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Running to keep up with the tech

This is a sort of companion-piece to Diana’s first post back in May which looked at how the use of technology has changed our lives, particularly recently. From my point of view as a creator of various types of content, what it also highlighted was the amount of new learning it required. And that learning has had to be done fast!

Back at the beginning…

… things took longer. People’s expectations weren’t for warp speed when getting posters, preview cards, or basic publications ready for print. There was no internet (for most of us). Everything was typeset by hand with a photographer producing sized images and a glued-together mock-up used as a printer’s reference. In the late 1980s this was how non-hi-tech our set-up was at the Crawford Arts Centre. But by the mid-1990s we had one internet-enabled pc and I’d started to use Publisher to produce basic desktop-designed artwork for our print material.

Advent of higher-tech (for us)

I produced our first webpage (it wasn’t a website to be fair) in 1999, the same year as using Adobe’s Pagemaker software to design potter Thomas Lochhead‘s exhibition publication. Others were using QuarkXPress, but it was way too advanced & expensive for us. Fast forward a few years, and my usual choices for any design work is Adobe’s InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator. Our website has also gone through various incarnations including a complete overall in 2014. Technology just doesn’t stand still.

Short selection of various of Fife Contemporary (& Crawford Arts Centre)'s publications since 1986

And now?

That brings me back to the point at the start of this: the upsurge of digital content creation during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am no expert and to create the INSIGHTS to accompany Lines from Scotland meant a lot of Googling! How to edit or change video formats (when I didn’t have a suitable programme); how to edit audio; how to save iMovies when I’d run out of space on the iPad; how to even get the iMovies off the iPad! That’s the tip of the iceberg – I did a lot of online searching (Google is my friend)!

My conclusion?

There are usually many ways to skin a cat (so to speak)! For every way I found to sort a problem, there will be dozens of alternatives. The use of complex technology is with us now and it’s mainstream. It’s probably easier on the whole to embrace it and look for your own solutions. It opens up so many opportunities to connect with an audience, speak to people, find out what they’re doing. Digital and online content will not supplant a physical experience. It’s wonderful that so many cultural venues are starting to re-open, albeit in it pared down ways. But for an organisation, technology in its broadest sense is such a useful tool for communication, and we couldn’t be without it now.

If I can figure out the tech, I might just put a few, short ‘How tos’ together, in case I can save someone else the agony of frustration engendered by my own experience. I’ll let you know!

2 thoughts on “Running to keep up with the tech

  1. Hi Susan, I would certainly be interested in hearing your answers to all of the above as we are facing the same problems at Clydebuilt, especially the one about the IPAD memory storage problem. …..I can remember the days of us literally drawing and adapting letroset in the office…
    All the best
    Leigh McCalister

    1. Hi Leigh, Good to hear from you and hope all’s well. Yes, a lot of water under the bridge since these days! Would an online 1:1 chat be of any help to you? You could give me your specific problems and I could see if I can come up with useful solutions? Let me know and we can arrange something. Susan

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