Richard White

explorations in place and time


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Isle of Wight Carnival Trail: the experience, first thoughts

A great project. Sandown band and flagsSo many people put so much into it including the New Carnival Company team. All the carnival people I met were so impressed and often really moved that we had taken the trouble and effort to physically walk to them. We brought a gift on so many levels and they really responded to it. I found it a profound and challenging experience with all the beautiful magic that happens when you get a mix of people and a creative effort. The ‘Oh What A Lovely War!’ scene coming in to Sandown set the standard for the weekend. Tremendous.

Leading the samba band

BUT
so many tricks were missed. The Carnival Trail project seemed to have got hijacked by the Walking Festival and that as a result the finale at Ryde was lame and low key…it really needed to be the Bank Holiday Monday or a weekend day at least. Digitally I felt completely alone and unsupported until a key local person appeared but even then she was not online during the walks,; she did not seem to have been properly briefed, roles and responsibilities were unclear. In the development phase the two ‘digital ambassadors’ were a complete waste of space and crumpled under any kind of pressure. They were very poor ambassadors for NCC and useless in the roles assigned. Existing NCC social networks were underexploited, the flickr feed still has not been associated with the NCC website, despite a brilliant collection of images; the same goes for twitter, and soundcloud.¬† The importance of the Mission Control¬† role was really underlined and I have learned that this needs to be clearly stated as a project requirement. The biggest sadness I have is for the facebook page which in the period leading up to the walks was really hot and peaked with over 1000 reach on the last day…its been in steady decline since. If ever there was a vehicle for continuing engagement with the carnivals and carnival heritage on the Isle of Wight it is this.

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NCC should have got stuck in with the Carnival Assocs using these platforms and piggy backed the ‘carnival island’ proposal on the back of this ‘new’ communications technology and the Carnival Trail. What appeared to be willful technophobia and the joking refusal to engage with it, was frustrating.

We all worked very hard to create a wonderful gift for all the committed carnival people, they responded in spades. The challenge is to build on that using all the forms we have found to be effective. New cultural knowledge is digital as well as analogue, flags and carnival. facebook and twitter!