Year of Conversation

We’ve just reached the Easter end-of-season break for producers at SoundArt Radio 102.5FM, and I don’t mind saying it’s been a bit of a marathon for me in between my existing 2 day jobs and freelancing. I’m taking the summer out and time for a break until the Autumn now.

However, I’m really pleased with this season of Gene Pool: Digital Culture shows, which in 2012 have included sound artist, Stephen Cornford and the AudioGraft 2012 Festival (which included an interview with Max Eastley among others).

I became interested and active in developing new approaches to audiences for artists and culture organisations, and as part of that pulled together “Beyond The Stage” a Skype discussion with Joumana Mourad of iJAD Dance Co. and John Darvell of Nocturn Dance – both live performance companies who are exploring and utilising digital means to create new experiences for viewers.

Shows on 3D Printing and Gamification covered new and emerging techniques and technologies, while my final two shows brought Arts & Business‘ Digital Overlord and Guardian contributor, Patrick Hussey, plus Rewired State director, Emma Mulqueeny and developer, Jim Anning in to talk about future trends and educational initiatives. All busy people who totally know their eggs, and yet are willing to spare time and go out of their way to have a conversation for broadcast. Something I’ve never asked my guests is: why bother?

Gene Pool‘s a good and sympathetic show, well produced and framed, but in part, I think the transition from being podcast-only to also being aired on a community radio outlet legitimises the whole enterprise. Albeit in reality the downloads of these shows have such a very long tail, they go on to vasty exceed the live ‘to air’ listenership.

The other thought that occurs to me is the wider social impact of Twitter as a tool for attracting people who you want to have a conversation with. At an Arts & Business workshop some time ago I remember hearing Patrick Hussey speak and being impressed by his grasp of the rapidly moving strands of digital culture and how one could make use of them. At the end of his talk he invited everyone to follow him on Twitter “If you’ve got a question, you can talk to me – I’ll talk back”. Somehow this stuck in my mind as a moderate “ahah” moment. You mean, you can collect/follow a group of experts who generate and distribute information you find interesting, and then just say “hi, can you help me with …” and they might reply ? Yes, indeed.

Conversation of this sort and the opportunities it generates will surely define the decade. Now I think of it, this very conversation is what Gene Pool is part of and has been for it’s 6 year existence. I often find myself preparing guests for their interviews by saying “it’s just a conversation”, by which I mean to emphasise the two way approach that I have in mind. It’s the content that we present which is the main point, not the witty on-the-spot questioning of guests.

Gene Pool is now available on a whole range of distribution platforms, check them out if you feel so inclined:

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