Monday, 30 November 2009

Spoken/Written Bulletin S.W.

Four days after the 50 page proposal and form and supporting material were sent off...they came back. The application was ineligible, due to having downloaded a dead link from the website. Mercifully, they had sent a new application back in with the package. So that was all of Thursday. Taking the opportunity to put in a word about something I'd forgotten (the whole Spoken/Written network is surprisingly complex, once sitting down to write a proposal for what is essentially a service that can be summed up in a few words) - an important 'partnership' aspect. And some potentially critical feedback, that I'd not put in the right folder, and then remembered once the package was posted. So while Thursday was gone (mostly filling in a 40 page A5 form rather than the 25 page A4 one), and Friday morning, by Friday lunchtime it was a better application than it had been. And I thought that was the end of it for now. But that meant being really behind with the next Edition, which I'd hoped to get off by Friday. Sunday or Monday were the very last days, and with The Vibe coming up time to make anything new to sell. And then writing the Endpaper - what to say about the position of Spoken/Written? It's so complex, and could end up in so many different avenues. I am (perhaps stupidly) still committed to trying to carry it on somehow. It could carry on as it is, for which it needs money. It could carry on as two or three newsletters covering all the arts (like the old Arts Council newsletters) for which it would need R&D time. It could become a paying only service - but then some of the levelling aspect that many so value in the Bulletin would be lost. (Although six to eight pounds for a year is still not prohibitive to the majority of people). It could remain free, but become part of another organization, - thereby losing its independence. It could ask people to pay, not enough pay, and thereby as in duty bound, carry on a service for those who have paid or contributed until summer, and then fold... It could become more commercial taking a deal more advertising but losing some space for opportunities. And who knows which of these are actually possible avenues, until they are tried? Hence the outcome being still clouded in uncertainty.
One thing is clear. I as its Editor have a love/hate relationship with the Bulletin. It both allows me time to do the other things I need to do and is closely allied to my main branch of the arts. But it also stops me doing things I need to do, and obviously as things stand, does not bring enough return...But ultimately its future is not up to me alone, nor to the Arts Council, but to its readers...
I don't know why it was so strangely hard to finish this last Edition of the season.

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