Starting from the very beginning, I was involved in a project with [KWMC Director Carolyn] and [Assistant Director] Penny. Myself and [KWMC Youth Media Worker] Sandra were given a video camera as part of the Roaring Girls project…Two years later, I think, I finished my performing arts course and got put in touch with you guys again by my drama tutor, Paula, who knew Penny – and I was asked to play a prostitute in a film called After the Road by Emma Hooper.
I think I was in the office and I was offered a traineeship. Sandra was already doing her traineeship and I remember at the time, [Carolyn] said what it would involve and I was sat in the back of the car and I just wanted to say ‘Yes! Ok, I’ll take it, I’ll do it!’ But you don’t do that do you? You don’t say, ‘oh yes!’ straight away. It’s like accepting a job: ‘oh no, I’ll go away and I’ll think about that and I’ll get back to you.’…I had a little think and I think I got in touch and accepted the traineeship.
I think…it was very photography-led in the beginning and design-led, film-led. I really liked those tangible projects and access to lots of different groups within the community. Now, I think, my impressions are that it’s more technical; it’s data-capture and you’ve got The Factory. I think it’s had to evolve…
I always said that on the job learning was probably the best experience for me – and I learned how to do graphic design at that time and a lot of other things I got to touch on. The work experience was invaluable…I suppose it grew a certain degree of confidence through meeting different people and talking, presenting, a lot.
I think it’s had a big impact. I would worry if it wasn’t in Knowle West…you don’t have a lot of social outlets for community in Knowle West. Like here, you have to have community-based centres for people to be part of. So I think, if it was to leave, you’d be taking something out of the community [and] they would feel a loss…I think it’s needed because you need centres like KWMC; you need people to have access to things. I think it needs to be a bit more publicised, it needs to be a bit more out there, sort of ‘in your face.’
Running up and down the corridor dressed as a bumblebee one day. Making [colleague] Simon dress as a bumblebee. I think my favourite memory is all the people who came through the centre…I just got to meet a lot of really lovely, interesting people. Me and [trainee] Terri used to do Toilet Diary, actually: we used to tell everybody what was going on in the week by posting a little thing in the old building about up and coming events to do with the Media Centre, projects that were going on, but we used to do a funny, kind of journalistic take on it.
Connecting the community members, it’s literally about that. Getting out and, you know, investing in as many people as possible, investing in their futures, because if you’re going to create social change then that’s how it spreads. Also if people are given ambition and aspirations, in some way, then it changes their sphere, it changes what goes on for them along the line.