May 122010

Yesterday, I had the privilege of listening to 13 presentations, in pecha-kucha format,  from some of the most interesting and innovative arts-based companies in London.  This was part of A New Direction’s programme “The Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth,” already mentioned in our blogs.  The workshop was held in the View Tube, a space overlooking the shell of the new Olympic Stadium. I was concerned that it might be hard to keep my focus in the room especially as £16,000,000 of steel was literally being put up before my very eyes. How wrong I was.

The day was a constant stream of ideas, dynamic in their range and scope, as well as an opportunity to collect other people’s insights whilst sharing my own feedback.  I was introduced to projects that had puppets from another planet, giant sculptures made from recycled materials, clay collected from around the globe, immersive theatre, site-specific ideas using the body as a site, I even found out Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in Canning Town.  Who knew presentations and networking could be so playful!

Being a cultural producer  in a crowded market, and in an even more crowded city, sometimes feels like a very competitive place to be. But yesterday was a healthy reminder that open, honest, dialogue with organisations working with the same aims (and the chasing same pots of money)  is an essential part of our creative process.  It enable ideas to grow, it leads us into uncharted territory and encourages us to be a little bolder, as well as challenging ‘baggy’ ideas.  It’s also fun. Walking back to the DLR, past the stadium, I was once again overwhelmed by the magnitude and scale of the Olympic site.  I wondered to myself: what would happen if all the arts companies working with young people in Camden decided to come together on one project, all the arts companies in Leeds or Edinburgh or the South West, etc? What could it mean? What could it achieve?

In that spirit of sharing, here are the details of two brilliant organisations  who work with young people to make accessible architectural and design procedures in building, and who are also our partners on The Biggest Learning Opportunity on Earth.   Please have a look at what they are up to.

Fundamental Architectural Inclusion is an architecture centre that seeks new ways of communities to participate in the transformation of their neighbourhood.

Rolling Sound creates and runs multi-media courses. Their design courses are being used by young people to create plans and designs as if they were planning their very own public monuments.

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