British Council Creative Economy

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21 April 2017

Opportunity: UK based consultant to help create Global Resource Of Open Minds

We're seeking a UK based consultant to work with the British Council and Hivos to develop the concept and plan for the Global Resource of Open Minds - a learning and experimentation journey for a group of international culture producers

The brief: developing the Global R.O.O.M

How can artists and culture producers have an impact on long-term systemic change? How can we create critical spaces to give voice and choice to a new generation?

In recent years, democratic freedoms and human rights have advanced and global poverty has declined. But progress has been uneven and come at a cost. Inequalities within countries are growing and causing instability. Traditional structures of leadership and institutions are struggling to provide solutions to the global challenges we are facing in the 21st century, testing their legitimacy. Although inventive people around the world are working on alternatives, the space to develop new perspectives, ideas and models is under threat.

Through the Global R.O.O.M we aim to highlight the crucial role that culture producers can play and support them to safely expand their influence in terms of reaching wider audiences and contributing to long-term systemic change.

The Global R.O.O.M will be a newly developed learning and experimentation trajectory which will enable Hivos and the British Council to embark on a curiosity-driven journey with a selected group of culture producers. We define culture producers as artists, musicians, designers, techies, hacktivists, writers, investigative journalists, filmmakers, bloggers - 18-35 year olds with an independent, critical mind and do-it-yourself attitude that have the potential to create positive activism through their practice.

In the development of the Global R.O.O.M we would like to consider the following challenges:

  • How can we create a safe space for these culture producers to play, experiment and explore whilst underpinning their discovery with reflection and wider research?
  • How can we support culture producers to explore their practice in varying politically sensitive contexts where freedom of expression is limited?
  • How can we identify themes for culture producers to explore that are relevant, safe and useful?
  • How can we provide a tailored development programme for individuals whilst also creating a globally connected community?
  • How can we scale the influence of this work beyond the participants in the programme to reach wider audiences?
  • How can we connect culture producers with existing infrastructures of media, business, politics, civil society to achieve long-term systemic change?

The vision

We envision the Global R.O.O.M  to be a 6 - 9 month professional development and learning opportunity for 15 - 25 culture producers from across the globe. Elements of the R.O.O.M should allow each participant to follow a tailor-made learning trajectory that will enable them to explore and experiment in their practice. The process could lead to the development of an artistic production and should facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange between the other participants from the programme. The learning journey should also focus on how culture producers can connect their practice with wider systemic change and to those who can affect it in business, policy, infrastructure, politics, institutions etc.

We expect the trajectory to include several elements which could include a mixture of the below:  

  • Grants to develop experiments or artistic productions
  • Mentoring/expert advice
  • Training elements - in the form of resources we can identify or develop, courses etc
  • Placements/residencies - including exploring placements in organisations outside of the culture producers normal sphere of practice.

We would also like to identify partners who could contribute to the learning trajectory such as:, universities, tech companies, experimental arts festivals, social design platforms, media organisations etc

To create focus and coherence, we anticipate the R.O.O.M will choose one leading theme or question for its community to respond to. An example could be:

‘The role of culture producers in a time of misinformation’.  

In times of sensory overload, fake news, misinformation and alternative facts, our relationship with truth is in a constant state of flux. How can artists and culture producers still play a critical role in our global societies where the difference between art, mass media, propaganda and advertising has become blurred?

We would also like to explore the possibility of participants physically meeting where they will be able to share and showcase their experiences. We would open this up to a wider audience to stimulate further debate into the chosen theme. Participants could also have the opportunity to showcase and test their ideas throughout the year. These showcase events can take the form of an exhibition, film, campaign, forum or artistic intervention.

Geographical focus

Possible countries for inclusion: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, México, Morocco, Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, UK, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Proposed deliverables

  • Gain a swift understanding of existing relevant British Council and Hivos work with regards to the creative economy, with a focus on their work with creative hubs and young culture producers, to understand how the Global R.O.O.M  could add to and complement this area of work. This includes workplans, position papers etc.
  • Analyse positioning alongside other similar and relevant agencies and initiatives – what is the unique value British Council and Hivos can bring to the participants with this new initiative.
  • Consult with the British Council, Hivos and key stakeholders (including potential candidates) to test concepts and assess needs. This would include Hivos and British Council staff, creative hubs and culture producers in several countries. The British Council and Hivos will provide contacts.  

Produce:

  • Clear educational frameworks/ curriculum for the Global R.O.O.M. Including objectives, values, activities and timeline of the Global R.O.O.M. This will be developed in consultation with British Council and Hivos staff and will be used by the Project Officer who will be jointly hired by the British Council and Hivos to implement the Global R.O.O.M after the completion of the consultancy period. We would also expect an indication of the resourcing that would be needed over and above this role.
  • An extensive curatorial approach for the Global R.O.O.M  (eg. an in depth vision of the theme to be explored) and a clear pitch of the Global R.O.O.M.
  • Research and present up to five existing similar or comparable initiatives. Include critical analysis of success factors, challenges, pre-existing criteria and external motivations in terms of policymakers, institutions, industry, artists and citizens.
  • Research and present up to five examples of how culture producers have safely and successfully increased their critical influence of their work in difficult social and political contexts
  • Clear plan on how to scale and showcase the influence of this work i.e. how the participants can reach wider audiences with the support of arts festivals, companies and other stakeholders.
  • A list of recommendations for resources, materials, possible mentors and additional partners that could be part of the Global R.O.O.M
  • Guidance on the role profile and deliverables for the Project Officer
  • Guidance on the roles and responsibilities to be split between the Project Officer and global leads from the British Council and Hivos  

What will have changed as a result of your work?

The British Council and Hivos will have:

  • A clear, compelling and focused offer based on the needs of both organisations and sensitive to the needs of participants from differing geographical contexts. This will be implemented by the Project Officer once in post.
  • The basis from which to recruit the Project Officer
  • Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the partnership between the British Council and Hivos
  • Guidelines on how to reach wider audiences through the Global R.O.O.M
  • A list of potential partners, resources and mentors will have been generated for the British Council and Hivos to action following the consultation period
  • A clear curatorial theme and approach will have been identified for the first year of the programme

Person Specification

1) Experience of working in or with challenging political and social contexts

2) Excellent understanding of socially engaged creative practice, including new technologies

3) Experience in developing learning trajectories for makers and developing an educational vision

4) Affinity with the current trends and challenges with regards to freedom of expression in the 21st century (eg. post truth world, or freedom of expression in a time of misinformation)

5) Demonstrable experience in developing cultural programmes and partnerships, across different contemporary creative practice, cultural forms and locations

6) Understanding of the international cultural landscape

7) Ability to take complex ideas and multiple agendas and shape them into a clear and focused strategy

8) Experience of galvanising and inspiring cross-function teams in different locations

Indicative Timeline

  • 3 May: Initial brief issued
  • 29 May: Responses received (by midnight BST)
  • 5/6 June: Interviews
  • 7 June: Decision communicated and contracts started
  • 5 July: First findings delivered
  • 31 July: Final work signed off
  • September/October: Start Global R.O.O.M

Budget

We have a budget of £10,000-13,000 for this project, inclusive of everything. We anticipate that two meetings in Amsterdam will be necessary.

Response

Please provide an expression of interest with: 1) a two-page maximum CV highlighting work experience and projects that are relevant to this call 2) a 1000 word maximum proposal that outlines the proposed approach 3) an indicative budget by 29 May 2017 by midnight BST to emma.boulton@britishcouncil.org

Contact

Beatrice Pembroke

Director, Creative Economy

beatrice.pembroke@britishcouncil.org