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– scribbled recollections of a Creative Partnerships new technology training day

The day began early, driving north almost beyond civilisation as we know it, most traffic heading in the opposite direction, the A16 to Boston like a cue left discarded on a billiard table. Was this for ease of access – or to enable a quick getaway? We were about to find out. The pearl in Lincolnshire’s crown? I’m not sure. A nugget maybe, or the glacé cherry at the centre of an iced Bakewell tart. Encountering the Stump reaching toward a clear blue sky and glowing warm yellow ochre in the bright low morning sun however was a sight to behold. A magnificent building reassuring all visitors that they had reached their destination, it could not be mistaken for anywhere else. The sight of the Stump. The smell of creosoted wood. Yes, this was Boston.

Two sessions, each lasting 3 hours, flew past in invigorating and stimulating fashion in the wink of a digital eye with the concept of Social media and networking explained, illustrated and demystified, thoughtfully and with clarity. I began the session in the dark, feeling like a needle in a haystack – I ended it feeling informed and either larger as a needle or that the haystack had shrunk a little. As a professional painter uncomfortable with promotion and marketing, Abhay showed first how I might develop a voice in my wilderness, then how to project that voice. The sound of rusty cogs gradually stirring in my brain deafened everyone in the room.

I’ve found inspiration from an assortment of sources and mentors, and this introduction encouraged consideration of how others might have reacted to change in their work place. JMW Turner, my guiding light, willingly embraced new technologies and I have no doubt that if photography were available he would have slipped a digital camera in his pocket which would not have prevented him still producing hundreds of notebook drawings. This is a practise I have adopted and I feel comfortable with it. Likewise, I’m certain Vincent van Gogh would have been an excellent blogger, the thoughts and observations he shared with friends and his brother Theo in letters is public knowledge now. In his lifetime however he was unknown, misunderstood and sold only one painting, perhaps WordPress might have made a world of difference for him had it been available. I wouldn’t describe myself as a hermit but for a variety of reasons my recent past has certainly been lived in the shadows. I have written a diary for many years, perhaps an extension of this habit could shed some light in my direction. Could Social Media benefit me? I came to the conclusion that maybe it can.

The day’s light bulb moment? There were many, all special and memorable, the superb presentation by Abhay for starters, but despite this brilliant and impressive effort he may have been outdone by some curious off-beat moments. Katie not only successfully balanced 101 coffee cups on a tea tray but also negotiated a locked door to deliver them safely to the kitchen sink, making her a strong candidate. With no cutlery available at lunch the innovation and initiative shown by Gizella serving mixed salad with a paper cup deserves special mention too. Good try everyone, but I think the last chocolate brownie goes to Charlotte for invention, freedom of expression and ingenuity with an elastic band. Not just a fashion accessory, that flash of red zig-zagging across her footwear not only had a practical application, it made a statement too – as immediate as Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover. Brilliant!

Boston was obviously sad to see us leave, a deluge of tears fell from Heaven when we parted company to jet-ski homeward. My 13 year old Corsa dislikes wet weather and squealed like a little piggy all the way home. With the wipers struggling to cope with the stair-rods hammering on the windscreen they nevertheless maintained a metronomic rhythm to accompany The Sensational Alex Harvey Band thudding at full volume from the car radio. It was a deafening journey, but the soundtrack was a perfect accompaniment – and kinda spooky too!

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