Report from Shift Happens

shift (26 of 40)

The other week I attended Shift Happens, an arts/digital conference at York Theatre Royal.

In short, it was good and I got a lot out of it. I decided not to sit there making copious notes as I did at SXSW, but instead let things wash over me a little more. I tweeted the odd point with the Meshed Media Twitter account but, with the benefit of a couple of weeks to let things settle, here are a few thoughts:

  • I was already aware of the sorts of things Hide & Seek get up to, but it was interesting hearing Alex Fleetwood talking about the business aspects of what they’re doing – the idea of selling access to their network of contacts, especially.
  • Rob Colling‘s talk was essentially an advert for video subtitling but it was fascinating, introducing me to something quite big that I really hadn’t considered before
  • DK from Mediasnackers started the day off on a lively footing. I’d heard he was a good speaker and reports were right. Good to catch up with the guy too
  • Lyn Gardner from the Guardian gave a great talk about how blogging has affected how she works
  • Toby Coffey spoke about what the National Theatre are up to. It’s always interesting seeing what the organisations with the bigger budgets get up to and looking at what can trickle down to smaller orgs.
  • Kit Monkman from KMA and Georgia Rakusen from Haus Projects interested me in more of a business-y way than a content way, in the sense that I’m interested in how they pull their projects together, rather than what the projects themselves are.
  • Sarah Ellis from Apples & Snakes (a client of mine) talked about how they’d started to develop digital projects, working up from basic principles and giving ideas time to gestate. She also  announced the launch of Journey Poems

A few criticisms (in the interests of rounded reportage):

  • The most common gripe was that we were herded around a bit, constantly being told of the great time pressures and how important it was to wrap up our chats and get back into the theatre
  • It didn’t help that a few panels felt unecessary (to me at least). For example, the link-ups with Australia and San Francisco added little and the talk about Envirodigital wasn’t quite what I’d paid the entrance fee for (not saying it wasn’t interesting though – click the link and have a look).
  • At these things the interesting people in the seats are always going to outnumber the interesting people on the stage. Other than allowing us to mill about with some food and a drink there were no events/activities to facilitate people mixing up and meeting others. Not a gripe specific to this event but maybe something to consider

Overall, it was well worth the ticket price and there’s a good chance that, if it’s repeated next year, I’ll be there.

shift (12 of 40)

Pics by Tom Rhodes Photography (also on Flickr)

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

2 replies on “Report from Shift Happens”

Comments are closed.