The Evil Imp

A Modern Debacle

Yesterday, Arts Council England, along with their partners in crime at the BBC, held their first seminar on “Building Digital Capacity in the Arts” to talk about the wonders of IPTV and the building of Apps (applications).

The BDCA project is, allegedly, about encouraging and teaching cultural organisations to use media and technology to ply their wares to an unsuspecting public.

Here in TheLab™ we’ve covered this seminar already, before it even took place, and you can read that report at the link below. Why cover it before it happens? Because we and everybody else know exactly what is going to happen at these things. That is; nothing of any importance or relevance whatsoever.

Two of the people in attendance at this seminar were Mark Dobson and Andy Hudson who are, in some way, responsible for The Culture Network website which may or may not be connected to their IPTV channel that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere.

A quick look at the video embedded below, or any of the videos on their website, will reveal why, according to ACE’s Twitter feed of the event, you should “think products, not programmes. Things that can be re-scaled & re-skinned” (ridiculous bullsh*t alert! Ed!)

They don’t want you to think about programming because these clowns know nothing about actually making content that somebody might want to watch so how could they possibly advise you or anybody else how to do it?

Far better to pretend that the production of visual media is not actually about the production of visual media.

Sticking some hapless employee in front of a camera and getting them to yap about exhibitions is both lazy and incompetent. They don’t even bother to show the exhibitions. Whomever is responsible for creating this content also has no understanding of composition, editing, sound or the technical aspects of presenting video online.

The embedded video is not the worst they have to offer, not by a very long way. Feel free to browse their website, if you can watch more than three then we admire your courage.

So who the hell decided that Mr Dobson and Mr Hudson were competent enough to proffer advice on the creation and distribution of “digital” media? Perhaps it was Justin Spooner, the chair of the seminar?

Mr Spooner is, of course, a consultant and also a “trainer” for the BBC Academy. His company, Unthinkable Consulting, touts the following as one of the services they provide

“Service design is among the least understood of digital media disciplines, yet it’s one of the most vital.”

So, they want to sell you something that you don’t understand but is, trust them, absolutely vital to your existence and they’ll be happy to charge you money to tell you just how important it is.

Unthinkable Consulting, oddly enough, has no contact phone number or email address on its website. Perhaps they should have consulted someone about that or maybe they just don’t like to talk.


BDCA is shaping up to be ………. not very much of anything at all really. The one and only question that needs to be asked, and we’ve said this before, is who is going to pay for culture organisations to produce “digital” media content and who is going to make this “digital” content?

It’s not a one time deal either. If you start doing what we do (publishing video material on a regular basis) then you have to do it forever. That’s how you keep an audience. You can’t just do it once and then bugger off to the pub.

For the most part it looks like ACE and the BBC are doing something when they are really not doing anything at all, just hosting a bunch of seminars. Ironically ACE has been chopping the arts to pieces, cutting funding here, de-funding there so the very organisations who need to make content have no money to actually do it. Apart from the large scale that is.

One final point. ACE (or the person who is in charge of their Twitter feed @ace_national) got very cranky when Article19 started disrupting their little seminar love in on the social networking website. They were even encouraging other Twitter users to report Article19 for “spamming”.

Top tip ACE, disruptive networking tools like Twitter are designed to be, you know, disruptive so get used to it. ACE could always behave like the little kids in Rambert’s press office and block us from following them, oh wait, they already did that!

[ On The TV ]
[ The Culture Network ]