Jen Southern, IDEA
IDEA (Innovation in Digital and Electronic Arts) is a digital arts and training organisation. In the past 3 years IDEA has expanded its work internationally, however at the core of IDEA's work is a belief in local activity. Being based in the Greater Manchester region IDEA is committed to the training and support of individuals involved in creative technologies at all levels. The range includes training for young people, through our own projects and in collaboration with local arts organisations, multimedia training opportunities and support of local artists in the production and exhibition of their own work.
It was through this breadth of activity, and a belief in the development of local training that IDEA first became involved with CFront in 1999. As CFront was aiming to work locally through training, exhibition and discussion to strengthen the local digital arts scene in Bulgaria, so IDEA had been active in Manchester over the preceding 5 years. Despite the geographical distance that separates Plovdiv and Manchester, and perhaps because of the specific problems of working with digital technologies, it appeared that as organisations based on the skills of artists as curators, technicians, trainers and managers CFront and IDEA have some common roots and common goals.
Through our work with CFront IDEA has expanded its horizons. Our main contribution to the CFront events as in Manchester has been based on an exchange of expertise and enthusiasm, as an alternative currency in these new digital environments. IDEA's experience in running training based projects with artists in a delicate balance between individual creativity, collective purpose and the necessity to produce completed work in a finite time span has made us able to contribute to the CFront experience. In return the IDEA team has strengthened, and widened its horizons both as a group and as individuals.