Big Ideas talks at Emerging Futures 2018 came from author Nikesh Shukla, social activist Ruth Daniel and director of The Space Fiona Morris

Nikesh started with a definition of inclusion – “it’s like diversity but better.” He then highlighted all the reasons why cultural institutions do not have particularly diverse staff; highlighting a lack of inclusion. Nikesh spoke about his experiences at Rife magazine based at Watershed in Bristol, and how they created a diverse workforce through inclusive practices: They looked around the room and asked themselves who is not there, then asked themselves how are they able to get that person in the room.

“People will see a project they want to go for and they will not feel like it is for them”

By writing specific invitations for people they thought would not apply for a position “like this”, Nikesh and Rife opened up the door and built an incredible team.

Ruth spoke about people and projects connected to her organisation, In Place of War. In Place of War supports the development of creative communities in places affected by conflict; it provides help, education and structure for those trying to build something with whatever creative skills or output they can think of. From saving 70 ft street theatre puppets in India to establishing hip-hop agri-businesses in Uganda, In Place of War helps communities come together and act on what they want to to better their lives.

Fiona Morris is the director of The Space, an organisation which educates and helps artists bridge the gap between their personal practice and digital. She talks about people’s hesitancy around the word digital and the need for audience research and audience engagement at the heart of it all. She shared some engaging examples of alternative activations by the Space, such as broadcasting an hour of contemporary dance on the British Legion’s facebook page and PlayCraft Live – the world’s first play staged in Minecraft.

A live poll during Fiona’s talk asked “Which digital platforms have helped your practice?”, with Twitter coming out as the clear favourite with 86% of respondents saying it had helped their practice