It’s a year since I started this blog back in November 2010, so I thought it might be a good time to look back on some of the issues I’ve been talking about in the past twelve months and to share my reflections on blogging about/as part of work which is still a relatively new thing for me, and for the field I work in.
There were three main things I wanted to achieve from blogging:
1. To share my experience of the Clore Leadership Fellowship – to encourage other people (particularly from the visual arts sector) to consider applying, and to share some of the opportunities I’ve had to attend conferences and events this year thanks to this marvellous programme, such as this excellent coaching course. I feel really lucky to have the time (and training budget) to attend events (such MMM’s seminar series earlier this year). The Fellowship is coming to an end for me early in the New Year and I’ll be posting about what I’ve got out of it and what I hope to do next – but if you’re interested in the Fellowship then this post outlines my mid-point thoughts and you might find useful the new category of posts bringing together reflections at various points.
2. To connect with other people interested in similar issues – to share ideas and start conversations – many of which have continued offline and led to new projects or opportunities – such as the recent invitation to facilitate a series of workshops in France on the theme of culture as as human right. When I started writing the blog I wasn’t sure what I’d write about – I’ve now begun reorganising the categories and tags so that hopefully it’s easier for the common threads to stand out. Audience engagement (particularly in galleries and art museums, leadership, life/work balance and business models/ funding for arts and cultural organisations form the core of the content although I also write about general arts management and policy issues when I feel I have something to say – such as defending the arts funding system (before the cuts – sadly Jeremy Hunt didn’t read it) or responding to ACE’s policy consultations etc.
3. To experiment with working in a new way – through blogging I hope to share ideas during development and seek other people’s views. In this I’ve been influenced by a great blog I read written by Nina Simon and the process of writing her book about museums in which I participated. This informed my approach to researching and writing an article about user-engagement which was published earlier this year by NESTA. I’m currently using the blog to share thinking (and seek feedback) around my current research project on joint leadership models.
In terms of the experience of blogging – it’s been interesting to keep an eye on how many times a post is read, and this can vary enormously from around 30 to over 300. Some topics (business models, audience engagement, life/work balance) are more popular than other. Twitter is a big driver of readership for me especially when other people tweet about my posts – we’ve now added some buttons to make it easier to share a post with someone else via Twitter, email or some of those other fashionable things.
Initially I wanted to generate comments and conversations, not least because the comments are often a very interesting part of the blogs I read and because one of the reasons I’m publishing these comments or reflections it to hear other people’s views. This hasn’t taken off as much as I had wished – I need to give this some thought. That said, many of the comments I’ve had (including from people I do not know) have been extremely helpful in terms of suggestions and ideas to follow ups – thank you, and please keep them coming.
Anyway, as Xmas is approaching (and it feels very festive as I look out of my office window onto a snowy street-scene in York) and we brace ourselves for the reviews of the year that will soon be in our Sunday papers and on TV, I’ll get in early with a selection of my favourites from blog. If you didn’t catch these posts as they were published, here’s your second-chance and why not test out our new buttons and gizmoes and forward them onto your friends:
- How business models are developing has been one of the main topics I’ve been blogging about including this piece about my ideal business model and a summary of our findings about what makes for a successful business model which I undertook with MMM for the Capital Matters Project.
- Getting to know our audiences better (in the visual arts sector in particular) and how we could engage with audiences in all aspects of running art galleries and museums – to extend audiences, develop a broader, larger advocacy base for the vsiual arts and to generate more sustainable earned income streams – is another topic I’ve written plenty about this year. I even managed to sneak in some asides about what arts leaders can learn from cycling in one post.
- What is means to lead an organisation jointly and what the benefits of collaborative leadership are the questions which are occupying my thoughts currently.
- The joys and challenges of combining parenthood and meaningful employment continues to keep me on my toes – and many of you too judging by the many comments of these posts about working patterns and being a working mum.
- Working out how to describe what I do in a sector which doesn’t value management or managers – well let’s just say it’s a good job I like a challenge!
Thanks for reading, subscribing and commenting – I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions and the next twelve months.