From niche to mainstream working

I have been reflecting of late on how it feels to be working within a large scale, regional and cultural context after 15 years in London co running a small business producing and pioneering dance/body technology practice internationally. It feels alot like this:


The world of the olympics is on a delivery scale you cant really imagine  and driven by a complex web of national, regional,  private sector and government agendas – it is an environment of pure shizoprenia and the job is steering chaos – which is exactly like my experience of old – its instability is very very familiar, but its scale makes for even more turbulent conditions and the range of work, practice and sectors i converge with every day manifest intensely creative and expansive possibilities  i could only dream about before.

Systems can get in the way and they do but they are also enablers of development and change if you have the sense to see how you can trangress them to bring about development and growth. I discover that on the large scale and in the mainstream there is alot of freedom to create, invent, connect and play….. Strategy and strategic programmes might not float every bodies boat but they play an essential role within the overall ecology. We need the small and the big, the macro and the micro, the mainstream and the niche.  To have the experience of all and both is very fortunate.

The company i worked with, shinkansen is a Japanese name and it means new main line. This concept was a central vision which rooted every project in one core objective – placing innovative work into the mainstream.  Through my current role with the Olympics it is possible to realise this concept at a whole new level and dimension. This is very exciting.

Have i sold out? This implies that no good work can be done or affected from above the line ie the institution. It also does not take in to account that such work is temporary and time limited ie a project experience. A uk wide network of  Creative Programmers working together on a five year cultural programme can in my view only make the Olympics better.  We are local level, hands on conduits  operating in the space between strategy and delivery and between the sector and the institutions. If we can through this work bring the two closer together, it would make a revolution for the better – the gap is too big as it is – people making decisions who dont know about delivery and people engaged in delivery with no opportunity to input strategically.

My view on 2012 since the beginning has been that it is coming to London in 2012 whether we like it or not, want it or not and with it comes the eyes of over 4 billion people – so better  be opportunitistic – use it and twist it as we used to say in shinkansen.  You can complain and say it should not be here, that its a gravy train etc… but that wont stop it from happening…. so better to employ people who understand arts and production than not – and try and create something that serves the needs of the people who take part in it,  someting that inspires and supports the evolution of those organisations and people, that creates improvement, development and progression for the northwest cultural sector and its citizens and is the best it can be creatively, practically and professionally ie fulfils the potential of its drivers and generators. These are my goals and personal objectives as the CP for 2012 in the Northwest.

In a couple of weeks i go to Glastonbury to work on the running of a film and new media programme – five days 24/7 programming – which will show work from artists and young people across the UK. The CP in the South West pulled this deal off with Glastonbury and  we also worked as a UK wide team to get the finances together to support this initiative (year on year is the aim)  which will also  bring together a  group of (young and experienced) interactive digital artists over five days to use the screen and large scale context to play and experiment with motion sensing/interactive/bi location ideas and projects, towards developing new work and UK collaborations for the London 2012 Live Sites network. The Olympiad now has an annual R and D site  in development where we can experiment with ideas for the olympics stage in 2012.

I did not imagine working on the Olympics would enable something like this but it has. So sold out…. most definately…. there is alot of niche in the mainstream.

~ by Debbi Lander on May 21, 2009.

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