A New Challenge for Northings

2 Apr 2012

AS WE approach the completion of nine years of covering arts and culture in the Highlands & Islands, Northings faces a new set of challenges, and a new opportunity.

Dave Smith’s cartoon (and surely that character on the right isn’t supposed to be …. ) evokes the doomsday scenario, but we all intend to ensure that it doesn’t come to that. Briefly, the situation is that after fully supporting the site through HI-Arts since its inception, HIE are now having to reduce the funding directly available to us for the coming year.

Unlike the majority of internet-based journals, we pay most of our writers for their work (artists writing about their own work are the exception), and both expect and receive a professional standard as a result. That means that Northings requires something in the region of £1500 each month to maintain our current levels of activity.

Michael Marra and Frank McConnell in A Wee Home From Home - just one of over 1,750 shows reviewed in Northings (Douglas Robertson)

Michael Marra and Frank McConnell in A Wee Home From Home - just one of over 1,750 shows reviewed in Northings (Douglas Robertson)

And we have done quite a lot. Northings has carried over 1,750 reviews and over 750 features in that time, not to mention a regular feed of news, and well over 550,000 items have been downloaded, from PDFs and documents to podcasts and Hi-wireless episodes.

To achieve (or better) that level, we will be looking to progress fund-raising on several fronts, beginning with an appeal for donations from the key people in this whole enterprise, the users of Northings. We hope you will feel able to donate – no amount too small (or large) – and make a contribution to the continued development of the site (although your input is still very welcome here even if you don’t).

Our aim is to continue to serve as both a journal and a communal hub for the arts in our large and geographically diverse region, and that includes strengthening the Community elements of Northings. If you have not already done so, you can become part of that community simply by registering – free! – via the pull-down box at the top of the home page.

Once registered, we hope that you will want to contribute directly to the site, and make use of the facilities we offer to comment on articles and reviews, to network with other users (including via our Facebook page – please sign up there as well – and Twitter).

We will be aiming to add more functionality to enhance the Community experience in the coming months, which potentially include a platform for users to contribute their own reviews, and opportunities to benefit your own projects through crowdfunding.

Developing the on-line community at Northings has always been a key element in our mission, and we hope that you will join with us in making it an even more proactive one.

In addition to the donate button, you will notice some further changes on the front page. Blogs are now more readily accessed, and the old members button in the toolbar has now been subsumed within Community. If you are new to the site, you can read our mission statement in the newly updated introduction to Northings, accessed through the About button.

Northings will continue to carry commissioned features and reviews from our team of professional contributors. We now stand at what is simultaneously a major challenge and an exciting opportunity to expand our service on diverse fronts, and for you to get involved. We look forward to the continued development of the site, and the continued flourishing of the arts in the Highlands & Islands.

While on the subject of donations, we are delighted to report that our appeal for funds towards a memorial plaque in aid of Highlander’s Museum Redevelopment Project at Fort George in memory of the late Gordon Urquhart readily achieved its target.

Kenny Mathieson
Commissioning Editor