Art art

Art in #c4ccIf you’ve been into the Centre recently, you’ll have seen some of my drawings that I’ve been putting up on the walls. This has turned out to be an extremely effective marketing strategy (people see them, say “oh those are lovely” we get into conversation and then they say “can I buy one” – funny, it’s almost as if markets were conversations…) and so I’ve been working today and yesterday on my first commissioned pieces.


It strikes me there are two bits of progress here: 1. I’ve been willing to put my work up on the wall; and 2. I’ve been willing to talk to people about them and own up to them being mine.

Actually there’s also a 3. which I’m not so inclined to admit, which is that when they ask if they can buy one, I’ve said “yes” rather than flannel and bluster and look at my shoes.

So if you like them too, let me know if you’d like to commission one. They start at postcard size, but the largest one I’ve done is about 2′ x 4′

You can see some earlier studies for these on my flickr

More Social Art Projects

tuttle2texasI’m thinking a lot about the kinds of projects that I talked about a while ago, of which tuttle2texas turned out to be a prototype.

Here’s one thing. They don’t have a specific output in view when we start them. So they might end up producing a book, or a film or a vook or just some interesting thoughts or a performance or a photo book or something. But we don’t know what they will become when we begin.

I think this marks them out from other projects. I might well have done research for a book about the differences between US & UK cultures by travelling across the country by train and meeting people as I went, but that’s not what tuttle2texas was. Importantly, there is no standard way of marketing or funding these projects in the same way as there is, for example, with a book or a film. If I wanted to write a book, there is a whole well-defined market mechanism involving specialist agents, publishers and marketers. This is different, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get funded up front, that no-one will give us an advance, but that it needs to be done differently.

Then there’s the issue of making sense and finding meaning in the content produced. Who does this? Traditionally it’s all part of the creation of the cultural artefact. The artist, the writer, the composer has something to say and they say it through their creation. I’m interested in how we can open up a more collaborative form of sense-making. I don’t think I should be the only one who gets to say what tuttle2texas was about.

I’m wondering whether a metaphor from software development might be useful here. What if we were to talk about them more as open-source projects about social web culture?

So in general, there will be an idea that we wish to explore, it might involve a physical journey like tuttle2texas, but it maybe more of an intellectual one and on the whole they will be studies of how the web affects us as cultural and social creatures. And we will carry this investigation out by writing, taking photographs, making video and audio and publishing on the web as we go.

So then the output of the project, rather than being any single artefact, becomes akin to creating the equivalent of an open-source codebase that others can come and use, build on, exploit for pleasure or profit, or not.

Um… I think.

So the next bit is about how we get them funded, who takes part in them, how we know they’ve succeeded, what opportunities are there for opening them up to be recognisably cross-disciplinary (and therefore have a home at, say, a Centre for Creative Collaboration…)

Bonus Link: These sorts of project ideas might be what Grant McCracken talks about as Culturematics.

Applying Social Art

Art in #c4ccMy time as Social Artist in Residence at the Centre for Creative Collaboration is helping consolidate stuff that I’ve been learning throughout my career. I want to share some of this by running some workshops around the question:

“How do I use social art, social media and social tools to improve my organisation’s engagement with its customers or other stakeholders?” (btw that’s whether your organisation is just you or hundreds of other people too)

I’m going to run some 1-day workshops to help you explore where you might start; how you can make use of things that you already have; how you know who else to get involved; and how you keep going once you’ve got started.

We will get there the same way that the Tuttle consulting group has been working things through with our consulting client, Counterpoint. We’ll use the tried and trusted Tuttle approach of playing around with ideas, talking lots, trying out tools and ideas and generally making it up as we go along.

Many people don’t go near social tools because they’re afraid of getting things wrong or looking stupid. So I’m placing this workshop in a context that values getting things wrong, where everyone will probably look a little bit stupid, where we will value each other’s silly childish scribbles and say “This is great! Carry on! You have to start somewhere. Well done! Well done for having a go.”

Who should attend?

People who:

  • have been exposed to the theories about social media but want to get their hands dirty; or
  • have a strategic role but need some practical experience of social tools; or
  • are artists in any medium, looking for ways to expand and extend their creative practice; or
  • know that using social tools is important, but don’t know where to start; or
  • want to be better at having conversations with others inside or outside their organisation; or
  • just feel stuck and are eager to try something new.

What actually happens?

The day will take the form of a field trip in which we go out together, explore a space and use social tools to capture and reflect on the experience. The group will decide for itself exactly which space will be visited, but the idea is to have a day out and about so the menu includes museums, galleries, woods, ponds, rivers as well as more urban landscapes.

You will learn:

  • the importance of maintaining flow and creative action in your work;
  • how to collaboratively create an online cultural artefact;
  • how to think about your business from a social perspective;
  • how to make simple engaging media with others;

You will have the chance to reflect on:

  • your own ability to work in a group;
  • your own creativity;
  • how these tools might help you deal with a change in your market or organisational environment;
  • how decisions can be made collectively;
  • ways that you might use social tools in your everyday work.


I’m pricing the days at a specially discounted £75+VAT per person for these first ones. You will need to bring your own packed lunch, at least one portable device capable of connecting to the internet, a fully-charged oyster card and a kagoul in case of inclement weather.

Booking here.