Merry Christmas from everyone on the VIEW project.
And a happy new year! See you in 2013!
How lucky are we to have the remarkable, the wonderful, the affable, David Dennehy, as a volunteer in the North West region? He loves the arts and has his own arty Tumblr page which has over 700 followers. You can see some of David’s project work here and here.
So how did I first meet David? Well, he came via a book group in 2009. I was running my first big project called Just the Ticket, and had sent out lots of email marketing which landed in the inbox of a contact at Manchester Central Library, who had forwarded it to the homeless book group which was set up by David, who then enrolled on one of the project’s courses. Have you got that? Well, David proved to be an inspiration; well-connected and very enthusiastic about the transformative power of adult learning. Actually, he’s what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as a maven, and a very effective one at that.
David became our Just the Ticket Learner Traveller of the Year and spent a week writing poetry at an Arvon centre as his prize. He then volunteered on my next project, Peripheral Vision, and again proved instrumental in encouraging hard-to-reach adults to participate in informal, creative, learning opportunities. So much so, that I nominated him for a NIACE Adult Learners’ Week Award last year. He didn’t win a prize, unfortunately. However, I then nominated David for the coveted new WEA Volunteer of the Year Award. And he won! Lucky David was invited to the House of Commons on 7 November, to receive his award and be interviewed in front of over 200 people. Congratulations David.
Needless to say, David is now a volunteer on the VIEW project and, so far, has taken part in the Snap Judgement photography course at Whitworth Art Gallery, and the film-making course with Matt and Mat.
A few days ago, I drove over to Gallery Oldham to meet Joy Thorpe and Laura Ferguson. Oldham is in a state of transport flux with roadworks and diversions all over the place due to the new Metrolink lines being built. These should greatly improve travel links between Manchester, Rochdale and Oldham and enable WEA to cast our education net even further.
Joy and Laura showed me around the galleries and the spacious education room and I nipped in to the welcoming, bright pink, Naked Bean* café too. We discussed ways in which we could work together, including creative textiles for local women and visits to the current photography exhibition, Shirley Baker: Looking Outwards, for WEA’s photography students in Manchester. Social History is an important theme in the galleries and one we can definitely profit from. We like designing courses that get down and dirty in gritty local history!
it was also good to see Mark Brest’s (from Portraits of Recovery) exhibition, Bridging the Gap, in the Community Gallery. Mark is one of the deserving recipients of WEA’s ESF grants and we hope to work together on joint projects in the future.
Here’s to the beginning of a fruitful, creative partnership between a vibrant gallery and WEA.
* sorry to disappoint you but, there are no pictures of Sean Bean in the buff, in the Naked Bean café. I looked everywhere, I really did. Fancy getting a girl’s hopes up like that!
They’re super easy to make, you can whip up the batter in ten minutes. I serve mine with blueberries simmered in a splash of Creme de Cassis, as shown in the pictures. Delicious!
Masterchef, the Professionals, has obviously had quite an effect on me. Whilst serving the pancakes I found myself ‘dressing’ the plate with blobs of blueberry ‘reduction’ (above). Now all I need to do, is invent my own ‘signature dish’!
Today we ran the second session of the film-making course for staff and volunteers, in the Manchester office. It was delivered by Matt Kowalczuk and Mat Johns from Zero Facility Films. The three hours flew by; we were having so much fun. We learnt all about the equipment and how to use it to the best effect, including how to frame shots and where to keep the subject’s eye-line when using close ups or medium shots. I’m so glad we had the first session online, as this set the scene with the session acting as an aide memoir in parts.
No sooner had we stopped for a nice cup of tea than the fire alarm rang out and we had to evacuate the building for 20 minutes, which meant we had less time putting the theory into practice. Matt and Mat put us into groups of three; one person was the interviewee, one asked the questions while the third did the filming. Asking questions and not responding verbally is quite a skill. We all became very good at nodding encouragement to our interviewees while keeping our mouths firmly shut (this is necessary to avoid unwanted voices/noises on the recording).
Our next session is on the 7th of December in Manchester, and there is a second course running in Liverpool on the 6th and 12th of December for all our Scouse colleagues by the sea.
Just look at how hard we were working on our film-making course!
Anyway, here it is – the first of our film-making sessions, available online. Matt Kowalczuk has designed an interesting, informative ‘Introduction to Documentary and Factual Film-making’ presentation, which you can view here.
It’s super-duper! Take a look…
Matt took the photo above.
Had to step in for Ed Watts, from Whitworth Art Gallery, as he wasn’t very well. So I dashed down to Manchester Art Gallery to meet the students on the Snap Judgement photography course as they were meeting there to view The First Cut exhibition. What an amazing group of disparate people! I had advertised the course via Twitter, the weacreative site, email and posters in libraries and community centres. This has been successful in attracting a group of diverse individuals who enjoy each other’s company very much. They all had nothing but words of praise for Ed’s course content and teaching methods. Thank you Ed.
So, this has got me thinking… I would like this group of students to continue learning together in the new year and I would like them to contribute to the VIEW project by making short instructional videos using photography, much as duckrabbit do. So, watch this space.
Oh, and you must visit the First Cut exhibition. It’s amazing what can be achieved by folding, cutting and printing on paper.
Crikey, I’ve been busy designing the North West’s Annual Report for this academic year. It’s been a whirl of writing, editing and Photoshop. Anyway, one week later and it’s finished. Hurrah! Our trusty printers, Pelican Press, did a great job with a really fast turnaround; the design was emailed on Monday morning and the finished brochures were delivered on Wednesday, which meant I could take some with me to Greg’s talk on ‘What’s the Point of Adult Education?’ in the evening at City South Manchester Housing Trust. Job done.
By the way, on our weacreative page on issuu, you will also find online copies of the Peripheral Vision project report, the Peripheral Vision magazine of students’ work, and the Just the Ticket project report. Happy reading!
Had a meeting with Richard Weltman from picturesforpress this morning to discuss the new VIEW project microsite. I said, “I want bright pink and orange and boxes for the videos and a forum where students can post their work and leave comments for their peers.” Richard smiled sagely, made notes and asked me to draw the pages and links I would like. Most enjoyable that bit.
Richard was the front end developer for the Just the Ticket project site, our WEA Creative site, the Peripheral Vision project site and our gorgeous new WEA Creative Words site. He knows his front end from his back end, which is comforting to know.
Oh, and he also designed the rather lovely Peripheral Vision magazine.