Monday, December 31, 2007

New year again

Another busy year awaits me. Already stacks of deadlines loom for various papers and conferences. Part of research being dissemination I can't shy away from these but there never seems to be quite enough time especially as I am about to start teaching significantly more than before. This is all good though - as a researcher I always wanted to feel like my research in some small way might eventually make its way into curriculum and perhaps this year there will be scope for this.

Looking back at my previous two years resolutions some things remain the same:

New Year 05/06

New Year 06/07

1. My PhD is well underway. It is a huge undertaking and is always with me unfortunately I never feel I have enough time to devote to it. My new years resolution in relation to this one is to either get some funding to buy out some of my time and get on with it (I need to think outside the proverbial box on this one) alternatively I need to get into the habit of getting up at 5 a.m (2 hrs before my daughter) and do that everyday. I find the evenings after 9p.m I am just too tired - still enough of this bleating.

2. Networking has gone pretty well this year. My field is expanding. I now keep coming across more and more people who are researching or at least interested in my areas:

a. Gender and entrepreneurship in the Creative Industries
b. Enterprise and entrepreneurship curriculum in/for creative disciplines

Next year (2008) sees the 2nd of the Creative Enterprise conferences here in Birmingham (I'll blog about this in more detail shortly).

3. Blogging - I've done much better in 2007 than 2006 in terms of quantity of postings although had a few wobbles over quality and relevance. For 2008 I guess this blog will continue to evolve. Recently it seems to have turned more into a listings of various conferences and speaking opportunities - I need to have a think about this - interesting or not. To accompany the blog is a Facebook group (which is also under review - (in the way that these things are in a permanent state of review) and earlier this year I began a personal blog where I felt the need to rant about something off topic - here I will shortly be describing my New years plans to reduce my CO2 emissions (ignoring slightly my February trip to NZ).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Challenging gender stereo- types in the work place

Tomorrow I am presenting at the 'Social footprints' symposium at the ICC in Birmingham - this is a free event for Businesses, academics and policy makers to gather and report on various research relating to corporate social responsibility, work/life balance and various other related topics. I am doing a turn:

Challenging Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace; what the soft indicators tell us?

This will be reporting on some research I have carried out over the last couple of years on behalf of the Agender project. Here I have been immersed in the project, from chairing an EU working group looking at 'Women into non-traditional employment' to being part of the UK, specifically Birmingham based, working groups looking at: how we might better support women into some of these roles and as a researcher interviewing the participants throughout the lifetime of the project to capture the: 'soft indicators of distance travelled'. Some of this work has involved a film school, some has looked at construction and sports coaching. Each have their individual characteristics in terms of barriers and opportunities. Interestingly, for me, is that the creative sectors are not so different in terms of their limitations in terms of accessibility and inclusivity.

If I get a chance I'll expand on this in a future post, with a possible glossary of terms for those not fluent is EU speak.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"We're all going to hell in a hand cart"

Today I attended the 'Cultural industries and Climate Change in the West Midlands' event organised by Culture WM.

The scene: 2p.m, The Electric Cinema. Nothing happening, sitting in darkened cinema, other people milling around but no obvious start. 2.30p.m People arrive, sit down at panel arrangement on the stage. So far so strange. But then it started ( I didn't ever manage to get a programme - figured printing it off would just not be right).

Firstly the guy from the Stirrer (again no program no name - I mean he said it once but I didn't hear - so apologies) who introduced the thing and set the tone with: "Not about how climate change will effect cultural sector, more how can the cultural sector effect climate change".

Next he introduced the panel (of four) who each gave a brief talk, the fourth Professor John Thorne from University of Birmingham (I'll look for the URL ) gave a presentation based on his discussion paper. This was followed by questions and some discussion and it was all done by ten to four.

So the headlines for me:

Richard Davis, Director of Marches energy agency started off by suggesting:
"We're on our way to hell in a hand cart". But considered that there were reasons to be hopeful and went on to describe various positive aspects of how companies and countries are responding to Climate change. He suggested that the cultural sector needs to help wean the public off of their addiction and national past time of consumption and shopping.

A lady from the DCMS called Patricia (again issue with programme) spoke about how their main activity now had sustainable development at its heart. She also spoke about some research they had commissioned into what existing research had been carried out. Looking at the effect of climate change on the cultural industries. She also said they'd have some practical case studies of how other cultural orgs had adapted to climate change. She also spoke about how the West Midlands were doing okay and that it was coming from grass roots rather than government.

Next a lady from the National Trust spoke of how buildings were being wrecked by flooding. She suggested that the heritage sector were 'the canaries in the coal mine' as they are having to deal with the effects of climate change everyday. She was the first to mention the idea of a 'Green audit' something it became clear that we should all do.

After a short and funny little film about climate change, Prof Thorne (from the Climate and Atmospheric Research group UOB) gave his key note.

We are in, what he described as, enhanced global warming, experiencing changes at a decadal pace (as opposed to thousands of years previously). Encouragingly countries have been pulling together in the last 12 months. Scientists are now looking to other sectors to get people to change habits. Currently we each generate 10-11 tonnes of CO2 we need to reduce this to 3 tonnes, as our climate gets hotter we'll need to use less water, ultimately we all need to change our behaviour.

Bearing in mind some stuff around Birmingham's master plans I thought this was particularly poignant:

'We need innovation, we need to use our intellect "the green revolution to start here as did the industrial revolution, we need to put the WM at the forefront of this revolution'.

He spoke about how the Cultural industries can help:

-They can help with communicating the issues (e.g. Al Gore film)
-They can pledge to make changes
-They can innovate and be enterprising
-he also spoke about cultural climatology but I didn't quite get that
- He suggested a season of events - cultural events highlighting issues of climate change
- Practical education and training
- Websites
- Price reductions on tickets to theatre, cinema etc for those who cycle, walk or use public transport
-Climate change heritage walks

Following this questions from the audience and some examples of folks building carbon neutral art galleries etc. there were also questions around who funds the innovation?

Anyway this is a very brief round up of some of the points addressed at this event - I have yet to absorb or consider what all this means. Certainly climate change is a huge anxiety, however I felt that the speakers set out some inspirational means that we might all engage in doing something about mitigation and/or adaption.

There are mighty challenges ahead of us all (most of which are only touched upon here) but by the same token there are opportunities to reinvent how we live, do business, curate our exhibitions, play the music we play, light and heat the venues and theatres we use and ultimately lead the way through out practice. There were discussions around green procurement strategies and other funding ideas, but I guess for me I was thinking about how to we teach our students to have this embedded in their thinking? How do SME's and creative entrepreneurs respond and lead on this? How will they need to adapt their practice? and how as a community can we all get each other moving on this stuff?