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Guest Blog by Skinder Hundal- It’s a Homeostasis moment as says John from Demos

The ability to adapt and survive in an environment which shifts suddenly is not for the faint-hearted. Biological organisms or species that have lasted the test of time are those with robust exteriors and indomitable interiors… I mean look at the alligator. Selection, choice and protection is governed increasingly by human systems and isn’t always a biological phenomenon of course.  So there is a need for us to connect with processes through key relationships and spirited networks. But are we in danger of anti-progress through the distraction of choice, the digital and conceptual dimension?

New Art Exchange is at the cusp of change, as it hosts one of the best British Art Shows of all time, alongside its sister comrades Nottingham Contemporary and the Castle. Such a big and high profile touring show in NG7…. well why not? New Art Exchange over time has adapted and shifted, genetically refreshed with its cultural and physical hybridity.  It’s a great story, symbolising hope and aspiration come true. And so two weeks after launching British Art Show 7 (BAS7) in an absolute memorable 20hr launch, the show gains pace. There’s a real spirit and wider profile growing for Nottingham thanks to its vibrant creative ecology and its ability to create a critical mass, driven by its artist community and arts enthusiasts. I mean the vibe created at each venue during the BAS7 launch offered unique and enjoyable experiences, culminating in the sideshow party at 1 Thornsby Street, organised through a wide network of artists from Nottingham responding with vigour and passion in an unforgettable night. In fact so good I finished with a beer drenched suit, a wine stained white tie and paint on my trousers… now that’s networking with spirit.

Earlier this week I attended the National Turning Point conference for visual arts in a brand new contemporary arts venue in Eastbourne – Towner Gallery… very nice. I met the charismatic theorist John Holden from Demos and many more very interesting thinkers on contemporary Britain, arts and culture – exploring growth, sustainability and survival in a UK economy with negative gain over the past year. The main focus of the conversation was about working with and reaping the benefits of working with networks exploring the digital age and much more. You can’t really argue with good networks, apart from being potentially overloaded by choice and the density of connections leading to confused priorities and guilt, personal stress and angst from a lack of relationship attention syndrome.  With so many people and networks to connect with and maintain, how does one sustain quality relationships which have a meaningful impact then? By staying safe with an inner circle can affect growth, scope, cultural/behavioural shifts and change and get too big with one’s circle then multiple identities and re-morphing may cause a dilemma of values, direction and focus perhaps.

In order to survive the pressure always seems to push us in to a state of entrepreneurial frenzy, possibly trying to please too many or be everything to everyone. There are of course many solutions, the obvious mantra – work smarter through your network of associates, partners, peers and grow an empowered confident team of progressive, pragmatic and savy pros.  On top stick to what you excel in with purpose and vigour but reinvent regularly enough to stay proactively ahead of the shifting terrain – easier said than done.

In my case, the lesson this week, is to focus on what needs to be done, support and not neglect my team and peers by over working and getting lost in too many conversations and networks.

More background about our guest blogger, Skinder Hundal.

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