Friday, 21 September 2012

Old soundscapes and new business landscapes

I was away with the day job last week but was interested to hear on the radio the ‘sonic tribute’ to the closing of Bush House in central London, the home of the BBC World Service for so long. It was eerily fascinating – almost like being inside the mind of the composer – or perhaps I should say compiler.  With soundscapes now featuring regularly in art galleries it set me thinking about the interconnectedness of arts, crafts and other disciplines. 

They say as one door shuts, another one opens, and the closing of Bush House was linked to a piece of better news for all of us in the original Doctor Who generation:  the re-opening of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in response to the advance of the digital age in music and art. The Radiophonic Workshop will doubtless return to being a leader in using electronic technology to push forward innovation in music.  In the same way today saw a fascinating crossing of cultures in the Crafts Council’s Assemble 2012 event. 

Alas I wasn’t able to go, but from the resulting Tweets it seems to have opened the doors to a vibrant cross-fertilisation of ideas.  Talks ranging from ‘The Craft of Surgery’ and ‘Embroidered Engineering’ to ‘Biomaterials and Future Making’ have given participants from many disciplines an opportunity to step out together along new and innovative paths. 

At the same time, the Crafts Council is examining collaboration as a means of creating monetary value for makers, through its brief but pointed exhibition ‘Exploring Craft and Luxury’.  It’s on for the next few days at the Design Junction as part of the London Design Festival.  Monetary value is not usually the starting point for craft makers.  But would it really hamper our creativity if we took a step back and thought first about markets and creating a viable promotional niche? 

Like artists and photographers (including those capturing stunning images for Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012),  we makers start with ideas, colours, inspiration and materials, and work hopefully towards selling our work.  We don’t have to cross the divide totally and look solely at the monetary aspects, but matching a little more commercial sensibility to our creativity might enable more of us to continue doing the things we love, even in a recessionary economic environment. 

The occupations of those in the FTSE’s 2012 list of ‘100 Women to Watch’ in business, compiled with Cranfield University, demonstrate women’s abilities to look ahead, foresee risks, manage complex finances, communicate views and meanings, and to extract the best from themselves and from others. Craftswoman or businesswoman, those talents are within all of us. Here’s wishing you a week in which you can use all of them to their full potential.

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