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Here + There Category

What is Here + There?

by Jo Lansdowne

Bristol+Bath Creative R+D has spent three years supporting work that is rooted in its local creative ecology. We have invested in companies, researchers and ideas that respond to the specific context of our place and shared that work with audiences close to home. Projects supported by us have used locative AR to tell the stories of the Seven Saints of St Pauls and engage communities in their local musical heritage, created collective experiences with spatialised light and sound, re-imagined how Black women are presented in public space through projection mapping and invited communities to co-design the future of their cities.

In our final Pathfinder, we want to explore how being locally rooted also allows us to understand ourselves as part of an interconnected global network. The pandemic has sharply thrown into focus how we continue to foster both local and international communities, even when travel restrictions are in place. Pathfinder Five will connect the creative clusters of Bristol and Bath to an international creative technology conversation through a programme of talent development, research exchange and business development.

This work holds many tensions that we will seek to make visible and actively engage with. Tensions between those with access to more or less resources, between adapting work to other contexts and de-stabilising local economies, between encouraging cultural exchange and avoiding cultural exploitation, between attending to environmental concerns and travelling the world, between encouraging economic growth and ensuring that growth is sustainable. The exploration of these tensions are where the learning and innovation take place, but can be where power imbalances present themselves. We will hold those tensions as research questions in our process and share what we learn.

Future Leaders

Freelancers are the lifeblood of creative ecosystems in cities all over the world; injecting them with new ideas, cross-pollinating projects and responding to emerging opportunities. However, with the least security in the sector, they are also most at risk right now. We believe that developing global perspectives and international relationships brings meaning and opportunity to freelancers, and is of increasing importance in today’s world.

This work builds on the Creative Producers International programme to deliver hybrid labs that focus on individual skills, developing creative freelancers as future leaders. We will connect with young creative professionals in Bristol, Lagos, Durban, Bath and Seoul with sessions that bring together professional development activity, with themes of Future Heritage, Climate Justice and Creative Resilience.

Supported by British Council, this process will research, test, codify and share a new model of international collaboration. It will also generate new creative work to be published and shared via our global networks.

Collective Knowledge Production

We believe that the creative and cultural industries need new models for international working that attend to the possibilities of new technology, evolving audience behaviours, the climate crisis and a changing political climate. We must develop these models through a collective process of thinking and experimentation.

We will explore how to develop locally rooted work while proactively positioning ourselves as part of a global network, ensuring we consider the different perspectives of the network. Building on a long standing partnership with Made Culture we will bring together people from this network with the creative technology sector in Lagos. In a nine month collaborative enquiry, selected participants will contribute their expertise as we explore responsible technology development, future business models and models for international collaboration/touring.

We will programme a monthly seminar series to open out the conversation to the public with an international audience through our Hopeful Futures strand.

Company and Product Development

We are interested in how companies might work internationally, not by developing the most vanilla version of what they do, but instead by ‘de-localising’ an existing piece of work and adapting it for another context.

We will offer a programme of support that helps companies to develop an existing creative technology product for audiences or markets elsewhere in the world. We will also help companies build equitable relationships to other cultural and economic contexts while finding new revenue streams to scale their work. As well as bringing together experts from around the world who understand different markets, economies and models of production and distribution.

Main Image Credit: Meet At the Square, Lagos by Made Culture