Access All Areas April 2019 - Page 11

APRIL | THE COLUMNISTS Access’ regular columnists talk new venues, tech innovations and disabilities... Technology as a force for good Jonathan Emmins, founder, Amplify Healthy industry? Josephine Burns, chair, Without Walls A new page Simeon Aldred, group creative director, Vibration Group Working in events for nearly 20 years, I feel privileged to have been in the industry through its progressive times. There’ve been physical changes: festival speakers as big as tower blocks now reduced to tiny almost-floating cubes. And there’s also less visible but arguably more important changes: I’m grateful my first job advising NUS students’ union entertainment teams coincided with the early internet, a resource I can’t imagine being without. Yet, ‘technology’ is getting a lot of flack by a media that conveniently forgets it’s only as good the person using it. Technology is a force for good: it has the ability to disrupt, democratise and connect, making things easier and fairer. Case in point is Dice.FM. Former A&R, label manager and promoter, Phil Hutcheon, used his vision and digital background to give a much-needed overhaul of the event ticketing industry. Artists, promoters, venues and fans alike can circumvent the ‘tout’ issue, ensuring tickets go to those deserving. In Dice’s words: “We’re killing touting”. With Ticketmaster closing their secondary sites, it seems Dice.FM is winning. More importantly, they’re getting people going out. Rather than increasing revenues by increasing ticket prices. What has changed in the last decade? I’ll leave to others the biggies of technology and new financial models so (deep breath): What are we doing in our neck of the woods to make performances/ experiences accessible to a wider audience let alone opportunities for artists and other employments? It’s not easy or simple. Without Walls set out eleven years ago with a commitment to artists and audiences who are deaf and/or disabled. Not because we’re publicly funded nor because we’re goody-two-shoes, but because if we want to reach these audiences, many of whom will never engage in mainstream arts, then we had to think differently. Stats from The Audience Agency, (2019), show that 12% of our audience were limited by health problems. We’ve now supported 138 shows of which 17 are by deaf/ disabled-led companies, 12% of the overall programme. We’ve been trying to up our game, so since 2013 Without Walls has commissioned at least one disability-led show a year. This is no PC-nod – it’s stand- out performance (small boast) – we supported Candoco Dance Company to create You and I Know (2016), choreographed by Arlene Phillips, and in 2018, 9.43m saw the company on BBC’s Strictly... We’re still on it and we always will be. After announcing Magazine London earlier this year, I’m now keen to give a few more details about the project, one of our most intensive to date. Magazine London is purpose- built, 24,179sqm destination, the largest of its kind in London, offering a striking blank canvas for culture and commerce; it is a unique opportunity for brands and businesses to interact with global and local audiences. Guests arrive into the Reception, which features a floor-to-ceiling glass window that provides unbroken views of the River Thames, Canary Wharf skyline and The Showground. Your guests can also take in these views of the landscape by venturing outside onto The Deck and into The Yard. The Reception includes an eight-metre high ceiling, polished concrete floors and two black steel stairways that lead to the upper mezzanine levels, great as a break out space. Main Space is the largest internal space; its vast walls are stained black, allowing for a striking backdrop. This area also features an eight-metre high ceiling, clean, polished concrete floors and clear sight lines through the space. We can’t wait to show it off to Access readers this summer. Not long now! 11