Icons of England
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  • The Icons
  • Nominations
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Advisory Board Inaugural Meeting

13 October 2005

  • ICONS Project Director, Alex Morrison (AM), welcomed all the members of the newly constituted ICONS Advisory Board and explained the background and development of ICONS, an independent not-for-profit company designed to take the project forward, including its formation by parent company, Cognitive Applications. AM explained the aims of the project, which were to encourage awareness and take-up of our cultural heritage, whilst encouraging people to be more web literate and to visit museums and galleries.
  • AM said the success of the ICONS project would be measured by the number of visitors and interactive activity it generated and these would both be monitored closely over time.
  • Infrastructure - ICONS Managing Director, Jerry Doyle (JD), described the office, staffing and equipment set-up for the project.
  • Editorial Process - ICONS Editorial Director, Daniel Hahn (DH), explained the process whereby icons will be nominated, voted on and commented on by the public on the ICONS site. He also explained that though ICONS was not launching its full site till later, there had been an early test website on which portions of the public had already been expressing their views about what things should be icons or not. This was useful in establishing an early list of sample icons to go public with at launch stage as the public had had involvement. DH explained the ICONS definition of icons, which ruled out people as icons so that current day pop stars did not skew the vote. This would be monitored over time. Explanations of the process would appear on the site and people would be given reasons for nominations being turned down.
  • There was a discussion about whether the site might become ICONS of Britain, and not just ICONS of England. Project representatives welcomed this. Funding had only been achieved to cover England so far, but efforts would continue to secure support from other parts of the UK.
  • A discussion on the first wave of icons suggested focused on the difficulty of accepting nominations for songs or music as icons. It was agreed they would be difficult to represent visually. Public involvement was really what ICONS wanted to spark off and the more the better. It was not solely about the popular vote, because it would always be important to ensure a geographical mix to be fair and also to ensure that icons were spread between landmarks, works of art, modes of transport, inventions etc.
  • JD reported that the Daily Mirror had agreed to be media partner to the ICONS project at launch stage. Efforts had also been progressing to ensure that ICONS' partners were fully involved in the project. It had been a great success to date, and there was an impressive coalition of support from the National Trust. English Heritage and a range of city museums. Being inclusive was also crucial to the project and JD said she was pleased to report involvement from the Black Cultural Archives, the Jewish Museum and the Muslim Council. Efforts would continue over time to include other groups.