Just thought I’d add a quick synopsis of the first day of the Digital Producers Lab. Please feel free to comment, add links, disagree etc.


To introduce myself - I’m a Producer at Watershed and I’m working closely with Katherine Jewkes and the rest of the NTW team to deliver this programme. My role at Watershed includes delivery of collaborative residencies, labs and International exchanges, which enable exploration of ideas at the juncture of art, culture and technology. (Most of the time) I’m based at Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed’s city-centre research lab that brings together a network of over 180 artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of mobile and wireless media. I have a background is visual art and in my spare time, I also co-produce independent projects as part of the Collect, including writing and performance works, workshops, discussions and micro-funding platforms.  Prior to joining Watershed, I produced projects at Ffotogallery, the national development agency for photography in Wales, and co-curated independent programmes such as the Portable Cinema Project, (a part of The Arcades Project by artist Jennie Savage).


This week we all met for the first day of the Lab. The day was structured around understanding the programme, getting to know each other, and better understanding the process involved in each other’s practice. You can visit our Storify (rounding up tweets from the day) here


The day began at 11am with coffee and welsh cakes at National Theatre Wales’ offices in Cardiff’s beautiful Castle Arcade.  We spent an hour or so running through the programme design and confirmed speakers, which include:


Kate Tyndall, author of Jerwood publication The Producers, Alchemists of the Impossible, on The Role of the Producer

Ian Hargreaves from Cardiff University on Policy and Business Models, he wrote a great Manifesto for the Creative Economy

Juliet Bradshaw of TLT Solicitors on Understanding Intellectual Property

Sarah Ellis of the Royal Shakespeare Company on, Midsummer Night’s Dreaming from a Producers Perspective

Kim Plowright, freelance producer, on Endings

Rachel Coldicott of Caper on Cultural Entrepreneurialism

Seth Jackson of Strange Thoughts on Working with Artists and Brands

And lots more.


After a quick group photo, Katherine and I went on to explain that each each day of the Lab will be a little different, covering different aspects of producing. So, our first day, ‘Setting the Scene’, will be followed in November by:


Day 2: Overview of Producing

Day 3: The Producers Skills

Day 4: Nurturing, supporting and enabling creatives

Day 5: Finding, talking to and looking after an audience

Day 6: Looking to the Future

Day 7: Financing Your Project


By the end of the programme, we hope that everyone will have picked up some new skills and thought a little differently about the process of producing digital projects, as well as becoming part of a supportive network of practitioners.


Next stop was a truly delicious lunch at Madam Fromage, after which the brilliant John McGrath (Director of NTW) cajoled us into taking on a bit of acting, in an attempt to help us get to know each other better. After taking on the roles of Politian’s and TV presenters, it became clear we were all in the right jobs!


The last part of the afternoon was all about our projects. Each person in turn described a project they had produced, covering methods of working, audience, learning points, funding, marketing, value and impact. It was an enriching and enlightening session. Already questions were arising such as:


How do you budget for digital projects? And where’s the money?

Is there a pay off in spending large amounts on marketing?

An experimental project can still be considered successful, even if it economically fails - what are the other success factors?

How can you ensure audiences understand the meaning of works presented in public space? Does it matter if they ‘don’t get it’?

Can digital projects change organisational cultures? Where’s the business model?

Are there things that we can do, to encourage City Councils to be more responsive to digital projects?


I’ll leave it up to everyone involved to post links or share thoughts about the projects they presented.


It was a great start, and we (at Watershed) are really looking forward to welcoming everyone at Pervasive Media Studio in November, and continuing the conversation.

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