The second Preston Tweetup took place on Monday 27th July 2009 at the New Continental. Blog Preston was hosting the event again, with help from They Eat Culture, and it was a relative success.Advertisement
We managed to attract a few people from arts organisations, artists and the bit of the council responsible for the arts. More importantly, we attracted some talented and interested people who for 45 minutes to an hour put their minds to work on how we can support the arts in Preston.
The general theme was that the arts is doing okay at the moment but doesn’t enjoy the same profile, funding or support as sports does in Preston. How could we raise it to an even keel? We felt that there was lots going on with the arts but that it was often under the radar in Preston.
The Preston Tringe Festival is a good idea. It’s been going strong, attracting decent crowds but when asked who knew about it – only a few hands went up, and they were people I would expect to know about it.
So, promotion is a key thing. How can we let people know about the arts? One great idea that came out of the evening was to create one single website that was a hub of events happening in Preston, and anyone could submit their event to the site and be listed. No marketing crap, just a community-based events website.
The other idea was that there needs to be more participative art around the city, especially with Preston Guild approaching. One person at the event spoke about their friend who did interactive art installations and they’d done one where if you move your hand in front of a screen it set off a virtual firework on a big screen – so if loads of people jumped and waved around you got a huge firework display. How cool would that be on the flag market?
Another idea was to reward those who attend arts events regularly. Taking the ‘Costa Coffee’ concept of attend six events and get the seventh free. But who would subsidise this? Well, surely the council. We pay our council tax and some of it has to be put into the arts.
A final thought is where is Preston Arts Association in all this? Hardly anyone at the event had heard of them, their website is awful and apparently they’ve held an arts festival for the past however many years. It was news to us.
Let’s dust off the arts, let’s make it more participatory and let’s get new media involved to help raise the profile of the arts online. It can be done.
You can read the wiki with all the ideas from #prestontweetup and for a limited time see the twitter messages from the evening. The next Preston Tweetup will be in the autumn.
Image credit to James Brunton, 23rd Parrallel.