Sunday, 16 August 2009

London, 2009 Week One

Trafalgar Square

Yesterday, Saturday, the woman on the Plinth in Trafalgar Square looked a little forlorn. Who can blame her. The square, once awash with at least 200o people had 'been cleared' courtesy of some English pluty voice who announced we would all need to leave.

And everyone did. Can you believe that! They just got up and quietly moved away, including me, who decided an international incident was best avoided especially as the crowd was already a bit full on for my jet lag.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but register a brief Wat Tyler moment - why sodding should I - isn't this one of the prime pieces of international public space! Haven't a million people - minimum - demonstrated here - from Chartists to the Poll Tax! How can it be cleared and then re-opened half an hour later as an event space, provided you pay your entrance fee.

What event? Absolutely no sodding idea - seemed to involve a lot of outside TV cameras - and a whole bunch of fit young men clambering over some kind of dance obstacle course- but in the end - who cares? What happened to my magic moment saying hallo to the lions, and the solitary Plinther!

London, GLAM,2009
That said, it is just lovely to be back in London. I arrived Friday. This week is full on with meetings galore with the London GLAM world. My self proclaimed research frame is easily told :

" I can see what you are doing with your online properties, but, by definition, I cant see why you are doing it - the strategy question; and how you are doing it - the operational question.
The Dance Card
I am hoping to put the answers into a bit of a frame and then see what common reference points there are. Current candidates, all of who have been incredibly generous setting up meeting times, include, The British Library, The British Museum, Tate Gallery, V&A, and the Imperial War Museum. I am also taking a day trip down to Brighton to talk to people at Culture24, as well as meeting some really interesting people doing digital in the arts and cultural space.

In a week or so, I head to Edinburgh and try another set.

Two themes?
And of course one of the common themes I want to explore is "what does user participation and user partnerships' mean?" And, while we are at it, " if there is the potential to build a rich and compelling digital public space, then what is the role of the GLAM sector in making this happen?"

More on this as the week proceeds.


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