Be Smart About Art

The digital age is here to stay. What's your take?

written by: Susan Mumford May 28, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 1372 views

The digital age is here to stay. What's your take?

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here

Several weeks ago, Be Smart About Art had an evening talk on the subject of 'Studio Practice.' This was arranged to correspond with the travels of fellow American in Europe Marcus McAllister, a professional artist and BSAA Creative Specialist.  

He'd arrived at St Pancras on a train from Scotland and headed over to the event venue, Cass Art's flagship store in Islington, and I'd zoomed across London from the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), where I'd been giving an online mentoring session with an emerging artist. We were cheerfully checking in attendees when an artist arrived with her son, who was approximately 8 years of age. When it came time for everyone to take a seat, the boy sat on the front row, not far from his mother on the second.

Fast forward a few minutes into the talk, and the boy started to video record the conversation with an iPad. With what appeared to be a well framed image, the camera had been rolling for a good few minutes when the boy’s mother spotted the activity, and immediately took the device out of his hands. He eventually got hold of the iPad again, and one minute to finishing time, held up the tablet so that I could plainly see the displayed clock. He was communicating that time was almost up, and I gave a nod. As planned, the event was brought to a close.

The boy’s approach with the tablet - “don’t ask, just do it,” stayed with me, and I ended up telling the story to several people. When it came up in conversation with Alan Stevens, an experienced speaker, author, MC and journalist, he asked how I felt about such recordings being shared. My response was, in essence, "fantastic!" We talked about still being in a minority in the professional speaking area, as many others rush off stage and demand that recordings be deleted from devices. My inclination, like Alan’s, is the opposite: I encourage sharing, accompanied by tagging social media handles and using associated hashtags.

The reality is that the digital age is no longer in the future, for it is here, now. Rather than try to fight it, think of all the youngsters coming up into the world and respond in a way that works with their seamless use of technology. This applies to events across the board, from talks like ours to art exhibitions; devices are being increasingly used to capture and share, as a way of interacting with the world.

It’s fair enough that this scares people who are already out in the world pursuing a living. How to stay relevant in this changed world? And how to protect your intellectual property?

In the conversation with Alan, we concluded that a key to ongoing success, no matter level of tech literacy, is your area of expertise. This is why people seek what you do, in the way you do it. We also noted the importance of professionalism, as it can be tempting to be slap dash in a fast paced world.

What are you doing to embrace the role that technology plays in those who engage with what you do, from professional life to hobbies? Giving this thought is well worth your while.  

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