The three weeks spent in Bristol at the Residential Lab was above and beyond any experience I have taken part in. The program which covered issues across various fields were intriguing and the discussions and daily interactions with the 15 creative producers was also very exciting.
I would like to share a few things that remain in my mind.
My biggest challenge was the high-level discussions and lectures, which were mostly conducted in British English. Though I have worked in an American English speaking environment for many years, it was difficult for me to predict the flow of conversation. At times, I was not able to keep up with the fast pace of the discussions and fully digest the discussions during the first half of the lab. In all honesty, it took some time to warm up to the environment.
Perhaps, it is not just a language issue though.
Overall, I thought the program was well designed, and there were many discussions which piqued my interest. However, I believe it was slightly crammed. If there were fewer programs, I think we could have been able to focus on more practical subject, digging more deeply into issues, and allowing producers more freedom for open discussion around each topic.
Here’re sessions that I found to be of significance, and my thoughts on each:
City Experience: It must have been dark by then by Duncan Speakman: An artistic approach to experiencing an ever-changing city based on a fusion of short stories, mobile app and sound design was very innovative. It would have been ideal if the workshop could have been 30 minutes longer. The chance to meet Duncan himself at the after-party was also very exciting.
Negotiation with cities by Stephan Hilton: The content was very easy to understand and I felt there was a good balance between the amount of information provided and time allocated.
Talk: Fundraising. How to raise money and sell your project by Sarah Coop, Artichoke: I was honestly surprised by Artichoke’s past achievements. Indeed, she left an impression that she was top level on a global scale. However, due to the time constraints, the discussion surrounding the core issue on fundraising was a bit light. The lecture could have dug deeper, and a Q&A session could have been allocated to allow for more concrete discussions.
Workshop: Story Telling, How to share your story of change by Matt Locke: A lecture capturing the world of story telling in the new era from a big perspective. I thought the content was very interesting and the lecture reconfirmed the many thoughts that I encounter daily when planning and producing various contents in my own work. However, it fell a bit short. I wanted to spend more time on the subject.
Talk: Tooling up for the online labs by Fred Deakin: This session was the most practical during the entire lab. As creative producers of the modern age, we learned about communication skills and the tools needed. Fred’s teaching method filled with humor and rhythm was really amazing.
Above all, the most impressive aspect with this Residential Lab was the opportunity to meet 15 creative producers from around the world. I spent 3 weeks stimulated everyday by their ability as producers, their attractive personalities, passion, humor, and dynamic leadership.
I would like to extend my appreciation to Clare, Pete and Jo and everyone else at Watershed who gave me the opportunity to meet these extraordinary 15 producers and for creating this project and making it come to life. The presence of Watershed PM Studio itself, the people that work there, and the fact I have experienced the atmosphere, I believe, will have great meaning for me in the future.