On June 13, 2018 in Warsaw we organised an ‘unconference’ to examine the nature of a creative culture conducive to change and adaptation. An ‘Unconference’ shares knowledge using methods that are inclusive, participatory, transparent, egalitarian, cross-cultural, sociable, open and fun. The ultimate goal was to bring together an extraordinary group of people, the best talent and brains to discuss media futures, creative cultures and the phenomenon of industry clustering.
The event took place in Centrum Kreatywności Targowa – a City Hall-supported space for entrepreneurs and creatives in Warsaw. We opened the day with indicative findings from our study and presented the case of post-industrial Praga. Later, participants enjoyed experimenting with two of the most typical ‘unconference’ methods, such as a ‘World Café’ discussion on Progressive organisational structures and culturesand a Fishbowl where quick fire ideas were generated on potential sustainable frameworks for R&D and innovation.During the day representatives from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and VRT (public service media from Flanders) demonstrated the EU-funded “MediaRoad” project and the idea of innovation hub “Sandbox”. There was also a DJ session, preceded by a ‘Pitching Session’ from young Polish entrepreneurs. The day ended with a VR Dance performance and a performance from the music band Marzy Mi Się Yokohama. Marzy Mi Się Yokohama interpreted traditional Polish songs in a rock style. A guided walk around the post-industrial regeneration district of Praga ended the day.
The Unconference preceded the European Media Management Association Conference (EMMA) run by Dr Michal Glowacki and Professor Lizzie Jackson at the University of Warsaw. The topic of the conference came out of the research study; “Media Management in the Age of Big Data and High-Tech”. Both the Unconference and Conference were organised and supported by the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, University of Warsaw in collaboration with the Warsaw’s City Hall and EMMA.
Photos: Anna Nowakowska
On October 19-22, 2017 we met again in Warsaw to discuss our initial impressions from 150 semi-structured interviews collected from our ten cities in North America and Europe. There’s also over 400 photographs from exploratory walks and visits to organisations to look at as well. We’re analysing the culture of each cluster, the organisational structure, partnerships, and networking. We are also looking at the people, location and the technology they are using to help them organise their work.
Face to face meetings have a very different function to online working. Physical meetings build trust between leaders and producers whereas social networking online helps the formation of a global workforce. Larger co-working spaces such as WeWork and Techstars offer contact with creative talent internationally. It’s possible to work in a city in North America, then move to a European city and have a very similar work experience. This assists a global flow of talent. At a more granular level the use of project management software such as Slack (just being adopted as we began our interviews at Boston’s Cambridge Innovation Centre in the US) has rapidly become one of the key tools for remote working on projects.
Our meetings took place in cafes and restaurants located next to the Palace of Culture and Science (Café Kulturalna, Bar Studio) in the centre of Warsaw and in cafes in the Savior Square area. This also served as preparation for two important conferences that we will organise in Warsaw. Firstly, the annual conference of the European Media Management Association (emma) will be hosted by the University of Warsaw June 14-15, 2018. This will be preceded by an experimental ‘Unconference’, ‘Creative Cultures for Media Progression’ which will be held June 13, 2018. If we are critically investigating the organisational culture of organisations and clusters, then we believe we need to look at our own knowledge exchange practices as scholars and try new forms of knowledge building.
We will present findings from our study at the unconference which is free to attend and open to all, whether you are just coming to take a look, presenting ideas at the PechaKucha or organising a session. We hope to see you either at the EMMA conference or the Unconference, or both, in June, 2018 at the University of Warsaw.
Last week Lizzie was invited to speak to media and communication study students at the University of Lund in Sweden by Professor Annette Hill.
Initial findings from the three year study were presented to a packed of Masters and doctoral level scholars. The presentation topic of the organisational culture of high technology clusters generated excellent debate and good questions for the speaker.
Two second year Masters students had spent time at a popular co-working space in Lund. They felt the findings from the study that were specifically on the culture of co-working spaces in North America and Europe were in exact accord with their own experiences. Professor Jackson thanked them for their comments noting that this indicated the findings were valid.
Professor Jackson had outlined the importance of community and trust amongst SMEs working in close collaboration. This is assisted by the provision of cafes, networking events, and training provided as accelerator initiatives.
Three types of co-working spaces have been identified:
The commodification of community in the commercial co-working spaces was noted. This is often measured in terms of 'density'.
Grassroots co-working spaces better enabled a range of different kinds of creative communities whereas commercial-independent spaces sought a specific unique selling point to attract SMEs such as roof top bars or chill-rooms. Commercial-Franchises, such as We Work, Google Campus and Techstars were brand-based, global, and uniform.
This week we organized two events on Thursday 8th June and Friday 9th June at London South Bank University (LSBU): a one-day "MAKE: The BBC of the Future" to re-invent public service media and a panel debate "THINK: Public Service Media Futures”.
MAKE “The BBC of the Future”
High school students from Waltham Forest College (www.waltham.ac.uk) and Lambeth College (www.lambethcollege.ac.uk) born after 1996 (‘Generation Z’) imagined new forms of public service media such as social media, games, VR, and eSports. Students who came to LSBU’s Edric Theatre were split into four groups to complete a questionnaire and to imagine and draw new kinds of platforms and services. Each the groups were facilitated by Jacqui Taylor (Visiting Professor at LSBU, CEO of FlyingBinary and a Tech City Mentor), Andy Lemon (Course Director, Digital Design BA, LSBU), Ste Curran (Senior Lecturer, Games Design and Development, LSBU), Laura-Jane Filotrani (Course Director, Journalism, LSBU).
Ideas were presented to Emily Pitts (Senior Audience Planner for BBC Digital Platforms), Andrew Cochran (Consultant and ex-Head of Strategy and Transformation for CBC News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), Julian Coles (Advisor to Childnet International and ex-Senior Policy Advisor, BBC) and Klaus Unterberger (Head of Public Value, ORF – the Austrian Public Service Broadcaster). Our guests from the Public Service Broadcasters summarised the event and awarded prizes for the best ideas; a signed certificate.
The most potentially popular service was awarded to a group that developed public service Multi-Glasses, allowing users to orientate and interact with others via smart glasses. The award for the most original service was given to ‘HiveWatch’ a social and e-Sports app allowing users to share content and experiences whilst watching sport events. Finally, the award for the most public service oriented idea was given to a group who imagined a new location-based news service, PostCode News. PostCode News would provide news on the basis of user’s locations.
All the GenZ participants, and the broadcasters thought the MAKE was a success. Our guests from the BBC, ORF and CBC are keen to run similar events themselves. We have also decided to organise a Polish version of MAKE in Warsaw in October 2017.
Read more: News, London South Bank University
THINK “Public Service Media Futures”
On Friday, June 9 we organized a panel session on ‘Public Service Media Futures’ chaired by Professor Janet Jones, Dean of the School of Arts and The Creative Industries. Panellists included Andrew Cochran (ex-Head of News Strategy at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), Julian Coles (Advisor to Childnet International and ex-Senior Policy Advisor, BBC), as well as Michał Głowacki (University of Warsaw), Jacqui Taylor (FlyingBinary and Tech City Mentor) and Daniela Cardoso (3rd year Multimedia Journalism student, London South Bank University).
Each panellist was asked to provide thoughts on whether we need public service media and what is the role of PSM when thinking about Generation Z. The panel was followed by the annual Degree SHOW for the Division of Creative Technologies at London South Bank University, featuring live streaming and blogging, game play, demos of new interactive services, live DJ-ing of music composed for film and TV, and demonstrations of VR.
Building on the success of THINK | MAKE | SHOW the universities of LSBU and Warsaw will also explore future collaborations, led by Prof. Janet Jones, Dean of the School of Arts and The Creative Industries at LSBU, and Prof. Janusz Adamowski, Dean of Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies at the University of Warsaw.
Last week we attended the annual European Media Management Association (EMMA) conference this week in Ghent, Belgium and did one of the keynotes of a pre-conference and a speech on co-working spaces during the main conference.
Our project directly looks at topic of the conference theme – Media Clusters. It is a new field that has directly developed from Industry Cluster research. It draws together – for example – media economics, cultural analysis, and studies relating to power structures and knowledge exchange networks. In our project we use media clusters framework to investigate the position of public service media, its partnership systems and cultural processes as a part of a wider media ecology.
The presentation on the coworking spaces of Boston US and London UK underlined the importance of community to amplify knowledge exchange, and this is being commodified (a good social structure attracts more startups who hire more desk space). Successful coworking spaces are rapidly being franchised to other cities internationally.
Ghent was a great city to host the conference as it has an extremely walkable city centre. The people of Ghent have been ruled by the Spanish, the French, and the Austrians at various times. It is situated at the confluence of two rivers. This, together with the canals built to access the Sea, creates a feeling of peace and tranquillity. There were – however – many groups of tourists from all over the world who come to see the medieval buildings and the Castle of the Count.
The EMMA conference drew together international scholars who presented on topics ranging from media trust, public interest to policy and change management. The organisers, Tim Raats (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Tom Evens (Ghent University) took us on a canal and river trip. The Gala Dinner took place in a lovely restaurant next to the canal. During that night EMMA President – Ulrike Rohn announced the host of next year’s conference.
We are extremely happy that our application to host EMMA 2018 at the University of Warsaw in June 2018 was accepted. This means that the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies will host around 100 participants specialised in media management in June next year with the support of London South Bank University. This also means that the findings from our project will be presented as a pre-conference day within the post-industrial Praga District in an old warehouse building. To suit the proposed theme of the conference which will look at data-driven platforms and media management the activities will use ‘un-conference’ approaches.
We very much look forward to all the events in Warsaw in 2018.