At the risk of sounding repetitive, it certainly is a relief to read in other peoples’ blogs that there have been challenges throughout this process. For me, and my Joint Fellow Alice Holland, this has been the introduction of a huge new Arts Council Grants for the Arts programme of work called Viewfinder, which will see the biggest development of Disability Arts Online to date. Without this new project we might have found it easier to create and run the experiments, but our focus has absolutely had to be on getting Viewfinder off the ground. For us both, with job roles that extend far beyond the focus of marketing, it has been difficult to find time to do the experiment format justice.
Viewfinder is a programme of work that centres on the development of a whole new brand for Disability Arts Online, with a video platform (also called Viewfinder) at the heart of our web journal. I am now beginning to realise that the learning from being part of the DMA has given us the freedom to consider how we roll out the new brand identity and test the new platform in a public domain. A change in timescale for the development means that our original launch date at Oska Bright Film Festival in November 2015 is no longer a realistic option, but this is no bad thing. We will still be present there, using the time, space and public platform to have conversations and obtain feedback from a new audience of learning disabled people about our work and its development. One of the main reasons for increasing video content on the largely text-based website is to make it more accessible to a vibrant community of learning disabled creatives who currently don’t or can’t engage with our digital output.
The principals of agile planning have always been present in our work because of the nature of our activity in responding to a creative community. Ideas around experimentation and learning from our audience (or indeed potential audience), and thinking about minimum viable product have given us the confidence and freedom to try out new things in a public forum. Much of this activity will happen beyond the lifetime of this Academy, but that’s the whole point of embarking on the learning process anyway isn’t it?