Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Big Draw 2016 communication underwhelms

The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival 2016 takes place this month - between 1-31st October 2016.

October is traditionally the month of The Big Draw with a different theme each year.  It's about:
  •  promoting visual literacy - which is seen as important to our lives as other forms of education such as numeracy and literacy (in the reading and writing sense).
  • aiming to give the arts parity with other subjects
This year the theme is an acronym 'STEAM'
Bringing together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths. STEAM fuses creative innovation, enterprise, digital technologies and the arts.
logo of the Big Draw Steam Festival 2016

Peter Heslip, director of visual arts and London at Arts Council England commented:
The charity’s work around the STEAM agenda will play an important role in raising awareness of how visual literacy is an essential part of the cultural education that children and young people should have access to.”

More about the Big Draw 2016

For me - the big emphasis of the BIG draw going forward needs to be on communication online.

The Symposium took place last month at the Baltic Exchange but the website is still in prospect mode and reports absolutely nothing about what happened.

The Big Draw Festival was also launched last month at The Whitworth Gallery at The University of Manchester on 22 September, 2016. Again the page is about what will happen despite the event having taken place 10 days ago (and sadly too few images) and absolutely no pointers to what did happen.

Events this month can be found on the website - but I won't be highlighting any due to the horrible functionality of the website (which I have highlighted before in previous years - to no avail)
  • You can find Events via this map. Personally I find this terribly uninformative compared to the information that used be supplied on the Big Draw website (before the current website incarnation). It used to be possible to filter (eg by age rangel type of event etc) and scan lists to identify and spot events that would suit you and that you wouldn't mind travelling to. I used to go to a number - but no longer do so. The current information assumes a willingness to click every link (TWICE!!!) and is just plainly dysfunctional - in terms of communication - to my mind.   
  • These are images from the Gallery of events in 2016
  • My own view is that:
    • in 2016, there seems to be rather too much emphasis on some big events 
    • compared to rather too little emphasis on the smaller events which are much more accessible to a wider number of people of all ages - as used to be the case when I first started covering the big draw some 10 years ago (eg see Big Draw events around the UK in October in 2007)
    • there seem to be much fewer events compared to just two years ago.
This the map of events in the UK 2016

and below is the same map in 2014

An organisational re-launch is currently planned for early 2017. 

Hopefully somebody is also planning a new way of displaying and communicating events on the website in 2017 - and making them happen.

Otherwise this might be my very last Big Draw post.......