Can You Help?

Our friends at Climate Vision need your help with a Crowdfunder campaign … over to them to give some more details on what’s involved and what it’s for …

“In 2009, the Footsteps Project took place where networks of climate activists and scientists in Truro delivered a behavioural change campaign to support local and national delegates involved in the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15). We asked individuals and communities to think about the carbon cost of their lifestyle and to pledge easy and realistic carbon cutting actions. In only four months, the campaign enabled 4488 individuals and organisations to adopt low-carbon and sustainable behaviours such as buying local, saving energy or researching climate change.
We are now looking to calculate the carbon cost of our campaign in order to show to COP21 delegates that behavioural strategy solutions can be effective to achieve carbon reduction targets. We also want to show that they can compete with risky and more expensive technology such as carbon storage and capture. Finally the carbon cutting pledges added value to the local economy, building resilience and enabled communities to engage with climate change.
To make this happen we need your help. We aim to raise £5k through a Crowd funder that started May 1st, half will go on data analysis to provide a Cost Per Tonne, half on publicity and getting the story from Cornwall to Paris.
We would also like to invite you to visit our Crowd Funder page to pledge to help and be a part of this solution.


If you want to hear Sundays BBC Radio Cornwall interview, listen in at 2hr 28 mins in http://bbc.in/1KUXn8Q Many thanks”

Roll up roll up! To the Cornwall Variety Show

Variety Show logoAs well as being MD for Mackerel Sky, our very own Claire is often found teaching the BA course in Creative Events Management at Falmouth University. It’s a huge benefit to the course students to have someone take them through the theoretical side to events management but by someone who is actually a highly experienced events practitioner and who bridges the gap between the worlds of academia and industry.

Two great examples of how well this can work is Hannah Williams and Isabelle Compton. Alongside their studies, Hannah and Isabelle are organising and managing another charity event following success with their Cornish Charity Ball last year. Here’s a few words from them on the event itself and how to get tickets – hats off to you girls!

 

“Although Cornwall is bursting with artistic talent there are very few events that showcase the variety and depth of creativity within the county. Abundances of music specific showcases appear throughout the summer months, niche dance performances and comedy gigs, yet there are no inclusive events where all types of artists are shown together. The Cornwall Variety Show will fill this void by bringing real creative diversity. Whether you want to be enthralled by daring circus skills, moved by enchanting dance pieces or brought to tears by comedy gold, The Cornwall Variety Show has something for you. All within the backdrop of an exciting and glamorous royal circus theme, guests will be mesmerized and amazed at the outstanding quality and professionalism of the show. The Cornwall Variety Show promises to be a true night of entertainment and elegance.

The first Cornwall Variety Show will take place on Saturday 30th May, at The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (previously known as The Performance Centre), Penryn. The event will showcase a variety of performance acts celebrating the quality and diversity of artists within Cornwall. Acts include comedy from renowned Cornish comedian Colin Leggo, a professional circus performance, musical acts including emerging star Patrick Gardiner and local folk band The Saturday Boys, enchanting dance pieces and many more yet to be announced! The show aims to raise awareness and money for the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, a vital charity to the Cornish community. Through a royal circus themed evening, guests will be immersed within a romantic and daring performance environment; décor, costumes, photo booth, themed bar, concession stands and multiple other engaging elements will enthral and enthuse attendees.”

 

Saturday 30th May, 7pm for a prompt 19:30 start

The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, Penryn


Tickets £10, Concessions: £8 (students, 65+ and services)
All profits in aid of the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust.

To purchase tickets and to find out more about The Cornwall Variety Show visit the event website, follow on Twitter or email:
http://www.thecornwallvarietyshow.wordpress.com
@CornishVariety
cornwallvarietyshow@gmail.com

 

 

Stretching Ourselves Beyond the UK .. and it’s exciting!

yoga-stretchingWe have just won a contract with Cornwall Council to project manage the Cornish representation at the Lorient Interceltic, a festival in August in France. This is great news and we are really looking forward to getting started but it also poses a challenge to how we work.  This will be the first project that we as a team will deliver outside the UK so our capacity to work over distance and communicate in another language will be tested.

We are of course planning now to ensure that we have the right resources in place (and it’s compulsory French lessons across the team) but this project will stretch us a bit. All within our capability but it’s new and interesting and a different way of working that we are learning to accommodate. This learning is to the benefit of all of us – not just the staff team but also our wider clients and strategic partners as we are developing even more skill and expertise.

It’s a fine balance between taking on new challenges and stretching too far. Perhaps we know how to balance this from our own perspective, knowing our own capacity and ability, but when we consider an organisation it can be more difficult to gauge exactly where that balance is. It means that we won’t necessarily get the balance right all the time for all of the team; some of us may have to learn something completely new, some may find time or resources are stretched and this may take us out of our comfort zone.

But going beyond our comfort zone is what makes us continuously improve what we do and how we do it and that’s where the benefit is for the organisation, for us individually and for our clients. We increase our skills and capabilities means that we increase our capacity, which means that we can improve our development and delivery of projects and take on new contracts that stretch us even further. And there is the virtuous circle but it only works if we learn from every project, continue to stretch ourselves and apply it across our portfolio, sharing practice across our team.

We use Agile management practice to ensure that we gather this learning at every stage, reflect throughout the project as well as at the end, and engage everyone in developing what we do and how we do it. Using these Agile techniques enables us to increase capability and grow as a company of learning experts!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Taking the Digital Leap

jumpingRecently the government confirmed that they are releasing more funds for STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – as these subjects are at the core of our economy. The funding is specifically for development of the creative digital industries….but what does this mean?

We have been discussing this particularly in relation to City of Lights as we have been successful in our application to the Arts Council for a small grant fund to support digital development. But what is digital development?

We can contemplate digital in three main ways:

Production – that is, how we make it. So in a craft context that might be using laser cutters or specific design software

Output – that is, how it is enjoyed/engaged with so it could be projection or film or photography or an interactive soundscape….

Marketing – that is, anything that engages the audience e.g. online streaming, social media or blogging/vlogging

It took us some time to get to this clarity and we spent a lot of time discussing what we were actually expecting from artists who were undertaking a digital commission. We now know that we are looking for a digital output that could use digital production methodologies and will certainly engage digital marketing activity such as crowdfunding, social media activity and increased online traffic.

This is unknown territory for City of Lights and this is the case for many arts and charitable organisations. It can be a huge risk, both financially and organisationally so the funding and support from the government, in our case Arts Council England, makes all the difference in making this innovation happen, not just for charities and arts companies but for businesses of all kinds. Surely enabling businesses and organisations to take risks is a core part of getting the UK economy back up and running so let’s have more of it!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Do You Have It?

sparkSpark – that bit of magic that makes us us….in our case, it’s about personality and that there is no such thing as standard. It’s the ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and still create the best possible outcome.

I am stood in the bank today, trying to make some international payments for speakers at a recent conference.  Admittedly, we don’t need to make international payments very often but it has taken over one hour to pay 3 people. The guy behind the counter is constantly sniffing and appears to be a trainee. It’s not his problem and every time there’s something that is different to the system, he has to ask someone. In fact even when the information is all there, he still has to ask. A perfect example of lacking spark.

The thing is that we take that spark for granted. We know when we have it and we expect it in others and when confronted with an individual or organisation who really don’t have it, it can challenge our expectations. It’s frustrating to see lower standards being accepted and it presents a challenge in terms of communicating the value of that spark to our clients, attendees and the wider world.

This blog is part of our work to share our spark and share why this is important. This spark applies both in planning and delivery – in developing ideas as well as solving problems, in working with our clients as well as working with our event teams and volunteers. We want that spark to shine through everything we do, say and deliver so that it is valued and recognised as being an industry standard and thereby increase quality across the sector.

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Come on the Foos!

CaptureWe are delighted to be part of the team behind the incredible Crowdfunder campaign to bring the Foo Fighters to Cornwall.  This campaign has grown exponentially from just an idea to achieving its target of £150,000 within 53 hours!  Now the Foos are an awesome band but we never expected that kind of response!

What’s particularly interesting in all of this is that it’s so unpredictable.  There are many things we can do to improve the prospects for crowdfunding campaigns with a structured, strategic social media campaign in advance to build up interest and engagement; you can run a press campaign alongside the fundraising; you can get as many interested parties as possible to post on their websites and link into it…..but ultimately, we don’t know how the general public will respond.  It’s the same with marketing campaigns in general terms.  We don’t know what the next market trend will be but we can keep our eyes and ears open, we can develop the ability to respond to opportunities quickly, we can develop our own ideas and take risks but there are no guarantees.

 

There are agencies and thinktanks out there who work on telling the future for businesses of all kinds and there are those out there who are making it happen like artists, directors, choreographers, producers. But even all of these people can’t tell what the next big thing will be.  We also need to recognise that usually, the Foos excluded, these kind of campaigns do not work overnight. So it is a long, drawn out, unspecific, unknown process that involves a lot of risk and strategic guessing and heartbreak if ideas don’t work.

 

So why do we take these risks with new event concepts, new business ideas, new funding campaigns etc etc?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I heard from one of the Directors of LEGO where he was talking about how they innovate and it resonated with a conversation I had with Martin Crump from Evolution Development – it’s a change or die world.  We, both individually and corporately, need to keep on changing.  Our human nature means that we continuously learn and develop so our preferences and interests also evolve and change.  We are like sharks – we have to keep on (mentally) moving to stay alive. When we stop coming up with new ideas or when we stop seeking to understand the world a little more, we lose that spark that makes us human.

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Every Day’s a School Day!

BoyGeorgeLast year I was lucky enough to be in the position of leaving my 9 to 5 job and go freelance. One of the reasons I made this big change was that my career learning curve had become, well….flat! With lack of challenges and lessons to learn one runs the risk of becoming complacent and jaded, so one of the joys of being a freelancer is the variety of projects, both in genre, scale and complexity.

With this in mind I was excited to be offered a role stage managing two projects for the Liverpool International Music Festival. Although I used to be a stage manager I hadn’t branched into live music events. The first event was a set with Boy George, which was recorded live by Steve Levine, the audience of 400 could then download the recording by the time they got home. Cue steep learning curve! New jargon to learn, processes to get my head around, job titles to comprehend all whilst coming across as knowledgeable and experienced. I then moved on to supporting the running of the main stage for the large outdoor festival in Sefton Park. All the lessons learnt from the day before enabled me to work effectively and professionally, all in front of 35,000 people- phew!

So, all in all I feel boosted; I have made important new contacts, broadened my experience, get to add something different to my CV all having learned a vast amount. It goes without saying that we should all try to ensure that “every day is a school day”, no matter what our career choice. Whether that’s in a small way or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone I feel it plays a key role in ensuring we are at the top of our game, keeps us interesting to clients and genuinely happy in our jobs!

Laura Carus, Associate Event Manager, Mackerel Sky