The Live Audit – Scotland’s hubs

In May 2016, Creative Dundee and Creative Edinburgh co-produced Mass Assembly, a one day forum aiming to bring people from rural and urban places together to explore the future of collective working. You can find out more about the event and watch the presentations over here, and read our reasons for running the session here.

Over 130 people from all over Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, representing  a great mix of public, private and third sectors, joined the forum to discuss the challenges of working as part of a collective, cluster, network, hub and consider the business models that support them.

Back when we were coming up with ideas for the forum, we felt it was really important to have time and space during the day for everyone to feed into a collective snapshot of what the landscape looks like for creative hubs at this point in time.

Working with Edinburgh based Steven Drost, we came up with a range of interactive feedback tools for people to share their insights and ideas. Illustrator Dominic Kesterton created great visuals to accompany the live audit, these focused on four themes – money, place, international, and awareness.

We wanted to share these findings, and we hope the data and the actual method of capturing is useful also. You can find the full breakdown of the feedback in this report here, and an overview below. Given the mix of people in the room there were some really interesting patterns emerging, for example the majority of people attending felt that it wasn’t that easy to find good information on making a sustainable living with their practice in Scotland.  Attendees gave really useful perspectives on everything as diverse as how to value your worth to a plea about language, to stop using the word ‘creatives’.

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Our map showed at a glance where people had traveled from around the country and globe.

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Five cardboard pyramids invited people to select one of two responses to different questions posed on subjects including self-actualisation, esteem, love and belonging, safety, and physiological.

There were stark contrasts in the way people answered some of the questions, for example in the one shown – ‘The ripples of your work – would you rather they… Impacted the economy? or Impacted society?’, there was an almost 90% weighting towards impacting society versus the economy. This was quite refreshing to hear a counter story to the usual singular narrative about the sector’s steep economic growth, which we hear at a UK level.

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But it wasn’t just on the day that the live audit took place, in advance as attendees registered we asked them some questions to help inform the forum’s content and breakout sessions, and this was shared with all attendees in advance of the day.

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So what to do next with all this data? A big driver for us, as always, was to make all the findings open. This is quite a different approach to other evaluations/reviews which you might feed into but never hear back what your contribution counted for. We’ve now shared the data with everyone who joined us at Mass Assembly, so we wanted to now extend this information out. We’ll continue to review it and think about what we can do next to help extend these conversations and platforms.

A great deal has happened within the UK since running this event, which at the time of writing, is only just over four weeks ago. About the only thing that is really crystal clear at this point in time is that we all need to do more to listen and find out each other’s feelings and opinions, and understand things from other people’s perspectives.

So we say, let’s bring on new ways of engaging, new platforms and ways of constructing discussion and debate.

If you would like to speak to us about the live audit process, then contact Gillian from Creative Dundee or Janine from Creative Edinburgh.

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Photo: @heatherfcassidy