We had a query from one of our commissioned artists about live streaming, and if we knew anything about this… We realised we didn’t know enough! So, entering stage left, Ben Pugh came to the rescue.
With 20 years of experience as a cultural sector practitioner, Ben has provided wide-ranging management infrastructure for projects, productions, festivals, and events throughout the creative and cultural industry. He led on the live streaming of our 2018 Unlimited Symposium, and seemed like a great person to have a chat with, and see what we could learn together.
We realised that a lot of our network might be interested in this conversation, so we facilitated some one-on-one conversations for our artists, and then decided there was information here that others would also be interested in.
We therefore produced a short three-part series with Ben on some of the basics to think about for live streaming your work. You can see these below:
“It was fascinating hearing about people’s ideas, their experiences and the challenges they were facing. Though the art forms and approaches are all very different there was a consistent thread, across all the surgeries, of people wanting to share compelling stories in an engaging way with people online. One of the most encouraging aspects of talking to Unlimited artists is that they are already thinking about the experience of the audience, when you are thinking about making your work ‘digital’ understanding this factor is two thirds of the challenge the rest is just understanding technical nuts and bolts!”
“I really appreciated the insight that Ben gave me into creating digital work, and his advice has been so helpful in terms of shaping what I do next. I’m now much more confident in planning how to move my work online and the different steps that this involves”.
“I really enjoyed my time with Ben… it was informal and unstructured which made it much easier to get the conversation going. Almost like having a drink in a pub where the conversations just flowed. I was really grateful for the advice he gave which gave me a lot of confidence when submitting for an application. Creating work in the digital space is the new norm for all of us and it is trying to adapt to how it could work but with Ben’s experience he was able to share that with me. I hope to continue have those discussions with him in the future.”
“To me, technology is like that obelisk from 2001 a Space Odyssey. I’m like a naked ramapithecus, excited and freaked out in equal parts. Not sure whether to worship it or beat it to death with a petrified femur. I’m forty-five and I grew up poor. I was in my late twenties before I owned a computer. Compared to some of my more tech-savvy colleagues I might as well have just crawled out of a primordial bog. The pandemic has pushed everything into a digital space and at first, that really freaked me out but thanks to Ben’s live streaming surgeries and the patience and advice of some tech-minded friends, not only has my practice broadened and improved, but it’s changed forever. As an artist working with disabilities, functioning in real-time in the physical world is often hugely problematic. Creating work in a digital space has been a total game-changer. It’s an epiphany that wouldn’t have occurred without the support of Unlimited. If I ever go back to daubing primitive doggerel on the walls of a hut made out of sparrow bones and baked guano; it’ll be a creative choice rather than a fear of my limitations.”
“We are in the very early stages of planning how best to make a digital version of One Woman, a studio show in development by Cheryl Martin. Our surgery with Ben was very insightful and made us feel confident about taking the next steps.”
“Our live-streaming surgery gave us the confidence to go ahead with a digital-born version of my new show, One Woman. Covid-19 paused the development of the live theatre version just at the point we were going to add the live performance aspects to recorded sound, projections, and films. So, the option of creating an all-digital show was irresistible, because it will now be the first imagining of the project, not a film of something intended for a stage and a live audience. Our surgery clarified our thinking, and we’re now about to film the final layer for a premiere this autumn. The surgery moved me on from feeling stuck and in limbo, to a new liberating vision. “