MARCEL Services

Don and I have discussed, over several months, the possibility of offering services to members of the type discussed in the brief
below.  We would be interested in getting your feedback on the value of such service to the network!!


1. Sponsored Research and proposal assistance
The MARCEL Network is designed to provide access to communication and archiving facilities as well as work, exhibit and performance space for creative artists. It seeks to use the internet as a platform for the interaction of art, and science, mediated by platform technologies, for the creation of an "art space" and a space for dialogue and collaboration.
We have been at the forefront of what has become the Web 2.0 revolution or the use of the internet as a platform. In order to remain current and extend our work we must provide new options for user/collaborators that also support internal growth of the network, develop cutting edge technology, and intensify collaboration among members. 
In order to remain at the forefront of the new media/Web 2.0 universe it will be necessary to develop resources within the network.  To that end MARCEL will initiate what may be termed a "sponsored research" development office.   We will provide fund seeking and fund management services through the MARCEL Charity Ltd not-for-profit organization and act as a sponsored research site that will assist members in extending their research capacity contiguous with the development of the MARCEL platform.
MARCEL depends on the contribution of member effort and that cannot change.  MARCEL asks that you all share resources, time and energy to extend the platform, add meaningful content, and collaborate with each other and that must not change.  But these are difficult times.  Growth here comes at the expense of programs there, lean budgets must be shared across centers and often arts activity is asked to do without a place at the table.
We feel that it is time for MARCEL to play a new and different role for its members.  It must be a role that reflects the needs of the network, offers services not in conflict with member organizations, and provides services at a minimum overhead.
This is a fundamental change in operation for MARCEL but we feel it is a necessary growth in service to members and to the preservation and growth of our capacity.  The function is not meant to displace such services as university members may get from their sponsored research office.  MARCEL seeks to augment such services, provide funding access for non-academic members, and intensify collaboration among members by offering a service with a low indirect cost structure, collegial focus, and shared platform.
The preliminary offering would include: 1) search and serve capacity in locating funding opportunities; 2) RFP "stripping" or requirements analysis ; 3) proposal planning services via the web and Skype conference facility; 4) proposal writing and submission support either as a full service or as a "second reader/editor"; 5) grants management capacity for reporting and financial management services related to funds granted.  It is envisioned that these funds would be extramural grants and not reside with any facility or person but with MARCEL, be used to do the work of the network, and provide individual researchers with appropriate stipends.  
We would work at five levels of function in supplying this service: 1) grant seeking/fellowship giving, 2) grant seeking with collaborators to work within the MARCEL structure, 3) grant seeking to foster collaboration of individual members on the platform, 4) grant seeking to involve inter-agency collaboration, 5) grant seeking to build MARCEL specific programming and technology.  We would facilitate the formation of research teams, manage the funds and oversee project completion.
We want to hear from you about this.  Please let us know if this service is of interest to you or if it represents a threat or unwise competition on the part of MARCEL in relation to member organizations. 
2. Team formation and research project management
MARCEL is sometimes called upon to deliver specific expertise to a process or program.  This most often is a team selected and lead by Don Foresta for the purposes of responding to a specific need for expertise or like-minded collaborators with experience in a specific area.  
In the past this has been done on an ad hoc and informal basis and usually in an un-remunerated or expenses only visit, consultation, or presentation opportunity in support of special projects or MARCEL member need.  This process has been ad hoc and informal as well as unadvertised.   However, we feel that the combined expertise represented in the network has now reached a critical masse that would allow more formals offer of services.  
To that end we are proposing the development of a project team formation service that would allow MARCEL to provide quick formation of expert teams of members to meet consultation engagement needs.  At first this would be merely a database of the willing with sufficient vitae and terms of availability to allow team formation.  Don would continue to form and lead the teams but we would actively seek assignments that use and remunerate the expertise of the members.  We are motivated to do this by the current interest in the "Creative Economy" which is a common development strategy for many regions in the U.S. as well as the EU. 
3. Conference planning and management
MARCEL is the result of informal conference activity and creative thinking among groups of assembled conference participants.  Conference and retreat activity is still a necessary adjunct to "cloud computing", "web conferencing" and "Skype chats".   Face to face inter-action is a creative opportunity that should not disappear in the face of rising travel costs and shrinking budgets.  
MARCEL can call upon a growing network of creative thinkers, assemble resources, and manage site and logistics needs for conference activity.   This key service will provide an open access opportunity for members to host, participate, or develop conference activity important to our shared disciplines.
MARCEL will operate this service on a fee for service basis in partnership with appropriate partner sponsors, service delivery partners and development organization.  The Souillac process is historical precedent for this work and the Mortagne conferences will be our first focused effort at regional development through the arts in France in 2008.   


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