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Archive for June, 2020

Filmmakers explore ‘isolation’ in lockdown

In late 2019 we welcomed two talented young women to our team at Eight, KWMC’s creative agency.  Mevis Birungi and Dee Hassan are taking part in the placement scheme Creative Workforce for the Future – a new programme supported by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The programme has been designed to support young people to gain the experience they need to sustain creative careers in sectors such as film, broadcast, digital production, animation and post-production. KWMC is one of six cultural hubs in Bristol and Bath taking part in the scheme.

At Eight, Mevis and Dee have been developing their filmmaking skills, including shooting, editing and liaising with clients to create briefs. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the closure of the KWMC building, we’ve had to revise many of the activities planned for their placement and explore how training, learning and filmmaking can happen at home!

Early in lockdown, we set Mevis and Dee a creative filmmaking challenge: to plan, shoot and edit a two-minute film inside their homes, on the theme of ‘isolation’. You can watch the films below.

Mevis and Dee are now working on short documentary-style films for two Bristol-based projects and we’re excited to see them further develop their technical skills and explore their individual filmmaking styles.

INNER by Mevis Birungi

A short film that contrasts the reality of loneliness in isolation with how we can appear to others.

Lockdown News by Dee Hassan

A short news show about a family of five living in COVID-19 lockdown: the second eldest takes it upon herself to sensationalise everything that happens as breaking news worthy of coverage. From her mother’s cooking to the brand of bread chosen in the weekly shop. Includes the weather report…inside the house.

Programme Credits

Through Creative Workforce for the Future we are working with The Guild (Coworking Bath), Spike Island, Watershed, CYN The Station, Bristol City Council and UWE Bristol to support creatives and businesses across the West of England to develop both industry employment practices embracing inclusion and diversity as an asset, and nurture young talent from certain under-represented groups to gain the experience required to sustain a creative career. Creative Workforce for the Future is funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and is being delivered as part of the B+B Creative R+D programme.

 

 

 

Photo by Ready to Blog

Project Night explores making work after lockdown

On Thursday 28 May artists, producers and makers who work in and with communities came together over Jitsi (an open-source video call platform) for another Project Night to discuss ‘safe next steps for projects.’

After the last Project Night discussion around ‘Self care and community well being’, where we reflected on our varying experiences of the present, it seemed timely to create a safe space to look towards the future.

We started the session by holding up a drawing or object that represented how we feel now and then a different one for how we feel about the future. The ‘future’ responses varied from blank pages to question marks to words like ‘unpredictable’.

We acknowledged how difficult it feels to imagine the future at the moment. How uncertain and different it is for everyone, with the easing of lockdown opening a sense of freedom for some and increasing fear and precariousness for others. The group didn’t discuss politics in detail, but we acknowledged feelings of confusion and frustration around recent government decisions and actions.

Against this backdrop, we were aware that some artists would have recently received emergency Arts Council England funding while others are starting to find ways to make work or think about projects post-lockdown. With this in mind, we wanted to support each other in imagining possible futures for projects as the situation continues to shift.

Questions

We shared some of the questions that our KWMC Arts Producers are asking themselves:

– How are we going to create safe spaces for participation?
– What does safe mean to different people?
– What might hybrid formats of projects look like?
– How do we make sure no one is left behind when everyone’s reality is so different?
– What kinds of impact could so much digital participation be having on our minds and bodies and what is ethical to ask people to participate in?
– What policies are in place to ensure good practice in online formats?

There are of course many more questions. KWMC is currently experimenting with different ways to mix the digital and physical through workshops such as the Making Together workshops in the citizen-led housing initiative We Can Make where people are building things at home using physical making packs and experiencing collective moments of collaboration over phones and video calls.

Reflections

Before opening discussions around projects, we took a moment to think about two questions:

1.) What do we hope will carry on into the future after lockdown?

2.) What do we hope won’t keep happening after lockdown?

We wrote our thoughts on a virtual cork board at pinup.com or on bits of paper if people were more comfortable with this. Here are some of the things that came up:

The group hoped these things WILL carry on after lockdown:

that family and friends carry on helping each other out – neighbourly consideration in general

more reflection, being slower and more aware of small things in nature

caring for gardens and growing things

thinking about inclusion more deeply and on so many levels

being able to work in the community and noticing the importance of the little things

That people will carry on being kind and understanding that everyone’s circumstances are different

The group hoped these things WON’T carry on / will change:

the stress and emotion of the pandemic

separation – instead being able to hug people

stop using computers so much in our work – start using technology as a tool rather than the be all and end all of my area of work

flying, driving, burning coal and oil and gas to make electricity

so much pressure and things feeling so hectic

judging others

This led us to a really interesting open discussion around how we have all jumped to using video calling, as it seems the only viable option for participation at the moment – and how we don’t want to work in this singular restricted way. We expressed worries about digital inclusion, the physical, mental impacts and visual pressures of being present on these calls.

This sparked a brilliant moment of creative play where everyone started holding up eyes to the camera (puppet eyeballs, sticky eyes, eyes drawn on fingers!) – ‘we just don’t know where to look when we are on these calls!’ It was suggested that most of us aren’t really being that creative with video conference tools and that we should run a session on how to hack or ‘reclaim’ these tools – following inspiration from the ‘Women reclaiming AI for activism’ project.

Sharing

Brilliant ideas were shared around how to:

– re-create those ‘notes under the table’ and informal ‘behind the scenes’ private chat moments that we are all missing – the naughty ‘back channel’ communication. (Wisterlitz)

– create a much needed de-brief moment, post-call, when ‘being with’ people suddenly vanishes.

– elicit confessionals from our ‘caged boxes’ (Claudia Collins)

-make more of the brilliant things people have to hand and the things you can hear in the backgrounds

Projects shared

Wisterlitz shared and got feedback on their new project ‘Knitwitter’ – exploring ideas of data and privacy through knitting! People are invited to convert secret text messages into knitting and contribute to a participatory artwork for Control Shift – a new art and tech programme coming to Bristol this Autumn.

Claudia Collins shared how her Grape-o-gram project has taken off during lockdown. The Grape-o-gram is a door to door wine and song service, delivered by Claudia dressed as a grape! She shared how she has been keeping safe – using wipes and hand sanitisers – and reflected that now feels like a really good time to do door knocking, even knocking many doors at once and standing back to help encourage neighbours to chat. Claudia noticed that people are really welcoming the chat and that ‘fun and silly is what we need now.’  Another project night artist suddenly recognised Claudia as a grape-o-gram had visited her!

We ended with someone sharing their spoon portraits and sang happy birthday as one of the creatives was surprised by a birthday cake and candles. A session full of honesty and joy.

Resources

A blog about online access called ‘Access is kindness’ by Lisette Auton, May 2020. The Inaccessibility of the Future (or What To Do When You Just Can’t Zoom).

‘With For About 2020’: we recommend tuning in to this ‘slow conference’ centring marginalised voices on Wednesday afternoons until mid June – or catching up on their website.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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