Friday, 27 March 2009

Wonderful World of Colour

Just come back from another set of writing and acetate workshops including my own special one on the Wonderful World of Colour, in Appledore - it was great, with more lateral suggestions from particpants than I would have thought probable! Came away with lots of new words not least thanks to Yolande who'd caught the bug and been looking for new colours too. All the workshoppers seemed to have a ball and learn something new, and everyone wanted a colour gel at the end, the only trouble being that we ran out of red and pink toward the end! as well as time, as we could have gone on for another half an hour at least! Huge thanks again to Yolande and to the Northcott Theatre who generously donated another box of gels earlier in the month. Strangely inspired, I made yet more lists when I got home, and couldn't help going off on new tangents about quality of light terms, and then for different sorts of light itself... It was good to be thinking creatively again amidst all the forms attendant on festivals wanting tech specs, funding stuff and gathering together stuff for Spoken/Written. Not to mention trying to chase up a few other opportunities for a change, especially the ones with near deadlines!
   Last night I spent the evening re-ordering the remaining colours into heaps before putting them all away. Also inspiring, as I can't wait to get back to making some visual textworks, it's just a matter of free time...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Money and Principles...

On putting out a call for feedback in order to strengthen the case to be made for further funding for Spoken/Written, one particular e-mail brought up the theme of 'integrity', urging that Spoken/Written remain free to champion this very quality. 
   Due to the fact that people are used to getting information for free from the internet, like Wikipedia, and also the fact that an e-mail can be forwarded countless times, a subscription fee has always looked a difficult beast (despite that at six pounds for all living on less than £6,000 a year not including accommodation, and £8 for others, the fee had it gone ahead was less than a pound an edition). Each twelve page Bulletin takes a good week's work to put together, once all the seemingly countless websites which have opportunities in them have been trawled - by no means limited to literature, poetry and storytelling sites! but covering performance sites, visual arts sites, museums, council newsletters and all manner of 'misc.'. One of my favourite more unusual sites to check for opportunities was the classified ads page of the well known dance website 'The Place' - sadly no more! Why they did away with the interesting ad page I don't know. But opportunities for written and verbal arts are everywhere, confirming my own feeling that words always are at the heart of things, and cross seamlessly into every other artform, whether performance, visual, sound or movement... But back to the point of this blog. Dozens of newsletters come in to the Spoken/Written desk, and countless single information posts or requests for entries from all kinds of sources and individuals. This dense block of information and research then has to be selected from, edited down, and made into a newsletter each month. I try to keep at 12 pages simply because otherwise it can get bounced as having filled inboxes! So I thought the proposed sub fee was by no means extortionate. Not least, as long ago, even when stony broke, I used to cough up six pounds for the old printed Poetry Can Bulletin - which only covered Bath and Bristol technically! and I didn't live in either. 
   The web however means that the distinctions between primary and secondary information sources has blurred and become porous, and in this 'space between the gaps' exists Spoken/Written. Unfortunately this doesn't however mean that Spoken/Written can exist without finance! So, in order to keep it going, the choice was plain - subscription fees, or advertising? Obviously, having run it for some time as if it was 'public service broadcasting' (a mistake, but it smelt good!), my own initial preference was to steer clear of ads and have it funded like a print mag, by subscription. But for reasons above, it looks as though advertising is the way, and the Bulletin will have to go down the 'private finance initiative' route. This means that some of the space in every edition will carry advertisements, and also that the proposed new website devoted to back issues, will do too. Revenue from these sources is vital to Spoken/Written Bulletin's future. 
   So, when the word 'integrity' was mentioned with regard to staying free (and if the Arts Council funds projects that must be different each time, and not the ongoing running costs of an entity, so that one can rule out indefinite state funding) - which has more integrity - a newsletter paid for by its readers with no advertising, with a supporting website likewise ad free? Or a newsletter free but with plenty of advertising and with at least one large website also full of it?
  BIG thanks to all who have e-mailed with support and feedback so far! It really is appreciated and of real help. And if you haven't already, please do send in some words of positive stuff if you value or enjoy the service. It will help to keep it free.