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”

Positivity Can Be Infectious!

Photo from theguardian.co.uk

Photo from theguardian.co.uk

Firstly, a huge congratulations and well done to all those who took part in the London Marathon this weekend. I truly respect your determination, spirit and fitness to make it round and raise so much more for your causes.

Passion is a vital part of success in any field and sometimes it really takes all we have to make it work, to make every wish, dream, ambition come true.  There are always set backs but we learn by overcoming them and our passion keeps us going, believing that what we are trying to achieve is creating a positive impact.

At our recent Company Gathering, we talked about many things but the over-riding theme was our intent to enable positive impact in all we do. Whether that is through training or event management, through consultancy or project management, everything we do it about enabling positive impact on people, places and projects.  This enabling purpose is something that engages the passion in all of us. To help, to make stuff happen, to achieve, to make a difference.

On Tuesday, Claire is speaking at the Institute of Fundraising Conference in Bristol on the theme of making money from events. The focus here is not just on making the cash though, but rather about creating positive impact and in terms of charity and fundraising events, generating both money and social impact.  Imagine what the positive impact is of all the money raised at the London Marathon – around £50m for a huge range of charities! So, again, well done, congratulations and thank you to all those who have raised money by being passionate and putting themselves through physical challenge to make the world a better place.


Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events

Paying Respects

PAY-Memorial-walk-for-PC-Andy-HockingIn the last week or so, two people I knew and worked with have died. The first, as many will be aware, was Andy Hocking. A fantastic police officer who knew his beat, his people and his town like no other and who died unexpectedly last Saturday.  The 6000 strong procession on Saturday just gone just shows how loved he was. I had the privilege of working with him on a number of Falmouth events and Andy was just lovely – aware and helpful but never putting barriers in the way of making great projects work. His daughter Megan did work experience with us a few years ago too.
The procession on Saturday was organised in a week (and chukkas to Matt Barnicoat and Falmouth Police for making it happen!) and Andy’s sudden death has brought together the town and its police to say a huge thank you to Andy for his work, his approach and his unfailing smile. It’s been picked up by the national papers as a good news story and a celebration of his impact. Andy has left us with an incredible legacy of positivity, productive police/community relationships and has drawn us together in a way that none of us expected.

The second person is Albert Riddle. Now there won’t be a procession for Albert, but just the usual funeral etc because Albert was 90 and his death is the next stage on his extraordinary journey. Albert has been the life and soul behind the Royal Cornwall Show for decades, taking it from 25000 attendance in 1957 to over 110000 when he retired in 1989. I say retired but Albert remained involved in the Show right up to the end. He was a proud Cornishman and rightly proud of the agricultural sector, focusing on promoting and supporting it in every way he could.

His legacy is the ongoing viability of the Royal Cornwall Show as one of the best shows in the UK and it is the ongoing positive impact of the event on the agricultural sector in the county and beyond. Agricultural shows are perhaps an outdated form of event (discuss!) but Albert fought to evolve the show to provide more reasons to come for his audience and to get more people interested in agriculture.  The economic impact of the show, in itself and in the wider sector, is huge and an even greater social impact.

The bringing of people together is what these two men had in common and is what will be their legacy to the communities they served. This is the power and value of events, in any sector, and we can only aspire to have the impact that Andy and Albert had. May you rest in peace Andy and Albert and thank you!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Let Us Eat (and Bake) Cake!

cakeI have always thought that the value of cake in business is underestimated.
Whether it’s celebrating a birthday or celebrating work well done, whether it’s fuel to energise the team or a focus for a productive meeting, cake is a means to bring people together and a means to mark the moment. It may be bought from a shop, or more importantly, possibly made by someone’s fair hands with effort and time invested to create something tasty.  The Great British Bake Off is perhaps the most public of means to showcase this investment and and has drawn thousands of us (including me) back to the kitchen to bake and make.

Inspired by this, a group of third year event management students at Falmouth are running the Cornish Cake Off in May. The event is a combination of baking, produce, cakes and bread with activities, tastings and inspiration from bakers and cake makers from across Cornwall and will be taking place on Events Square as part of the Fal River Festival. They have designed the event as a fundraiser and celebration as their final event within the course and as a means to showcase their event management skills.

As well as yielding great results, the process of baking requires focus and attention which perhaps is a suitable metaphor for project management. If we focus on getting the right ingredients in the right balance, and if we follow the right process that ensures all the elements (including people) are incorporated into the project at the right moment, then we should have a project that rises as it should and definitely doesn’t have a soggy bottom!

To Andie, Liv, Sophie and Jill, our cake inspired students from Falmouth, we suggest that you combine your project management skills with your bake-ability and wish you all the best for the Cornish Cake Off!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

It’s all about Kernow right now …

poldark

With all eyes on Cornwall following the premiere of Poldark on Sunday, we are mindful of our roots in this most beloved of places. We started in Cornwall and we remain firmly based here although we have now expanded across the country and internationally. We happily adopt the contemporary Cornish outlook of being ambitious and creative, outward focused and valuing our heritage, being part of our communities and taking a shared responsibility for our economy, environment and people.

None of these qualities are exclusively Cornish of course but they are crucial to how we work, wherever we are.  With St Piran’s Day just behind us, we have been celebrating the best of those qualities the world over from Kernow In The City, led by Louis Eliot in London, to town processions across Cornwall and to pasty festivals in Mexico, Australia and South Africa.

Whilst Poldark may celebrate our mining heritage and the Cornwall of fiction, there are thousands of people employed in and leading new business sectors – software development, pharmaceuticals, digital marketing, creative industries, renewable energy – right here in deepest, darkest Kernow. Cornwall is not a place of the past and nor is it just a summer holiday. We also have one of the highest rates of start up businesses in the world. Over 90% of Cornish businesses are small and medium size enterprises, demonstrating what a hotbed this place is for innovation and new ideas.

Cornwall Business Fair in May will be one of the best places to see all of these great businesses on show, as well as see what the duchy has to offer beyond the TV, beyond the buckets and spades. We are delighted to be part of the team delivering the Fair at the Eden Project and we have the privilege of working with a vast number of these brilliant businesses and entrepreneurial business leaders.

So if you’ve been inspired by Poldark, maybe come and see more and find your real Cornwall….and whilst you’re here, pop in for a cuppa!

 

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

Happy Mondays and Happy Sundays!

happymondaysThis weekend I will be spending Sunday night watching Downton Abbey (well, of course!). Last Sunday night, however, I was at the far other end of the spectrum of entertainment as I was stood at the foot of the Live at Heartlands stage watching Shaun Ryder, the Happy Mondays and the inimitable Bez royally do their thing. And what a night.

It was the culmination of a 3-day festival featuring amongst many many others, the Happy Mondays, Boomtown Rats and UB40 at what was once the core of Cornwall’s mining industry, then an abandoned derelict wasteland. Now, having undergone extensive regeneration, the tin mines and Cornwall’s heritage are preserved and provide a truly unique backdrop for live music.

As is often the way with live music, it’s the crowd and the atmosphere that makes or breaks a gig. And the overwhelming feeling I got from the gig was how refreshing everyone thought it was to find such big names in music right here, on our doorstep and in an area that’s seen better times but most definitely looking ahead.

Mackerel Sky were at the heart of the team behind this event and it was such a brilliant feeling to know that your very clever colleagues delivered it so smoothly and in such a polished way. From having been there and looking through only a small amount of the social media buzz that was created I have a feeling that last weekend will be a highlight for many at the end of their summer. Go team Mackerel Sky!

Helen Rowe, Marketing Manager, Mackerel Sky

Events … All Work and Lots of Play!

PLAY DAY 2013 2 - chris bahnThe Event Manager Blog recently posted about events being grown up play and to a certain extent I agree.  We get to create activity and experiences that are all about enjoyment and often learning too, exploring our environment, trying new things, stimulating our brains…

This week, we are managing Bristol Playday – a 3 hour event with attendance of over 3,000 children and families on College Green.  This is an event that is definitely all about play in all its forms! We have circus, music, dance, Ping!, libraries, arts & crafts, space hopper racing, canoes, cardboard city, parkour, playbus, kite making, hula hooping… The event is being delivered on behalf of Bristol Youth Links, part of Bristol City Council, and so this event is also a manifestation of their play policy and practice.
Designing Playday is not just about putting on a heap of activity that is related to play in someway but rather is a considered plan working with providers and partners to create activity that engages all in play but also demonstrates for example the practical implementation of the risk benefit policy.  This idea of risk benefit is that undertaking risky activities can be beneficial in terms of play and learning and that such activities are entirely valid on the basis that the risks are considered effectively.  We know this from corporate team building activity where collective risk taking is a valuable learning experience in terms of team cohesion, decision making, personal challenge and skill development but it is rarely considered in this way in public sector/council contexts.
Playday could be an event that was ‘enforced fun’ and become play without any fun at all!  But it really isn’t – it is a space where all are welcome and all can enjoy, where play is free in every sense, and where the formality of Council meets the chaos of play!  We could all do with a bit more play in our lives so we can suspend our formality, our stress and all the grown up stuff to let ourselves be creative and feel that freedom.  Bring on Playday!

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events

Is Art Something That Can Ever Be Owned?

monumentsmenI watched The Monuments Men on Saturday evening and I was struck by the dichotomy that the film presents.  That is, art (and culture) being very highly valued as a currency and identity in times of conflict and equally being worthless in comparison to the reality of life and death.  Each of the artefacts that the Monuments Men were seeking and protecting were representative of our collective human cultural expression, of our identity as human beings.  As such they were prized by Hitler as providing him with ownership of that identity. That identity that he also crushed in the gas chambers.

We saw the same when Baghdad was liberated and Saddam Hussein deposed – artefacts from the Iraqi National Museums were stolen, broken and destroyed (with few exceptions) because they were ‘representative’ of Hussein’s regime and yet also had an increasing cash value.  Again, culture being used as a means to communicate with the masses and demonstrate control and ownership.

So this led me to think about who owns our culture then? Is it the artist or owner or observer or ticket purchaser or writer or politician or dictator? Perhaps this principle of cultural ownership is dependent on our individual perceptions of engagement or the context in which we are operating at the time?

For me, watching a film or seeing art works does not make me feel an ownership of them.  I may well relate to them, even resonate with the content or it may move me to tears but I do not feel that they are mine.  I should point out here that I am talking about this relationship, this resonance rather than the ownership of copyright or intellectual property.  Ownership in this sense is a collective experience, not exclusive.  By my viewing a painting, I do not take away the opportunity from someone else.  My engagement does not prohibit anyone else from experiencing the same kind of ownership and this becomes a collective responsibility.

Later this week, I am speaking at the Association for Event Management Education about engaging a community’s heart and using City of Lights as an example of how this develops over time.  On an emotional level, there is a very high level of engagement from the community and particularly from those children who have been part of it both now and in the past.  There is an intuitive recognition of the value of the creative and collective experiences in the planning, development and delivery of the event across stakeholder groups.  The images of the event are used throughout publications, online and social media  BUT when it comes to asking these collective owners to contribute financially, we find it much harder to get them on board.

It seems that we need to reconnect the ownership and the value of the art in order to have a sustainable future.  Do we need to have our cultural identity threatened or even stolen before we will take on the responsibility of that ownership to enjoy and appreciate our culture, including those works saved by the Monuments Men?

Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky

Looking forward to a weekend to remember!

HeartlandsWe are delighted to be part of the Live at Heartlands project which is a long weekend of music performances in September 2014 including UB40, The Boomtown Rats and the Happy Mondays.  Sounds simple….until you realise that this is for up to 6,000 people (hopefully, assuming it is all approved by the powers that be) and it’s at Heartlands which is a regenerated mining site in the conurbation of Camborne, Pool and Redruth.  This is not a small project and neither is it easy.  It’s also the first time that this particular team have worked together and it’s the first time that Heartlands has been used for this scale of event.

We wrote the events strategy for Heartlands and we had the great pleasure of advising on operational considerations for the site in order to accommodate the scope and scale of the proposed events from car shows to big gigs and from community classes to festivals.  It is an absolute pleasure to now be a part of making that initial plan a reality.  We have been working with Heartlands for the last 4 years from the business plan development through relaunch events to the Flame Festival in 2012 and now Live at Heartlands.  It started being a few lines on the plans and now we get to play in the park that we were part of creating!
It’s a brilliant responsibility recommending ideas and now making them happen.  It’s not just running a gig but our role as Event Operations Management is to ensure that the event really works so that there are more events of this scale at Heartlands and that there are more large-scale gigs appealing to the Cornish audiences.  It’s about making it happen safely and being under control in order that we might grow the events landscape in Cornwall and across the South West to be more ambitious and exceed expectations; that we might grow attendance and engagement in large scale events; and that we make a difference to our local economy and community.  No pressure then!
This responsibility is significant but it’s not beyond our capability, capacity or experience.  We get on well with the wider Live at Heartlands team, with the onsite team and with the suppliers and partners but more than that, we have a healthy and hard-earned respect across the team.  Any one of us might not have all of the answers but between us we do and between us we will make what was just an idea written into a plan a real event experience.  A weekend to remember for all the right reasons. I can’t wait!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events