Blogging, Podcasting & the Arts

June 12, 2007

Today’s workshop on Blogging, Podcasting and the Arts hosted by Poetry Ireland and delivered by myself and Conn was great fun. There were nearly 40 people in attendance in the theatre at the College of Surgeons who waited patiently while every piece of technology available failed to work for us in the 30 minutes proceeding the event. All of the sites we wanted to use were initially blocked by the college’s firewall and when we got them up and running the projector died, then we lost internet access again and finally, 15 minutes later than scheduled, we were up and running.
Conn and I did a whirlwind introduction to what’s a blog? and what’s a podcast?; where you can find them and more to the point demonstrated the ways in which artists and arts organisations are embracing these platforms for both the production and promotion of work. I also took the opportunity to introduce TED and used Rives’ If I Controlled the Internet as my opening salvo.
We had a number of bloggers in attendance including Omani, Dermod (who’s review of the Crucible at the Abbey is number 1 in Google right now); ; Bernie McAdam; Deirdre Eustace (who is looking for some help to move to wordpress so if anyone is inclined – please drop her a line); Eoin Purcell (and there were others – so if you were in attendance today please leave a comment and I’ll include a link to your blog here).
Lots of interesting issues came up including the challenges of how to fund artists wishing to create and present new work using these platforms; how publishing online impacts (positively and negatively) on offline book and journal publishing and how bloggers can spread word of mouth about your work if you’re not within the reach of the Irish Times. I think if Conn and I tried to do anything it was to instil a sense of confidence in people to give stuff away.because what goes around comes around.
The full list of sites and resources we used (and a few more besides) are listed on this page and I’m looking forward to progressing many of the topics raised in future workshops.
This was the first time Conn and I had presented together. We designed the session via email and over the phone and several people said to me that we looked as though we had been doing this for ages (is that a good thing?). I guess we know each other’s work and interests from blogging and I’m thrilled that translated into “real” life this morning. I’m looking forward to catching up with what other bloggers made of the day and if there are suggestions, comments or ideas for future workshops please do get in touch!

10 People reacted on this

  1. I am sorry to have missed your workshop but am grateful for for all this information and for mentioning my blog
    I’m trying to encourage individual dance artists to adopt the blog format for their web presence as it seems more appropriate to our flexible and provisional processes than the more static and authoritative architecture of a website.

  2. Fearghus – I totally agree with you about the format and what I hope we conveyed yesterday was how simple it is to get up and going with a blog (the firewall behaved itself and I put a blog up in under 5 minutes. But maybe there’s also an opportunity here to get the dance community together to talk about their work and virtual spaces? We should talk!

  3. I thought the idea of a dance company using a blog to show a portion of their work was great. As someone who isn’t used to going to dance, I would love to be able to see a snippet of the performance to whet my appetite and persuade me to develop a new habit.
    It was great to be in a room with so many creative people. If only I knew who they were, so that I could plan to meet them another time. As it was, I met Dermod and have since read one of his theatre reviews: it was inspiring. I met a poet who shares a surname with me, and whose work I will be looking up via Google, because I suspect she doesn’t yet have a blog. I met Jane O’Hanlon, Education Officer from Poetry Ireland, and had a quick chat with her about whether there has been any poet in residence in Irish prisons.
    I hope there were a few really influential people in that room because there is such potential in blogging the creative process: I am starting to blog the process of writing a stage play with one of my sons – a father and son venture into the world of creating drama and sharing the challenge as we go along with the work.
    I’m thinking about how to blog a literary festival, how to pull a team of bloggers together, collaborating with the organising committee at a sufficiently early stage to play a part in engaging the potential audience.
    This whole medium could have been invented specially for artists, so tuned is it to the iterative style of artistic labour.
    When I get my head around podcasting, I’ll have a feast of ideas, and festering projects.
    You done great, you two. Now the baton has been passed over. It’s up to us to branch out.
    For what it’s worth, I think you should repeat the same process again in three months time. Drip feed the artists. I bet many of us would return to the scene of the crime.

  4. Omaniblog is quite right. I don’t yet have a blog but I’m seriously considering one.
    I also thought it was a fascinating day and a really well put together presentation – thanks very much Annette and Con. One thing that struck me forcibly was that a blog would be a great way of forming a community and for writers used to working on their own yet craving the sense that they aren’t in a vacuum a blog could be a space to exchange ideas about the process.
    My head is buzzing …
    Thanks again

  5. Thanks Nessa and Omani – I have been thinking about running this workshop for such a long time it’s great to get this kind of feedback. I think we really touched on something significant here with arts organisations and we need to do more of it, so if you have other ideas about how we can “spread the word” then let me know. Nessa – you’re absolutely right about the value of a blog as a community building tool and if you start one, let me know so I can link to you (and good luck with the post doc stuff..)

  6. Nessa,
    Yes. Let’s do it.
    There is one good blog I know, written by Ros Barber (you can find the link from my blog – I don’t yet know how to import a link direct to her blog.) She’s born in USA, living in UK, a successful poet who’s writing a verse novel about Marlowe. She writes well about the life of a a writer. You might enjoy reading her blog.
    Now I want to read some of your poetry.

  7. Hi there
    It would seem that setting up a blog is indeed very easy (err, I think so)… So now lets see how we can use it to community build.
    I’m involved in a new project aimed at creating a network for women writers in Ireland who are from new and immigrant communities (and putting them in touch with ‘established’ Irish women writers) and we’re just in the process of contacting the various immigrant / new community groups around the country. It struck me that a dedicated blog might be a very good place to start a conversation and keep it going. I’ve set up the blog at and posted our initial invite on it. I plan to follow up with further postings and encourage those who get in touch with us to use it too.
    I’m also now wondering about whether I could use the blog to relaunch Electric Acorn, an literary ezine I edited between 1997 and 2003 and which got a little sidelined when I was doing my PhD. Recently, the whole discussion forum side of it got completed spammed and is unusable so I’m wondering whether I could set up a blog to replace it. I could include discussions about writing … samples of stories and poems and feedback on word in progress.
    Does anybody think this could work?

  8. Hi Nessa – I think a blog would be a perfect outlet for both of those activities (will it be in English or several languages?). The spamming issue is always there but wordpress has several features that help you manage those and you can always moderate comments so that you weed out the spammers before they hit!

  9. Nessa,
    I agree with Annette that a blog would be ideal for re-launching Electric Acorn. While I was looking for some of your poems, I found it and wondered what happened to it. I’ve been thinking of setting up a blog for new Irish writing, along the lines of what you seem to have been doing. So, if you’re open to a collaboration, I would love to explore this with you and others at greater length when you’re ready.
    I’ve been meaning to find out what exists already on-line for new Irish writing. I think there might be something out of Galway, but I forget where I heard something about that.
    Also I’d like to know more about the history of Electric Acorn and what you learned from running it.
    I’m so impressed with you blog for women’s writing. I left a comment there.

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