This is a top conference so far

You know when you are having a good time at a conference. The meal breaks sneak up on you quickly. Today was a cracker of a start to Create World 2007, even if the interactive playroom isn’t q-u-i-t-e available yet. Oh yes, it’s always the usually teeny techy glitches that spoil the party.

Paul Draper’s fabulous keynote today on Music 2.0 hauled in a movie, a splendidly animated (but never too busy) slideshow that positively danced along, as well as a live iChat feed from NYC for heaven’s sake! Showing off Paul, but you did it, and the content was terrific. For me it was your take on the position of the music industry right now, and the way young artists, assisted by online technologies, are going freelance and hopefully changing the face not only of composition but also distribution. I liked ‘Every $ earned by an independent artist is his/her $.’ Uh huh.

The other thing that makes you glad you packed your bag for a conference is the networking, the swapping of good reads to be had, the sheer calibre of the presentations,  the savvy and passion that accompany them. Note to self: look up and read Steve Albini’s ‘The Problem With Music’; Yokai Benkler ‘The Wealth of Networks,’ and Lawrence Lessig’s ‘Free Culture.’ This one has been on my list for ages. No excuses now; this is a pdf download. Another highly recommended from Paul Draper is ‘Corruption Lecture. Alpha Version’ by Lessig.

Susan Kerrigan’s presentation on creating documentaries was an object lesson on practitioner based enquiry methodology. Susan’s focus was on the making of a low-budget documentary film on the historic Fort Scratchley in Newcastle, NSW, and on the development of the website which accompanies it. Susan gave just a peep into her methodology and research findings: how creativity is constrained and enabled by the production process; and how low skill-set levels can be developed through carefully designed learning and teaching projects. I found myself agreeing entirely when she noted the online production of the website to be ‘liberating.’

The round table on Social Networking chaired by Stephen Atherton was a free-flowing (10 minutes each) plus question time take on how the panel members used these tools. I spoke briefly on my use of blogs and belief that they are the most accessible and flexible of the social networking tools in an education setting. Horses for courses. More on this tomorrow. Oh, and Twitter got a mention.

And there’s lots more … Greg Giannis continues his work on social cartgraphy with a structured walk by individual participants armed with a mobile camera phone. The images go up to the site that Greg is ‘curating.’  When finished, it should be a fab mosaic of the world round South Bank. Create World is jumping, and talking and creating!


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