In the last few years I’ve had to learn all the jargon associated with projects.
It first started when I was advising on the arts and retail element of the council’s King’s Stables Road site when they put it up for sale. Now, of course, I’ve been working on the Scottish Pop Music Exhibition Centre.
I remember many years ago being asked to ‘curate’ the bands for an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and didn’t really feel comfortable with the word, as I would have just said ‘choosing’. But it was a museum/gallery word and now seems to have spread into much more common usage, especially with music festivals.
Certainly for the centre, curate – to select, organise and look after the items in an exhibition or collection – is definitely the right word and I’m also now pleased to confirm that I can finally say that I have all the relevant ‘stakeholders’ on board.
There has always been great support for the idea but just recently everybody has come together to see exactly how we can make the centre a reality.
Sadly, I haven’t included Creative Scotland among the stakeholders simply on the basis they don’t seem to consider themselves relevant to most of the centre’s ‘offering’. Yes, offering is another word often used unsurprisingly for what is on offer.
With everybody short on funding, organisations will always look to refer elsewhere and in this case there is undoubtedly a heritage element so I’ve been advised to speak to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Moreover, much of the more relevant things that the centre would offer, such as helping new bands either with sales or advice, it has been said are covered by organisations already funded by Creative Scotland.
I would very much disagree with this, as all those mentioned either help a quite small and select number of artists or indeed sometimes only those who are members.
In particular, the Twitter site for the centre already retweets and often sends original tweets for gigs and other events often supported by the Avalanche account that has a very wide reach indeed.
Having said that, even the centre’s account has more than 2200 followers keen to get news of Scottish artists and events. I certainly haven’t ruled out working together in the future but I do find you very much have to be ‘on message’, yet another of those phrases, and I doubt that will ever happen. As I’ve said before, bands, labels, fans, journalists and photographers could not have been more helpful and without them I couldn’t have reached this point. I also have to thank all those who have given advice, especially when dealing with the council and the arts sector and a special thank you is due to the Fruitmarket Gallery who helped kickstart this last push with the June exhibition.
There is, however, one piece of the jigsaw missing and that is funding. It is the one area in which understanding how it all works only makes you want to give up! One thing is for sure and that is the more money you have, the easier it is to get even more money.
A trick I have noticed was actually used just this week when it was announced that Sony would be supporting grassroots small venues. Nice publicity for Sony, helpful to the Music Venue Trust in finding other backers but the key sentence is: “It’s not yet known how much money Sony Music UK will put forward to help.”
Just announcing a credible sponsor or backer can really help in getting others to come forward but I am really hoping that when we do have anything it will be a little more concrete.
I’m happy to talk to any potential sponsors, though after losing the Picture House I would probably draw the line at having a Wetherspoons Scottish Pop and Music Exhibition Centre!
Queen’s Hall sets its sights on a £3.5m upgrade
Following on from last week’s column, the Queen’s Hall is currently in the process of raising £3.5m towards exciting new plans including:
l Opening up the Hall’s front elevation with glass doors and windows, letting in light and letting the life of the building shine out
l Improving access at the front so that people are drawn to enter through the
l Reconfiguring the support areas around the auditorium, creating a new café and bar, ambient concourse space, new box office and office accommodation
l Creating new spaces at Gallery level for bar facilities
l Making the venue attractive to non-ticketed visitors and for corporate and private hire, thus extending much needed revenue streams
l Upgrade and extend the toilet facilities
Plans are in the Hope Scott Room (the mezzanine level of the bar) where you can view Mill Design’s proposal for reconfiguring the Front of House areas.
The Queen’s Hall is a great mid-sized venue holding as it does around 900 and has artists from all genres playing there, so it is a real asset to Edinburgh’s music scene. With plans to be open during the day to extend those “much needed revenue streams” this new work is essential to make the Queen’s Hall a destination both night and day.
To discuss, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0131 622 7385
You can also make a donation at secure.thebiggive.org.uk/charity/view/4532
Open day at the school of rock
It is sometimes forgotten that there is more than one music school in Edinburgh and the City of Edinburgh Music School based at Broughton High School has an open day on Saturday November 4 from 11am to 2pm.
Garbage singer Shirley Manson is just one of the school’s famous former students, with others being the piper, violinist and composer Martyn Bennett, the jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith and the oboist and composer Helen Grime.
The school offers full-time education for young, gifted musicians and does not charge fees.
Anybody interested is encouraged to come along to the open day and find out more.