Cultural markers in the East of England

Month: April 2014

Regional finalist – Art Museum of the Year 2014

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts has been selected as a finalist in interneticon the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014 competition.

Designed by interneticon Foster + Partners, this iconic building rests in the University of East Anglia campus landscape and is perhaps the pre-eminent collection of modern art in our region. The permanent collection housed at the Centre was relaunched with a complete re-display in September of 2013.

At the same time the Centre’s largest exhibition to date was opened – interneticonMasterpieces: Art and East Anglia. The exhibition was assembled from some 250 works, donated by over 60 institutions. The  ranged from neolithic flint hand axes, tomb effigies from East Anglian churches to paintings from the Norwich School artist John Cotman.

The space, with its endless variety of ways to approach the works, still attracts a sense of wonder and deep engagement. The short video below, featuring the Centre Director and art historian Philip Mould, conveys this sense of connection well.

If you have never visited the interneticon Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, you should. Not least to see how the curatorial energy of the Centre team has won them a deserved place in this competition.

interneticon  See the Art Fund pages and details of the other finalists here. cropped-conversationsEASTbanner2.jpg

The Social Progress Index 2014

A new indicator of human well-being and potential delivered, the Social Progress Index for 2014,  uses non-economic data to map the nations of the world and to determine their relative rank in achieving social progress. interneticon Discover it on-line here.

A recent article and the latest RSA Short focus on the issues of economic growth and how there are omissions in the singular pursuit of economic growth, as a proxy for the development of the human condition.

It is an interesting idea that there should be a non-economic proxy for human well-being, regularly and cogently calculated, which serves as a measurer of human development. The pursuit of which leavens the aggressive one-sidedness of capital by pivoting economic activity into a pursuit for human happiness.

Could the Social Progress Index be the proxy long awaited?

Poorer countries are often compared using to the UN’s Human Development Index, though this tends to be highly-correlated with GDP, with all the limitations that implies. One of the strengths of the SPI is that, by only using social and environmental indicators and excluding all economic measures, it is easier to compare how countries with similar GDP are doing relative to each other.
Matthew Bishop – The Economist

In this 2014 analysis the United Kingdom ranks 13th in the world in terms of the values subscribed to by the index. The top three world nations are New Zealand, Switzerland and Iceland.

The interneticon data clusters used for the index are divided across three main headings – basic human needs, the foundations of well-being and opportunity. The U.K. does well in global terms with regard to water and waste infrastructure for example, as to be expected, and has a good score on the opportunities available for individuals to change their lives. We do poorly on rankings around  equality and inclusion.

This short video compares and contrasts Gross Domestic Product outcomes with the SPI…

The new index is fostered by the Social Progress Imperative. A movement that subscribes to the goal of developing and guiding access to social investment ‘…which creates a shared language and common goals to align different organizations and achieve greater social impact’.  interneticon Find the Imperative on-line here.


The Science Museum Group Journal

The Science Museum Group have just launched the first issue of their bi-annual on-line journal. interneticon See the first edition here.

A collaboration between  the Science Museum (London), the Museum of Science & Industry (Manchester), the National Railway Museum (York) and the National Media Museum (Bradford). The Group has achieved Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status with major UK Research Councils.

The Science Museum Group Journal is an open access publication. Designed to be freely available to all readers and ‘knowledge distributors’…( a conversationsEAST concept? Ed.) The articles can be freely copied and adapted, as long as the appropriate attribution is given, under the terms of the interneticon Creative Commons Attribution licence.

(Care should be taken of course, if the articles contain imagery or data that is subject to copyright by other individuals or organisations).

Ian Blatchford, Director of The Science Museum, writing in this first issue opines…

Academic publishing is going through a period of extraordinary change and its future is somewhat uncertain, but the Science Museum Group Journal takes advantage of being born in a digital age, with all the opportunities that this offers. One of the greatest of these, perhaps, is the ability to share our extraordinary library of images, film and multi-media, not just as wallpaper but as an important and often beautiful primary source in its own right…

Reading the first issue a couple of articles shone out for us as a wonderful way to use the internet to contextualise history.

Florence Grant, a post-doctoral researcher at Yale Centre for British Art writes about George Adams assembling large amounts of ‘philosophical instruments’ for George III in the 1760’s.

The illustrations in the piece echo the research findings about the importance of using old engravings in the design process for new instrumentation – cutting and pasting in the modern vernacular…long before Microsoft Word. interneticon Read more here…

Similarly,  Alice Cliff’s piece on William Bally and his phrenological specimens uses graphics to effect, helping us understand the variety and scope of this Manchester made 3D archive.

The article reveals that Bally used interneticon a pantograph to create his specimens. A piece of equipment well known to sign makers in the mid 20th century before the arrival of the micro-chip and the keyboard. interneticon Read more here…

We enjoyed exploring the first issue of this new journal – academically sound, rigorously produced and open to all. If we may be permitted a thoroughly unprofessional salutation…way to go Science Museum Group!


Economic growth, the full story?

In this RSA Short for April 2014, Growth is Not Enough, Oxford economist Kate Raworth looks at the constantly heard economic mantra of growth. Is it all that needs to be in the economic outcome basket of results, despite the repetitious demands of politicians?

What should economies aim for is Kate’s key question? We recently published in our RSA East journal a short interneticon TED Talk by Harish Manwani, Chief Operating Officer of Unilever, where he stresses that brands, corporate business endeavour, can be a force for social change in communities. His take on growth was to stir in responsibiity to the fiscal admixture.

The Raworth argument pivots on the notion that un-mediated economic growth leads to deprivation, degradation and inequality.

Richard Wilkinson, one of the co-authors of The Spirit Level, gave a stirring TED Talk on inequality a couple of years ago. He effects to compare and contrast the data on major economies of the world and how inequality in societies affects the lives of millions.

interneticon  How Economic Inequality Harms Societies – well worth a look.



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