Category: News

News

Future Views toolkit

 

The Future Views toolkit is now ready for you!

Future Views is a forward-looking research project, providing tools to help imagine the next generation of cultural learning.

Royal Opera House Bridge, Artswork and Festival Bridge are working together with Cultural Education Partnerships across the South East. They commissioned us to organise a series of discussions and create a toolkit, to explore how emerging technologies, organisational behaviours and critical trends in the world might shape cultural learning in a local context.

We used processes inspired by Design Thinking and Speculative Design to create tools that are rooted in reality whilst unleashing imagination about the future. We worked with groups of young people and experts in four locations, and in discussion groups online, to explore big questions about making and consuming culture, learning, and working in the future. This process produced general and local findings, suggesting paths to preferable futures in terms of creative, cultural and digital learning.h local

The Future Views Toolkit is now available to any cultural learning partnerships to help them run a Future Views workshop and to plan their own local ‘route map to the future’. We are also facilitating workshops for local cultural learning partnerships across the South East, supporting young people and adults together to envisage the future of creativity and how they might collaborate to make a thriving creative place.

Blog

Flow Sustainable Art Award

Last week, I had an enjoyable afternoon judging the Flow Sustainable Art Award for a student graduating from the Wimbledon Master of Fine Arts course. The award was for a student who could demonstrate commitment to art practice that engages with ideas that help people and planet thrive. Last year there were 12 applications, and this year only 4, which made my task easier. I don’t think this generally corresponds to a drop in interest in art geared towards big ecological challenges, but was probably due to other factors such as stretched resources to put in a pitch for the award. 

Ines M. Ferreira (Inês M. Ferreira) was the recipient of the award, and she will come and spend a day or two with us at Flow later in the summer, shadowing or working on a particular project. 

Below are the statements of all four who applied, starting with Ines.

My practice forwards proposals on the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, which focuses on the symbiotic relationship between man and nature as culture, but it doesn’t ignore the complexities of interconnecting socio-political systems, may they be inherent to art itself or in the real world. I explore the local en global, by articulating how local harmful practices to the planet have an impact in the loss of an ecological way of life, which affects the planet as a whole. My work also embodies the ethos of its critique by using recycled metal, as a way of counter-acting harmful mineral extraction.

Qianqian Cai

My creative practice focuses on reconstructing a harmonious existential relationship in the context of time, imbues the most ordinary events or objects with a metaphysical and ceremonial sense. Through sculpting time, depicting the inner sense and exploring the authentic self, my artwork shifts the narrative past into an introspective present, makes the spectators reconsider their existential relationship with the other things around.

Poetic harmony and mysterious romanticism are the aesthetic foundation in my practice, which is influenced by the anciently oriental philosophy about creating a balanced world of mutual tolerance, respect, and appreciation.

Cara Jean Flynn

The natural world is my source of inspiration, focusing on the orders and structures within it, as well as searching and synthesizing new ways to redefine our relationship with nature.

This incorporates the sustainability and awareness of materials and processes I use and the fundamental ideas behind the work. My aim is to address common misconceptions that nature is an autonomous entity existing independently from the human race. By doing this my aim is to try to understand the human condition within nature and by doing so understand it’s balance of fragility and strength in light of current environmental issues.

Yuting Wang

The main media of my work is oil painting. My work explores the people ‘s destruction of nature and living situations, and how these issues impact people’s psychology and emotions. I also consider how modern technology damages both humanity and the environment as a consequence of post-civilisation. In my painting, I express the post-civilisation scene as a dystopia. I hope to convey an uncanny feeling of the dystopia to remind people of the environmental situation. Through concerning the pollution issues to improve the state of the planet.

News

Flow’s 2016

I’m writing this on the darkest and longest night of the year. It’s a good time as any to reflect on the past 12 months in Flow in the UK. Despite all the challenges in the external world, we’ve had a great year.

Our core team has grown from two (Susanne and Bridget) to three, including Ana Ospina who is our Cultivate co-ordinator. We have worked with some inspiring associates including Anna Husband, Laura Crossley, Jane Ruffino and Devorah Moritz. Over the summer months, we were lucky to have two interns, Fatima Khuzem and Alexandra Bagao, who carried out design projects related to their MA studies at Central St Martins and Ravensbourne (respectively).

We’ve delivered a wide range of talks, training and facilitation sessions, in areas such as Experience Design and Audience Development at Central St Martins, evaluating museum learning at University of Westminster. We delivered training for Guardian staff in narrative theory. We’ve delivered courses for Artswork in making change with digital learning. We’ve run workshops in thrivability and cultural wellbeing at the Ry Folk High School in Denmark (see photo above). We delivered training for cultural professionals in Creative Libraries in Qatar, and also, working with the Science Gallery, trained artists in science engagement in South Korea.

We’ve enjoyed a range of collaborations with universities. For example, we collaborated with Central St Martins’ students on the MA in Narrative Environments to develop narratives and visitor experiences for the new building of the Institute of Physics. We were privileged to be invited by Wimbledon College of Arts to judge the Flow Award for sustainable arts practice, and the awardee was Yussef Agbo-Ola whose artwork is an exciting combination of plant material science, ecological innovation and sculpture.

We continued delivering our contract to co-ordinate and develop Cultivate. This is a creative learning programme across the regeneration area of Nine Elms that stretches from Battersea Park to Vauxhall. It’s been a privilege to have a chance to work with teachers and children across this area. We know that teachers are struggling with workloads and reforms, and dealing with the pressures of a changing place, but we’ve also seen so much resilience and imagination in these schools. There’s a lot to say about this, but will do an update post in the New Year.

We’ve been working with Invisible Dust developing a story of change for their growing organisation, creating evaluation tools and producing a report for the Human Sensor project (link about this here.) With programmes very close to our values, Invisible Dust works with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art and new scientific ideas exploring our environment and climate change.

We are evaluators for a new programme called Arts-friendly Archives (link here), which is led by drama specialist Jefny Ashcroft. Three plays draw on historical archives in Wolverhampton, Dudley and Stratford upon Avon. The project includes training of archivists and targeted audience outreach to engage new creative and diverse users of archives.

Flow also helped the Heritage Lottery Fund review all their processes and marketing materials for their Board and committee recruitment, aiming to increase their diversity and inclusion. See more here.

We also carried out audience research for English Heritage to review all the historical material on their website, including the Story of England.

We concluded our 3 year-long evaluation of the Ashmolean Museum’s Me, Myself and Manet programme, and enjoyed the final project, Beyond the Balcony, led by digital artists brook and black working with Young Dementia UK and MIND. About Me, Myself and Manet here.

We enjoyed working for Royal Museums Greenwich, especially as they are in our neighbourhood. We continued to evaluate the ongoing Travellers’ Tails programme, a major partnership initiative exploring big themes of encounter. More here.

We delivered audience research to inform the National Maritime Museum’s Endeavour project, the development of four permanent galleries, and this included amongst many other activities, researching people’s views on climate change. More about Endeavour here.

In a similar vein, we also carried out research and activity planning for the the Science Museum’s planned Medicine Galleries, including developing plans for being a more dementia-friendly museum.

One of our most exciting and challenging projects this year has been Future Views. This is a forward-looking research project, creating tools to help imagine the next generation of cultural learning in 20 years’ time. Royal Opera House Bridge, Artswork and Festival Bridge are working together with Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEPs) across the South East. They commissioned us to organise a series of discussions and trial a toolkit, to explore how emerging technologies, organisational behaviours and critical trends in the world might shape cultural learning in a local context. The final toolkit will be launched in the Spring. More about Future Views here.

Continuing the future-looking theme, we have recently begun a new role as evaluators for Make Your Future, which is a national programme led by the Crafts Council, connecting traditional craft with digital technologies. It aims to ignite a passion for craft in young people, working with Higher Education Institutions, cultural partners, secondary schools and makers to mash up traditional and digital making skills in the classroom. It will pioneer an approach that strengthens the position of making skills as a cross-curricular bridge in schools, creating new opportunities for work and study in ceramics, metalwork, textiles and digital craft. About it here.

Another project we are proud to support through our evaluation expertise is Amal, supporting Muslim arts and cultures. We are happy to be working on it because it aims to nurture a more cohesive and vital British society, overcoming divisions and misunderstandings, through secular cultural programming. See more here.

We firmly believe in the power of culture to heal divisions and make positive change in communities. It helps places thrive. Through all our contracts, whether training or consultancy, we are slowly and rigorously developing a new framework for planning and evaluation based on this idea of Thrivable Culture. We will be consolidating and sharing this framework more widely and will be looking for partners to help with this. Please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss this or any other project.

 

Surname Africanus play at Wolverhampton Archives, part of Arts-friendly Archives
News

Get involved in Future Views

I’m reblogging this post from the Future Views (link here Future Views) website. We have been commissioned to run this project, and are seeking contributions.

This explains our research design for Future Views, and about how you can get involved in the process. Future Views explores how emerging technologies, organisational behaviours and critical trends in the world might affect young people’s abilities to live productive, creative and collaborative lives up to 2036. 

Our approach is always guided by the theory of Flow, which is that in order to be optimally engaged so that you can learn and flourish, you need the right balance of challenge and support.

Screenshot 2016-06-24 17.38.40

Between now and December 2016 we will conduct research into current and future trends, and run consultation with young people and leaders in each region. Focusing on three Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEPs), in Fenland, Colchester and East Kent we can build a ‘future view’ of each area, which we will use to ask how we can make the best of future changes for CYP, up to 2036, to stimulate the next generation of cultural learning.

Our first step was to carry out background research, and to share papers on three themes:

  • On digital technology (link here On digital technology) in context of cultural learning, and this infographic version (infographic version)
  • On changes in education (link here education) and the wider world that affect children and young people now
  • On living and working in the world, informed by a situation analysis (link here situation analysis) of social, environmental, technological, political & economic, legal and wellbeing-related drivers for change. Over the 6 months, we will refine this as more is known (e.g. outcomes of EU referendum).

If you have time, please do download and read these papers. We are inviting people to submit short pieces we can blog here, or comments, that respond or add to any of the issues raised in these three papers, bearing in mind our core question. You might be a young person thinking about your future, or from one of the three regions, or an adult with a professional or academic interest in these themes. Do get in touch.

Right now we are gathering information about the three local areas, inviting leaders and partners of the LCEPs to share with us their visions and challenges. (If you know these areas of Fenland, Colchester and East Kent, do feel free to give your view in the comments below or by email.)

Screenshot 2016-06-24 17.29.23

Between 28th September and 20th October, we will carry out the youth consultation using a bespoke speculative design toolkit, in workshops with youth arts panels and a school group. In October (Thursday 20th, TBC) we will invite a panel of experts to take part in a discussion event with the young people, which will be broadcast online. The panel will react to the young peoples’ future visions, and the challenges described through our research.

Using all these ideas we will produce a ‘Routemap to 2036’ for each LCEP, which considers how cultural and educational organisations can best collaborate to ensure that all young people will be fully empowered to make, consume, learn about and work in arts and culture right up to 2036. The Future Views toolkit will also be available to download/use online for other LCEPs to replicate the process.

News

Future Views for Flow

We in Flow UK are going through a nicely productive patch, working on some projects that really help us live up to our name – getting us into a state of flow. As well as longer term projects such as the National Maritime Museum’s Travellers’ Tails, the Ashmolean Museum’s community projects around their Manet acquisition, and running the Cultural Education Challenge project called Cultivate, we also have some new projects.

We’re helping the Science Museum develop an activity programme for their new Medicine Galleries, including provision for families, schools, hard-to-reach audiences and people with dementia. We’re evaluating a programme called Arts-Friendly Archives, led by playwright Jefny Ashcroft, working with archives in the West Midlands. We’re evaluating the contemporary environmental art projects, and the organisational development, of the arts organisation Invisible Dust.

One new project that is really exciting is called Future Views. The three ACE bridge organisations Royal Opera House, Artswork and Festival Bridge have commissioned us to carry out a process to imagine the next generation of cultural learning. Working with young people, Local Cultural Education Partnerships and experts in cultural, digital and educational futures, we are using a Speculative Design approach in a series of online and real-world discussions. This will result in a Toolkit that any local cultural education partnership can use to think about the future and come up with a Route Map to 2036. There will soon be a website and Twitter feed about the project, so watch this space.

News

Graphic Information design intern needed

This summer, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we – the Flow UK team – want to offer a paid internship for a talented visual designer who is looking for some developmental experience in the cultural sector. This opportunity could provide you with a stimulating challenge, new contacts and insights, access to innovative models of thinking and material for your portfolio.

Description of the role

Your work would contribute to the visual development of our company, working across a range of projects to ensure our materials are clearly presented and consistent, and that our models are well defined. This may include designing creative tools and resources to use in workshops, and visualising the insights and data we collect. We would also welcome a critical review of our current brand.

Current projects include ‘Future Views’ a speculative design project imagining the future generation of cultural learners; ‘Cultivate’, supporting collaboration between educators, developers and creative practitioners in the built environment within the Nine Elms regeneration area; devising and delivering training materials in Experience Design and Narrative Theory. Other clients include arts and ecology producers Invisible Dust, and several museum and heritage organisations including the Science Museum and the National Maritime Museum.

This is a full or part time paid internship, for up to 10 weeks between June and August, we can offer up to £250 per week including all expenses and VAT.

Flow does not have a dedicated office as we prefer to co-work in various spaces in South East and Central London. We most regularly work in the Members Lounge at the Royal Festival Hall, so we will pay for the successful candidate to become a member, valid for a year. Work hours are flexible and some work may be done at home.

Following the internship there may be further opportunities for freelance work on an ad-hoc basis.

What we can offer

This opportunity would suit a Design-based MA or PhD student or graduate at early career stage, of any age, looking for an experience that gives a chance to shape an organisation that gets people more engaged with arts, science, history and heritage sites. You will benefit from our insights based on decades of experience in the cultural sector, will be able to learn about working with a variety of organisations such as national museums, arts policy bodies and science institutes, and explore new emerging areas of cultural work such as in regeneration areas.

Your skills

The main skillsets for this are:

Design Thinking, and experience of Service Design and Experience Design

Excellent Graphic Design skills, especially diagrams/infographics

Digital skills, for example with WordPress

Writing and editing text

Fluent in English

You will need to have your own access to computer equipment and design software, ideally the Adobe suite. It would also be very useful to have access to Microsoft Word and Excel.

How to apply

Interested applicants should email Hello@flowassociates.com with the subject line ‘Visual Design Intern’ by 6th June. The email should include a link to your portfolio and a cover letter describing your interest in the position, and availability to work in London for several days a week over the summer. We would particularly like to hear what you hope to gain from the role, and what excites you most about the opportunity. We will be holding initial interviews on 9th and 13th June in London.

We are led by our values in Flow – and are committed to equality, social justice and environmental sustainability. We will not discriminate on any grounds.

 

Old_woodland_copse_at_Mossend_Farm_ruins News

Managing Cultivate

Flow has been contracted by Enable to manage an exciting programme called Cultivate. We have been setting up the project for the past 4 months, after consulting and designing it earlier in 2015, and now we’re ready to spread the word.

Cultivate is one of seven ‘Cultural Education Challenge‘ projects around London part-funded by A New Direction. Cultivate has been awarded two year’s funding, matching contributions from Wandsworth Council and Nine Elms developers. Its aim is to create a bridge between the cultural opportunities being created through the regeneration and local young people aged 7 to 19 who would most benefit from them.

As the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank unfolds, a cultural strategy is creating vibrant new venues, creative workspace, public art and festivals. Cultivate will support this work through art and design workshops and hands-on participatory projects. These will raise young people’s awareness and aspiration in relation to creative and place-related study and professional paths.

Cultivate aims to support relationships between this changing area and schools nearby, to nurture quality projects and ensure opportunities to be involved are shared effectively. This will result in a place that is seen as both a cultural destination in the making and a starting point for a future creative generation.

The funding has enabled a dedicated focus on collaboration with developers, cultural organisations and schools to offer: project coordination, quality guidance, evaluation support and relationship brokerage as well as sharing learning and best practice.

Current projects include:

  • Creative Hoarding Project at St Mary’s School, led by artist Orly Orbach and the Pumphouse Gallery, working with cultural consultant DPQ and developer Taylor Wimpey
  • Nine Songs for Nine Elms with Griffin Primary School, led by artist Lucy Cash and Up Projects, working with the Vista Development site and developer Berkley Homes
  • Edible Avenue with St Georges Primary School, led by artists Edible Bus Stop, working with cultural consultant Aida Esposito and developer Vinci St Modwen, related to developments around Thessaly Road and the New Covent Garden Market.
  • Exploring Nine Elms at Chesterton Primary, St John Bosco College and John Burns Primary. This project is not fixed on one development site, but is directly commissioned by the Cultivate team to explore new ideas, build relationships with schools that have been offered fewer projects so far, and trial our planning approach. It is supported by ReachOutRCA to source practitioners and explore study routes and careers through the projects.

Cultivate is led by Enable on behalf of Wandsworth Council and the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership. It is hoped to expand the project into Vauxhall in the near future.

For more information contact Ana Ospina: ana.ospina@flowassociates.com or 077327 87423.

Follow the Cultivate.London website to receive news updates in emails, and follow us on @Cultivate_ldn on Twitter.

News

Summer update

Here’s a quick update on some of our latest projects in Flow UK:

Working for Girlguiding UK to review their framework of outcomes and programmes across all the levels, and develop recommendations for a revised approach

Evaluating the Shuffle Festival, an exciting art, science and placemaking festival in the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Evaluators for Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, as their building closes and planned redevelopments take place.

Working with Wandsworth Arts to develop a creative learning programme about placemaking and design, linked to the major Nine Elms on the South Bank development.

Devising and delivering Lighthouse Songs, enabling Orford and Aldeburgh Primary School children to compose and perform songs as part of a significant concert, celebrating the Orfordness Lighthouse as it comes to the end of its life (due to rising sea levels and erosion). See link here.

 

News

Only Connect

Screenshot 2015-06-25 18.02.40

I’ll be chairing the morning session of Culture24’s conference, Connecting Collections (link here Connecting Collections) at the National Maritime Museum on 29th June. This should be a really stimulating day, as it goes beyond talking about digital tactics, to exploring how best to connect learners with cultural collections and stories. I’ve been chewing on this question since first helping to set up Tate’s website in 1995, when I argued that its structure should reflect needs of audiences (and especially curious, learning audiences) rather than our internal silos. I then worked on digital access to the British Library’s millions of collection items, including the Sound Archive. The British Library is currently doing inspiring work with young people exploring digital rights and democracy, as part of the Magna Carta celebrations. Since setting up Flow in 2006, I’ve worked on a large number of projects exploring ways to engage learners with cultural collections, using digital means, working for many national and regional museums, ACE, English Heritage, the BFI, HLF and more.

More recently, Flow UK has been working on a few projects that continue chewing away at this issue. For example, we conducted the digital strand of the ACE-funded Stronger Together project. This explored how schools and museums could move beyond a ‘vendor’ model of education delivery towards more rewarding co-development of initiatives with richer outcomes for all participants. For the digital strand, we looked at the role digital technologies are playing in museum learning around the world. We then explored how this practice can be incorporated to strengthen partnerships between schools and museums. You can read our report here Stronger Together Digital research

Also we’ve worked with Artswork South East on their initiative, Extending Digital Practice. This included three projects in Eastbourne, Margate and Oxford, drawing together museums/galleries, schools and digital practitioners or agencies to deliver innovative work with young people. As part of our evaluation of these projects, we carried out some background research to:

  • Define what innovative digital practice in learning looks like now in terms of principles and behaviours
  • Explain what initiatives and practice exists already, especially in Cultural Education partnerships, and in the South East
  • Identify any gaps or weaknesses, which could be supported by sharing learning.

You can download the background report on this link 

There’s also a handy infographic (link here) which we commissioned recently condensing some of its key concepts.

FLOW-digital-graphic-WEBdone

 

A quick update: Here are lots of links to good projects and research, from a Digital Learning Network chat about connecting learners with cultural collections.

News

Turning of the year

It’s traditional to write a newsletter or year’s reflection at this time. We had wanted to be a bit less traditional, but there hasn’t been a moment to draw breath. It’s been a really lively Autumn for us here in Flow UK. Susanne Buck joined us in the summer as a new director, bringing some fresh ideas for the future and ways of doing things. We’ve added a few new projects to our portfolio, including:

Working with artist Paul St George on an exciting project for World Heritage Sites

Evaluating a contemporary public art project led by Modus Operandi, for the transformation of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in Oxford

Working with Guerrilla Science on workshops exploring biofuels and seeds in creative ways

Working as part of KCA’s team to develop the heritage aspect of the public programme for the new Crick Institute at St Pancras. This brings together the heritage of several major medical organisations, and will reflect the health-related heritage of the local area.

We’re also still working on two research projects into digital cultural learning, one for Artswork SE, the other for the ACE-funded Stronger Together project. Bridget is coming to the end of her year helping co-ordinate the Maritime Greenwich WHS Learning group.

Flow India has been busy running transformative programmes in schools and museums in New Delhi and Indore. Several projects this term have using contemporary art and local heritage to explore environmental themes such as gardens, trees and water.

New projects are already brewing for 2015. Hopefully, we’ll find time to let you know about them soon.