5th Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival and Art Competition 14 – 20 November 2011

The 2nd Northern Sequential Arts Competition is announced. Create a one page comic book story and be in with a chance of seeing your work printed and published in a new comic book alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.

In 2010 Thought Bubble launched its very own national award with the support of Arts Council funding. The Northern Sequential Arts Competition is a new annual prize which is open to all artists and writers living in the UK. Budding artists and writers were invited to create their very own one page comic book story, and all the entries were judged by a leading panel of industry professionals, including 2000 AD Editor Matt Smith, Imagine FX Editor Claire Howlett and Marvel’s Spider-Man Editor Steve Wacker.

6 winning entrants will see their work published this year in a special Thought Bubble anthology which will also include original work from leading international artists and writers including Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy), Andy Diggle (The Losers), Antony Johnston (Daredevil), Mike Carey (Lucifer), plus many more.

The second Northern Sequential Arts Competition has now been announced and Thought Bubble is on the look out for new one page comic book creations. Once again, all entries will be judged by an industry panel including Steve Wacker, editor of Marvel Comics – Spider-Man titles and Matt Smith, editor of 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine. As before, the winners will get to see their stories printed alongside the work of established artists and writers in the second Thought Bubble anthology which will also be distributed worldwide. The competition is split into two age groups, 12 – 17 and 18 +, full details on how to enter can be found at http://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com

Quote from Director Lisa Wood, “Following the fantastic success of our very first Northern Sequential Arts Competition in 2010 which attracted entries from all over the UK we are delighted to announce the 2nd edition of the competition. You don’t have to be an experienced illustrator or even good at drawing – we’re looking for new and interesting ideas so if you’ve got a story you want to share then why not enter this fantastic competition and you could be one of the winning entries that’s featured in the next Thought Bubble anthology.”

This year’s festival will also include a massive 2 day comic convention at two of Leeds’ biggest exhibition spaces – Saviles Hall and Royal Armouries Hall. The convention will feature some of the biggest international comic book artists and writers in the world, independent, small press artists and retailers offering something for all comic book fans.

Young people and adults can also get involved in our fantastic programme of free interactive workshops & masterclasses with activity for beginners as well as more experienced writers and artists. The full programme, along with full guest line up and venue details will be announced soon, and tickets for the convention will be going on sale in May! For all the latest news and updates check out http://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com.

Thought Bubble Sequential Arts Festival 14 – 20 November 2011
The comic convention will take place Saturday 19th November & Sunday 20th November 2011 between 10am and 5.30pm at the Royal Armouries and Saviles Hall Leeds, and tickets cost £18.00 for the weekend, or £10 for the day, with under 12’s getting in for free! Tickets will be available to purchase online at http://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com or in person by phone at the City Centre Box Office in Leeds on Millennium Square, tel: 0113 2243801.

Thought Bubble is the UK’s biggest and best sequential arts festival celebrating comic books, graphic novels and associated arts forms.

Each November Leeds plays host to hundreds of sequential arts writers and artists with some of the biggest names in the industry attending the huge weekend long comic convention in Royal Armouries Hall and Saviles Hall, Leeds’s largest conference spaces.

The festival strives to provide creative opportunities for young people and adults with free, interactive workshops and master classes led by industry professionals.

Tickets can be purchased in person at City Centre Box Office (The Carriageworks, Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD), over the telephone (0113 224 3801) and online at http://www.thoughtbubblefestival.com and http://www.leedsfilm.com.

Thought Bubble is partnered with the Leeds International Film Festival

Email: thoughtbubbleinfo@gmail.com Tel: 07930 141629

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Are social net sites so easy people are deleting their own common sense ?

Do online social networking sites both help and damage communication skills? Take the online interaction allowed through social networking. More and more people are interacting online because they do not know how to interact with people in the offline world.

Many people can poke on Facebook but they do not know how to communicate occasionally offline. Many guys love adding beautiful random girls online, but they do not know how to make any kind of a friend in the offline world. People who are good at telling the truth online through their social networking blogs and messages to other online contacts, are also usually good at lying about the same things offline and vice versa, because they simply do not know how to communicate in the offline world.

Many people love disagreeing with their virtual friends without any logic, yet the same people do not know how to deal with anyone disagreeing with them in the offline world. Many people know when to block and delete a friend from their online social networking account, yet those same people do not know when an offline friend is actually not a friend and should simply be ignored, and vice versa.

Similarly, other people can talk about honesty and friendship in the online world in a very simple manner, yet they cannot help but complicate the same things in the offline world.
Why? Many people not know how to keep in mind all the different variables involved when communicating in the offline world, including the variable of being selfless sometimes. Are online social networking sites so easy to use that people are deleting their own common sense? I wonder if, at least for some people, the online social networking sites are making them better at portraying an illusion of communication online, yet making those same people clueless as to how to respect others and how to be considerate to others when it comes to socializing and interacting with other people in the offline world.

SO HOW DO YOU BECOME A GREAT NETWORKER?

Is it possible to identify the key behaviours which make up a successful networker? Can the ordinary trainer learn the skills of these successful networkers? That was the question I set myself when looking into this.
So without further ado here are my top observations and tips…

1 Be selfless and generous
Good networkers believe in abundance, there is always enough to go around. Very often business people and job hunters believe the opposite is true – they assume that there is only a limited amount of business and jobs to go around. This can lead to competitive and aggressive behaviour, which damages credibility, reduces social capital and literally stifles opportunities from networking activities.

2 Be “always open for networking”
Great networkers don’t see any boundaries between their personal and professional life, or online and face-to-face networking. They are literally always looking for opportunities to network and help someone.

3 Be interested in people first and foremost, business second
Good networkers know that networking is not about selling, it’s about getting to know people. If you get to know people first, opportunities will follow.

4 Be positive and enthusiastic
The best networkers attract people towards them, and they are the sort of people you enjoy spending time with. Great networkers tend to be upbeat, positive and generally enthusiastic about the future and what it held for them. As a result it was easy to spend time getting to know them.

5 Be focused and disciplined
Focus and discipline is a crucial trait for all great networkers. It’s focus and discipline which:
• Makes sure the follow-up happens after a networking event.
• Gets them out of the house on a wet winter’s night.
• Enables them to maintain an effective level of visibility at the forums, social networking sites and networking groups they frequent.

6 Cultivate a win-win mentality
Networking works best when the people you are networking with have a collaboration mindset, that is they are always looking for the win-win. It’s linked back to the abundance principle. If you truly believe that there is enough business (or jobs) to go around, you are always looking for a win-win outcome for the people within your network.

7 Be brave
As we grow up we learn social etiquette, but also form perceptions of people based on their position, perceived authority and experience. We can often fall into the trap of seeing the title rather than the person. Great networkers only see the person, not the title and are always brave enough to have the conversation which will make a difference to their career or business.

8 Be committed
When someone recommends you or gives you a referral, they are placing their reputation on the line for you. To risk their reputation or credibility for you, they want to know that you are committed for the foreseeable future to what you are doing; whether continuing within employment or your business’s strategy and offering.

9 Have a willingness to experiment
The only things that are certain in life are change and uncertainty. Businesses grow or decline; people move jobs, networking groups change. This means that new opportunities to network will always be just around the corner. It’s this willingness to experiment which means that the great networkers always seem to know where to spend their time to get the best return on their efforts.

10 Be curious
The best networkers are inherently curious. They are curious about people, businesses and new experiences. This in-built curiosity helps them seek out opportunities, for example, new networking groups or sites, for themselves and others in their network, but also find areas of common ground to build rapport with people that they meet.

11 Be tenacious and persistent
Many people make the mistake of starting to invest in their network at the point of which they need it, such as at the start of a job hunt. Good networkers are investing in their network all the time, rather than waiting until they need to call upon their network.

12 Be authentic
Your relationships, and therefore your social capital, depend on your authenticity. Great networkers achieve their results on the back of building up strong and “real” relationships with the people that they meet. This means that the more authentic you can be with the people you meet, the more likely you will generate mutually beneficial relationships.

13 Seek first to understand
Consistent opportunities only come through a network when relationships have been built. The best way to lay a solid foundation in a relationship is to consciously take the time to listen and understand.

14 Act like the host
When you are at a networking event you can choose to wait to be introduced or take the initiative and do the introducing. Social networks are now so big, that it is normally ineffective to wait to be introduced. Great networkers, seem to have no fear, and take the initiative and introduce themselves to the people that they want to meet.

The Power of Pecha Kucha presentations

When PowerPoint and similar technologies took the world by storm, they provided a great opportunity to stimulate a presentation. Rather than staring at a black-and-white financial table with lines of numbers indicating financial adjustments, the captive audience in meetings could see a variety of color and action. The problem with that though, was that the presentation host spent alot of wasted time reading what everyone else could already see up in front of them, without providing anything new and insightful to the presentation.

The successful orchastrating of meetings and other events, firstly needs a selection of great presenters, and secondly needs a fantastic presentation. Pecha kucha is the one possible solution to all of this.

What is Pecha Kucha?
Pecha Kucha is a presentation method, developed in Japan, that is reputed to improve audience attention. The term “Pecha Kucha” is Japanese for the din of conversation, like chit-chat and it has been described as forcing the presenter to talk from their heart.
Usually pronounced pe-chak-cha or pet-shah coot-shah depending on who you talk to, it is a method of presenting that ensures both content and length are kept short and to the point, hence the claim of ending the nightmare we’ve all experienced – death by PowerPoint.
Using this format, presenters are limited to only 20 slides, each of which can be shown for no more than 20 seconds each. This is strictly adhered to by using a combination of slide-show and automated timer functions on your computer, and limiting the entire presentation to only 6 minutes, and 40 seconds!
Where has it come from? It was created in 2003 by two architects living in Japan – Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham – to give young designers a venue to meet, network and show their work in public. Their intention was to find a way of improving audience attention, whilst increasing the total number of presentations that could take place in one event, and even encourage those more shy presenters to actually take part.

Can this format turn the traditional real-world PowerPoint presentation on its head, where slides are read off as a script and are not that stimulating to the audience? This creates a more engaging, passionate and memorable experience for conference and training participants.
Could Pecha Kucha play a part in this drive for more creativity in the workplace?
Success stories/case studies
On 11 March,2011, Japan suffered what has been described as a 1000 year event. The earthquake and tsunami destroyed 400km of coastline, killing over 15,000 people, leaving 400,000 people homeless, and triggered a nuclear situation that is still unfolding today.

On April 16, Pecha Kucha cities around the world came together and held events, broadcasting out to the world and Japan over Ustream. Starting from Christchurch and Tokyo and going all the way to Quito, the Global Pecha Kucha Day inspired Japan and the world through hundreds of presentations. To date more than $50,000 has been raised.
‘Inspire Japan’ events continued through-out May – http://global-day.pecha-kucha.org/ and on PechaKucha Daily ( http://pecha-kucha.org/daily/ ) more information can be found for upcoming events. All donations made at these events contribute to the ‘Inspire Japan’ efforts, with all money going to Architecture for Humanity and ArchiAid’s reconstruction work in Japan.

From Big Society to Our Society

When one talks about the Big Society, at the heart of it, the concern is to improve people’s quality of life: the environment they live in and the social fabric they’re part of. Making that happen is the job of local residents, and the surrounding businesses that serve these communities. Places of worship and youth groups also play a part in this.

How does the community keep doing this work with reduced resources, ensuring that businesses support the local community (for example, by working with local social enterprises and trading with local suppliers) and encouraging voluntary action? In that context it isn’t surprising that when ideas of user-led public services, social action and neighbourhood involvement are articulated by government under the banner of Big Society, they tend to be greeted with scepticism and hostility.

Combining experiences from the past, telling stories from the present and mapping out future opportunities and threats in order to move forward and build on the community-led spirit should be what lies on the road ahead. Traditionally this has happened through groups that compete as often as they collaborate, and through individuals who often struggle to make an impact in an arena where the big, bland consultancies grab all the strategic advisory roles. What do we need to turn this into reality? We need doers and thinkers, and innovators who understand the diversity and richness of social action, and who are prepared to share their knowledge with each other. We need people who are prepared to invest modest amounts of time and resources.

Real world social networking – we need them more than ever

Real world social networking is no longer perhaps the fashionable thing, since the rise of social media. But the benefits of face-to-face contact with people means, that it can never really be replaced. Twitter and Facebook are becoming ever more important tools for businesses to communicate with their target markets and keep on top of competitors, but can these mediums ever really rival human contact?

Business clusters, or business parks – where companies working in the same field are situated in the same area – show the importance of real world social networking. The most famous example of this is perhaps Silicon Valley, which is home to many of the world’s largest and most influential technology centres. Working in an environment dedicated to the field has helped entrepreneurs thrive in the area and has led to the creation of many new businesses.

In the UK we have the lesser known Silicon Roundabout, an area just off Old Street in London, whose cheap rents and fashionable underground lifestyle originally attracted a young tech crowd in the early 2000s. Now, it is the technology hub of the moment.

Real world social networking in these business clusters is said to have three major benefits:

 it increases productivity;
 it drives innovation due to the heightened competitive environment;
 it creates new business in the area,

Although modern society has embraced social media, we still need to realise the importance of real world networking, and make a conscious effort to build face-to-face relationships with as many of our fellow human beings as possible. Simple things like hearing someone’s voice and looking them in the eye, gives us a sense of who they are and allow for relationships to develop based on trust and mutual understanding, which is much more difficult to achieve through more impersonal mediums.

Email and social networking sites, although great for reaching a wide audience, are not as influential or effective as face-to-face meetings. Emails can be considered spam and business cards discarded, but a face is much more difficult to forget.

Real world social networking gives one the opportunity to showcase what humans are naturally good at, relationships.