Completed the first weekend of creative walks, content gathering for Walking Wiltshires White Horses.
The challenge of outreach and going beyond the comfort zone
Engagement: all the people who showed for the Creative Walk at Westbury White Horse were up for taking part and all contributed enthusiastically. Most were already known to either me or Ali. Even the person who seemed most sceptical was keen to share her thoughts as a sound recording at the end of the walk. Those who had smart devices used them, so far only in addition to my self and Ali one sharing via Flickr..two sharing via Facebook. Having got people this far it seems to make sense to them but prior turning early interest in to participating walkers is a challenge.
Sunday, no new walkers, only Jo from DOCA. Devizes as the centre of this should have generated the most creative walkers, and even though there were other activites on and the weather was poor. there were no local walkers. Neither the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes orDOCA delivered and the networking efforts of the County Art service had not been able to turn interest into action. The walk steward from the Museum was late, poorly briefed and unable to carry the stewarding responsibilities.
This generated much discussion on the engagement strategy. The Museum staff do not seem to understand the project or to get the target audience, responsibility is being subcontracted and the management line is unclear. The creative element in particular seems hard for them to grasp…brochures for the local art trails and trails of artists studios are in the museum but have not been contacted for this project. Its not simple a matter of capacity it seems like they are working within their comfort zone on a project that requires us all to be pushing our limits. The carnival people have quickly grasped the silk painting element but have not really got a handle on the social media activity as feeding creative work as as a creative activity in itself. Communicating this is hard and I do not feel the message gets through to potential participants.
Communicating directly to artists and people actually doing the walk directly is effective and there is considerable interest bubbling here. Many sound artist locally and internationally expressing an interest. We need to be able to speak directly to artists and potential walkers at the earliest opportunity. We need to communicate more effectively with those who are the first contacts for interested people.