Jul 252012

If you could sum up the range of cultural activities that are on offer in Leicester, what would be the best word or phrase that you might use? Can such a diverse set of events, performances, exhibitions and talented individuals be brought into a singe phrase or word? Some cities and art movements have achieved this. I’m thinking of The Factory, Andy Warhol’s creative space in 1960s and 70s New York. Or Factory Records in Manchester in the 1980s and 90s, with its associations with the Hacienda Club. They each have a connotation that there is a group of people who are passionate about their art. This was combined with a clear sense that the experience that they promoted was social, intelligent, international but aimed at generating a wide appeal.

Fast forward to Leicester in 2012 and the focus in so many forums is on how artists, performers, writers, photographers, musicians and sound designers (and many more) can showcase their creative and commercial talents in a way that gets a wider audience, and provides the people involved with a living. From Dusk To Dawn‘s website is a hub for creative talent in Leicester, and manages to connect people from different backgrounds and with different aspirations in an interconnected network of creative businesses.

DemonFM has run a show for the last two years that aims to cover events in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. In the past we have covered events taking place at the Curve Theatre, at Phoenix Arts, at De Montfort Hall, and the many other arts and culture venues, including De Montfort University’s Cultural Exchanges festival. This year we are looking at renewing the Cultural Quarter show for a new generation of producers and volunteers on the station. With a new name and a new approach, our aim is to reflect the growing sense of community around the creative and cultural sector in Leicester, and to provide a platform where issues are discussed and broadcast as part of a weekly show that will be broadcast on DemonFM.

Kirsty Monroe, Nathan Human and myself met at the Phoenix for a coffee and chatted about what we want from the programme. The first thing we’ve done is decided that the foundation of this programme is going to be based on social media. Using the FD2D site as a central network – the programme is being produced in association with FD2D – we want to collect ideas for stories to be told and discussed on the show by following hashtags in social media. A couple of ideas for these tags range from the mundane to the ridiculous. What do you think of #onthepulse, #coolture #lestart #noquartergiven or #doleicester?

At the same time we are determined to ban some words. So we can’t use ‘culture’, ‘arts’, ’embedded’, ‘accessible’, ‘relevant’, ‘sector’ or ‘engaged’. These all sound like terms that are used in local government strategy meetings, and come across badly on a live radio programme.What other words should we ban?

The next stage is to get out and about and record some content and to put together a couple of pilot shows. Watch this space and follow #noquartergiven for ideas.

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