Archive for December, 2007

Creativity applied to climate change

I am desperately trying to catch up with all the blog posts I have missed this month.

Charlotte Carey gives a good summary of the Cultural Industries and Climate Change in the West Midlands event held by Culture WM. I wish I had been there, it sounds interesting.

Some of what the speakers had to say was not new: that the West Midlands was the heart of the Industrial Revolution so it should become the heart of the green revolution is often said. I think, however, when you consider the massive investment ploughed into alternative energies in places such as Denmark or in Silicon Valley in the US, I suspect that goal might be a tough one.

However, I was interested in the suggestion by Professor John Thornes that the region should develop “a season of events – cultural events highlighting issues of climate change”.

I’m all for finding innovative ways to get the urgent and rather scary message about climate change out, without it terrorising people into apathy. This sounds an interesting approach, although I’m not sure exactly what form it might take.

Advertisements

New Year’s Resolution

Last year I had no New Year’s Resolutions. This year they are longer than my arm.

Some are typical (eat less, exercise more), others less so.

There is one that I would like very much to keep, but not sure how practical it is in my position. But hey, stuff it, I’m going to give it a go:

My new year’s resolution is to try to avoid writing any articles that involve fretting about Manchester .

Never once have I seen an article in a Manchester paper fretting about what Birmingham is up to and I wish we didn’t do it so much.

Yes, I know I’ve written about Peter Saville as part of the creative director stories and I do refer to Manchester as an example of good self-promotion. But, if these issues come up again, (and I expect they will) I will have to think of other examples and ways to write them.

Merry Christmas!

Birmingham Christmas MarketI’m going offline for (only) a few days, so I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Chirstmas and to thank you all for turning what started as a little experiment back in September into a major obsession!

Seriously! I love this blog. It has been a great thing to write for and it is wonderful to get the comments that I have. It’s all been very exciting.

I’m now hooked on blogging and I hope it will help make 2008 just as interesting!

J.x

(Pic taken at Birmingham’s Christmas Market by Tim Ellis. Check out the Birmingham Flickr group – it’s a thing of beauty.)

A sign of the times?

I’m used to the odd bleep and feedback on Radio 4 as guests forget to turn their mobiles off before entering the studio. But today was taking it to a new level for me.

Someone contributing to You & Yours forgot to log out of Skype. I’m pretty sure I could hear its tell-tale instant message bleeps in the background. (I had wanted to check by listening again, but the flippin’ thing keeps throwing up an error).

It is such a distinct sound, it could almost be categorised as product placement!

Why I might be obsessing over brand Birmingham

Press conferences in Hong Kong are strange affairs. If the subject being questioned is not a politician, the default position of journalists is wildly deferential.

Now I’m not saying that’s altogether a bad thing, it’s just odd and makes the one British journalist stand out as a bit of a… well… tough cookie.

So, I was the big bad journalist when interviewing Tom Dixon, the former creative director of high-street furniture chain Habitat, at Business of Design Week in Hong Kong the other week.

Mr Dixon seemed less than delighted to find that, amongst the throng of polite Hong Kong and Chinese journalists asking to impart the secrets of his success, there was a British scallywag questioning his sincerity about environmental issues.

He had been saying how bad it was that design was focused so heavily on consumer goods. I found it a bit rich coming from a man who continues to make his money from the sale of faddy furniture – much of which has a high plastic content – so I asked him whether he felt guilty about it.

He answered the question well enough admitting that he was a hypocrite, but that he was trying to do something about it by developing environmentally friendly furniture as creative director of Artek. Not groundbreaking for a man who has enough money and influence to do something really incredible, but certainly a start.

What I found totally unacceptable, however, was the conversation we had when the press conference came to a close.

I can’t remember how we got on to it, but he had mentioned something about working with motorcycle firm Triumph (which was founded in Coventry). The rest of the conversation is how I remember it, not having my notepad open at the time.

Me: Yes! Thank you very much, that might be a Midlands angle. I’m from The Birmingham Post you see and I’m looking out for Midlands-related stories while I’m over here.

TD: You are from Birmingham? I feel your pain.

Me: Actually, I really like the place.

TD: Really? Why? It’s got a terrible reputation for design.

Me: I think you’ll find there are a lot of good design companies in the city working really hard and they are helping to build up Birmingham’s reputation.

TD: Are they? Well… good for them.

The last comment was said in such a patronising tone it made my blood boil. But there isn’t much you can say when you’re fighting old, ingrained stereotypes. Admittedly, I should have asked him if he’d ever visited Birmingham, but instead, flustered and cross, I just walked off.

Now, I know there are good things going on in this city. Those who work in the creative industries in Birmingham also know there are good things going on. But time and time again in this job I am faced with people peddling this anachronistic image.

I suppose you could say it doesn’t matter what these people think. We know Birmingham has a lot to offer, if others aren’t interested they can sod off.

Well… yeah… but the problem is they do. They sod off to other cities in the UK and we lose out. Our situation is exacerbated by condemnation from influential figures such as Mr Dixon.

This annoys me because there is absolutely no concrete reason why this should happen, except because of an outdated image.

That’s why I’m obsessed with brand Birmingham. If ever a UK city gets undersold, it’s Brum.

New url

Before the former secretary of an Australian toastmasters club beat me to it, I have registered www.joannageary.com.

At the moment it points to this here blog and, I suspect, that’s exactly how things will stay for the forseeable future. The old one https://joannageary.wordpress.com still works, of course.

So…not really news I suppose, but it’s the first time I’ve registered a domain name, so I felt the need to share.

BBC Love-in

Gah!

Today, being on holiday, I’ve had the misfortune to witness the departure of two BBC presenters from their respective shows – Dermot Murnaghan from Breakfast and Fiona Bruce from Crimewatch.

Now I like them both as presenters, but I have to wonder whether its fair to subject the viewer to the self-indulgent twaddle that seems to arise from such a departure.

Nostalgic video clips, co-presenters heaping on the compliments, the departing presenter praising the show to the hilt. Please people! Save it for the bar after work.

Why does TV do this? It is certainly not for the viewers’ benefit. Is it because TV is more steeped in the cult of personality? Or is it just the pure “lovey-ness” of the medium. Whatever the reason, it makes for cringeworthy viewing.


RSS Direct Tweets (via Yahoo Pipes):

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Want to follow all my Tweets?

Please sign up here.
View Joanna Geary's profile on LinkedIn

RSS Uberfeed (all my feeds together):

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

What I'm looking at (Del.icio.us):