Announcing the Hosts
It is with the utmost pleasure that I am able to announce the Hosts for the second Geek in Residence pilot!
Some advice for Geeks
All contracts are negotiable according to the needs of the Host and the skills / availability of the Geek. For example, currently we have two fulltime placements and one which is a few weeks on/few weeks off, with all the rest being part time (a few days a week on a regular basis). We also have ‘job share’ options, with three geeks in some placements. Things are flexible.
All placements are expected to receive a total remuneration (regardless of number of geeks placed – so if more than one geek you will split that amount) of $50,000, except for Arts Law and Emerging Writer’s Festival who have $25,000. Basically, if you have requirements about your full/part time needs, then tell us what they are in your application. You will be employed by the Host according to your agreement so you should discuss all salary, payment and conditions with them once you have been offered a position.
You can target as many Host organisations are you are interested in (although you have limited space in your application form).
We might decide to shortlist you with an organisation other than your choosing. You can decline from any shortlist we propose, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we will transfer your shortlist status elsewhere.
If you already knew the Host you preferred, and they have encouraged you to apply, please note that this doesn’t mean you’re automatically accepted, or even shortlisted. You still need to apply and we might find that you’re a better fit elsewhere, or suggest that you and someone else team up.
We are after the ‘water cooler’ affect of day-to-day conversational sharing as much as direct project focus, so placements are physical, not remote. We will not cover any relocation or travel expenses, so if you weren’t already planning on moving please don’t target an organisation you are unable to physically get to!
Part of your job will be to proactively take responsibility for holistic shifts in these organisations. You should start by watching, listening and developing some conclusions about what their gaps are, in addition to what they tell you their gaps are! Then you’ll be doing things like auditing (what intranet system do they use; what equipment is available; when things go wrong, what’s their current process to reach a solution).
You will also be responsible for helping us share the benefits of your internal discoveries with the rest of the sector. That means blogging, offering advice and holding some open discussions about what you have done, and why. Hopefully we’ll have a few more Geek Speed Dating events, and you’ll sometimes be invited to get involved with events we run around the country.
The program’s ambition is to help arts organisations across Australia (not just the Hosts in the programs) to get ready for the NBN… we need you to passionately want to achieve that too In a sense it’s in your best interests; the more organisations out there who are actively seeking cool geek skills, the more work and fun experimental projects there will be for you to work on, right?!
What happens next?
Your deadline for applications is midnight in your local timezone (my mistake, it’s midnight AEST… sorry) on January 17th. We will then process your applications and devise a shortlist which we will present to the Hosts and yourselves. At this stage we will exchange the full application information so you can both see what the other needs/is capable of. A facilitated interview process then takes place (over skype or conference call) and the Hosts get a few days to make a decision.
Once the Hosts have decided, and you have accepted, you’ll spend some time together going through the detailed proposal information. This forms the basis of your contract with your Host, and your Host’s contract with us.
From that stage you’ll start (or have decided a start date. We will announce every team and start asking you to blog your experiences and share what you learn.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia , NSW / National
Australian Dance Theatre, SA
Bangarra Dance Theatre, NSW
Emerging Writers’ Festival, VIC
Kickstart Arts, TAS
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, VIC
Outback Theatre For Young People, NSW
Pvi Collective, WA
Queensland Ballet, QLD
Scribe Publications, VIC
Sydney Youth Orchestras, NSW
The Border Project, SA
See below for a flavour of the skills required at each of these Host organisations.
How to apply
Go here: http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/grants/grants/geek_in_residence_program_2010-11_geek
There’s also a bit more info on the earlier blog post which might help you see what the Hosts were thinking when they applied: http://artsdigitalera.com/girv2
If you really want me to I’ll do a screen-grab walkthrough of the application process. But only if a few of you ask for it (you’re geeks, right? Surely you don’t need me to do that?!).
Summary of Host requirements
Each Host responded to three areas of development: artistic programming, audience development and general operations. We’re looking for holistic cultural shifts across the whole of the organisation. There isn’t room to post all of their proposals here, but this summary should give you a flavour of their key challenges and questions.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia is the national community legal centre for the arts. They provide national free or low cost services and expert resources on all arts law issues affecting Australian artists and arts organisations, including specialised Indigenous services. Working with Arts Law would help them extend their NSW office base into a fully-fledged national digital treasure.
- Arts Law provides services across all artforms and covers a wide range of arts related legal and business matters including contracts, copyright, business names and structures, defamation, insurance and employment.
- They have just launched a new website, and are now seeking ways to maintain and develop their subscriber base and engage with their community.
- Tasks: gain a better understanding of who their subscribers are and what their needs might be (now and in the future); explore new ways to distribute legal advice (e.g. including social media spaces, live online events, expansion of digital interaction at education events); explore revenue generation models; update current database (currently in MS Access) to become more useable and accessible on the move; maintain client confidentiality while increasing service provision; reduce business costs while increasing national reach; train staff in everyday productivity using the new implemented tools; raise awareness of emerging technical innovations to prepare staff for future calls for advice around their opportunities and risks for artists/orgs.
NB This placement has a total remuneration of $25,000.
Australian Dance Theatre, based in Adelaide, has a fantastic track-record of award-winning innovative digital performance and cutting edge practice. But every organisation can be enhanced with some specialist input from a talented geek. This role might need two (or even more) people with an interest in dance and choreographic movement plus the below quite specific needs. But whether you see yourself as an expert in all of these areas or just one, maybe you’re the right Geek for the job!
- ADT need help to focus on core business issues such as communications enhancements for staff while on long-distance touring programs and general IT updates interconnecting the needs of B2C, B2B and B2Stakeholders.
- They also wish to push the technical innovations on stage (and elsewhere) further than ever. You will be collaborating with the entire company during the creation of new work. You will be required to create new software, or alter the application of pre-existing software/equipment/technologies to creatively coalesce choreography and image capturing techniques. These will be presented or projected on stage in a way that is entirely different to anything that has been seen before. Can the viewers (virtually, as viewers of the screen), walk around the choreography – thereby taking the audience out of their seats? Can the Geek bring to the stage ‘bullet-time’ or time splicing techniques? Can a series of still images be used from different perspectives, then fill in the blanks using software and then render out animations in almost real-time?
- ADT cannot yet fully articulate the organisational communications that will spin out of the projects’ creative impetus and residency. You will therefore need an ability to contribute to discussions around engaging/communicating through digital communication channels with ADT audiences, in surprising, intelligent and ingenious ways. Can you develop applications in concert with ADT to creatively bring the artistic and administrative practices together creating an ingenious contemporary artistic model for the benefit of audiences beyond the performance season?
Bangarra Dance Theatre’s cultural protocols inform their relationships with traditional Indigenous communities and these are crucial to their creative practices. As their Geek, you would need to tie together their need to improve interaction and processes across the Company with the right sensitivities towards their creative and cultural outcomes.
- Celebrating 20years in 2009, a strong creative team has recently been joined by a new Executive Director. Their offices have been revamped, a new website is underway which will enable staff to have more control over the information they can share, and there’s a feeling of excitement and genuine openness to see what technology can offer.
- With a relentless production and touring cycle, Bangarra’s program travels far and wide. This national reach brings great diversity of audiences, but the data behind this is held by the venues, rather than their own records. How do they get to know their audience and what they’re interested in? Are their Facebook followers audiences for live performances, or are these different people wanting something else? What are the particular challenges of connecting with Indigenous audiences in both urban and remote locations? What about the young people especially those from Indigenous communities, are there other ways of engaging with them?
- With digital media they are seeking exciting and innovative ways of extending the ‘Bangarra experience’ in conjunction with, and beyond, the live theatre performance. Behind every Bangarra production lies a rich storyline drawing on traditional heritage and contemporary experiences. Their aim is to share both the story-tellers and their creative processes with audiences, and even non-attendees. How can sacred stories be expressed without taking away their spiritual essence? Are there ways of creating an equally touching and emotional experience outside the sense of community within the physical auditorium?
The Melbourne-based Emerging Writers’ Festival exists in order to promote the interests of emerging writers – to improve opportunities for professional development and their engagement with the broader public. In 2010 the EWF were proud to be the first writers’ festival in Australia to pilot online programming. They ran twenty events online, including interviews, launches, Twitter discussions and live chats. 2011 sees the return of online programming, the introduction of transmedia elements and the hosting of a ‘digital writers’ festival’ in Brisbane in October.
- Writing for digital media, blogging, podcasting, video blogging and digital storytelling are new and emerging fields that are distinct from writing for traditional print media. The pilot online festival showed that there is a real thirst for this kind of programming. EWF require a Geek to be (and help EWF to become) an experienced facilitator who understands the challenges and opportunities of the medium and can support professional development in this area.
- Although committed to programming online and transmedia events, the Festival does not currently have any technically proficient staff; the delivery of these events currently relies on outsourcing technical work, which can be prohibitively expensive. With the creative vision of the Director and technical nous of the Geek, the Festival would be able to be truly innovative in offering digital programming and audience development opportunities to emerging writers and expanding the participation of interstate and regional writers unable to physically attend the Festival in Melbourne.
- EWF have received funding from Write In Your Face and Readings Foundation to pay writers for the delivery of digital artistic programming in 2011. Online tools will develop and extend networking opportunities to the same audiences. However, their digital delivery platforms are currently very basic. A Geek would assist them in identifying and developing the kinds of programs and systems that match their forward-thinking ideas.
NB This placement is anticipated to be a two-day per week contract, and has a total remuneration of $25,000.
Kickstart Arts in Hobart are a Community Arts & Cultural Development (CACD) company going through somewhat of a revolution. They are moving from a world of vertical / hierarchical silos with restricted access to the means of production, to a world where value is created horizontally by who you connect and collaborate with.
- Kickstart need a complete audit of their IT & a plan to bring them into the 21st century; professional development to ensure they can manage & maintain their systems with arts options; website & hosting; email; filing systems; computer networking; archiving; communications; equipment etc. They need an interface which helps generate higher levels of cash investment from cross-sectoral partners organisations; Increased revenue from non-govt. sources;
- Improved understanding of the value of CACD projects for communities through excellent interpretation and dissemination of information; improved quality & quantity of invitations to partner with Kickstart Arts (KSA) from a range of sectors; Improved brand recognition; achievable digital marketing plan with a co-ordinated & attractive online presence; targeted & manageable viral networking solutions for project related target audiences; effective means for reaching & engaging rural and regional communities, as well as culturally diverse audiences and strong focus on cultural access and participation for people with a disability.
- Several creative projects which all have needs that can be improved using digital technology.
- a 3-year Tasmanian Aboriginal dance theatre project with the compiled historical descriptions of Tasmanian Aboriginal dance & re-developed dances that are distinctive to Tasmanian Aborigines. Digital distribution of the resource is a priority.
- 4 regional Tasmanian youth communities making short films that explore Happiness and its causes & the design and construction of a portable self-powered cinema (The Happiness Pod) to screen the films and tour them through regional Tasmania & online.
- Inter-generational project where artists will lead a group of elders and youths from Finders Island to create video artworks that explore the question ‘what gives you a rush of blood?’
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has in the last year, grown its subscriber base to 72,000, its broadcast audience to 2.49 million and grown revenues to over $23 million. Imagine how much greater an impact the further development of their digital technology and electronic communication will have on the growth of their brand.
- Having developed a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, MSO now need to develop strategies to enable tailored marketing campaigns targeting very specific groups of ticket buyers and build audiences’ participation & loyalty. The Geek would contribute to a strategy around a wider audience which does not currently attend MSO concerts. Social media and digital marketing tools such as QR codes are spaces which require more reflection and strengthening.
- The MSO’s core content (orchestral music dating back centuries) has stood the test of time, and MSO has already started exploring how digital technologies can augment existing practice. Twitter at the Bowl saw the MSO tweet conductor Ben Northey’s commentary for Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream during the performance, and there is a n openness to explore what additional engagements MSO’s audiences might enjoy. Ping Online is a remote education project enabling Victorian school students in regional areas to stream lessons and concerts featuring MSO musicians.
- With new staff at the helm, it’s a good time for a refreshing review of the organisation as a whole.
Outback Theatre For Young People (OTYP) has had to adopt many new ideas in the last few years to achieve sustainable growth, operating 350km from our central office, isolated communities and limited resources. OTYP offers a geek the chance to design work for and with young people, explore the artistic potential of digital media and interactive performance and learn about rural and regional arts.
- The company’s IT arrangements are somewhat “higglety pigglety” with an antiquated desktop holding the accounts, a laptop for the Creative Producer and staff using personal laptops for their projects. Apart from simply upgrading hardware they need a way to keep information central, share resources, programs and materials, calendars , photos and plans, and need to create systems to make sure all work created on personal computers comes back to the company archives.
- Their current website caters for adults seeking information but provides almost nothing for the young people taking part in projects or looking for opportunities in youth theatre or to connect with each other. OTYP need better ways for young people to have input in the company’s activities, where they work (separated by many hours drive) and the type of work they do. A digital and social media presence poses unique problems for a youth company, they need to negotiate the laws and ethics of working with young people through online interfaces and find tools to engage our young people in a safe environment which encourages positive interactions between participants and denies access to unauthorised users.
- The 2010 season includes an ambitious agenda of integrating digital arts practice with contemporary, collaborative youth theatre.
- an interdisciplinary work sees young people include digital art in an interactive, processional performance designed to give their community a new engagement with the cultural and physical spaces of their town.
- another will bring young people in the regional town of Griffith together with young people in Western Sydney to create a joint work, using digital media to connect these groups, separated by geography and culture.
- simultaneous events in Griffith and Sydney will see performers filmed and transmitted in real time to venues 750km away, and projected such that the audience can see and performers interact with them.
Pvi Collective program a range of activities & residency opportunities for the interdisciplinary and live arts sector under the roof of a 2 storey old school, cia studios in Perth. As principal tenants at cia, their mission is to provide a creative home to artists whose practice sits on the edges of definition. since 08, they have been establishing a collegial work environment where artists can skill share, engage in critical peer support and create new work by encouraging rigorous approaches to researching, developing and making work.
- pvi propose to work intensively with a geek over a 12 month period on developing & implementing a range of digital strategies for increasing connectivity between artists / audiences and cia residents engaged in interdisciplinary arts sector. Including:
- a national residency program for artists, including the provision of fellowships, thinkers in residence & research interrogation services. In fact, the Geek would become cia’s inaugural thinker in residence for 2011/12.
- the 2nd national symposium on live art & tactical media ‘this is the time… this is the record of the time’ hosted at cia during nov 2011 with critical discussion panels & off-site satellite events to include multiple off-site participants.
- problem solving our research interrogator residency model, whereby resident artists are allocated a senior international practitioner to interrogate their working methodologies whilst in-residence.
- monthly mixer nights and discussion platforms which facilitate dialogue & creative feedback around practice and projects taking place at cia.
- the implementation of expanded website features as a means to connect activities within the building to interstate / international peers & audiences.
- from 2011 the cia office will be reconfigured to allow indy companies a shared admin base to work from. The intention is to provide a collegial atmosphere which facilitates knowledge / skill sharing as well as admin / technical resources.
- their questions include:
- how do we nurture a creative home beyond the building for artists to feel part of?
- what digital strategies could be implemented to help us expand cia services on limited resources?
- how do we maximise connections between shifting practises that occur in the building?
- how do we continue to develop relationships post artists residencies at cia?
- how do we develop an online distribution portal for artwork created in the building?
Three months ago Queensland Ballet’s server crashed giving them a new appreciation of IT and new technologies. They openly admit that they don’t know what they don’t know and need a ‘digital guru’ to take a good honest look at what they currently do in marketing, education and on stage, listen to what they may like to do, and help them work smarter and use the array of digital tools and technologies available. There’s even a commitment to continuing this investment into future years to work on longer term digital projects.
- They would like a Geek to work with them to navigate through an audit of current systems and processes in order to identify the most appropriate way forward for the management of QB’s IT systems. They believe they should be moving to a managed network service arrangement rather than simply phoning the IT guy when something stops working.
- QB has a fan base on Facebook but don’t twitter and need help to devise an integrated social media strategy and technically interlink our use of the different communication tools as effectively as possible. They’re open to ‘shaking up’ conservative thinking about classical ballet by utilising platforms like a social media widget, iPhone and Facebook applications and viral campaigns.
- They want their Geek to assist with an audit of our website to make the site more user friendly and intuitive, interactive and interesting. They have lots of ideas regarding how they might use video to engage and attract non-traditional ballet patrons including interviews with dancers and staff, behind-the-scenes videos, documentaries and on-tour videos. But they don’t know how to do it. QB is 50 years old and has built a significant repertoire of ballets and would like to scope a project to inform the steps required to build this library. They currently have no education programs online. How can they make a teacher’s job easier?
Thrice-awarded ABIA’s Small Publisher of the Year, Scribe Publications is extremely curious about the direction book publishing is heading. A year into their digital experiment, e-books of new releases and some backlist are for sale through a range of domestic and global outlets. Early experience is helping them build a picture of reader habits for their sort of books in an emerging market.
- Some of their practical achievements have forced them to work in ways that don’t suit their do-it-yourself ethos; they need a Geek to bring those skills in-house. Challenged by the technical difficulties of publishing to new platforms (iPhone and iPad and the new eBook platform Book.ish), they outsourced app and website design to local developers, while technical tasks such as file conversion are done by suppliers in Canada and India.
- Creators like Melbourne-based Scribe author Max Barry are challenging them to rethink what they publish, and whether to explore web-apps and transmedia products. His latest book, Machine Man, scheduled for August 2011, was written as a real-time serial that was pushed, one page per day, to the mobile devices of 3000 subscribed readers, and included reader-suggested plot twists and scientific expertise via blog and Twitter feedback.
- Max has a great online presence, but for others, discoverability is a huge problem. They would like advice about tapping into international networks to build direct relationships online with readers, and raising the profiles particularly of emerging authors. They want to explore a dedicated e-commerce facility for Scribe, and perhaps for some authors’ sites.
Established in 1973, Sydney Youth Orchestras (SYO) is the premier youth orchestral training organisation in NSW with over 400 members aged between 6 and 25 years of age across 11 ensembles. Providing a unique training program of weekly tutorials, workshops and rehearsals culminating in public performances, Sydney Youth Orchestras moulds many of Australia’s future musicians. Performance activities include large public events, a subscription concert series, Toddlers Proms and regional touring.
- The Geek will arrive following the company’s recent investment in a new CRM with a proposed changeover of databases scheduled for January. This system will streamline many of the company’s activities from the audition processes, donor and sponsor stewardship, promoting SYO’s services to regional and metropolitan presenters through to target marketing of performance and workshop programs. SYO has also committed funds in 2011 to a new web site design and web management system but needs the expertise to set up and engage in best practice social networking whilst ensuring effective time resource management.
- By improving its digital media content, the company would develop stronger and more effective communication channels with audiences creating an interface that would inform artistic programming. With recent changes in artistic programming, there is a commitment to introduce digital and multi-media elements to acoustic concerts, to investigate new venues and to trial different performance formats. Traditional pre and post concert talks could be replaced or complemented by online introductions to the performances, YouTube postings and post performance forums involving young players and audience members in online chat rooms.
- SYO also aims to build its regional focus in NSW. With a regional touring program, the addition of pretour online tutorials, forums and interactive follow up to the tour workshops would enable them to provide best practice music tuition for workshop participants and to maintain contact with prospective future members for the orchestras.
The Border Project is an emerging Key Organisation of the Australia Council’s Theatre Board that is committed to exploring the future language of live performance and engaging a diverse audience including many who do not traditionally go to theatre. Their company is founded on exploring new ideas and processes to create exciting, playful works that can engage audiences in new ways.
- Some recent work has been of a geeky bent – they collaborated with media artist Matthew Gardiner to create a wireless controller device called the Zigzag. The Zigzag, like a Wii remote, responds to movement – it glows different colours when rotated and allows an audience to control aspects of a performance. They will be creating two new works in 2011 that continue to use this interactive technology.
- They have a genuine interest in new technologies and the potential of online and social interactions in creating exciting art. However as a small emerging company, they have had limited resources and not yet developed the online presence or IT infrastructure that they need at this stage of our development. They actually don’t even have more than a holding page on their website right now, relying on a Facebook page for online promotion. They also have a range of general IT and operational needs that a Geek could help create and implement such as: a streamlined audience database; a regular e-newsletter; short video clips to promote work online; and regular updating of both website and social networks.
- They have specific audience development and artistic programming needs that relate to how they can interact with audiences outside of performances. They have an interest in creating an online space that can provide both a new method of creative research and development, and a new way of interacting with and building audiences. This space would be an online conversation with The Border Project, through connecting text, video, image and sound, creating an associative network of materials clustered around particular ideas (e.g. wefeelfine.org and Flipboard on the iPad, which both have sophisticated GUIs that pool data from other online media).
Attention Geeks: please make it clear in your application if you are targeting any of these organisations.
Just a headsup too; I’m on holidays until Jan 17th so don’t call the office if you have a question about applying. Either check this post for FAQs (in the post or comments) or email me.
Merry Christmas! (or, as they say where I come from, Nadolig Llawen ;)