Mareel launches at a difficult time

1 Oct 2012

SHETLAND ARTS have announced the official launch of the first season of programmes in the new Mareel venue in Lerwick.

THE organisation also responded very promptly to my moan in last month’s editorial about lack of information coming our way (nice to know they are reading Northings). The venue opens in difficult times for the arts, and after a difficult gestation – let’s hope they can put the problems behind them and be a major success story.

Dougie McLean is one of the headline artists in Mareel's opening season

Dougie McLean is one of the headline artists in Mareel's opening season

As it happens, Gwilym Gibbons of Shetland Arts was one of the people taking part in last month’s evidence session at the Scottish Parliament in which Andrew Dixon, the Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, responded to criticisms over the funding changes and policies announced this year, a debate that continues to rumble on (see, for example, Northings theatre critic Mark Fisher’s recent article in The List). A transcript of the session can be downloaded from the Scottish Parliament website (the Creative Scotland material starts at 1404).

I mentioned both events in last month’s editorial, but just a reminder that both the Luminate festival, exploring the theme of ageing and creativity, and the Moray Feelgood Festival, focusing on issues of mental health and well-being, will run throughout October.

Back here at Northings, users of the site may have noticed that we made a few changes to functionality last month. The major change is that we have replaced the former comments box at the bottom of each article with Facebook commenting.

Users can choose if they wish their comment to show only on the Northings site, or if they also want to post it to their own Facebook profile (which can then be shared and commented on by others, and thereby may take on a life of its own). Anyone who doesn’t have a Facebook account can choose to login with a range of other accounts in order to comment, e.g., AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail.
 Authors of articles on Northings will continue to get e-mail notifications if their article is commented on using the new Facebook commenting system, and we have added buttons to share articles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

The old drop-down panel for Northings account information at the top of the site has been replaced with simpler “Contributor Log In” and “Register” buttons for logged-out users, and a link to WordPress admin and account details for logged-in users. Links to Northings’ main Twitter and Facebook accounts can now be found at the top right of the screen.

Finally, we have added drop-down menus under the Features tab in the menu bar which allow users to filter features for different art forms, and similarly to the News tab, which allows filtering by region.

We are also pleased to welcome the filing of the first Community Review, a very professional effort from Stephen Keeler in Ullapool. Community reviews don’t yet have an obvious presence on the front page of the site, but you can access them via a pull-down menu on the Reviews tab (and submit one here).

Kenny Mathieson


© Kenny Mathieson, 2012