lecturer Dr Michael Franklin was invited by Film London’s Head of Talent Development and Production to speak as part of their Production Finance Market scheme. The work formed part of the agency’s producer focussed work prepping new talent for discussions with financiers, investment funds, sales companies, distributors, post houses, online platforms and public agencies.

He discussed his work on data analytics for the film industry, as appears in the 2020 Journal of Cultural Economics paper with co-authors from the Mallen Conference. The recent research focus on data driven methods of evaluation, including from colleagues in the Mallen network e.g. Dr Siefert et al. on SVODs, has become increasingly pertinent over the year as film consumption has increasingly moved online and the pandemic has accelerated business strategy towards PVOD models.

The British Film Institute recognised this area in the summer when responding to the DCMS Select Committee Inquiry on the Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS Sectors. In proposing a new Global Screen Fund (GSF) to mitigate market failures inherent in the independent film industry, the solution emphasises linking data driven research with production, promotion and distribution, to leverage investment at each stage. The GSF intervention was a relatively rare instance of creative industries support in the UK Spending Review of 25.11.2020 with a £7m pilot backed to increase ROI and a fund lead is being sought, with workflow to include procurement of a promotion and data platform.

The vital nature of film data analysis is increasingly being recognised as major shifts in industry practice are regularly announced and debated, from pandemic-led responses of virtual cinemas and digitised ticketing, to acceleration of long-term trends. Warner Bros will release their 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously via HBO Max in the US, a process necessitating some complex evaluation of future revenues to buy out talent participation in theatrically led financial performance, and generating the opportunity for analysis and leverage of D2C audience data – an activity WarnerMedia may be well placed to undertake, having acquired the knowledge of Legendary Entertainment’s Applied Analytics into their own organisation.

UK companies, and the independent sector in particular are not so well furnished (p20), but are extremely familiar with key issues, not least in relation to deal terms in which traditional market actors are detached both from incremental revenues and audience understanding. Related subjects of content availability and prominence, SVOD investment and taxation in specific territories of operation, and how to collect and exploit data, have moved increasingly front and centre through recent investigations concerning Public Service Broadcasters, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, Digital Single Market, and rebuilding the creative landscape.

These issues determine the contextual environment for the highly international film business, for which the UK is a key centre. In particular they impact the value and evaluation of IP rights and thus the economics of individual projects and related companies. Key research on this field, as proposed by the BFI’s Independent Film Commission (p21), was announced as an important upcoming activity by BFI’s CEO and Head of R&S at December’s 2020 edition of the ThisWayUp Conference.

There are multiple extremely promising initiatives at the heart of the film & audiences (meta)data, IP (e)valuation and finance arena. Most importantly, interventions demonstrating the need for critical analysis, not just data collection, to restructure to address bias and inequity are being developed by industry and academia. Applications of innovation to questions of interoperability, data sharing, and leveraging of audience data point toward an agenda that is gathering pace, and Dr Franklin has been awarded funding by the British Screen Forum to work collaboratively on research and development towards a Film Data Initiative proposal.

Dr Franklin contributes to the BA in Arts Management, MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, and MPhil / PhD Programmes in ICCE, and is currently working on a book examining film risk for Routledge.

Sociology of the Arts, second edition, by Victoria D. Alexander, now published!

Victoria Alexander with her new book, hot off the press

The second edition of ICCE Professor Victoria Alexander’s book Sociology of the Arts: Exploring Fine and Popular Forms was published on 29 October 2020. This is a fully updated new edition of the classic textbook.

From the publisher’s website:

Sociology of the Arts is a comprehensive yet accessible review of sociological approaches to studying the fine, popular, and folk arts. Integrating scholarly literature, theoretical models, and empirical studies, this authoritative textbook provides balanced coverage of a broad range of essential topics—enabling a deeper understanding of the field as a whole. Throughout the text, numerous real-world case studies reinforce key concepts, stimulate classroom discussion, and encourage students to contemplate abstract theoretical issues central to the relationship between art and society.

Now in its second edition, this bestselling volume features fully revised content that reflects the most recent literature and research in the field. New discussion on the production and the consumption of culture are complemented by fresh perspectives on changes in the social world such as the rise of the internet and digital media. Updated chapters offer insights into social boundaries and embodiment in the arts, emplacement, materiality, the social construction of art and aesthetics, and more. Exploring how art is created, distributed, received, and consumed, this textbook:

  • Explores both classic work and new approaches in the sociology of the arts
  • Features case studies and discussion questions on art forms including popular music, film, romance novels, visual arts, and classical music
  • Discusses the meaning of artistic objects and why interpretations of art vary
  • Examines the ways art intersects with race, gender, sexuality, and class
  • Includes photographs, tables and figures, and a comprehensive reference list

Written by a leading scholar in the field, Sociology of the Arts: Exploring Fine and Popular Forms, Second Edition is an ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on sociology of art and culture, media studies, anthropology of art, arts management, and the social history of art, and is a useful reference for established scholars studying any aspect of sociology of the arts.

Culture and the Covid Crisis, 24th November 2020

We are pleased to share a link to a recording of the webinar, here:

https://www.canninghouse.org/canning-insights/culture-and-the-covid-crisis

Online: 16:00 – 18:00 Tuesday 24th November, London. Registration details below.

Canning House brings together a panel of leading cultural sector figures for a conversation on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic across literature, art, film and more, and what governments and organisations are doing to mitigate its effects.

Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the cultural sector, with Latin America as no exception. Many galleries, museums, theatres and cinemas remain closed, while the region’s independent artists have received limited governmental aid.

The panel will discuss policies adopted by Latin American governments to support cultural activities, and other initiatives which have emerged to mitigate the pandemic’s negative impacts on the sector.

We ask…

1 Does the Covid pandemic signal a crisis primarily for ‘culture’ or for cultural institutions?  Why does this distinction matter?

2 In addressing the crisis: who should play the leading roles, national governments or city authorities?  How much will this vary from country to country?

       a: What is the role of other publicly-funded actors, eg universities?

       b: What is the role of the private sector?  

       c: Should taxpayer relief be directed primarily at cultural estate (theatres, museums etc) or people (artists, producers, technicians)?

       d: Quantum of emergency funding?  How much is enough?  How do we assess the need in relation to other demands on national Treasuries?

3: What is the impact of the crisis on the finances of the wider cultural and creative industries and their business models?  Can online models come to the rescue?

Our panel

Chair: Dr Martin Smith
Chairman of trustees, St John’s Smith Square, Westminster and the London Festival of Baroque Music; Special Adviser, the Ingenious Group; Visiting Fellow, Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE), Goldsmiths, University of London

Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks & Triangle Network 

Cristina Fuentes La Roche OBE, International Director of Hay Festival

David Martinez, Festival Producer, Raindance Festival

Gustavo Gonzalez, Director of International Relations and Business Affairs, ABRAMUS

Laura Escobar, Deputy Director, Partnerships and Innovation, Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo

If you would like to register for Culture and the Covid Crisis, details can be found here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bybwMhLGShu_BdjScXepkA

 

Understanding legitimation in art through a case study of American self-taught artist, William Edmondson

Victoria D. Alexander, Professor of Sociology and Arts Management in ICCE has published an article on legitimation in artistic fields with colleague Ann Bowler (University of Delaware), in Poetics, a leading journal in the empirical study of culture, the media and the arts.

Alexander, Victoria D. and Anne E. Bowler (2020). ‘Aesthetic Fields and the Legitimation of Outsider Art: The Persistence of Contestation in Legitimated Fields,’ Poetics, online-first version, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304422X20302229?via%3Dihub

American artist William Edmondson (1874 – 1951) was born one of six children to formerly enslaved parents on a farm in Tennessee, he held jobs as a railroad worker, a farmhand, and after an injury, a janitor in Nashville. Edmondson began sculpting in the latter part of his life, in the early 1930s.

A recent cover of Poetics

His first carvings were tombstones for the local Black community. He worked in limestone, using salvaged material from discarded curbstones or demolished buildings to create religious statuary, animals, everyday characters (nurses, schoolteachers, and preachers), and famous personages (Eleanor Roosevelt and boxing champions Joe Lewis and Jack Johnson). Many of his sculptures have thick, rectangular blocks as a base because they were originally produced as funeral statuary. Initially considered a folk artist, then an Outsider artist, he is now recognised as one of the great masters of 20th century American sculpture. His story underpins the theoretical examination of legitimacy processes and legitimacy struggles in arts fields.

Abstract:
Legitimation is often theorized as a form of consensus and implicitly treated as an end-state that obtains after the unfolding of a process. Conflict and disagreement are recognized as part of legitimation processes; however, scholarship emphasizes consensus-building over contestation.

'William Edmondson at work' (1937). Photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Archives of American Art

‘William Edmondson at work’ (1937). Photo by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Archives of American Art

Moreover, as legitimacy processes are always ongoing and never final, such contestation can persist even in legitimated fields. We bring together Baumann’s (2007) general theory of artistic legitimation and filed theories (Bourdieu 1993; Fligstein and McAdam, 2012) in order to develop an approach to artistic legitimacy that accounts for conflict and contestation as much as consensus in legitimacy processes. We use a historical case study to build theory on legitimacy struggles in aesthetic fields. Specifically, we examine the legitimation of Outsider art, an aesthetic field defined as work by artists who produce outside established art worlds and who come from disadvantaged social worlds. Artist William Edmondson serves as an exemplar to ground our discussion of the Outsider field as we focus on resources, opportunity spaces, and legitimating discourses (Baumann, 2007) over time, to produce a multilevel and multifaceted approach to legitimation in aesthetic fields. In this way, our approach calls attention to ongoing legitimacy struggles in legitimated fields. We hypothesize that legitimacy struggles are more common in fields where judgement criteria are ambiguous, multiple players have a stake, and/or where resources are changing.

UP your IP! The Economics of Intellectual Property

Why does copyright exist? What is the difference between a patent and a trade secret? Why do economists both love and hate Intellectual Property (IP)?

Our colleague Dr. Nicola Searle has created a series of online videos as a resource for students and researchers interested in the economics of IP. Three videos offer viewers insights into the economic justification and impacts of IP.

Introduction to Economics of Intellectual Property (50 minutes)
https://vimeo.com/463396616/20ff221961

Key words: economics, intellectual property, innovation

An introduction to the economics of intellectual property for students and researchers. The talk starts with the basics of IP rights, the economic justification of IP and finishes with a discussion on valuations. Viewers will have an understanding of how IP works, what it means for economies and be able to critique different philosophical and valuation approaches to IP.

Introduction to Economics of Trade Secrets (30 minutes)
https://vimeo.com/463396045/8f8a80b7c5

Key words: economics, trade secrets, innovation, confidential business information

An overview of the economics of trade secrets developed for researchers and students. Designed with for an audience with some, but limited understanding of economics and IP, the talk takes the viewer through examples of trade secrets, trends in their use and policy, key questions, their interaction with innovation policy and future considerations. Viewers will be able to better critique policy and use of trade secrets.

Business Models and Copyright Seminar (50 minutes)
https://vimeo.com/463397546/fd6c1d462a

Key words: business models, copyright, digital media

This presentation examines the relationship between copyright and business models in the digital media industry. Based on a research paper, the talk examines the context of business models in digital media, and the changing role of copyright. It also contains an in-depth analysis of the business-model-copyright narrative. Viewers will be able to critique policy debaters.

We hope you find them useful.

@DrNSearle

Amy Lamé, London’s Night Czar, special guest at the Induction event for ICCE students

Amy Lamé

Amy Lamé, the night czar of London, was the special guest at the induction event for ICCE students. Taking place online, the Covid safe induction week was kicked off with a bang. Starting off with Amy addressing the serious effect the pandemic has had on London’s nightlife, it turned into an engaging discussion between the night czar and ICCE’s very international body of students and staff.

Sharing her passion for community activism and LGBTQ+ culture, Amy explained that the fight for equality and opportunities for all is what drives her on.

Questions ranged from museums contribution to the night time economy, night work, noise complaints and live music venues, drugs and women’s safety, to Amy’s background as a performer, runner of nightclubs, writer and broadcaster.

When asked by Director of ICCE, Gerald Lidstone, what has given her the most fun at night, Amy’s perhaps somewhat unexpected highlight was the opening of the night tube, when she was standing in the front cab with the driver picking up tipsy London revellers wearing their best Christmas jumpers, making their way back home on the Piccadilly line.

It was a wonderful welcoming to our ICCE students, many of them new to London. Amy, originally from the United States, explained that she moved to London as it was a place where she felt that she could truly be and express herself, and she hoped that students would find London to be that place for them, too. “our city has a world of possibilities”, she told the students, “The values of London and Londoners are of diversity and celebration of difference. Everybody can find a home here.”

Written by Sara Linden, Director, MA Events and Experience Management. 28th September, 2020

What is the role of the cultural and creative industries in urban revitalisation? A new practice-based handbook commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank

Dr Cecilia Dinardi, Senior Lecturer in ICCE, participated as a consultant in the research and writing of a new policy handbook, commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank and produced by BOP Consulting, in partnership with the Korean Poverty Fund.

The Handbook critically analyses what makes for ‘success’ in CCI-led urban revitalisation, examining what works and what does not, the key components, strategies and approaches of selected projects, and their context-specific challenges. It is a practical and accessible guide on how to use the cultural and creative industries within urban revitalisation projects, particularly those in downtown areas and those that incorporate built or intangible heritage. It is based on a thorough analysis of 35 international case studies – from Mexico, Brazil and Portugal, to Indonesia, Kenya and the UK – , as well as expert interviews, a policy workshop discussion, and a broad literature review of empirical evidence from projects around the world. It details how CCI-led revitalisation projects, such as Porto Digital in Recife, Mercado de Santa Caterina in Barcelona or the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, can address specific socio-economic needs related to declining historic city centre areas and analyses how projects have achieved their success (as well as outlining what issues they face, such as those relating to the exclusions generated by gentrification).

The Handbook distils the lessons from this extensive body of practice and policy development, to provide guiding principles and advice for policymakers interested in how to integrate cultural and creative development within wider urban sustainability efforts. It is intended particularly to those policymakers and urban practitioners working in Latin America and the Caribbean but will be of interest to a wider audience of students, scholars, and practitioners.

Creative and Cultural Industries in Urban Revitalization, a practice based handbook is available online for free in both English and Spanish.

All images taken from Creative and Cultural Industries in Urban Revitalization, a practice based handbook.

Decolonising Cultural Spaces: The Living Cultures Project and the power of participatory video, Tricia Jenkins

photo (c) John Cairns

On Wednesday 5th August at 7pm BST, there will be a screening of the documentary: “Decolonising Cultural Spaces: The Living Cultures Project”, followed by a live Medicine Festival Zoom Q&A and panel discussion.

The Q&A panel discussion will be hosted by Adrian Kawaley-Lathan, Creative Director of the Bertha Foundation, and will feature Maasai delegates Samewel Nangiria, Amos Leuka and Evelyn Paraboy Kanei, Nick Lunch, co-founder and director of InsightShare and Laura Van Broekhoven, Director of Pitt Rivers Museum.

Further details on how to register can be found here, via the Meeting Registration link.

The Living Cultures project started in 2017, when participatory video (PV) company InsightShare invited Maasai community community leader Samwel Nangiria, alongside other indigenous leaders from Nagaland and North West Mexico to a retreat in the UK to explore the potential for crating a movement, or network of autonomous indigenous media hubs. Objects that were not on display in the main collection from the regions from which the delegation originated were brought into the research visitor space at the museum for them to see. This was the point at which Samwel was shocked to find sacred objects from his community that should never have left the families from which they originated. Moreover, there was very little information about the objects, bar the names of the ‘collectors’ and the date at which they were collected or donated to the museum. There were vague guesses at what the objects were on some labels.

Rewinding to 2014: Samwel attended a participatory video workshop hosted by the United Nations in Zanzibar and facilitated by InsightShare. He was so inspired by the potential of PV that he got together with InsightShare and raised resources to run PC workshops in Tanzania with the Maasai community and to train indigenous facilitators, culminating in the establishment of Oltoilo le Maa (voice of the Maasai) video collective. Oltoilo le Maa used PV to document aspects of Maasai culture and record current living practices and Maasai traditions. PC was also used to reunite and engage an increasingly fractured community, ravaged by land rights struggles and abuses ad facing constant threat of displacement. They used PV to challenge policy at parliamentary level, with the community solidly behind them, having contributed their knowledge and their opinions through the PC process [1] .

These struggles continue now. Through Living Cultures, how can we ensure that the narratives of current struggles, as well as documenting past and present ways of life, can be represented and made visible, and the impact between the colonial past and the neoliberal present on the everyday lives of indigenous peoples – in this case the Maasai people – be foregrounded and confronted?

Back to 2017: on his return to Tanzania, Samwel emailed Laura Van Broekhoven, the Director of PRM his concerns and followed this with a participatory video made with Maasai traditional leaders to send to the museum. Subsequently, we raised funds to bring a delegation of five Maasai leaders in 2018 to work with the curators at PRM to begin to realign the narratives – or lack of them – and to discuss the next steps in terms of identifying sacred objects that should never have found their way to the museum, to determine what should be done.

Upon their return home, they united with Maasai leaders from Kenya, trained some more facilitators in participatory video (PV), consulted Maasai spiritual leader Makompo Ole Simel and, using participatory media – PV and radio – conducted a mass community consultation across different Maasai clans. A feedback video of the process was created with the community and screened during the 2020 visit. The video made clear to the UK partners the advice and directions from Makompo Ole Simel and his son, Lemaron Ole Parit joined the delegation to provide advice and guidance using traditional knowledge systems and conduct traditional ceremonies as appropriate.

Now there are aspirations to find the resources for a larger scale research project, potentially reaching other museums in the UK and across Europe, to begin the process of reparation and healing, acknowledge the impact of the colonial past, return particular sacred objects and update and correct the narratives and descriptions associated with museum collections of Maasai artefacts. Watch this space!

Tricia Jenkins is an Associate Lecturer in ICCE, Director of DigiTales, Associate (Portugal) InsightShare.

[1] Maasai Culture (2014): Maasai Culture in Loliondo, InsightShare
Maasai Women’s Rights (2014): Maasai Women’s Rights in Loliondo, Tanzania, InsightShare
Girls Rights to Education (2015): Esipata-e-Eselenkei (Girls’ Rights), InsightShare
Olosho (2015): Olosho / Maasai community land rights struggle in Loliondo, Tanzania, InsightShare
Pride Land (2018): Pride Land / Maasai, InsightShare