This is a question that I’ve been asked a lot of late so I guess by way of attempting to avoid having to explain the same thing over and over again I thought I should maybe write a blog about it.
In recent years I’ve been asked by various lovely people to help with programming in a number of museums. I love this work. I guess it stems from time spent in the Waterfront Hall, back when they cared about creativity and aesthetic. As Arts and Community Coordinator there, I didn’t get the run of the building, I got to use the bits that were left once all the money making stuff was finished. But that was an amazing amount of bits. The gigs we ran in the bar that looked over the river, the classes we ran in the dressing rooms while the auditorium was down for maintenance, the installations we ran in the front of house areas that enhanced the experience of visitors who were there for other reasons. From the outset I wanted to take whatever spare capacity there was and squeeze it for all it was worth – I genuinely thought it was my responsibility, as a public worker in a public building, to make every part of that building work as hard as it could. So you begin to look at every nook and cranny and challenge yourself to see what could be done with it.
Moving onto Culture Night in 2011 I was continually challenging buildings, public spaces and actual roads to be something more. For one night a barbers can be an opera house, carpark can be a night club or a bus can be a comedy club, (tbh that last one didn’t really work but we gave it a red hot go). Alongside my work at CNB I became increasingly involved in pop up activities in mean time space, after hours events, street animation and of course an interest in city planning via my work with Save CQ. At the heart of all of this has been a borderline obsession with public space and how interventions within these spaces can change how people engage with place on a micro and a macro level. I’ve become obsessed with how creativity, aesthetic and activism can be a transformative cohesive force that builds community and enables people to connect with each other.
But I can’t do that sort of work on my own,… there’s so much to do. And I suspected that there were other people who cared about these things too.
And so starting from a desire to develop the work I’d been doing with Museum Lates, I approached one of my oldest friends Gemma to chat over starting a new business. Over the next couple of months we recruited Jonny and Shauna and we became Daisy Chain Inc.
But what started off as a museums focused approach quickly broadened as we realised that the skills that we had could be applied to a wide range of locations… or even just providing a creative approach to activism or marking an anniversary or community consultation. And as we talked to people and talked about our approach, (the next blog will be about how we came up with the idea of the Daisy Chain Reaction or DCR), we realised that what we were offering was a creative approach to… well a whole load of things.
As we’ve worked on our first few contracts together I’ve been increasingly excited about the talents and the synergies there are in the team. We’re all 20 years plus doing what we do and we’re damn good at it. In particular we’re learning to trust each other’s ‘gut’ because we’ve been training our guts to tell us how to do our work for a long time.
As a final thought then, when I think back to my time in the Waterfront I’m immensely proud of the work that I did there. I was continually challenging and agitating and asking people to do things that pushed them out of their comfort zone. We did some amazing things, but I was also always getting in trouble. So I had the ideas, but GOD what a pain in the arse I was to have on actual staff. And I kind of think that’s what Daisy Chain is about, it’s the best of both worlds. We give you all our mental ideas, and will work with you to help make them a reality, but you don’t have to deal with having wingnuts like us on staff.
So if you have a problem, and if no-one else can help, as unlikely as it seems, perhaps this group of eccentric creatives could be your A-team