Brisbane forum #bbfqld – Stream 5: e-Community


The final stream (Stream 5 – e-Community) was facilitated by Fee Plumley of the Australia Council for the Arts.



Fee described the Geeks in Residence program that the Australia Council is running – putting “geeks” within arts organisations to help them with their digital agenda.



The Geeks in Residence program is interested in three things:

  1. What innovation can take place around artistic programming?
  2. Audience development (marketing through digital – but this needs to be done strategically – must build community of users within the organisation) – need cultural change within the organisation – staff are taught to use networking in a productive way
  3. General operations – something often overlooked in terms of how technologies can improve productivity



Fee also made the point very well that it is important to have clear and sensible policy around use of social networking in the workplace. You must let your staff engage with and network with their communities online. Talking about their work with passion to others is just as important as the actual work. Passion spreads the message further.



Discussion then turned (very strongly) to copyright. Fee made the following arguments:



The first thing we must do, alongside the NBN, is to re-examine the copyright system. All we have currently is blockades, because the old organisations are just working to preserve old industry and old business models. This may rock the boat – but the boat needs to be rocked.



We need to get Creative Commons, APRA, MEAA, whoever, to work together – to try a number of case studies of business and copyright models with difference content and different audiences – to see what happens. Sick of hearing “it can’t be done” and closed doors – let’s do it as an experiment! If at the end, the best answer is to shut down the process and fiercely protect the copyright, then “I will shut up”. We need to let new business models develop. We must demand that even though we are small and niche (“the arts”), we have an important part within the economic system. We need knowledge investment. We must question why we accept models from the past.



Other debate –



Fee Plumley: Artists need to stop feeling bad about asking for money. The subsidising system makes artists feel like beggars.



Elliott Bledsoe: Similarly, artists need to stop expecting other people (intermediaries) to ask for money for them.



Fee Plumley: There must be a balance across the whole space. We don’t just want commercially-driven art