Back in 2004, before Facebook, Ning and LinkedIn, I created a prototype community website for New Work Network (NWN) for my MSc dissertation project at the University of Glasgow. I worked closely with the company and members to develop the software I had designed and prototyped, which when proved, was fully implemented over the following years. After graduating, fellow programmer and artist Ewan McDougall and I were employed by NWN to design the structure of database in MySQL and create the pages in PHP. The New Work Network website was powered by XOOPS a free, open source platform for building dynamic, community driven websites. The ‘skin’ of the site was redesigned by Bullet Creative in 2007.
The vision was to create a site that would help an emerging sector see itself. As well as a creative tool for artists to network and promote their work the site was also a repository charting the history of the artists, their work and the New Work sector itself. The site allowed artists to post information about themselves, their projects, events, companies, venues, organisations, networks, discussions and opportunities they were creating for others. It captured connections between artists and produced weekly emails tailored to suit member’s specific interests.
Sadly, because of funding cuts in the UK, NWN stopped operating in 2012. At the time of closure the site held:
- 1219 Profiles of artists working across the UK and around the world
- 565 Artist Project Listings
- 2793 Events Listings
- 1974 Opportunity Listings (Call outs, expressions of interest, commissions, jobs etc.)
- Blogs, forums and resources (downloads etc.)
‘New Work’ – Defined by NWN
The term ‘New Work’ can be used to cover a wide spectrum of practices that are not solely based within a traditional art form, but which share a sense of experimentation and a ‘blurring’ of art form boundaries. Members of New Work Network are involved with a variety of practices, such as: experimental performance, new media, live art, experimental dance, site specific work, sonic art, moving image, science and art, intervention and socially engaged practices.
New Work Network brought together people who work across art forms so that arts practitioners could share ideas and enrich connections.