Merry Christmas from everyone on the VIEW project.
And a happy new year! See you in 2013!
I think I’ll have a nice cup of tea and some time for reflection.
Well, the project’s coming along nicely. The learners who have enrolled on the courses have been wonderful. I have met most of them and I’ve been really impressed by their enthusiasm and commitment to learning. What has been a complete surprise to me however, has been the issue of transport to and from the venues. During our last project Just the Ticket, one of the main bid points was that we would encourage participants to use public transport wherever possible (hence the name). This was an abject failure. Firstly, using public transport was a barrier for many of our learners, and secondly it’s virtually impossible to get to places such as Lyme Park by public transport, as many of our learners have mobility problems and the walk from the station or bus stop, up the drive to the manor house is about two miles long.
In light of the above, this time, when writing the Peripheral Vision bid, we factored minibus transport into the budget calculations. However, to date no-one has requested transport: the participants on the Power and Performance course elected to get to Bury Met via the tram from Piccadilly and have made their own way to the other venues in Manchester, while those on the Moving Images course have chosen to walk or get the bus!
In search of new community partners and new learners, I have contacted Gingerbread, Contact the Elderly, Mindfulness, Fallowfield Healthy Living group and the Afro-Caribbean Care Group for the elderly. Nothing has come of this yet, but I’m sure one or two will get back to me soon.
The Peripheral Vision microsite is almost finished. Now I just need to persuade the learners to put examples of their work, a brief biography, and some photos and videos online.
I love Manchester: it’s the funkiest, edgiest, dirtiest city in the UK. It’s a mish-mash of architecture and a melting pot of people. Living here, we can dip our fingers into many cultural pies and take a nibble of this and a mouthful of that. Below is a list of things to see and do during October that should accommodate all tastes:
Yesterday, no sooner had I walked through the office door than Walt Crowson from LSEN ushered me into the meeting room to talk to someone about Peripheral Vision. Walt had hosted a meeting between the BBC and MOSI-ALONG, so there was quite a buzz in the room. Walt introduced me to Fred Garnett from MOSI-ALONG and we settled down for a chat about our respective projects.
“Right,” said Fred, “This is what we do,” and he began telling me about the following:
Participatory Curatorial Strategies and a seminal book The Participatory Museum by Nina Simon
The ‘Aggregate then Curate’ model of learning:
- physical creation
- physical aggregation
- digital creation
- digital aggregation
- digital sequencing
- social media aggregation
Fred would like to test the learning model theory outlined above and is in the process of meeting various project managers in Manchester to see whether their projects could help him to do this.
Fred then dashed off to meet a friend for lunch and I was left feeling like I’d just been whipped up into a whirlwind of ideas and names and learning theories and dropped back down to Crawford House with a thud.
At 14:15, Sue Easton from NIACE rang to check on the project progress to date. Sue had already met Fiona Parr, my Line Manager, at an IACL NIACE meeting and so was pretty conversant with Peripheral Vision. Apparently our workplan is fine but she just wanted clarification on our methods of ‘Impact Measurement‘.
In order to assess the impact the project has had, or will have, on participants’ lives, I will need to think carefully about how to ‘capture’ this before the project starts. We discussed various options such as:
I told Sue about diaryofaproject.com and she logged on there and then, which was terribly nice of her. She has the loveliest Scottish accent – just perfect for telephone interviews!
“I need film-makers,” I said to Hwa Young at our last meeting. “No problem,” she replied. “We’re holding a Short Film Fest at Mad Lab on Friday 2 Sept, come along and you’ll meet some of the directors and producers.” Fantastic!
So, at 17:30 I logged off, locked up and skipped down Oxford Road towards the Northern Quarter. The Film Fest started at 6pm and would go on until the stars popped up in the sky and the drunks stumbled around in the gutter.
First we watched some music videos and then some fascinating short films. I was particularly struck by a black and white film shot in Manchester called Voices. The writer/producer/director, Mat Johns from Zero Facility Films, was sitting on the floor behind me and when the film finished I congratulated him and was amazed to find out that he had produced it in 24 hours from start to finish. I gave him a copy of the Peripheral Vision PDF and we exchanged contact details.
Then, by sheer good fortune, the enigmatic Michael Barnes-Wynters, of Doodlebug fame, sat down next to me. I first met Barney at the Noise Lab launch in 2009 when I was scouting around for interesting events and people for the Just the Ticket project. You can see a tiny video of me at the launch here.
By 8pm our stomachs were rumbling and we headed off to Baekdu (by Shudehill Station), a Korean restaurant. It was full to brimming and we had to wait to get a table. We love the chef there: he always takes such care over his cooking and often presents the food himself with a huge smile. It was absolutely delicious. Here’s a photo of my chicken Bibimbap with an egg on top:
the Director of Manchester Chinese Centre (MCC) for her project the Manchester Chinese Archive, which today won the Volunteering Project of the Year. WEA has a close working relationship with MCC. We provide the centre with ESOL, literacy and numeracy classes and PTLLS and Community Interpreting courses. I am hoping that some of the centre users will join one or two of the new Peripheral Vision courses too.
While I was at the presentation ceremony at MOSI, I was pleased to meet Councillor Mike Amesbury who is Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure. I told him all about Peripheral Vision (and our prior cultural project, Just the Ticket). He handed me his business card and said to get in touch. You bet I will…
Cornerhouse Art & Film Venue
At last I got to meet Pat Raikes from the Cornerhouse. We have spoken a few times on the phone and emailed each other, but had never met until this morning. She and I had a great chat about the film and educational possibilities at the Cornerhouse. I will hold the end of project Film Festival in cinema 2, which seats up to 158 people, along with the book launch in the education suite. Originally, I was thinking of hiring Cinema 3 which seats 56 people, however this wouldn’t be big enough as most Peripheral Vision participants will want to invite friends and family along (I hope). I will have to host the Peripheral Vision film festival after the Spanish Viva film festival which finishes on 18 March, which is perfect timing. I’m so pleased that Pat and I will be working together on this project. She’s lovely to chat to and sends such nice emails, and she seems terribly organised too.
Mr W popped into the Cornerhouse to meet me for lunch. I had the delicious Moroccan Bean & Preserved Lemon Tagine which looked much nicer before I started eating it:
Lucky me, I had a meeting this morning at Mad Lab with Hwa Young, to catch up and tell her more about Peripheral Vision. I just love it there – they do such interesting, and often wacky, things such as: Spectacular Shots Club; Fashion Hackers; Robot Hacking; Music Hacking and DIY Bio.
While I was there, I had a look at the latest exhibition on display: Twice Removed. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw that they had printed some gorgeous posters of the photographs in the expo that could be folded and cut and made into a little book. This is exactly the kind of book-making that I would like the Peripheral Vision participants to make and use. Serendipitous indeed.
I also met a lovely young woman called Lauren Powter, who had just moved to Manchester and was looking for work and opportunities to meet new people. She is a recently graduated graphic designer and you can view her website here.
Once the meeting was finished I met Mr W for some nice nosh at Common Bar over the road. What a lovely morning!
Today I had a great meeting with Nick and Adam from Healthy Ardwick based in the Coverdale Baptist Church building. We talked about WEA’s courses in general, and the Peripheral Vision project in particular. Nick produces an interesting and colourful newspaper full of information for the local residents, in which I will be able to advertise future courses. I am sure that some of the Ardwick residents will enrol on Peripheral Vision courses over the coming months.
is one of my favourite cultural venues in Manchester. I love its park-side location and the way in which as soon as you enter the building and walk through the foyer you are in the galleries. I find this immediacy both stress free and calming. So, when Ed Watts, the Adult Programme Co-ordinator, suggested meeting up to talk about Peripheral Vision, it put a big smile on my face. Ed and I have worked together extensively over the past couple of years with excellent results. I first met Ed when he worked at Urbis. He put together a wonderful video making session for some of our adult learners who had learning disabilities. I clearly remember popping down to Urbis to take some photos of the group, opening the door to the creative studio and feeling touched by the happiness and warmth in the room. Everyone was having a great time and the learners were delighted with the videos they had shot and edited themselves. Apparently they all spoke about the experience for months afterwards.
Working in partnership with the Whitworth is an absolute joy: everything runs smoothly, and the workshop facilitators that Ed (and Wendy) have employed were all professional and inspirational, and I have received excellent feedback from the participants.
Examples of the workshops we have run at the Whitworth have included:
Printmaking with Alan Birch
Book-making with Lucy May Schofield
Fabric cup cakes with Andrea Lord
Just the Ticket
In March 2009, we held the celebratory event for our prior NIACE project, Just the Ticket, at the Whitworth. Wendy Gallagher, did an amazing job providing us with the fabulous South Gallery and various exciting workshops for over 90 adults who attended on the day. It truly was the highlight of a very successful project.
Anyway, Ed and I discussed Peripheral Vision and how we could use the Whitworth’s iPads to make short films. We also thought we could run another photography and textiles course that we put on for Levenshulme Inspire a few months ago, in which the learners printed digital photographs in black and white onto cotton then embelished their pictures with embroidery, beads and sequins.
You can see a short video of the learners’ work here (scroll down to the Whitworth & Inspire video).