The EvilImp™ 'Mass Casualties'

There are unconfirmed reports that at least 30-40 people have expired while watching Arts Council England's online videos of their recent "Great Art" series of seminars held at the Sage Gateshead in, erm... Gateshead in the North East of England.

Emergency services declined to comment on just how many instances of fatal "catatonic shock" have been reported in the last 72 hours! Rumours abound that one of the killer phrases was "value extracted per pound expended". The person who uttered that mind crushing, brain melting - for want of a better word - pish, shall remain nameless!

The seminars were designed to give a number of people, of little or no importance, the opportunity to sit on platforms and present some of the mast banal information in the history of mankind to a willing audience populated, one presumes, by people that have lost the will to live.

It's very difficult to understand, having watched some of the four videos on offer, just what on earth this type of "seminar" is supposed to achieve. Even if you could get all the way to end of this stuff - and there is no way of scrubbing through the videos - it's very hard to quantify just what it is you would learn.

The introductory session, introduced by a woman with no name, is delivered in such ridiculously enunciated language you feel like a primary school child being told off because you don't understand what "great art" is or why you're supposed to care!

If you really must have ludicrous seminars then ok, have at it! Knock yourself out, literally! (in fact we actually encourage these guys to go run head first into a very hard surface).

However, should you make the misguided decision to put these presentations online then try and actually present the information in a way that doesn't make your viewers want to stick their head in a blender.

You do not, under any circumstances, put several hours of seminars online in free roll mode and expect anybody to get through them all. You shoot, you interview, you edit, you present the key points, you do the damn job properly!

You do the job like you care about the subject of which you speak. You present it with passion, with energy and enthusiasm. You have to make people want to care about this banal crap because it must be important if you spent all this time and money to get people talking about it! Right?

ACE has been whingeing on several fronts of late that people don't like them very much, or words to that effect. This is why! Because dealing with ACE is like dealing with a bank or an insurance company or a stock broker.

It's a jargon filled, pedantic nightmare from which there is no escape but it's a necessary evil because it's the only way to get support for artists to do what they want to do.

Let's make this clear, the desire to want to speak at, or be a part of a seminar series like this should automatically prevent you, for life, from ever having any position of responsibility within the arts, ever!

The pain is just too high a price to pay!

[ Great Art Seminars ] (watch at your peril)

  • There may be some vacancies arising in the arts then, as 100% of people who filled in our our post-event survey said they wanted to take part in another event like this one... and the audience was people active in the arts, not besuited bankers in disguise. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive - particularly in terms of the chance to debate some of the questions arising from a snappy mission like 'great art for everyone'. It's a shame you weren't there to chip in. I was pleased there was lots of challenge, but hardly anything that just moaning. It felt to me - and judging by reactions to others - like a proper set of honest, engaged conversations amongst people dedicated to making art. Worse things happen.

    The online things were an experiment, no doubt there are things we can learn for next time. Ease of use is definitely something to improve, you're right, I found that myself.

    Only one person said it felt a bit 'corporate', though they didn't mention stockbrokers specifically. Never having dealt with any I'll take your word for that.


    Mark Robinson

    Arts Council England, North East

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