Following the initial workshop which was hosted at Headingley Heart, we wanted to continue gathering views and suggestions for what a Delivery Plan should include and the best way to create a plan that anyone can contribute to.
We hosted the same workshop again in June this time at New Wortley Community Centre, which was a much smaller attendance but a different approach to the first workshop, starting to focus more on a brief for the kind of platform that could support a co-produced Delivery Plan. The group was largely council officers from different departments, one arts organisation and one community group.
The workshop followed the same structure with four activities and questions sparking debate and ideas. This group seemed much less concerned with the number of websites that already exist and felt more strongly that there is a more obvious and immediate need for something that supports those who are creating culture as opposed to a platform for the promotion of it.
1. If the city was to create an online platform or website that would enable everyone to contribute to the Culture Strategy, what would that platform/website need to include?
This group wanted a simple landing page and portal that could act as an umbrella for cultural development in the city, signposting to resources and toolkits, case studies, volunteering opportunities, new commissions, and a space where a community of creators and makers could met and develop ideas. The group wanted a service that would be there at the start of a cultural idea, making it easier and more enjoyable to bring their ideas to life. One area that was considered was access to spaces and equipment and whether or not a sort of asset register could be created.
The audience was very clearly decided as creators of culture and examples suh as Macmillan and Children in Need, where there is one overarching cause, a series of easy to follow guides and inspiration, a bigger community to be part of and a space to share your own contribution. There was a strong view that although a website good entry point there will still need to be human contact and an actual person who is contactable for those who are less confident, echoing the views of the first workshop.
2. As people who are creating culture across a range of communities how would you like to see your project represented in a Culture Strategy Delivery Plan?
The group were generally not those who create culture and events so gave a more individual perspective on this questions. This ranged from someone looking to volunteer for a cultural organisation in their area either as a hobby or as a professional development opportunity in the form of a mentor or trustee. These types of users wanted to be able to create a personal profile of interests and be matched with organisations looking for this type of support.
When looking at the different projects that others might add to the delivery Plan the group wanted a range of interactions from simple 'like' functionality or ratings to commenting, and sharing. They wanted to be able to search by area, art form, finding community groups as and assets that were close to them. Others were also interested in mapping the various cultural opportunities of the city e.g., where funding is allocated, where there are 'cold spots' of both funding and engagement.
The group agreed that a strong voice for culture was missing in the city and this platform could provide this but that this needed to simple, clear and concise - maybe in the form of short films or animations, clear definitions are important, case studies and good news stories. The group also felt that the platform would need to clearly articulate the benefits of adding projects for a range of different audiences.
Again the group were clear that a dedicated resources would be needed off-line to support people to develop and contribute their projects and ideas. This could take the form of roadshows, commissions, small grants, culture surgeries and drop-ins. They were very clear that a 'build it and they will come' approach would not work.
3. Lots of platforms for culture already exist in the city, how can we make sure that this platform will be filling a gap and complimenting these services? What will it do? What will it not do?
The group started to develop a brief for the platform as this point in the conversation. They felt that the platform should:
- Provide a home for creators of all levels supporting their journey and the development of their cultural ambitions
- Signpost to existing services and other organisations
- Focus on process and planning for cultural ideas and development
- Build in APIs and data feeds from other websites rather than re-invent the wheel or duplicate what exists elsewhere
- Provide a simple directory e.g., assets, equipment, food stalls, face painters
- Create personal relationships via 'how to' guides from other culture makers and artists
The group felt that the platform should definitely not be:
- A 'What's On' Guide
- A place for hotel and trip bookings
- A place of too much detail and information - it should be a simple, easy to navigate resource that connects what already exists and joins the dots
The group also suggested a small advisory group of culture makers, creators and artists, a group of typical users who work with the project team throughout the development of the platform to continually test and shape its development.
4. Help us to prioritise. Of the suggestions made throughout the workshop let us know which ones are most important to you.
The group rnaked their top five requests for the new platform as follows:
- Practical toolkits and guides
- Signposting to other existing services
- Highlighting new opportunites
- Simple, clear messages - animations, clear definitions tec.
- Space for projects to be added including a clear call to action and the flexibility for projects to create their own space to develop