The last missive of a good year and next year will be better (even, much, lots?)
Despite the cuts, the recession and the constant fight to keep the arts on the government agenda, it’s been a good one. Starting Flow in this economic climate was never going to be easy but the time is always now, so why wait?
Something that lingers in my mind as the year closes is that the more brutal the cuts became, the more resilient and empathic people have become. No-one can sit on their laurels any more (not that anyone ever does in the arts…they can’t, being one of the lowest paid professions).
This years card is for everyone – many friends, family and colleagues have found it a very tough year for various reasons, so I hope it is empowering for them. And for those that it’s been good, or even brilliant – congratulations, I’m sure there’s more to come!
Here’s a review of Flow’s first year:
- Thanks to G4A funding and match funding from the organisations, the consultations with National Trust, Forestry Commission and Canal & River Trust, with Gill of Lightsgoingon, were very fruitful. Developmental – deep and complex conversations and enquiries and some original thinking around the table. Those conversations have impacted hugely on how I aim to move Flow forward.
- Evidence of the impact is in my business plan – happy to share if you wish to see it, just ask
- Lots of interest in Flow and the ideas behind it
- I got Flow’s identity up and running with the help of graphic designer Nic Bennett – thanks Nic
- I completed an iNet Marketing Course which was very useful
- I sought support from a business mentor
- I sought support from a writing mentor
- Flow website: 6,000+ peple have visited my Flow website. In Nov 2012 new visitors numbers were an average of 19 per month, Nov 2013 332 per month (peaking at 870 Sept 2013) – increase of 4479%
- Blog: I’ve written 104 posts on my blog, 3 of which attracted 100+ visitors
- Twitter: I have tweeted 783 times, and have 717 followers. Best Twitter moment was when the Independent re-tweeted my Tweet – to 440,000 followers!
- Flow Facebook page: 132 likes
- In February I launched Flow Advice with an offer of free mentoring sessions for artists. I provided 13 free half-hour slots, from which I received excellent feedback. I have since mentored 9 artists
- I secured £9k funding from Gloucester First LAG funding to work with Simon Ryder at two community libraries in the Forest of Dean, Cabinet of Change was the outcome. We ran several workshops about blogging and Forestry Commission supported Simon’s research in the Forest about fungi. The project involved storytelling, blogging, laser and waterjet cutting, scanning with an x-box and illusion.
- I secured a place for leadership training with VASW and have enjoyed the challenge and developed my Flow business plan as a result of that course.
- I chaired an exciting and vibrant discussion panel for b-side at their Resonant Terrains symposium, which I was told was ‘perfectly pitched’.
- I found my writing muscles again, partly through blogging and partly through writing a preview and a review of artSOUTH
- I created a set of chapter plate images for my sister Sue Thomas’s book Technobiophilia. I’m very proud of that!
- And in Janaury I have a place on the arts writing course at Arvon – always wanted to do a writing course there, a great way to start 2014