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We Can Work It Out

12:00 am in Seminars by bloc

Date: Wednesday 31st January 2007
Time: 6pm to 9pm

The third seminar in the Northern Bloc seminar series continued the investigation into ‘collaborative knowledge development’ to focus on the process of collaboration itself.

Speakers include: Jennie Savage, artist; Vicky Isley, Boredom Research; Brendan Walker, Aerial and Abigail Tweed, Arts and Business Cymru.

Outline:

The third seminar in the Northern Bloc seminar series will continue the investigation into ‘collaborative knowledge development’ to focus on the process of collaboration itself.

Collaboration is a key part of almost all creative processes, but is relatively absent from contemporary discussion which often prioritises a view of the creative practitioner working in isolation. This seminar will look a variety of forms of collaboration in the sphere of creative technology including: artists who have developed their practice from the outset as a partnership; practitioners for whom collaboration with members of the public is an integral part of their practice and the ‘experience’ designer whose practice necessitates an ability to move between and negotiate with a wide range of professionals in both the commercial and non-commercial spheres.

The seminar will be followed by refreshments and a chance to network with other practitioners in the area.

A simultaneous translation service will be provided.

Contributors:

Abigail Tweed | North Wales Manager, Arts and Business Cymru
http://www.aandb.org.uk
Vicky Isley | Artist, Boredom Research
http://www.boredomresearch.net
Jennie Savage | Artist
http://www.jenniesavage.co.uk
Brendan Walker | Experience Designer, Aerial
http://www.aerial.fm

Sponsors:

Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council

Mae`r seminar yn rhan o gyfres o ddigwyddiadau a raglennwyd yng Nghonwy, Gwynedd ac Ynys M´n gan Floc y Gogledd. Cefnogir Bloc y Gogledd gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Conwy, Cyngor Gwynedd, a Chyngor Sir Ynys M´n.

Cynhelir y seminar gan y Rél Institiwt – http://www.realinstitute.org

This seminar is part of a series of events programmed in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey by Northern Bloc. Northern Bloc is supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council.

This seminar is being hosted by Rel Institiwt – http://www.realinstitute.org/

Area: northern bloc

by bloc

Let?s Get Together – Conwy: networking creative technology practitioners

12:00 am in Seminars by bloc

Date: Tuesday 21st November 2006
Time: 6 to 9pm
Partner: This event is a partnership between Northern Bloc and the Local Supplier Development Project (Welsh Assembly Government Programme funded by European Objective 1 money) / Mae’r digwyddiad hwn yn bartneriaeth rhwng Bloc y Gogledd a Phrosiect Datblygu Cyflenwyr (Ariannwyd gan Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru, arian Ewropeaidd Amcan 1) | http://www.menterabusnes.co.uk/
Partner: |

If you work with technology and creativity in Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy and would like to expand your network, find out what other people are doing or seek out potential collaborators or business associates then come along to Let’s Get Together at the Royal Cambrian Academy on 21st November.

Outline:

Practitioners in other fields such as visual art, performance, musicians who would like to meet creative technology practitioners are also welcome to attend. Agencies and organisations are also welcome, although presentations are limited to practitioners.

The event aims to bring together people working in creative technology in the project area, to develop collaborative working and the growth of the sector. Similar events will take place in 2007 in Anglesey and Gwynedd.

What to bring:
If you are presenting at the event, you will need to bring your presentation on a CD, or USB memory stick for use on a Macintosh iBook. A data projector and screen will be provided. Presentations can either be in the form of Powerpoint, Quicktime Movies, a PDF or as a website. Please note that there will be no internet connection available at the venue.

If you are not presenting, but are taking part in the speed networking, you may wish to bring examples of your work, either in portfolio form or on a laptop.

Sponsors:

Arts Council of Wales, Anglesey County Council, Conwy County Borough Council and Gwynedd Council

Mae’r seminar hwn yn rhan o gyfres o ddigwyddiadau sydd wedi’u trefnu yng Nghonwy, Gwynedd a M´n gan Floc y Gogledd. Cefnogir Bloc y Gogledd gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Conwy, Cyngor Gwynedd a Chyngor Sir Ynys M´n.This seminar is part of a series of events programmed in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey by Northern Bloc. Northern Bloc is supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council / Mae’r seminar hwn yn rhan o gyfres o ddigwyddiadau sydd wedi’u trefnu yng Nghonwy, Gwynedd a M´n gan Floc y Gogledd. Cefnogir Bloc y Gogledd gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Conwy, Cyngor Gwynedd a Chyngor Sir Ynys M´n.

Area: northern bloc

by bloc

Quiet Revolution: society, politics, technology

12:00 am in Seminars by bloc

Date: 10 October 2006
Time: 6-8.30pm
Partner: Arts Council of Wales | http://www.artswales.org
Partner: Conwy County Borough Council | http://www.conwy.gov.uk/

The first in a new series of Northern Bloc seminars, Quiet Revolution brings together organisations and businesses which use technology to create real impacts in the world at large.

Speakers include:Dafydd Hughes, Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, Welsh Assembly Government, St Asaph; Francis Irving, mySociety & TheyWorkForYou; Alan Harris, KnowNet & Nick Temple, Network Development Manager, School for Social Entrepreneurs and Coordinator of the Global Ideas Bank

Outline:

The first in a new series of Northern Bloc seminars, Quiet Revolution brings together organisations and businesses which use technology to create real impacts in the world at large.

Technology has long been used as a tool by big business and government but recent developments have seen an increased adoption by individuals, communities, social groups, small businesses and geographically dispersed networks seeking to engender social change, engage people with democracy, to educate and learn, or simply to communicate.

This seminar will examine examples of such uses including: TheyWorkForYou.com a website which uses publicly available data to enable people to keep tabs on the activity of their parliamentary representatives; the Global Ideas Bank, a website which encourages and develops the global exchange of socially innovative ideas; and the raft of collaboration, knowledge development and e-learning projects developed by open source developers, KnowNet.

Contributors:

Dafydd Hughes | Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, Welsh Assembly Government, St Asaph

Francis Irving | mySociety & TheyWorkForYou.com
www.mysociety.org
Alan Harris | Know Net
http://www.knownet.com
Nick Temple | Network Director, School for Social Entrepreneurs and Coordinator of the Global Ideas Bank
http://www.sse.org.uk

Sponsors:

Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council

Mae`r seminar yn rhan o gyfres o ddigwyddiadau a raglennwyd yng Nghonwy, Gwynedd ac Ynys M´n gan Floc y Gogledd. Cefnogir Bloc y Gogledd gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Conwy, Cyngor Gwynedd, a Chyngor Sir Ynys M´n.

Cynhelir y seminar gan y Rél Institiwt – http://www.realinstitute.org

This seminar is part of a series of events programmed in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey by Northern Bloc. Northern Bloc is supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Conwy County Borough Council, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council.

This seminar is being hosted by Rel Institiwt – http://www.realinstitute.org/

Area: northern bloc

by bloc

Improving Bloc`s Online Provision

12:00 am in Projects by bloc

Date: Tuesday 30th May 2006
Venue:Bloc
Partner: Arts Council of Wales | http://www.artswales.org
Partner: |

Bloc is currently redeveloping and expanding the online services it provides via its website and e-bulletin. The aim of this development is to encourage and consolidate the exchange of information on the creative technology sector in Wales and beyond via Bloc`s online presence.

As part of this process, Bloc is inviting recipients of the Bloc Bulletin and network members in general for suggestions of changes or new services which are not currently on offer on the Bloc website but which would assist you in developing your practice or improve the profile of the sector in Wales and beyond.

Outline:

Bloc is currently redeveloping and expanding the online services it provides via its website and e-bulletin. The aim of this development is to encourage and consolidate the exchange of information on the creative technology sector in Wales and beyond via Bloc`s online presence.

Activity on the website has increased significantly as a result of recent projects and activities – Bloc wishes to capitalise on this success and augment the online services it offers to members and the sector in general.

As part of this process, Bloc is inviting recipients of the Bloc Bulletin and network members in general for suggestions of changes or new services which are not currently on offer on the Bloc website but which would assist you in developing your practice or improve the profile of the sector in Wales and beyond.

Within the constraints of the project, Bloc will endeavour to address any overarching themes which result from this consultation. Where resources are not available for the development of particular themes or facilities, Bloc will seek to include these further developments in future projects.

Additionally, Bloc has prepared a short consultation document which includes changes proposed by Bloc staff and a team of voluntary consultants and would urge all Bloc constituents to feedback their views on this document.

To contribute your suggestions, send them via email to Stefhan Caddick on the address below, or download the document and add your comments to it.

Please email comments and suggestions to: stefhan@bloc.org.uk

Project Aims:

To encourage and consolidate the exchange of information on creative technology in Wales via Bloc`s website. The project will:

General Aims:
1.1. Develop the website to enhance its use as an advocacy tool for practitioners and the sector as a whole in Wales on a national and international stage.
1.2. Develop facilities to encourage improved exchange of information amongst practitioners and organisations working with creative technology in Wales (and beyond).

Specific Implementations:
1.3. Develop facilities to host Bloc`s video and audio archive of past seminars and events on the Bloc website.
1.4. Investigate the introduction of new technologies such as RSS feeds and blogging tools to meet the above aims.
1.5. Consult with key individuals and the Bloc network for feedback on best use of online resources.

Voluntary Consultants:
The development of Bloc’s Online Provision has been assisted by a group of voluntary consultants, who have contributed their knowledge and expertise to the project.

Bloc would like to thank these consultants, whose insights and experience in online service delivery has assisted Bloc in the development and refinement of the project.

Details of the consultants are given below.

Contributors:

Felicity Blastland | SAND Co-ordinator 

http://www.sand.org.uk
Dr Jeanette De Diemar | Business Marketing Manager/Rhoelydd Marchanta Busnes
http://www.atwales.com
Dr Mark Palmer | Watershed Senior Research Fellow in Digital Media
http://amd.uwe.ac.uk/index.asp?Pageid=433
|

Sponsors:

Arts Council of Wales

Area: all wales

by bloc

Southern Bloc Pilot Project Report

12:00 am in Publications by bloc

Date: 14th June 2006
Venue:Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
Partner: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council | http://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk
Partner: Welsh Development Agency | http://www.wda.co.uk

The Southern Bloc Pilot Project identified levels of current provision and activity, and the needs of practitioners in Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys. The project also developed a network of practitioners and agencies in the area and provided opportunities for professional development and growth for the creative technology sector in the region.

The report contains comprehensive data on the outcomes and findings of the project as well as recommendations for future developments of the sector in the Southern Bloc area.

Outline:

Aims of the Southern Bloc Pilot Project

The aims of the Project were:

* to identify current levels of provision of business development, training, presentation and production opportunities
* to identify the current skill base and level of activity of practitioners
* to identify gaps in provision
* to develop networks of practitioners and providers in order to provide opportunities for professional development and the growth of the creative technology sector across the region
* to establish a Creative Entrepreneur Club in Wales for NESTA

The pilot project initially focused on Blaenau Gwent County, later extending its remit to cover the neighbouring counties in the Heads of the Valleys area (Torfaen, northern Caerphilly, northern Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil).

Project Activities

* Mapping Exercise: the Mapping Exercise aimed to identify current provision and sector needs and identify examples of best practice in the region. The exercise was undertaken via a survey for creative technology practitioners and related agencies in Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys area.

Meetings were held with 40 practitioners and providers. 30 practitioners and providers completed a questionnaire and 119 new members registered on the online Bloc network;

*Events Programme: the events programme delivered 3 monthly themed seminars during the project period, plus a networking event in March 2006. Events were open to practitioners, small businesses and agencies in the Heads of the Valleys area and South Wales.

The events programme was well attended, with 134 delegates attending a Southern Bloc event;

* Acting as a source of expertise on new media and the visual arts in Wales, advocating and lobbying for resources and profile for the creative technology sector;

* Promoting activity in new media online through Bloc’s e-bulletin and website;

Key findings

Overall, there is a low level of activity in the Heads of the Valleys area in digital media. There are relatively few businesses which employ people and the sector is characterised by sole traders and partnerships. Not all of the businesses contacted are able to generate enough business to work full-time in their chosen field.

There are other businesses working more broadly in the Information Technology sector (Emag Solutions for example) but these do not fall within Bloc’s remit. The businesses which are successful (Arts Magic for example) are often operating in a highly specialised field.

The film and music sectors are more active in the area, but how much revenue these industries generate is unclear. In comparison, web design, software design, programming and visual arts (which incorporate a new media element) are at a relatively low level. Visual arts activity is more prevalent in RCT than elsewhere, largely as a result of a larger population and by the public profile created by projects commissioned by the Digital Media Coordinator.

In all sectors there is considerable activity in the public sector in the forms of community and education projects. Training provision for basic skills in media is good. However, training and community activities are not currently translating into business activity.

Purchasers of creative technology services from both public and private sectors are generally looking outside the area for suppliers.

In contrast to the relatively low level of activity, Blaenau Gwent (and by inference the Heads of the Valleys area as a whole) has a level of broadband usage comparable to other counties in Wales, indicating that use of IT in a domestic setting is not significantly lower than elsewhere in Wales. 14.5 per cent of the population have a broadband connection in Blaenau Gwent as opposed to 14.7 per cent in Cardiff and 13.5 per cent in Newport.

Sponsors:

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Welsh Development Agency and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)

Area: southern bloc