Wanted: Tech Genius

We’re delighted to announce that The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has awarded Talking Birds funds to work further on the development of our in-pocket captioning tool, The Difference Engine. As part of this, we’re recruiting a Resident Technologist, to work alongside us and original programmer James Shuttleworth, to further develop the system and support the companies and audiences testing it. All the recruitment details for the Resident Technologist are here and we hope soon to be able to involve more companies in testing the Difference Engine on their own shows and feeding into its development. Watch, as they say, this space…IMG_1919.JPG[slightly rubbish pic of The Difference Engine in action at the Barbican the other week, captioning The Encounter by Complicite]

Looking for ChangeMakers

Arts Council England has recently announced its Changemakers Fund, to help address the lack of diversity in arts leadership. The fund is open to National Portfolio Organisations to apply jointly with an identified individual.

Talking Birds is seeking to have informal conversations with interested parties, with a view to applying jointly to the fund in order to support the development of Talking Birds’ Difference Engine. For more information on the ChangeMakers fund, click here.

In order to kick start the conversation and help frame what we might be looking to do if such a bid were to be successful, we’ve drawn up this draft person specification. If it sounds interesting, please get in touch (details below)!

Associate Producer (Difference Engine) – draft person specification

Talking Birds is looking for an Associate Producer to work particularly on the company’s new digital accessibility tool in development, The Difference Engine. We will be looking to apply jointly with this person to Arts Council England’s new Changemakers strategic fund to enable the appointment (fund expression of interest deadline 28.4.16)

Though the particular focus of this post is on the Difference Engine, we are interested in working with an individual who has the vision to imagine how it can be used as a creative tool and can act as a champion or ambassador for the system. Ideally you have experience and links into the Disability Arts sector, can champion the Difference Engine in that sector, but can also push the company’s working practice, making sure we continue to productively challenge ourselves around accessibility, casting and participation.

You will need to be a good communicator with a passion for arts and making creative ideas and accessibility go hand in hand.

You will be working alongside Talking Birds’ Co-Artistic Directors, General Manager and Resident Technologist to realise the full potential of the Difference Engine – in terms of the company’s own artistic programme, rolling it out to other artists, companies and producers, and putting it into the hands of those that can benefit from it. A crucial part of this will be working with audience user-testers in the development of both the system itself, and in the nurturing of these new audiences – for our work and work in the independent, small-scale and outdoor arts sector where access provision has historically been patchy. You will help find ways of making The Difference Engine sustainable – which might include running a crowd-funding campaign and developing relationships with funding partners.

We will work closely with you to ensure you have whatever support you need to carry out your role – which will be shaped in close collaboration with you, and informed by your strengths and interests to ensure personal and career development opportunities for you.

Please do get in touch for an informal discussion.


Email: Co-Artistic Director Janet Vaughan janet [@] talkingbirds.co.uk

Tel: 024 7615 8330

 Notes on Arts Council Changemakers Fund

(From ACE guidance)The primary aim of the fund is to increase the diversity of senior leadership in the arts and culture by helping to develop a cohort of leaders who are Black, minority ethnic and/or disabled by means of a targeted senior leadership training and development programme, hosted by a National Portfolio Organisation or Major Partner Museum, and designed to develop the leadership skills and experience of Black, minority ethnic and disabled potential leaders. The fund supports our aim of addressing the under-representation of Black, minority ethnic and disabled senior leaders across the National portfolio and Major partner museum portfolio by providing opportunities for such potential leaders to gain relevant experience and training so they are able to compete on merit when future Artistic Director, Chief Executive or other senior leadership positions become available.

Notes on Talking Birds’ Difference Engine

The Difference Engine was devised by Talking Birds as a low-cost, always-on way of making live performance accessible through delivering captioning and audio description to the mobile devices in audience members’ pockets. The system was funded to prototype stage by Arts Council England and is now entering a year of intensive testing with small arts organisations and venues in the UK. With funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the company is currently recruiting a Resident Technologist to support the development of the Difference Engine throughout this period of testing.

For information on the background and development of the Difference Engine, see http://www.talkingbirds.co.uk/pages/differenceengine.asp