knowledge: what is a fair exchange?

Spent a stimulating day today at BALTIC taking part in the Turning Point Knowledge Exchange. Turning Point is a strategic approach to developing visuals arts in the UK. There are a number of strands and themes to the initiative but today was a response to the stated need for visual artists, arts organisations, freelancers and others to share more knowledge and exchange ideas. Like uncivilised toddlers we can all be guilty of grabbing our assets, both tangible and intangible, to our chests and declaring them ‘mine’. I grew up with an older brother so I learnt very early on how to ‘share’ stuff (wave goodbye to the Lego and never see it again).

My job at Audiences North East for the last six years has centred around knowledge exchange and it’s one of the things I enjoyed most – the process of sweetly absorbing knowledge through experience then sharing it through professional development sessions has benefited many arts organisations as well as myself. So how to do that as a non-subsidised freelancer with a financial imperative to keep me and my chap in Vimto and pub quiz style has been occupying my thoughts. Of course I can ask people to pay for it, and I will, if it’s appropriate and necessary. But listening to the impressively moniker’d Dougald Hine today has reminded me that good things, even really great things, can come of being open and free to fun and simple experience. His adventures in social experimentation such as school of everything are a testament to the power of knowledge exchange and the positive energy a random group can create by bouncing off each other like friendly electrons.

My conclusion from today is that having conversations, sharing experiences, and giving away knowledge has a transformative effect that can’t be quantified easily. It’s like measuring smiles – it’s not a science it’s an art. So if you are reading this and have a knowledge need around audience development, my knowledge offer is to give you as much as I can of that in the time it takes to drink a pot of tea. If you are reading this and you have a knowledge offer around not being a soft touch and making lots of money for Vimto and pub quizzes, please please get in touch.

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