Round up at Fazeley

June 16, 2010

THE CHANGING FACE OF FAZELEY ….

Things are a-changin at the Studios. Our new tenants, Microsoft games studio Rare, have started moving into their new facilities and when they have settled in we’ll be able to show you what they have created there. Within a month we’ll also have showers installed in the former yoga studio (studio 29) and we’ll be introducing Fazeley Union

Fazeley Union will be a social cafe kitted out with superfast WiFi, a boardroom/screening room and tenants’ games room. Food will be cooked and prepared on site by a local chef. We’ll fire up the ovens for breakfasts and carry on to after work wine, beers and bar food.

Watch this space for announcements on the opening date, menus (which will include daily changing specials) and an events programme.

Meanwhile, the main spirit of Fazeley Union is not just about the food, but about being the social hub for Digbeth’s digital and creative working community, so our ears are open to any suggestions. If there are certain playlists/events/menu items you would really like to see then drop us a line. It’s your place and we want to make it one you’ll love going to!!

…. AND A NEW FACE IN THE STUDIOS:

Tinker Taylor Films are moving into Fazeley Studios as part of the Studio 16 crew!! The company is owned by RTS Award Winning producer and director Sam Taylor and specialises in shooting on Dvc HD pro, employing BBC crews and post producing in final cut studio.  Tinker Taylor also works with a bunch of talented creatives to offer smart graphics, animation, bespoke music composition, prof script writing and VO.

Sam says “We are an easy going professional bunch and are dead excited about our imminent move to Fazeley Studios. We can’t wait to meet everyone! “

BNI LAUNCHES A LUNCHTIME CHAPTER :

BNI is one of the biggest referral organisations in the world (http://www.bni-europe.com/). The idea is that members meet weekly with the purpose of generating business for each other by understanding each others’ services carrying each others’ cards and personally recommending each other to all their contacts.

Usually they are breakfast meetings beginning at 6.45 am but Fazeley Studios is going to be the first lunchtime chapter in the area.

The first meeting is on Wednesday 23rd June and is an information meeting inviting people who might be interested in joining to come along and find out more. If you would like to come please contact Dan Wilcox dwilcox99@hotmail.co.uk , 07957 398586 (£10 including buffet lunch).

…FIVE BIG NEW WINS FOR STICKEE …

(provious save the tollins site)

Studio 18/19 based digital agency Stickee has had four big new project wins and one great new staff win!

Adam Hinks (who many of you will know) has joined Stickee as Visual Creative and will be in charge of visual communication in proposals and outsourced productions. Stickee has two further positions open for a ‘Technical Creative’ with an understanding of Flash, PHP and Html and a ‘Marketing Creative’ with a strong background in the use of social networks and exceptional copywriting skills.

The new staff will have plenty to keep them busy with Stickees May campaign wins:

  • Cecelia Ahern (Harper Collins) – An augmented reality project for successful Irish author Cecelia Ahern. Readers that buy one of her new books will find a Glpyh (code) printed on the inside front cover which they will be able to hold up to their webcam to see an animated 3D world come alive on top of their book. The more books from Ahern’s collection the reader buys, the more interaction and functionality becomes available in the world.
  • Save the Tollins (Harper Collins): Stickee’s hit project for www.savethetollins.com is going abroad. Their localised versions will be produced for the French and North American publishers that have bought the distribution rights from Harper Collins.
  • World Cup Designer Boxes Microsite (BskyB) – Stickee’s 260th project for BSkyB is a Microsite for Sky’s World Cup designer box collection. 3 artists (Gerald Scarfe, Phil Daniels and Wayne Hemmingway) put together designs which capture their feelings about England and its past World Cup exploits. These were printed onto the Sky HD box and are being sold as collectors’ items through the Microsite Stickee created.
  • ProTrek Microsite (Casio) Alan Hinkes, a veteran adventurer, is to climb 39 of the highest county peaks in the UK as part of a world record attempt that is being sponsored by Casio’s ProTrek watch brand. Stickee is creating the site for the campaign which will use social networking to help Alan document his record attempt and encourage the county communities to join in.

…. EASTSIDE PROJECTS LAUNCH…

Book Show is an exhibition of artworks, objects and structures that address the physical form of the book. It features works by artists such as Featuring works by artists including Simon Starling, Nina Beier and Marie Lund and Radim Pesko.

The launch will take place from 6pm – 9pm on Thursday 29th July just round the corner from Fazeley at Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham B9 4AR

…  AND CREATIVE PLAYGROUND GOES DIGITAL …

Creative Playground is changing format to become Digital Playground with more of a focus on…you guessed it …..digital. The fortnightly socials will move from mid week to Fridays and food will be laid on by Stickee. The next event will be on 25th June. Register for membership and RSVP for the night at www.meetup.com/digital-playground

Microsoft Coming to Fazeley Studios – It’s Officially Happening

March 9, 2010

      

You might have already heard various murmurings and speculation, but now Rare, a Microsoft Games Studio has officially signed to create a new 11,000 sq ft facility in Fazeley Studios!!!

 Rare are taking studios 33, 35, 36, 37, 38 and 40 for a ‘production, test and usability site’ where they’ll work on new Microsoft global gaming products.

 RARE’s long term plans are to make the space into a ‘world class usability lab’, which they’ll use to find new working methods of developing and testing the next wave of Microsoft games.

 They have chosen Fazeley Studios/Digbeth because of:

  •  The talented pool of creative professionals
  • Access to nearby colleges and Unis
  • Central urban location (their main headquarters is a rural purpose built building complete with a duck pond and football pitch!)
  • A flexible use studio that they can occupy in different ways at different stages of the production cycle

They are opening the studio in April and there will be up to 90 staff working there at different times of the testing and production cycle .

Jane Holmes (Advantage West Midlands) and Jim Horth (Rare) in Fazeley Studios reception

 http://www.rareware.com/

QUICK DECEMBER ROUND UP

December 11, 2009

 

NEW NEIGHBOURS:

Another month and more new neighbours at Fazeley Studios! Supernovae Media is moving into Studio 30. The main faces you’ll see about are Hannah Shire, Nerissa Satterthwaite and Paul Cranwell.

Supernovae is a company specialising in outdoor media including digital motion, outdoor billboards and taxi advertising. Hannah’s given me a sneak preview of some of the products they are looking into and there’s some pretty exciting stuff that I’ve never come across before for events, advertising and marketing. Hannah and Nerissa are coming to say hi at the Christmas afternoon tea next week and out for cocktails after so you’ll meet them then if you are attending.

 Speaking of which don’t forget to sign up at EVENTBRITE if you want a free cocktail at bar room bar as you’ll need it to get your drink! It’s sponsored by Gas Street Works for Fazeley Studios and Creative Playground.

OTHER INTERESTING STUFF THAT FOLK ARE GETTING UP TO:

FULLRANGE (Studio 26) was jointly appointed with the 383 project to create Style Birmingham’s TV ad, which is being aired on ITV1 and Channel 4 throughout December.  

The ‘One Mile of Style’ campaign works alongside the new iPhone App developed by 383 Project, which is available free of charge from the Apple App Store. The Style Birmingham iPhone App uses Google Maps to help navigate shoppers around the city centre, and draws the latest news stories from Stylebirmingham.com, including gift guides and style advice.  

The advert is being shown inbetween prime time programmes so you will probably catch it at some point but if you want a sneak preview you can watch it here:

KATE BEATTY  (photographer, Studio 39) has been asked to document life behind the scenes at the REP theatre. More details here

CHRIS UNITT  (Studio 39) and Pete Ashton have been back on Created in Birmingham for a couple of months now. They’re the original team that built the blog up to win the Weblog and Guardian Media awards so it’s done some great stuff for Birmingham. Today is the last chance to become a supporter of the blog for a special introductory price. If you want to support the blog and help them build up Birmingham’s creative profile there’s more details here

FURORE PR launched Matthews of Birmingham restaurant where Rooty’s used to be in the Custard Factory, so we’ve not only got some damn coffee on the doorstep now but even wood pigeon and guinea fowl for the evening don’t you know! You can read the full menus here!

It also has a bar – so the first people to check that out in the evening report back and let us know what it’s like! Looks quite snazzy…

 RECEPTION CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURS:

I hope everyone will be able to have a proper rest over Christmas, but for those of you who’ll be in the studios and meeting with clients here’s the reception opening hours:

CHRISTMAS EVE: 8am – 4pm

MONDAY 28 DECEMBER: CLOSED

TUESDAY 29 DECEMBER: 8am – 7pm

WEDNESDAY 30 DECEMBER: 8am – 7pm

THURS 31 DECEMBER: 8am – 4pm

FRIDAY 1 JANUARY: CLOSED

MON 4 JANUARY – Back to normal

And just to get you in the Christmas spirit here’s a shot of Fazeley tenant Harvey Sparks from Studio 6 dolled up in his festive finery!

END OF OCTOBER

November 5, 2009

There were some big events for Fazeley Studios in the last week of October..!

On Thursday (29 October) our lovely Rachel Carter one of the directors of Fullrange from Studio 26 scooped TWO prizes at the RTS (Royal Television Awards):

Rachel E Carter

She’s been pretty unstoppable as Momster has already won second place at the the performance short film awards at BAFTA and has been accepted into Belfast’s International Cinemagic Festival for Nov/Dec 2009.

Her RTS awards were:

  • ‘Best Production Craft’ award as a Producer for two UK Film Council & Screen WM funded short films, Momster (Dir. Steven Spencer) and Caterpillar (Dir. John Maidens) and for a portfolio of marketing films for work on projects like Landrover and Screen WM’s 2009 Production & Locations show reel which premiered at Cannes Film Festival.
  • ‘Best Fictional’ award for short film Caterpillar, along with co-producer Michael Ford and the writer/director John Maidens. 

If you haven’t seen Momster or Caterpillar they are definitely worth checking out and I’m sure she could be persuaded to show them if you drop her a line: rachel@fullrange.co.uk

FAZELEY HALLOWEEN FUN …

Almost as big an achievement was that after partying till 4am, Rachel managed to come and join us all on Friday 30th for the big Fazeley All Hallow’s Eve party…

Halloween band for web 1

Reception was filled with smoke and lit with church candles and UV and thanks to Karl and Chris from Adhere, Studio 34, we had a rolling projection of classic horror movies on a white screen:

IMG_0876

The band, Funkify, raised hell on the dancefloor and we confirmed that if you give a bunch of creatives free reign on fancy dress you’ll see some pretty surreal sites …

We had zombies….

Big Button Zombies web

Phantom of the opera:

Nico Jones, big button

Teel Wolf and his girls ….

teen wolf

A surreal weird wearwolf/ghostbuster friendship …

Chris Bates and Andy Hartwell, Substrakt

Gruesom ghouls (sorry Karl)…

IMG_0836

Stunning wicked witches…

IMG_7439

Gory doctors …

IMG_7477

And (costume of the night) even gorier NURSES (yes you Steff!) …

Jill Steff Rachel

If you want a full set of pictures just click here. Hopefully everyone has now recovered from the 900 slices of pizza and 20 cases of wine????

We also had a pumkin carving compeition. The winner will be announced soon, but brownie points for effort to Claire Hartley who actually filmed herself carving the pumpkin brain (see here)!

IMG_0865

NEW TENANTS FOR FAZELEY STUDIOS

Now to round the excitement off we can finally announce that strategic marketing company VIVA Aspire will be moving in to Studio 20. Hooray! Gary and Dilesh and their team from VIVA will be round and about the studios to say hi at an afternoon tea very soon. In the meantime you can find out a bit more about them here. Welcome guys!

November has a lot to live up to …

HOW TO BRING CAFE CULTURE TO THE CREATIVE QUARTER

September 18, 2009

 

CAFE

 “If there had not been any cafés, there would have been no Jean-Paul Sartre”; so said French writer Boris Vian. 

OK, it’s a clear overstatement, but there’s no denying that the cafe culture of 19th and 20th century Europe inspired writers, artists, philosophers, musicians and miscellaneous intellectuals. Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the philosophical musings of Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and Dadism’s manifesto are just a few example of masterpieces conceived in the cafes of Europe.

It seems clear that any serious creative quarter should have some form of cafe culture- spaces to meet, think, work, debate and refuel the brain, but so far it’s been the missing ingredient in Digbeth.

Soon we hope to make an announcement at Fazeley Studios about the launch of one of the most important parts of the development. We’ll announce the opening of a place which will serve a delicious breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, wine, beer and bar food, but which will hopefully be far more than an eatery in its contribution to the city.

So we’re busy pondering what makes a nurturing and inspirational setting today when so many of the best artists and intellectuals are working in the digital sphere? And how do we mesh that with a relaxing environment for people who just want to meet, chill out and chat?

 Then of course there is the huge demand for a space that widens the reach of new media and promotes ‘digital inclusion’. Dave Harte of Digital Birmingham recently posted his thoughts on a possible centre for excellence in digital participation (see here) to address the issues raised in the Digital Britain report. Interestingly, while Dave didn’t mention anything about a cafe or bar, the importance of this kind of place comes up time and again in the comment section.

 Jon Hickman suggested a wifi pub or bar with media savvy staff who could help people out, while Jon Bounds put forwards “a ‘real social media cafe’ where it’s a cafe/hang out, but the people in there really knew their stuff”. Then Philip John imagined “a digital startup incubator, where innovate startups are nurtured through their beginnings by knowledgeable staff. This could incorporate a cafe setting, as well as facilities for (un-)conferences. I’m thinking Fazeley Studios is already kinda set up for this.”

The concept for our cafe bar is coming along swiftly but we need the people it’ll serve to help shape it:

What kind of place is missing for you to meet, work and play? Apart from the obvious WiFi and printers, what practical things would you need? And what would be that extra ingredient for your ideal space?

 We won’t be able to please everyone and be all things to all people, but we really welcome your suggestions and they will most certainly be listened to.

Funding for Digital SMEs – Digital funding roadshow, summary of funds, small business rates relief

August 12, 2009

 

 

Flicking through the papers there has been a lot of news recently about cuts to public sector funding and the fact that small businesses are struggling to get credit at any reasonable rate. Earlier in the year the local headlines were full of the £4 million budget cut for the West Midlands’ Arts Council and £48 million budget cut for Advantage West Midlands.

 I know from networking events that are happening here that many businesses are buzzing with ideas and have the motivation to make it work. Now seems like a great time to do it  – surely with fewer schemes launching there will be less competition and suppliers in all industries are looking for work and willing to give good rates, but that’s only if (and its a big ‘IF’ they can get the credit?!)

Because of this it was particularly interesting to hear about creative funding opportunities the other week when Fazeley Studios became the first stop on the Businesslink Creative Funding Roadshow headed up by Lara Ratnaraja. When Lara asked for a show of hands at the beginning of the session to find out which of the various available funds people knew about I was fairly typical. I vaguely understood 4ip and had heard of the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund – two out of five!

It was very interesting to hear that these FIVE funds are either created specifically for digital SMEs, or see digital media as a priority sector. Digital media is one of the five key groups that the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund are specifically encouraging to apply for money because they want to fund innovative projects. Out of ten eligible sectors, the Creative Industries also have the highest success rate in winning support from the Innovation Vouchers scheme which provides access to knowledge transfer schemes and experties from regional universities.

I was also struck bythe Innovation Networks scheme, which can provide £10,000 to £15,000 for companies that are collaborating with at least two other West Midlands based SMEs to develop an innovative new product and service. I know that just amaong Fazeley Studios tenants a lot of creative SMEs collaborate on new schemes (with varying degrees of formality)and may not realise that they are eligible for funding – or if they do seek support it is likely to be 4ip.

From talking to people, I got the impression that the main reason they do not apply for the funds that are available is because of the time it takes. Not only do companies have to figure out which fund they are eligible for, they also believe that the application will take ages. I sensed that a lot of people either don’t get round to it or don’t think the chances of success are strong enough to justify taking time out from the daily running of their business. But its not always true. I was surprised to hear that ACE’s Digital Content Programme doesn’t even have an application form, while the Advantage Proof of Concept Fund talks through all potential applications so that they only invite people to the stage of filling out forms if they have a realistic chance of success.

Anyway, as a small way towards cutting down on the time it takes to find relevant funds here’s a table of what I learned from the funding roadshow which summarises for each fund:

  • What it can be used for
  • Who can apply
  • How much is available
  • Whether it requires other funding
  • How to apply

SUMMARY OF FUNDS

It’s only an outline so its also worth checking the websites for each fund if you think it might apply.

Another note on something a lot of small businesses seem to be unaware of, particularly when considering their first office, is business rates relief for SMEs. At the moment this isn’t given automatically, you have to apply to the local authority within 6 months of the end of the chargeable year.

Basically, if you are an SME which occupies just one non residential property with a rateable value below £15,000 per annum then you should investigate.  You get a fixed 50 percent discount for a property with a rateable value below £5,000 then the percentage discount decreases on a sliding scale up to £15,000.

If you are thinking about moving offices or think you are paying too much in terms of business rates in your current office then BUSINESSLINK have a useful summary and database of links.

Quite a month …

July 1, 2009

It has been quite a month at Fazeley Studios.

I suddenly realised at last Thursday’s high tea that we are going to have to bump up the sandwich and cake order again, as 3 new businesses have joined us in June!

Mudlark have now settled in Studio 16 after their brilliant company launch Post Digital Day, which featured a host of fascinating digital experts and the fab bubblino machine which blows bubbles every time some one tweets with the event hash tag!

Bubblino at Post Digital Day

Bubblino at Post Digital Day

Then at the end of last week the First Light Movies team settled into Studio 28 (see website). Both companies are doing some really amazing work so I hope to give them the attention they deserve in another blogpost, but we’re thrilled to have them!

Also digital marketing agency Stickee has relocated from High Wycombe into studios 18/19. Again watch this space for a chat with the director Steve Gray (no relation to Fazeley Studios owner Lucan Gray). Steve’s website shows off a pretty hot client list with BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, Lloyds TSB, Nokia, Virgin and Haagen Daas. He’s already had a brief taster of Brum networking when he popped in to the recent talk by Lord Putnam, and he’ll be a very welcome addition to all the future creative events.

On the events side we’re recovering from our two week digital festival (see here for full details). Participants ranged in age from 9 – 73, which shows the spread of interest in digital stuff. We even got comments from the US about the quality of the live video streaming by Crushhouse at our mindmap event (click to view).

There were panels, debates, unconferences, swap shops and a grand high tea party to round it all off. I’ll be working off all the cake for quite a while.

One highlight for us was Lord Carter’s visit to the Digital Britain Unconference that we hosted in association with Aquila TV and Digital Birmingham.

Lord Carter Q&A session in the Fazeley Studios conference room

Lord Carter Q&A session in the Fazeley Studios conference room

The unconference took place the day after the report was published (#dbuc09). He had previously been speaking at the ICC but found out that the real fun was at Fazeley and he popped in for a Q&A session. He even removed his jacket to be more in keeping with the creative style.

The debate touched on various subjects, but the hot topics were the levy on phone lines to fund broadband for those people who don’t currently have access, the future of the BBC and radio and how exactly he expected things to move forward on business/IP models for online content. Thanks to the lovely people at Aquila TV you can see both his ICC and his Fazeley Studios sessions here.

We were about ready to collapse at the end of the fortnight, but luckily we had Local GovCamp to look forward to on Saturday 20th June, which kept us going. It was the brain child of “digital enabler” Dave Briggs and we had a great time working with BEST to deliver the event.

I was amazed at how many people turned up on a SATURDAY (see below).

011

It was basically a mix of local government workers and social media/web types. They had paked out reception by 10.30 am and went on to have about 8 hours of very lively and engaging debates, which shows how much passion there is in both the public and private sector to find new ways of using the internet to reach communities.

The event was brilliantly run by Dave Briggs. In true unconference style the panels and talks just kind of evolved on the day. There was space for five sessions each with five events taking place in five different rooms. People jotted down the subjects they could talk about on a post it note then the most popular sessions were allocated a time and place on the grid.

Planning the panels

Planning the panels

The rooms were then colour coded for ease…
Pink room

Pink room

Blue room

Blue room

Yellow room

Yellow room

 And the conversation was fuelled by lots and lots of food and an eclectic mix of tunes by the Local GovCamp DJ.

 

Cakes

Cakes

 
 

 

 

 

 
DJ at local gov camp

DJ at local gov camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in linking up web/social media and goverment then Dave Briggs has collected all related blogposts here, which give a much better description of the discussions than I could!

Reflection on #mdot part 2: process and content

June 18, 2009

 

The whole point of our live interactive mindmap event #mdot (see previous post) was that we could use it as an experiment to find new ways of brainstorming and holding events that lead to some real debate and action.

In the spirit of doing that, here are the main things I learned from the event, both from the things that went right and the things that went wrong. The wall will be up until the end of the week. Next week we will start gathering together the comments and trying to draw up some action points on where we go next.

Like Jon Hickman, I’ve split the thoughts into process and content

Content:

Most people were positive about the event, but one comment that caught my eye was from @urbanfly: “Struggling to understand what #mdot actually is. Seems to be a lot of people who already know each other talking about twitter.”

I get his point as no other online networks or communities were mentioned and our initial aim was to look at ways of using social media. Also we didn’t fulfil our aim of getting twitter novices along to chip in. I think that was largely down to the title – I think the mention of the word ‘twitter’ isolated people who ‘just don’t get it’ from coming along. It would be great to use this format of online meets physical on a broader topic that might get a mix of people along.

However, I think having professionals reflect on twitter was really useful. I am very new to twitter. I’ve done it for about 2 months. I put off starting because I thought I’d do it wrong. Also, I don’t “know everyone” in the twitter community. I went to my first social media cafe the other day and loved it. Again I’d not been for a while because I thought it was just for the social media professionals and I’d stick out as a bit of an amateur, but it was one of the friendliest and welcoming network events I’ve been to.

I think lots of useful stuff came out when the ‘social media glitterati’ stepped back and took a new look at twitter. Marc Reeves made a really good point that companies need more guidance on using twitter, to help them use it in a way that’s about building relationships. If they just send constant sales messages they’ll annoy people and get blocked.

It also raised the important question of how twitter can become more welcoming and how we can stop putting new people off with the different symbols and etiquettes. Dave Harte didn’t like the idea of ‘twitter mentors’ because it suggests a hierarchy or a ‘right’ way of doing it. But maybe a less formal buddying up scheme? I’d have benefitted.

When I started @peteashton encouraged me to do give it a go, then @Beckycad swayed me to make the leap because she told me that she’d recently started from scratch too and she’d help me. @ChrisUnitt gave me a nudge to do it properly like update my profile & picture & let people know I was there. Sounds simple, but I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I’d’ve just been randomly tweeting and wondering why no one followed me. And @podnosh encouraged people to say hi to me. Without all that I’d probably have stopped before I’d started.

 

Process:

  • The wall: I worried about the wall during the event. Nobody wanted to get up, grab a pen and join in with the cartoonist after each speaker. But as Jon Hickman said, afterwards there was a flood of activity. In fact, for two hours I couldn’t get anyone into reception to drink the wine because they wanted to draw on the wall and read what other people had written.

 

  • I think it worked because it makes people feel like a kid again and taps into that creative part of the brain that is (dare I say it) often put to sleep by formal things like conferences. Maybe next time we should give everyone a pen so there’s more encouragement to draw during the main part of the event. Also maybe if the people who were at this #mdot came they’d be willing to lead the way and get others to follow? Maybe some warming up to get everyone comfortable too – at our digital Britain Unconference Julia Higginbottom led with stretching and getting everyone to tell funny anecdotes about their name and it worked a treat.

 

  • Video streaming: I couldn’t fault this, I thought Crushhouse did an amazing job and we even got comments from America saying it was clear.

 

  • Live blogging: Again, we got lots of twitter following and thanks to Nick Booth and Chris Unitt people were engaging online. I suppose the problem is that it was mainly targeted at twitterers. Maybe if we are looking at rolling the format out to a different community we should consider at how to use other applications in addition to twitter.

REFLECTIONS ON MY DAD’S ON TWITTER BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW WHY #mdot

June 12, 2009

This experimental collaborative mindmap event ran on Thurs 11 June 2009.

 

MDOT small

 

It was the brainchild of Fazeley tenant Karl Binder of Adhere Creative. When I first talked to him about the idea of a digital festival, I wanted to hold an event with a useful outcome and an experimental format, something that provided genuinely useful ideas and action points on how we use social media. Then Karl thought, what if we didn’t just come up with new ideas, but a whole new way of generating ideas and so the interactive mindmap event was born.

Everyone that I spoke to about this event was amazingly supportive and enthusiastic and I got in touch with four top speakers all with a unique take on the issue signed up to speak:

Marc Reeves: Editor of the Birmingham Post (@marcreeves)
Jon Hickman: BCU Lecturer and course convenor of the Social Media MA that has attracted national attention (@jonhickman)
Dave Harte: Digital Birmingham, blogger (@daveharte)
Jaki Booth:: Representing the relative twitter novice (@parboo)

Social media heavyweights Chris Unitt (Meshed Media) and Nick Booth (Podnosh) also agreed to do some live blogging. Meanwhile Alex Hughes and Matt Buck from Drawnalism were our resident cartoonists and did some great sketches onto a huge ideas wall which can now be seen on our flickr group:

Here is the crux of it:

Overview:

A large interactive event to highlight the benefits of a social media community and how it can cross over from a virtual world to the physical world. Two ways of developing ideas are face to face in a room: here ideas happen quicker and action points are usually agreed in good time – or on a larger scale opening a forum to a larger audience, most likely online: here ideas are far more varied due to the larger amount of people who can get involved. Can we harness the benefits of both to spark a series of innovative and ground breaking project concepts..?

The process:

1. The Physical Crowd/map –

A large white wall. In the centre of the wall, the theme: “my dad’s on twitter but he doesn’t know why”. The four panelists had ten minutes each to brainstorm on why we use social media and how we could use it to better advantage, for ourselves or for our communities. At the end of this 10 minutes the audience have 10 minutes to ask questions, get up and write on the wall or shout things that they want added.

2. The virtual crowd/map:

At the same time the event is videostreamed onto the web we have bloggers and tweeters sending out all our thoughts. We invite online followers to feed back into the event with their own thoughts and contributions. This could takes the discussion national or even international.

3. Further discussion –

Post event, people started drawing on the wall and adding to it. We still have the wall up and running in studio 36 and we now have a site to store blogs and comments http://www.fazeleydigital.com/?p=211 along with the full video footage of the event http://www.fazeleydigital.com/?p=208.

In the next posts I’ll be thinking about what worked and what didn’t work and adding updates with new information about what’s come from the event.

At the close of the festival, we’ll then go through all the comments, drawings, videos and slides to see what we can draw from the experience and whether we can come away with some useful action points on developing the city’s virtual networks.

Spreading the news from the studios

May 7, 2009

“I’m Kate and I’m starting off a blog about the Fazeley Studios community.

It’s a bit of a daunting task as the building is full of folk who were blogging before most people had heard of the internet (and have won some great awards for it), but every day there are so many amazing new ideas and projects buzzing around the offices that we felt we needed a place to talk about it all.

Fazeley Studios is the new hub of the digital media in Birmingham and as well as reports on our steady stream of events, I’ll keep you posted about all  the things our tenants are up to from producing feature films to social media experiments to pumping out some of the hottest websites across the UK and the world.

If you pop in to Fazeley I live in studio 10. It’s the converted 1860s Sunday School bit at the front of the building so come and say hi.

Otherwise email me km [at] fazeleystudios [dot] com if you’ve got something I need to know, or just to get in touch.