Who would have thought a Wednesday night could have so much excitement? On 29 November, <a href="http://creativecommons.org.au">Creative Commons Australia</a> (CCau), in conjunction with Queensland University of Technology (http://www.qut.edu.au), the Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi) (http://www.cci.edu.au) and the Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation (iCi) (http://www.ici.qut.edu.au), held the first Australian ccSalon, a live showcase of Creative Commons art, music, film and text in Australia.
In a ‘two birds/one stone’ move CCau decided to take full advantage of the relationship building opportunities of the Salon, and make sure that we had a diverse group of attendees, by tying the Salon to a series of industry meetings, which we held at the same venue in the afternoon leading up to the Salon. These meetings, which we dubbed the first CCau Industry Forum, were designed to act as both education and research tools, providing an opportunity to explore and explain the potential for Creative Commons across government, education and the creative industries both to generate awareness and help direct CCau’s focus from here.
The Forum proved surprisingly popular, with about 60 attendees from a range of private organisations, government departments, industry bodies, as well as individuals with an interest in the area. Asides from the fabulous crew at CCau (including Project Lead Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Project Manager, Jesscia Coates, Project Officer, Elliott Bledsoe and Research Officer, Nic Suzor), other Creative Commons licence users/advocates from Australia were given the opportunity to engage directly with the attendees, discussing their experiences of, motivations for, and results from using Creative Commons and other open content licensing models. Speakers included Tim Norton from A New Leaf Media (http://www.anewleaf.com.au), Anna Helme from Engage Media (http://www.engagemedia.org), Scott Kiel-Chisholm from the Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project (http://oak.qut.edu.au), Neale Hooper from the Queensland Government’s Whole of Government Information Licensing Project (http://www.qsic.qld.gov.au/qsic/QSIC.nsf/CPByUNID/6C31063F945CD93B4A257096000CBA1A) and Delia Browne from the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) (http://www.mceetya.edu.au).
And as the warm Brisbane day cooled off into evening, the Salon heated things up with some smoking live performances by Brisbane/Sydney DJ artist collapsicon (http://www.collapsicon.net) and Brisbane hybrid arts ensemble collusion (http://www.collusion.com.au). Andrew Garton of Toysatellite (http://www.toysatellite.org) also provided a lavish audio/visual feast incorporating content from across the Australian Creative Commons. Tasty tidbits included the work of photographers from a specially created group on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/ccSalon), the animation works of Blackbrow (http://www.blackbrow.com), photos from Brisbane photographer Frollop (http://www.frollop.com) and content from the Community Convergent Newsroom (http://www.ccnonline.org.au).
The event also included a very successful exhibition of the Flickr photographers curated by Rachel Cobcroft from iCi. Rachel’s idea of running a curated exhibition, complete with biographies of the artists and statements on why they use CC, was a particularly successful addition to the festivities, which we will definitely aim to reproduce at our future Salons. As an added bonus, a number of the contributing photographers managed to make it on the night with some even coming along from other parts of the country.
This coincided with a hands-on ‘share your wares’ table where attendees could look, touch and taste samples (eg books, magazines, websites) of the work produced by some of the featured commoners and a DVD compilation showcasing all the featured commoners, backed by ccMixter (http://ccmixter.org) music from CDK, Duncan Beattie and Minimal Art, played on loop across the day and night.
Overall the ccSalon was a very successful and enjoyable event. Tying it into a more formal industry event was a good way of publicising the whole event and exposing key industry people to the real-world uses of Creative Commons. Another really successful element was the integration of multiple areas of CC content, including the kinds of content that may not always be considered for showcasing in a performance, into one final, on-site, live event.
Our advice for other CC organisations thinking about running their very own ccSalons: make sure you have plenty of time to get it going (we could have done with at least another week); check that all the people involved are really clear about what will be happening on the evening; and don’t skimp on the catering. It is lots of effort but well worth it in the end.