NEW creative programme in the School of Music and Fine Art at Chatham Historic Dockyard

Photo by Peter Hatton. Work by J Childs – Burberry Architecture 15

An exciting new  practice based MA Event & Experience Design (subject to validation), will be offered at the School of Music and Fine Art from September 2016.  Situated in the heart of the thriving Medway creative hub, the School of Music and Fine Art offers a range of degrees, postgraduate programmes and PhDs that include Fine Art, Music, Music Technology, Sound and Image, and Event and Experience Design in the dynamic and inspiring environment of Chatham Historic Dockyard.

The new MA Event & Experience Design covers contemporary culture delivered through live and mediated events that  may include live streaming, interactive networks and traditional terrestrial broadcast. The experience may be interactive, participatory or immersive or combinations of any of these.

This programme is ideal for Art, Design, Digital Arts, Performance and Drama (and other related subjects) undergraduate students who wish to study in an interdisciplinary environment. It is also aimed at professionals in the industry who wish to study part time(over 2 years)  for personal and professional development.

Modules are assessed on coursework and practical project outcomes with supporting research portfolios. The dissertation is 8,000 words or 5,000 words plus a publicly-presented element.

To find out more, contact: mfaadmissions@kent.ac.uk  or visit  http://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/eventandexperiencedesign/index.html

Event & Experience Design End of Year Show at Chatham Historic Dockyard – 24th May to 1st June 2015

eventshows

The University of Kent School of Music and Fine Art presents a mix of exciting work from their final year Event & Experience Design students. The show, called 11 Degrees, is FREE to attend and open to the public from the 24th May till 1st June, 10am-5pm.

The venue is Room 101, Clocktower Building, Chatham Historic Dockyard, ME4 4TZ.

The only undergraduate degree programme in the UK dedicated to developing skilled practitioners for the creative events industry, the BA (Hons) Event and Experience Design teaches how to create events and experiences for entertainment, commercial, heritage, tourism and hospitality environments, encompassing creative, technical and managerial roles in this vibrant and expanding field. Students get the opportunity to collaborate on, lead and develop external projects with a range of partners, companies, galleries and museums in the region, as well as in London, with the support of world class staff who are industry professionals, resulting in a diversity of creative events, exhibitions, and performances.

For more information go to http://www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/eventandexperiencedesign/index.html

Crowdfunding Chrysanthemums

postcard

By Jane Ayres

Last year, I attempted my biggest challenge – launching my first ever crowdfunding campaign for a music and dance event in Kent. I’ve been excited by the idea of crowdfunding for a long time – ever since I attended a workshop by the fantastic Crista Cloutier. If your project is hard to categorise, or getting funding through the usual channels isn’t working, than crowdfunding is a way to approach your audience directly.

Like many enthusiastic fundraisers, I was seduced by success stories of other individuals and arts groups, and keen to try it myself. I can honestly say it is way harder than I imagined!

I went to a Fundraisers Bootcamp last month and it was perhaps reassuring in an odd way to learn that not everyone reaches their target and that it really is as tough as I am finding it. It’s been a steep learning curve – luckily I love learning! It took months to construct the crowdfunding page to get it right, and then we promptly ignored advice about how to do the video trailer. Instead, after several takes of unsuccessful talking heads, we opted to let the music – and dance – do the talking for us. Whether or not that worked is for you to decide.

I spent ages trying to create some unique, personalised and, frankly, lovely rewards for supporters – ranging from signed first pages of the new scores, to tickets for the concerts, to a chance to meet all the cast after the shows. All supporters will get credits in the special souvenir programme.

The bit of the process I find most difficult (and this is going to sound a bit strange) is asking people to give money. I quickly realised that I really don’t like doing this! The lovely folk at the Fundraising Bootcamp pointed out that people can only say No, and would I mind if I was asked to support a crowdfunding arts project? Of course not. But has that made it any easier? Not really. Why is it so tough to ask for help? I don’t know the answer to that.

But I do know I am passionate about the project I am fundraising for, and that all the rules of fundraising equally apply to crowdfunding. It isn’t a magic solution to raising money. However, it is a brilliant tool for communicating a fab project to a lot of people – with the hope that it will connect enough for people to want to share it with others.

So what are we doing it for? In a nutshell, the The Mirabai Project is a labour of love – a not for profit collective, with ambitious plans to stage innovative events that combine music, dance, design, film and new technology.

Chrysanthemums is our first event – an intriguing semi-staged concert with string quartet, harp, sax and 3 female voices – and special guests Elena Velasco-Peña and Luis Rodriguez, dazzling Argentine Tango dancers. This is our first collaboration with the young Canterbury based Leon String Quartet. Established in 2010, they are dynamic and versatile, with a wide repertoire and commitment to new music and innovative collaborations. Joining them are award winning musicians that include harpist Ruby Aspinall, sopranos Elizabeth Fulleylove and Gabriela Di Laccio, and Kent saxophonist Richard Melkonian.

The first show includes two world premieres. Award-winning composer Barry Seaman’s haunting Torch Songs is written for harpist Ruby Aspinall, and is inspired by songs about love, loss and friendship. Singer/songwriter Mariam Al-Roubi will be performing All Things – songs inspired by her forthcoming album, arranged for string quartet and harp.

There will also be sensual and romantic music from composers that include Monteverdi, Puccini, Caplet, Philip Glass, and new arrangements of tangos by Piazzolla and Gardel.

Chrysanthemums will initially be performed as follows:

Friday 17th April 2015, 8pm at the Trinity Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Tuesday 21 April 2015, 7.30pm at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, Kent

If you want to be instrumental (pun intended) in both the creation and performance of beautiful music and know that your contribution and vision made it happen, please check our link.

http://www.sponsume.com/project/mirabai-project-presents-chrysanthemums

The crowdfunding campaign ends on 2nd February 2015 – so we now have less than a month to achieve our target of £2590 (eek!). To date we have 5 backers and have raised £425 towards commissioning new work, and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported us this far.

Any contribution would be welcomed. (See, I kind of asked!) But whether or not you can donate, I’d be truly grateful if you could share the link via social media and help to spread the word – and we sincerely hope you will come to the concerts!  Thank you!

Related posts:

https://creatabot.co.uk/2012/11/01/garrets-and-gatekeepers-by-jane-ayres/

https://creatabot.co.uk/2013/06/30/crista-cloutier-the-video-all-creatives-need-to-see/

https://creatabot.co.uk/2013/03/20/what-you-need-to-know-about-crowdfunding-by-crista-cloutier/

Links:

http://artsfundraising.org.uk/training/

http://www.fundraising.co.uk/

 Photo from Mirabai, Barry Seaman

Being a Writer in the 21st Century

P1040603photo by futureme50

The community and adult education programme at Canterbury Christ Church University are running some fabulous day schools and short courses in 2015 – covering a huge range of diverse topics that include philosophy, art, literature, creative writing, cinema, music, photography, mysticism, story-telling, local history and mindfulness.

New for 2015 is a 10 week course called Being a Writer in the 21st Century, which starts on Monday 12 January.

The internet, digital technology and social media have all had a dramatic impact on the publishing landscape, and at a rapidly changing pace.

Being a writer in the digital age offers a wealth of unprecedented opportunities – and challenges – for authors. But to benefit from this exciting entrepreneurial climate, a writer has to become a new creature – an authorpreneur. This course explores the realities and practicalities of writing in the 21 st century, arming writers with essential tools and knowledge to avoid the pitfalls.  A comprehensive range of topics will be covered, including marketing, selling and promotion, earning income from writing, the role of agents, publishers, using social media, understanding contracts and payments, methods of working practice, managing your time and indie publishing.

Days and times: Monday 12 January 1-3pm, for 10 weeks
Cost: £89.50
Venue: Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent

What previous students have said about The Business of Writing day schools at CCCU:

“Fabulously engaging tutor, enthusiastic about her subject, spoke with passion and authority.”

“Obvious sound knowledge base and good clear delivery.”

“Inspiring and informative.  Lots of ideas to work with now!”

“Excellent content.  Covered more than I expected.”

“Very good at answering questions, very clear targets and direction, well prepared.”

TO BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW GO TO:
http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/cae/short-courses/spring-2015/being-a-writer-in-the-21st-century.aspx

Or contact 01227 863451 (Mon – Fri 9.30am – 2.30pm) or email education.communityarts@canterbury.ac.uk

Canterbury Anifest 2014 – Monday 27th October to Sunday 2nd November 2014

Anifest Poster-page-001

Japanese Animation Festival coming to Canterbury…

Anifest is back and bigger than ever! This year it will be hosting a week of Japanese Animation, to include everything from Manga to Cosplay to Anime. From Monday 27th October to Sunday 2nd November 2014, Canterbury Anifest will be at Gulbenkian with an exciting series of talks, workshops, live performances, an exhibition, and films all inspired by Japan’s iconic style of animation.

Film Screening Akira (15) 1

This exciting program has something for everyone; from “How to Draw Manga” workshops for a younger audience, to talks with industry stars such as Andy Frain. The festival will also host an exclusive week-long Studio Ghibli-inspired exhibition called 8-bit Ghibli, created by conceptual artist Richard Evans, alongside a captivating season of films including Akira, Patema Inverted, Perfect Blue, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Irina Richards Chibi Workshop

In partnership with Gulbenkian, Anifest aims to bring the unique and fascinating style of Japanese animation to both existing fanatics and newcomers alike for the first time. Whether your interest is practical, academic, or simply entertainment, Anifest is happy to provide you with the same kind of quality events that have come to be expected of the festival, as well as some new experiences, including Canterbury Anifest’s first live performance.

For information please visit www.canterburyanifest.com or call 01227 769075.

anifestLogo

Transmit:Project – Are you the next big thing?

tp

Are you a musician/filmmaker/artist/photographer/organisation etc who would like more people to know about your work and what you do?

Perhaps you always wanted to know what musicians/filmmakers/artists/photographers etc live and work and create in Medway?

Would you like to transmit your art?  Would you like to project your talent?

Transmit:Project is a brand new project all about getting known.  Its all about providing a platform for upcoming and established artist and performers.  It’s all about having one place where people can go to find out more about the huge amount of talent that currently thrives in Medway.

This is going to be the place for local talent to be seen and heard.  This is going to be the place where audience inside and outside Medway will come to see what talent is around.  A while ago I wrote about some of the Medway scene with the popular Medway Visions articles.  I hope these will morph into transmit:project files as well as adding new ones all the time.

But it needs you.  Without talents to write about/broadcast then this project won’t get very far.  Make yourself heard.  Contact us.

Here’s how it works:

You send me a bio and some details about your work.

You send me a link to your work/send a cd etc.

With these things I can write about you.

You also send me a video file of you performing or a music video (musicians), interview/sequence of pictures of art (artists), sequence of photos (photographers) a short film (filmmaker).

With this I can post a clip of you/your work.  (If you can’t get a video file to me then contact me anyway and we can sort something out)

This will then be shown from the transmit:project broadcast channel:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8NHTvq6pzCSPZVfrOzDmzg

In time this project might spread out, but, for now, it’s all about Medway.  And what better place to start.  Transmitting art.  Projecting talent.

The Moon The Eye

transmitproject@themoontheeye.com

www.themoontheeye.com/transmitproject

www.facebook.com/Transmit.Project

Cybermen and Clay: objects and emotions by Jane Ayres

three
Three: photo by Jane Ayres

 

We invest objects with emotional significance.  Although they are simply things, they can represent something that connects us to a person or a time in the past.  I have used objects as the starting point for creative writing exercises, and they can be useful for brainstorming ideas.

I try not to accumulate too much clutter (!) and only keep the few items that are precious, always mindful of the day when I’m no longer here and whoever is left behind will have the unenviable job of sorting out my stuff!  But on a windowsill, I keep a few “ornaments”.

My cyberman model/toy – with moving parts!  I’m a Dr Who fan and my favourite (and scariest) monsters were always the cyber men.  When I was a child, I would hide behind the sofa when they came on TV.  Something about the clanging metal, the unforgiving nature of a machine, the hollow empty space for eyes sockets – no emotion or humanity –  gave me the creeps.  The stuff of nightmares.  However my more recent developing interest in cyber technology, sci fi, robotics, and neuroscience gives me a different viewpoint. How many of us who grew up in the 70s wanted the special abilities of the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman? (Without the pain and injuries, of course!).  Machines and technology have limitless power to transform lives for good.  I sometimes wonder, when experiencing heartache and loss, how it would be to feel absent of emotion.  A concept that is hard to imagine.

The Golem – My brother brought this back from a trip to Prague.  According to good old Wiki, “in Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter.”  The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, who reportedly created a golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava river, and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations to defend and protect the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks and pogroms. There are a whole host of legends and literature around the golem.  My first ever encounter with the concept was a 1966 British/American film entitled It!, starring Roddy McDowall, who was at that time one of my favourite actors. I was about seven years old when I saw it.

This model is a symbol of my fascination with creation.  I’m also intrigued the golem was associated with fighting oppression, which in turn connects to my loathing of bullying in any form. (See my post http://janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/which-fictional-character-would-you.html)

My clay horse.  And, strangely, in writing this I see there is a link between my clay horse, Ernie, and my golem – that they were both born from clay, an amazing substance which resonates with spiritual significance. I made Ernie at school in art class when I was a child.  I enjoyed shaping the clay and using my hands to create the shape.  I couldn’t do the legs however – they kept snapping off – so decided to make a horse lying down to obviate that problem! His tail also fell off, so he became a cob.  Ernie reflects my love of horses since childhood, and because I couldn’t have a real horse, I kept creating them – in my stories, my drawings and in plasticine and clay. When I left home at sixteen, Ernie was still living on my mum’s windowsill, where he stayed for many years.  After she passed away, I brought him home with me and he took up residence on my windowsill.  Ernie evokes a range of childhood memories and happy thoughts of mum.

I love the way that, unknowingly, all three of these objects are linked by common threads and themes; connections which I had never noticed before.

Creation.  New life.  Changed reality.  Words we could also use to describe what we produce when we write.  Wonderfully strange.

Related posts:

https://creatabot.co.uk/2013/09/28/we-are-stories-by-jane-ayres/

https://creatabot.co.uk/2012/11/05/the-art-of-wish-fulfilment-by-jane-ayres/

http://www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/my-bookshelf-and-precious-memories.html

To find out more about Jane’s creative story, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her recent e-book, Joyrider, is available from Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y

We are stories by Jane Ayres

photo by Roger Hyland

The concept of stories, storytelling and narrative fascinates me and is a constant source of discovery.  I’ve also explored the idea of writing as therapy for depression and grief.  In the search to understand my personal grieving process I have explored fiction and non-fiction, and recently read How we Grieve: Relearning the world by Thomas Attig (OUP, 1996) which suggests a way of thinking that I had not previously considered and which makes perfect sense – especially if you are a writer. In discussing how we relearn our relationships with the loved ones we have lost, the author suggests:

“As we come to know and love others, we come to know and cherish the stories of the lives they live…..if we have known and loved well, the stories become interwoven with the fabric of the stories of our lives.  As we relearn our relationship with the deceased, we continue the interweaving process.  In all of our relationships we have unique and privileged access to parts of the full stories of others’ lives. Our knowledge and love of the stories remain after the loss of the presence of the deceased………as with any good stories, but especially with the intricate stories of human biography, if we read them but once we fail to captures the richness and fullness of the tales. As we review and retell stories repeatedly, they return ever new and unexpected rewards each time……we can return to the stories deliberately for specific purposes (to refresh our memory or understanding or to seek new understanding) or as events in our lives remind us of them and of their continuing importance to us.”

I found this deeply moving.

We are all stories.  Living, breathing, works in progress. Whether tragically short or on a more epic scale, our lives are uniquely individual stories.  They may encompass adventure, romance, horror, joy, loss, humour and fantasy.  But however they differ, they all have in common one aspect: mystery. The unknown.  We don’t know how the story will end.  But would we want to?

Related posts:

https://creatabot.co.uk/2012/07/19/stories-we-tell-ourselves-by-jane-ayres/

https://creatabot.co.uk/2012/12/21/play-dream-write-by-jane-ayres/

To find out more about Jane’s creative story, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her recent e-book, Joyrider, is available from Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joyrider-ebook/dp/B00F7V247Y

The Vision and the Voice: Part 2 by Jane Ayres

greentreesPhoto by Roger Hyland

How do you see the world? Is it ugly, beautiful, evil, good, exciting, depressing? A mixture?  None of these?  The mind’s eye is a strange expression. According to wiki (the fount of all knowledge!) it refers to the human ability for visualization using the imagination.

When you look at an object, or a place, do you see what is there – or beyond this? Can you see what it means, or meant; its place in history?  Does it evoke the past?

Recently, I spent an absorbing few hours catching up on programmes I recorded on Sky Arts (a brilliant source of material) which began with a film about my favourite artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) the Dutch pioneer of abstract art. Mondrian is my favourite artist. He sought through his work to find essence and truth using horizontal and vertical lines, to create a new kind of beauty through geometry. His art is about structure, distillation, order and emotional connection and he wanted his art to be part of a greater whole. Not surprisingly he saw architecture as living art.  On arrival in New York in 1940 he commented, “They told me New York was a hellish place, where you grew old before your time and gangsters made the law. That may well be true. But that is not the New York I saw, the one I loved and thought of as my own.”  He saw beauty in the lights, the sounds, the skyscrapers and the vibrancy. The film, called Dans L’Atelier de Mondrian (in the studio of Mondrian) shows the artist’s studio as a working art installation and moves me to tears every time I see it. Mondrian lived in poverty most of his austere life and did not receive critical recognition until he was in seventies. (A familiar story for so many creatives, regrettably).

The next film was a documentary called Hitchcock on Grierson, which offered further insights into the ways other creatives have seen the world. It’s always interesting to see what one film director thinks of another and how he was influenced. I admire much of Hitchcock’s work but knew little about Dr John Grierson, who I discovered was a prolific, influential and pioneering Scottish film director and producer (1898-1972) who used documentary to express his distinctive way of seeing the world, utilising stunning shots to find patterns in objects not usually considered art, such as scaffolding and cranes, and seeing beauty and meaning in geometric shapes and structures and feats of engineering. It reminded me of Mondrian, and also the French composer (and one of my favourites) Edgard Varese (1883-1965) a visionary who had been dreaming of new sounds and electronic music a generation before it was technically possible, and whose astonishing blocks of dissonant sound are incredibly beautiful. Listening to his music, it is not surprising to learn of his fascination with architectural structures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8FcxVKIAwo  extract from Octandre by Edgard Varese

Reflecting on the way that these contrasting but connected artists saw the world, I was also reminded of doing art classes at school, and learning about seeing the light and shade in an object like a pot or a piece of cutlery. For a long time, I just didn’t get this. I couldn’t see it.  Then, one day, I did and it was like a revelation which has never left me.  Like being let in on a wonderful secret.

Finally, I watched a deeply moving and hauntingly beautiful film called The Way of the Morrishttp://www.wayofthemorris.com/

Written and presented by Tim Plester (who was also co-producer and co-director) it is a personal, heartfelt journey, both physical and spiritual. Every shot was like a painting or photograph, with amazing lighting and stunning landscapes. Subtlely observed, like Grierson, this film used documentary to convey something profound about community, ritual, and the human soul, and what tradition and shared history can mean to us.

To see beauty is a gift. I’m a natural pessimist.  I get angry about injustice and passionate about causes I believe in. But I can get emotional about beautiful landscapes and wild birds; about music, art, film, and literature.

In the 1940s, Mondrian wrote: “Art today is condemned to a separate existence, for present day life is essentially tragic.  But in some distant future, art and life will be one.”

How do you see the world? Consonant or dissonant? Can you find beauty easily? And has your view changed over the years?

Links:

https://creatabot.co.uk/2013/08/13/the-vision-and-the-voice-part-1-by-jane-ayres/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Piet-Mondrian-Mondrians-Studio-DVD/dp/B004754TF6/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1374505365&sr=1-1&keywords=mondrian

http://go.sky.com/vod/content/SKYENTERTAINMENT/content/videoId/718a084b7c0ea310VgnVCM1000000b43150a________/content/default/videoDetailsPage.do

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind’s_eye

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/198800.html

http://www.pietmondrian.com/

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Edgard+Var%C3%A8se

To find out more about Jane’s writing and publishing experiences, visit her blog www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Her recent e-book, Beware of the Horse, is available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beware-of-the-Horse-ebook/dp/B00BEJTDUE/