I have come to the end of my time as Artist Youth Coordinator at Fabrica. I hope that this won’t be the end of my involvement with Fabrica, but Time and Place, the project which funded my post and all the work I undertook as part of it, has finished.
The last 18 months have been really interesting. At different times I have felt overjoyed, overwhelmed, downcast, hopeful, depressed and excited! Happily, I am finishing the work on a high, having written a Young People’s report that has been well received by Fabrica, and generally feeling satisfied with what I have achieved. Film Forum lives on, via Fabrica’s Film Programme run by Clare Hankinson, and the Film Forum team and I are still working together on these events, which will take place once during each of the three exhibitions during 2015.
The Artist Youth Coordinator role has really tested me. I’ve learnt that I don’t enjoy events management and marketing, and that I’m a real worrier – more so than I had previously imagined! I have struggled with aspects of this work but I came through it and out the other side. And I am genuinely grateful to Fabrica for giving me the opportunity to do this work (if that doesn’t sound too much like an episode of The Apprentice!) The things I have enjoyed most are working with people (this includes the Fabrica staff as well as other artists, teachers and young people) and supporting people to be creative.
In December I commissioned a young designer called Jem Ward to design a postcard for Fabrica. We then got 5,000 copies printed for inclusion in the Space envelope produced by Brighton & Hove Arts Express, a new marketing initiative targeted at teenagers in Brighton and Hove. The process of commissioning Jem was interesting for me as I am usually on the receiving end of a brief. Working on a live brief was a valuable experience for Jem, and he rose to the occasion superbly, producing a great image to the correct specs, and meeting the deadline. This project epitomises to me what Fabrica can offer young people – real life situations in which to be creative, working alongside professionals. On the left is Jem’s postcard design, which features a model he made of the Fabrica building, with ‘creativity’ bursting out of it!
In my previous post I’ve spoken about writing the Young People’s Report. It was a hard slog, and at times it felt like an insurmountable task, but actually I am grateful to have been asked to do this work. It has been an opportunity to put down on paper what I’ve done as Artist Youth Coordinator, as well as what the partner organisations have done during the project, just as participating in a nous deux, the conference in Caen, was an opportunity to explore the whole subject of working with young people and the arts. I think it’s very important to have occasions when you can reflect on your work and formalise the ideas around it, understand and recognise what you and your colleagues do that is of value. This is especially important for artists who usually work as freelancers, not attached to an organisation and thus whose body of work may go unrecorded or unnoticed. I feel Fabrica gave me this space and I’m thankful for their trust in me to do the work – Long live Fabrica!