History of AinL


5th September 2016

Closing down announcement

Editor and publisher of Arts in Leicester magazine announced today the the magazine will close down for good in December of this year.

More details are available on the editorial published today.

The content will be gradually migrated away to other outlets or will be achived off for historical reference. Meanwhile, here the history of the magazine:

29th May 2014

The history of Arts in Leicester Magazine

This page documents the history and development of this magazine website .

2005: origins

ArtsIn Magazine began life when the domain name – artsinleicestershire.co.uk – was registered on 22nd February 2005, together with artsInleicestershire.com (although still active, this is being decommissioned.) In July 2012, artsinleicester.co.uk was registered and for a long time pointed to our Music in Leicester website, until being re-pointed to this site in May 2014.

The original website was constructed to be a sister site to traveltoleicester.co.uk, which had been created by the designers, B2B Web Consultants. The first edition of the site looked like the original travel to Leicester site, its layout being templated from it.

Hence, the ArtsInleicestershire.co.uk site was a spin-off from the Travel to Leicester site, which we operated at that time (it being sold to another design company, an IT firm.)

The Arts in Leicestershire website was launched on Sunday 4th September 2005. It stated that it was ‘Designed and developed by B2B Web Consultants’, and that ‘the site will grow into a comprehensive portal for anything to do with the arts and entertainment in the city and county. ‘

The styling and layout remained unchanged for most of 2007.  The original layout had a three column layout and blue and yellow navigation boxes that matched those on the original travel website.

The masthead block was very different from which was used in the old website, being made form a variety of photo images that reflected the arts appearing in it, at that time. The font now used for the name (Monotype Corsiva) had not then been adopted.

At that time, the site was branded to Pink Angel Promotions, an entertainment agency that had been created, with its own website (now defunct.) The content and links of the home page indicates that rock music was a primary content of the site. The links also indicated that things like theatre, visual arts and other genres of music were also included.

At the time, B2B Web Consultants (which hosted and developed the ArtsIn site) was trading under the branding of Pink Angel Promotions in order to differentiate its arts-related work from that of its general commercial work. [B2B Web ceased in 2016]

By December 2006, the site’s banner simply read ‘Arts in Leicestershire’ and was branded to Pink Angel Promotions. It still bore the travel to Leicester styling and layout.

2007

In May 2007, an extensive listing of gigs was well under way. This page shows some of the promoters that were active at the time, such as 101 Promotions which was run by Paul Matts (who previously managed the Attik live music venue.)

The list also shows a date for the OBS (Original Bands Showcase). You can see entries for the ‘Indie Rock Night’, run at the Sun Bar in Churchgate by Arts in Leicestershire or Pink Angel Promotions, a weekly show where live bands played.

The list shows some of the bands that were active at the time; some of these no longer exist. There was a page of gig reviews featuring a number of Leicester bands that were active at that time. The earliest of these reviews on that page was dated 20th October 2007.

There was also a separate page (called the ‘events list’) for other types of shows. This splitting of rock gigs and general shows into separate lists is still a feature of the current magazine (at that time, that is.)

The page listing venues in Leicester is also of interest. Some of those that are listed here have now closed down (e.g. The Charlotte, The Half Time Orange) and some have changed their name (e.g. The current Firebug was then called the Firefly and Original Four is now called SuperFly) and The Alchemist is now called Squares Bar, although it no longer puts on live music.

In May 2007 the site had the original layout that followed the template of its Travel to Leicester sister site. The About Us page referred to it as a ‘website’ rather than as a ‘magazine or webzine’.

The site was later called ‘Arts in Leicestershire Webzine’ and that then became ‘magazine’ as the editors became confident that the content justified that description.There was also a separate page (called the events list) for other types of shows.

2008

By August 2008, the page banner included the words ‘Online Magazine’. The house-style font for the masthead was set to Monotype Corsiva.

A copy of the front page dated 22nd December 2008 shows that the site was now being referred to as a ‘webzine’, at least in the title tag. The banner had been redesigned and included the subtitle ‘Online Magazine.’

Some sections were already on the menu bar including Features, Written Word, Visual Arts and Theatre. There was also a news section. A statement on the front page read ‘Welcome to our new format.’

Links existed to a news page, editorial comment, reviews and a features page. The content was very oriented to music; the front page announced the Band of the Month – Formal Warning.

2009: The growth of the magazine format

The home page (on 16/8/2009) bore the red-top logo using the Monotype Corsiva font which we see today.

The horizontal navigation bar had been introduced with the links to the major sections.

The about us page stated (on 14th August 2009): ‘When we started our gigs list , we planned to cover all gigs at all venues. Several months later, we find we are unable to do this because the task is far too overwhelming. We spend several hours per week updating the gigs list and it changes pretty much on a daily basis. The gigs list alone is equivalent to over 28 pages of A4.’

Also in August 2009, the vacancies page was offering a variety of positions for unpaid volunteers.

The main sections were: comedy, literature, music, theatre and visual arts.

2010: Growth and development

With ArtsIn now established as an on-line magazine, a new section about dance was introduced. By now, we also had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Fatsoma as well as a separate blog site. Some of these accounts had been created long before the current magazine got going, as facilities created by the music agency Get Your Band On. Our account on YouTube, for example, is still called ‘UK Bands Promoter’. Our MySpace address is still /getyourbandon.

Early in 2011, the front page had developed it familiar styling and layout. ‘Artsin’ was adopted as the band word for the magazine [it was significant that the ‘home page’ was called the front page, following the magazine model of publication.]

In order to foster the growth of Arts in Leicestershire, the decision was taken to close down other web sites we operated and to put all our resources into making it more successful. The Get Your Band On website was terminated, along with a variety of other web sites that were distracting attention away from the magazine but which were not delivering any useful results.

2011: The company takes over the magazine

ArtsIn Productions Limited was launched on 1st October 2011. This new social enterprise took over the publication of the magazine. Being a social enterprise, the company was better able to recruit a team of volunteers to write for the magazine. {The company closed in 2014]

2012

The site achieved a record number of unique visitors in April – 24,201. By this time the whole site had well over 500 live pages.

The above is based on the page published in the old magazine, and last updated on 21/05/12.

2013 to 2014

The launch of our website Music in Leicester saw a very big chunk of the content taken away to form a new on-line product. Between January and May of 2013, the site has grown to over 600 pages, of which more than half were about music (in its popular and rock genres.)

Both websites continued to enjoy a large number of hits, contrary to the fear that the arts site would wither as the music site developed.  Editors talked about doing a major revamp of the arts site, once the new music product had bedded in. The old site has written in ‘hand-crafted html’ and had almost no interactive features. All the content had to be published through the editorial office, no matter who wrote it.

Music in Leicester was created using the WordPress® content management system – the version that creates website, as opposed to the one that services the needs of bloggers. The new format proved to be both useful, as a medium for the publication of content, and enabled contributors to be given access to the back-end of the system, so that they could publish their own articles, without everything having to go through one editor.

The use of WordPress® gave editors’ the confidence to use it for the present version of Arts in Leicester, which you are now reading. This version was published (and the old website pages taken down) on 27th May 2014.

The name

Whether as a website, a webzine or a magazine, it has always been called Arts in Leicestershire.  We have now decided to shorten the title to Arts in Leicester, though this does not imply any less of a commitment to covering what is happening in the county.

Postscript

Arts in Productions Ltd was wound up in the  autumn of 2014.