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NEXT GENERATION FORGE MAGAZINE IS A CREATIVE AGENCY PROJECT WHICH IS PART OF MAC’S NEXT GENERATION PROGRAMME.

Working under its own dedicated producer, the Next Generation programme provides opportunities for young people and emerging artists aged 14 - 30.

mac birmingham offers an entry point and catalyst for young people and emerging artists to discover or re-discover their creative capabilities in a supported environment, and to develop skills through exposure and training in a variety of areas. Working both within mac’s building and out across the region, we’re proud of the impact our work is making on the artists of tomorrow. For more info about the Next Gen programme please visit MACBIRMINGHAM.CO.UK/ PROJECT/NEXT-GENERATION/

mac birmingham would like to thank the supporters of its Next Generation programme: The Monument Trust, J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust, The Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, IdeasTap and The Cole Charitable Trust.

Passionate about supporting creativity in the West Midlands. Written for those

who want to create it, those who want to consume it, or simply those who need a spark of inspiration. Forge welcomes you, the reader and the contributor, to a magazine enriched with thoughtfully written and carefully curated visual content, brought together to take you on a journey of discovery through the creative landscape of the West Midlands. A region packed with innovative and inspiring people lurking in undiscovered corners, who need a voice and a platform to shine, Forge embraces emerging artists, writers, musicians and organisations with innovative approaches and inspiring stories. Produced and written by members of the Creative Agency project, part of the Next Generation programme at mac birmingham.

Cover illustration by Anya Jung

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NEXT GENERATION FORGE MAGAZINE IS A CREATIVE AGENCY PROJECT WHICH IS PART OF MAC’S NEXT GENERATION PROGRAMME.

Working under its own dedicated producer, the Next Generation programme provides opportunities for young people and emerging artists aged 14 - 30.

mac birmingham offers an entry point and catalyst for young people and emerging artists to discover or re-discover their creative capabilities in a supported environment, and to develop skills through exposure and training in a variety of areas. Working both within mac’s building and out across the region, we’re proud of the impact our work is making on the artists of tomorrow. For more info about the Next Gen programme please visit MACBIRMINGHAM.CO.UK/ PROJECT/NEXT-GENERATION/

mac birmingham would like to thank the supporters of its Next Generation programme: The Monument Trust, J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust, The Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, IdeasTap and The Cole Charitable Trust.

Passionate about supporting creativity in the West Midlands. Written for those

who want to create it, those who want to consume it, or simply those who need a spark of inspiration. Forge welcomes you, the reader and the contributor, to a magazine enriched with thoughtfully written and carefully curated visual content, brought together to take you on a journey of discovery through the creative landscape of the West Midlands. A region packed with innovative and inspiring people lurking in undiscovered corners, who need a voice and a platform to shine, Forge embraces emerging artists, writers, musicians and organisations with innovative approaches and inspiring stories. Produced and written by members of the Creative Agency project, part of the Next Generation programme at mac birmingham.

Cover illustration by Anya Jung

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MEET THE TEAM

KATE ANDREWS CREATIVE PRODUCER AND PROJECT LEAD

LUCY MULGREW ONLINE & EVENTS PRODUCER

ASHLEIGH MOORE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

MANIBA ZARIAT SUB EDITOR

ANYA JUNG ART DIRECTOR

KANIKA SAFIYA SUBMISSIONS & EVENTS PRODUCER

AGATA KLOSOWSKA ASSISTANT EDITOR

KIRAN BADYAL SUBMISSIONS

CONTENTS

FEATURES 6/7/8 Making Space for Political Art 12/13 The Art of Social Media 14/15/16 Anyone for a Brew? 20/21/22 Creative Communities: Grass Roots 26 Interview with Vanley Burke

HOW TO 9 How To: Network your Way to a Creative Job 18 How To: Apply for Creative Jobs Like a Pro 25 How To: Fund your Creative Project 30 How To: Be Creative and Stay Inspired

SPOTLIGHT SABRINA DUNKLEY SUB EDITOR

JOSEPH HALE EVENTS PRODUCER

Special thanks to all our contributors and those who submitted. Thanks to Louise Byng, Daniel Whitehouse, Kerry O’Coy, Demi Nandhra, Olivia Brown, Samantha Symonds, Milly Rowland, Sam Jones and Stephanie Rogers.

KAMARA BENNETT ONLINE

10/11 Photography by Tom Bird 16/17 Future C U R I O U S 23 Smart Girl by Kanika Safiya 28/29 Paper by Kate Moreton

Cover illustration created for Forge by Anya Jung

Forge Magazine, brand and concept © mac birmingham. All content and images © the writers and artists. Magazine layout by Fused Media.

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MEET THE TEAM

KATE ANDREWS CREATIVE PRODUCER AND PROJECT LEAD

LUCY MULGREW ONLINE & EVENTS PRODUCER

ASHLEIGH MOORE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

MANIBA ZARIAT SUB EDITOR

ANYA JUNG ART DIRECTOR

KANIKA SAFIYA SUBMISSIONS & EVENTS PRODUCER

AGATA KLOSOWSKA ASSISTANT EDITOR

KIRAN BADYAL SUBMISSIONS

CONTENTS

FEATURES 6/7/8 Making Space for Political Art 12/13 The Art of Social Media 14/15/16 Anyone for a Brew? 20/21/22 Creative Communities: Grass Roots 26 Interview with Vanley Burke

HOW TO 9 How To: Network your Way to a Creative Job 18 How To: Apply for Creative Jobs Like a Pro 25 How To: Fund your Creative Project 30 How To: Be Creative and Stay Inspired

SPOTLIGHT SABRINA DUNKLEY SUB EDITOR

JOSEPH HALE EVENTS PRODUCER

Special thanks to all our contributors and those who submitted. Thanks to Louise Byng, Daniel Whitehouse, Kerry O’Coy, Demi Nandhra, Olivia Brown, Samantha Symonds, Milly Rowland, Sam Jones and Stephanie Rogers.

KAMARA BENNETT ONLINE

10/11 Photography by Tom Bird 16/17 Future C U R I O U S 23 Smart Girl by Kanika Safiya 28/29 Paper by Kate Moreton

Cover illustration created for Forge by Anya Jung

Forge Magazine, brand and concept © mac birmingham. All content and images © the writers and artists. Magazine layout by Fused Media.

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MAKING SPACE FOR POLITICAL ART BY LUCY MULGREW

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ecently it feels like there has been an increase in the political art presented across the Midlands. Passionate, powerful, spoken word has been prolific in the city for a while with the likes of Beatfreeks and Apples and Snakes leading the charge, however there now also seems to be an increase in politically motivated visual art presented across the city. Forge wanted to explore this increase and the reasons behind its prevalence - is the city becoming more politically aware, or is this simply the result of capitalising on trends in popular culture?

Rene McBrearty, a recent fine art graduate, also considers her work to be political in nature. Rene’s practice centres on a combination of drawing, sculpture and performance. “For me [they] are all interconnected - one always leads on to the other. Using these three mediums I aim to evoke the feeling of ambivalence or the feeling of being in between.” Tackling themes of anxiety, gender, and race, Rene aims to create conversations about that which is often left unsaid. “I think it’s important to make work about things that make people feel uncomfortable… the things we find difficult to talk about and we don’t know how to respond to. I want people to challenge the issues raised.” Rene hopes to change perceptions of herself and of our collective history and to “present a history that has previously been ignored.”

“I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE WORK ABOUT THINGS THAT MAKE PEOPLE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE…”

Making Space For Political Art cont. with Rene McBrearty image (credit: © Colin Davison)

Work by Demi Nandhra taken by Marcin Sz

Curated around a central manifesto and published this year, Contemporary Other is a publication that explores and celebrates “alien voices, artists, thinkers and activists” with emerging artists from Birmingham and across the globe. Like Stryx’s residency, the next issue of Contemporary Other focuses on feminism; “what feminism is in 2015, what it looks like and whom it serves”. Actively promoting another side of art and culture that the public may not have access to, it imitates a physical gallery space, with a white background and traditional labelling. The publication includes artists and themes that may have been excluded from conventional spaces. This very specific promotion of marginalised art and artists is a political act in itself, while the art featured is also often political in nature.

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Image © Colin Davison

In May 2015 Stryx, an artist-led studio, project and exhibition space in Digbeth, held a SOUP residency focusing on three artists creating feminist works. Demi Nandhra, Emily Mulenga and Lucy Hutchinson presented the exhibition This is what a feminist looks like. Featuring works exploring Nicki Minaj’s controversial Anaconda single cover and tackling themes of religion and sexuality, a dedicated space was provided for emerging artists to create, make and share political art that is important to them and to others.

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MAKING SPACE FOR POLITICAL ART BY LUCY MULGREW

R

ecently it feels like there has been an increase in the political art presented across the Midlands. Passionate, powerful, spoken word has been prolific in the city for a while with the likes of Beatfreeks and Apples and Snakes leading the charge, however there now also seems to be an increase in politically motivated visual art presented across the city. Forge wanted to explore this increase and the reasons behind its prevalence - is the city becoming more politically aware, or is this simply the result of capitalising on trends in popular culture?

Rene McBrearty, a recent fine art graduate, also considers her work to be political in nature. Rene’s practice centres on a combination of drawing, sculpture and performance. “For me [they] are all interconnected - one always leads on to the other. Using these three mediums I aim to evoke the feeling of ambivalence or the feeling of being in between.” Tackling themes of anxiety, gender, and race, Rene aims to create conversations about that which is often left unsaid. “I think it’s important to make work about things that make people feel uncomfortable… the things we find difficult to talk about and we don’t know how to respond to. I want people to challenge the issues raised.” Rene hopes to change perceptions of herself and of our collective history and to “present a history that has previously been ignored.”

“I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE WORK ABOUT THINGS THAT MAKE PEOPLE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE…”

Making Space For Political Art cont. with Rene McBrearty image (credit: © Colin Davison)

Work by Demi Nandhra taken by Marcin Sz

Curated around a central manifesto and published this year, Contemporary Other is a publication that explores and celebrates “alien voices, artists, thinkers and activists” with emerging artists from Birmingham and across the globe. Like Stryx’s residency, the next issue of Contemporary Other focuses on feminism; “what feminism is in 2015, what it looks like and whom it serves”. Actively promoting another side of art and culture that the public may not have access to, it imitates a physical gallery space, with a white background and traditional labelling. The publication includes artists and themes that may have been excluded from conventional spaces. This very specific promotion of marginalised art and artists is a political act in itself, while the art featured is also often political in nature.

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Image © Colin Davison

In May 2015 Stryx, an artist-led studio, project and exhibition space in Digbeth, held a SOUP residency focusing on three artists creating feminist works. Demi Nandhra, Emily Mulenga and Lucy Hutchinson presented the exhibition This is what a feminist looks like. Featuring works exploring Nicki Minaj’s controversial Anaconda single cover and tackling themes of religion and sexuality, a dedicated space was provided for emerging artists to create, make and share political art that is important to them and to others.

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July saw Impact Hub Birmingham host a Craftivism event with Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett and a variety of artists who use craft in their practice. Corbett’s craftivism is explicitly political, incorporating creativity, meditation and activism to target political issues such as the promotion of the living wage and supporting charitable campaigns. Most recently the Craftivist Collective petitioned Marks and Spencer’s board members with ‘stitch - in’ sessions asking them to enforce the living wage across their stores. By creating this ‘gentle activism’ Corbett has made political activism more accessible, as craftivist projects become seen as informal, conversational and personal interrogations of society.

NETWORK YOUR WAY TO A CREATIVE JOB BY MANIBA ZARIAT

Political art hasn’t necessarily increased in the region but safer, stronger, more accessible spaces have been created for young artists to explore and present this kind of art. Whether it is part of a trend or the sign of a more politically conscious society, this increase in support of politically motivated art is important. Awareness of political issues is growing through the work of the artists mentioned and many similar Midlands artists and organisations. The increase in physical space, the active promotion of political art and the creation of more accessible political conversations through art are crucial to provoking the very real conversations and transformations that occur when faced with art that exposes another point of view.

In this current competitive climate, and with increasingly limited access to arts funding, finding a creative job is harder than ever, making it even more crucial to find ways to stand out. Networking has become a great way for creatives to get noticed, show their eagerness and showcase their portfolios, if done right.

TIME STEALERS Do your research and source information before you invest time networking. After all you don’t want to be waste crucial minutes networking with the wrong people. POST NETWORK Show your continuing interest by post-networking contact. If you don’t follow up with the people you meet, you are potentially wasting your time. THE CARD If you have a business card, networking is a great platform for distribution! This shows a conscious effort, leaves a lasting impression and lets potential clients check out your portfolio. WORK SHOWCASE If the opportunity allows, be sure to demonstrate your work or portfolio. Even if you can only show an example, just talk about it or give a glimpse this will peak interest and give context. DISCOVER THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET A vast majority of jobs never get a chance to be advertised as they are quickly filled through word-of-mouth or networking. Stay connected for a better chance of catching opportunities.

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Image: Craftivism Collective

THE COMPETITION On average 250 CVs are received for one job position, therefore face to face networking is a tactic that allows you to stand out from the crowd. GIVE YOURSELF MORE THAN JUST “SIX SECONDS OF FAME” The average application gets a mere 6 seconds of attention. You won’t have to worry about being overlooked as, if done right, networking can lead to recommendations and referrals.


July saw Impact Hub Birmingham host a Craftivism event with Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett and a variety of artists who use craft in their practice. Corbett’s craftivism is explicitly political, incorporating creativity, meditation and activism to target political issues such as the promotion of the living wage and supporting charitable campaigns. Most recently the Craftivist Collective petitioned Marks and Spencer’s board members with ‘stitch - in’ sessions asking them to enforce the living wage across their stores. By creating this ‘gentle activism’ Corbett has made political activism more accessible, as craftivist projects become seen as informal, conversational and personal interrogations of society.

NETWORK YOUR WAY TO A CREATIVE JOB BY MANIBA ZARIAT

Political art hasn’t necessarily increased in the region but safer, stronger, more accessible spaces have been created for young artists to explore and present this kind of art. Whether it is part of a trend or the sign of a more politically conscious society, this increase in support of politically motivated art is important. Awareness of political issues is growing through the work of the artists mentioned and many similar Midlands artists and organisations. The increase in physical space, the active promotion of political art and the creation of more accessible political conversations through art are crucial to provoking the very real conversations and transformations that occur when faced with art that exposes another point of view.

In this current competitive climate, and with increasingly limited access to arts funding, finding a creative job is harder than ever, making it even more crucial to find ways to stand out. Networking has become a great way for creatives to get noticed, show their eagerness and showcase their portfolios, if done right.

TIME STEALERS Do your research and source information before you invest time networking. After all you don’t want to be waste crucial minutes networking with the wrong people. POST NETWORK Show your continuing interest by post-networking contact. If you don’t follow up with the people you meet, you are potentially wasting your time. THE CARD If you have a business card, networking is a great platform for distribution! This shows a conscious effort, leaves a lasting impression and lets potential clients check out your portfolio. WORK SHOWCASE If the opportunity allows, be sure to demonstrate your work or portfolio. Even if you can only show an example, just talk about it or give a glimpse this will peak interest and give context. DISCOVER THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET A vast majority of jobs never get a chance to be advertised as they are quickly filled through word-of-mouth or networking. Stay connected for a better chance of catching opportunities.

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Image: Craftivism Collective

THE COMPETITION On average 250 CVs are received for one job position, therefore face to face networking is a tactic that allows you to stand out from the crowd. GIVE YOURSELF MORE THAN JUST “SIX SECONDS OF FAME” The average application gets a mere 6 seconds of attention. You won’t have to worry about being overlooked as, if done right, networking can lead to recommendations and referrals.


TOM BIRD @TOMBIRDUK | INSTAGRAM.COM/TOMBIRDUK

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“Photography is a medium that allows me to present the world to a viewer in a new light. Composing a photograph is very intuitive when deciding what stays in and out of the frame, and both factors are equally just as important. This for me is the key to creating clean and refined imagery giving that viewer a different perspective. With a huge interest in design-based subjects relating to form, structure, colour and texture most of my work, personal and client based falls into this area. The imagery that you see here is more creative than a regular photograph removing the subject from its environment.” Tom Bird, Photographer

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TOM BIRD @TOMBIRDUK | INSTAGRAM.COM/TOMBIRDUK

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“Photography is a medium that allows me to present the world to a viewer in a new light. Composing a photograph is very intuitive when deciding what stays in and out of the frame, and both factors are equally just as important. This for me is the key to creating clean and refined imagery giving that viewer a different perspective. With a huge interest in design-based subjects relating to form, structure, colour and texture most of my work, personal and client based falls into this area. The imagery that you see here is more creative than a regular photograph removing the subject from its environment.” Tom Bird, Photographer

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THE ART OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY JOSEPH HALE

T

he rise of social media over the last 15 years has made a global impact that few could have predicted. From viral charity videos, to the invention of a stick specifically made for taking selfies, almost everyone is connected through one device or another. Moving into a new phase where creators, makers and artists are utilising social media to grow their business or practice, the connection between artist and consumer has never been more direct. Forge asked Midlands-based creatives how social media supports their practice. Illustrator Sarah Ray sticks to 3 or 4 platforms “I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have found that Twitter is best for business in terms of networking, not quite so much sales. I have also started using Pinterest a bit more, I’ve heard this platform is the best for sales.” Similarly John Williamson, a graphic designer with his own clothing brand No Fit State, also feels visual platforms work best. “The rise of Instagram since its conception in 2010 has been extraordinary; an aspect of which I feel has gone mostly unnoticed is that users tag their friends in the comments. A place that was once used for responding to a friend’s photo is now being used to draw in wider audiences in a way that isn’t really done on any other platform. The first step that most people take when creating an online presence is to use a platform they’re already comfortable with. Sarah started with Facebook, which can allow users to have more of a business presence online. “I was on Facebook personally and created a ‘page’ for my business.” John started on Twitter, which developed more organically as his business grew, capitalising on the connectivity of hashtags that can put artists into already established communities and global discussions. Using techniques such as interactive competitions and giveaways also ensures that self-promotion becomes its own shareable entity - reaching the same amount of people would be extremely expensive if artists were using traditional marketing techniques.

AS THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA GROWS, SO ARE THE RULES, TIPS AND CODES OF CONDUCT.

It’s not just in business that artists are benefiting from social media. Projects such as the Birmingham Hidden Spaces Instagram Meet-Ups are breaking the barriers between creatives and galleries. Here, a group of Instagrammers meet at different locations around the city, given a theme for the day to take photos on their personal accounts in response. Uploaded with a hashtag specific to that event, the best of these photos will then be exhibited in a short exhibition at Ikon Gallery. Remarkably, the opportunity to be shown in an internationally regarded gallery has now been granted to anyone and in true British style, we love when the plucky underdog gets his place in front of the masses. With more and more people using social media intelligently and creatively, it is exciting to see where this medium will go next. The power of social media is only going to continue to grow, with the only barriers being the challenge of keeping up with the next latest trend.

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Illustration by Louise Byng

As the use of social media grows, so are the rules, tips and codes of conduct. ‘Ratio content’ is a popular theory, essentially the process of mixing your own content with that of relevant others. Interestingly neither of the people I spoke to used any; and preferred to post a mixture of business and personal, as John explains “It creates more of a lifestyle brand rather than just a t-shirt company.” Similarly Sarah felt that “I don’t have time to look for shareable content. You can spend too much time on it instead of talking to people and developing your business in other ways!”

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THE ART OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY JOSEPH HALE

T

he rise of social media over the last 15 years has made a global impact that few could have predicted. From viral charity videos, to the invention of a stick specifically made for taking selfies, almost everyone is connected through one device or another. Moving into a new phase where creators, makers and artists are utilising social media to grow their business or practice, the connection between artist and consumer has never been more direct. Forge asked Midlands-based creatives how social media supports their practice. Illustrator Sarah Ray sticks to 3 or 4 platforms “I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have found that Twitter is best for business in terms of networking, not quite so much sales. I have also started using Pinterest a bit more, I’ve heard this platform is the best for sales.” Similarly John Williamson, a graphic designer with his own clothing brand No Fit State, also feels visual platforms work best. “The rise of Instagram since its conception in 2010 has been extraordinary; an aspect of which I feel has gone mostly unnoticed is that users tag their friends in the comments. A place that was once used for responding to a friend’s photo is now being used to draw in wider audiences in a way that isn’t really done on any other platform. The first step that most people take when creating an online presence is to use a platform they’re already comfortable with. Sarah started with Facebook, which can allow users to have more of a business presence online. “I was on Facebook personally and created a ‘page’ for my business.” John started on Twitter, which developed more organically as his business grew, capitalising on the connectivity of hashtags that can put artists into already established communities and global discussions. Using techniques such as interactive competitions and giveaways also ensures that self-promotion becomes its own shareable entity - reaching the same amount of people would be extremely expensive if artists were using traditional marketing techniques.

AS THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA GROWS, SO ARE THE RULES, TIPS AND CODES OF CONDUCT.

It’s not just in business that artists are benefiting from social media. Projects such as the Birmingham Hidden Spaces Instagram Meet-Ups are breaking the barriers between creatives and galleries. Here, a group of Instagrammers meet at different locations around the city, given a theme for the day to take photos on their personal accounts in response. Uploaded with a hashtag specific to that event, the best of these photos will then be exhibited in a short exhibition at Ikon Gallery. Remarkably, the opportunity to be shown in an internationally regarded gallery has now been granted to anyone and in true British style, we love when the plucky underdog gets his place in front of the masses. With more and more people using social media intelligently and creatively, it is exciting to see where this medium will go next. The power of social media is only going to continue to grow, with the only barriers being the challenge of keeping up with the next latest trend.

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Illustration by Louise Byng

As the use of social media grows, so are the rules, tips and codes of conduct. ‘Ratio content’ is a popular theory, essentially the process of mixing your own content with that of relevant others. Interestingly neither of the people I spoke to used any; and preferred to post a mixture of business and personal, as John explains “It creates more of a lifestyle brand rather than just a t-shirt company.” Similarly Sarah felt that “I don’t have time to look for shareable content. You can spend too much time on it instead of talking to people and developing your business in other ways!”

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ANYONE FOR A BREW? BY KAMARA BENNETT

According to research by Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, performing groups – such

as theatre organisations – are less likely to use digital technologies for the creation and distribution of their work, when compared to other types of cultural organisations. However, despite this finding, there is an increasing number of performing groups who are experimenting with the scope and scale that digital technologies can provide. “In site­specific art projects, what’s fantastic is that an artist can use recognisable objects that exist in the real world as triggers for audiences to discover and unlock the artist’s work at anytime”, explains Sebastian. “In this instance, audiences had to listen carefully to the audio voices inviting them to look out for objects in the real world, which would provide the virtual ‘keys’ to unlock the next chapter of their journey”.

These performing groups include CLUSTER BOMB [collective], a collective of London­based contemporary artists whose latest production, TYPHOO BASIN, commissioned by Home for Waifs and Strays, piloted at Warwick Bar Summer Fete in Digbeth, Birmingham. Located around the Fazeley canals and devised by the group’s co­ordinator Sebastian Hau­Walker, TYPHOO BASIN is described as a digital, site­ specific, promenade performance based on the post­industrial and post­colonial heritage of Birmingham. With the once local Typhoo Tea factory being a part of the former industrial ‘backbone’ of Birmingham, the collective’s performance explores, celebrates and interrogates the colonial legacy of the tea industry and those who contributed.

A common perceived barrier to using digital technologies can be a lack of funding. Despite this, by using QR codes and free, readily available software, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] found that “working with the digital element of the app hardly cost a penny”. Nonetheless, using digital technologies can be a time consuming process. “It does take an inordinate amount of time to create, test and tweak, which is often very difficult to equate with monetary value”, explains Sebastian. For TYPHOO BASIN, other key considerations included the accessibility of smartphone devices among audience members and the availability of a stable Internet connection.

With an existing interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] has experimented with video projections, soundscapes and social media in previous pieces of work. TYPHOO BASIN, however, proves to be particularly interactive. Expanding on the well­ established format of an audio tour and a nod to the exponential rise in the popularity of smartphones, TYPHOO BASIN uses mobile augmented reality browser ‘Junaio’ to overlay artificial information about the environment onto the real world.

“...THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE TO ANYONE IS TO RESEARCH AND TEST OUT SOME IDEAS, HOWEVER ROUGH AND READY, AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IN YOUR PROCESS.” Whether it be a website or blog, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] encourage emerging artists to consider how their practice could potentially have a digital tangent. Highlighting the importance of experimentation, Sebastian notes: “I think the best advice I can give to anyone is to research and test out some ideas, however rough and ready, as early as possible in your process. Try and map out how the complex ideas you have for the technology could be communicated in a simpler way and operated by the simplest device”. The collective also advise inviting a broad, diverse audience and documenting their feedback as “you never know who will be viewing your performance, what they have seen and what they will take away”.

Using a paper map as an analogue alternative, audience members begin the durational tour by scanning a QR code and pointing their smartphone camera towards a contextually relevant artefact, such as a sign or mural. Hosted by online platform SoundCloud, the audio file that plays as a result guides audience members around the streets and canal­sides of Digbeth – each stop allowing additional digital content, performances and physically interactive activities to be unlocked, gradually revealing a connected, yet fragmented narrative set across Birmingham and former Ceylon, now present day Sri Lanka.

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Image © Ben Mandefield

CLUSTER BOMB [collective] is planning to develop TYPHOO BASIN for 2016, with the aim to make the production more immersive and informative, while working with a wider range of artists and performers. “We’re keen to collaborate with Sri Lankan artists, something we didn’t have enough time and resources for in 2015 – so if you’re reading this and have connections to Sri Lanka, please get in touch!” For more information visit: FACEBOOK.COM/CLUSTERBOMBCOLLECTIVE

Image © Hristian Pavlov

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ANYONE FOR A BREW? BY KAMARA BENNETT

According to research by Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, performing groups – such

as theatre organisations – are less likely to use digital technologies for the creation and distribution of their work, when compared to other types of cultural organisations. However, despite this finding, there is an increasing number of performing groups who are experimenting with the scope and scale that digital technologies can provide. “In site­specific art projects, what’s fantastic is that an artist can use recognisable objects that exist in the real world as triggers for audiences to discover and unlock the artist’s work at anytime”, explains Sebastian. “In this instance, audiences had to listen carefully to the audio voices inviting them to look out for objects in the real world, which would provide the virtual ‘keys’ to unlock the next chapter of their journey”.

These performing groups include CLUSTER BOMB [collective], a collective of London­based contemporary artists whose latest production, TYPHOO BASIN, commissioned by Home for Waifs and Strays, piloted at Warwick Bar Summer Fete in Digbeth, Birmingham. Located around the Fazeley canals and devised by the group’s co­ordinator Sebastian Hau­Walker, TYPHOO BASIN is described as a digital, site­ specific, promenade performance based on the post­industrial and post­colonial heritage of Birmingham. With the once local Typhoo Tea factory being a part of the former industrial ‘backbone’ of Birmingham, the collective’s performance explores, celebrates and interrogates the colonial legacy of the tea industry and those who contributed.

A common perceived barrier to using digital technologies can be a lack of funding. Despite this, by using QR codes and free, readily available software, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] found that “working with the digital element of the app hardly cost a penny”. Nonetheless, using digital technologies can be a time consuming process. “It does take an inordinate amount of time to create, test and tweak, which is often very difficult to equate with monetary value”, explains Sebastian. For TYPHOO BASIN, other key considerations included the accessibility of smartphone devices among audience members and the availability of a stable Internet connection.

With an existing interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] has experimented with video projections, soundscapes and social media in previous pieces of work. TYPHOO BASIN, however, proves to be particularly interactive. Expanding on the well­ established format of an audio tour and a nod to the exponential rise in the popularity of smartphones, TYPHOO BASIN uses mobile augmented reality browser ‘Junaio’ to overlay artificial information about the environment onto the real world.

“...THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE TO ANYONE IS TO RESEARCH AND TEST OUT SOME IDEAS, HOWEVER ROUGH AND READY, AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE IN YOUR PROCESS.” Whether it be a website or blog, CLUSTER BOMB [collective] encourage emerging artists to consider how their practice could potentially have a digital tangent. Highlighting the importance of experimentation, Sebastian notes: “I think the best advice I can give to anyone is to research and test out some ideas, however rough and ready, as early as possible in your process. Try and map out how the complex ideas you have for the technology could be communicated in a simpler way and operated by the simplest device”. The collective also advise inviting a broad, diverse audience and documenting their feedback as “you never know who will be viewing your performance, what they have seen and what they will take away”.

Using a paper map as an analogue alternative, audience members begin the durational tour by scanning a QR code and pointing their smartphone camera towards a contextually relevant artefact, such as a sign or mural. Hosted by online platform SoundCloud, the audio file that plays as a result guides audience members around the streets and canal­sides of Digbeth – each stop allowing additional digital content, performances and physically interactive activities to be unlocked, gradually revealing a connected, yet fragmented narrative set across Birmingham and former Ceylon, now present day Sri Lanka.

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Image © Ben Mandefield

CLUSTER BOMB [collective] is planning to develop TYPHOO BASIN for 2016, with the aim to make the production more immersive and informative, while working with a wider range of artists and performers. “We’re keen to collaborate with Sri Lankan artists, something we didn’t have enough time and resources for in 2015 – so if you’re reading this and have connections to Sri Lanka, please get in touch!” For more information visit: FACEBOOK.COM/CLUSTERBOMBCOLLECTIVE

Image © Hristian Pavlov

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HOW MANY PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED TODAY? YOU’VE PROBABLY LOST COUNT.

As digital interaction increases, so has the challenge for creatives. The need to keep up-to-date and innovate is now at an all time high. @BOMLAB / BOM.ORG.UK BOM (Birmingham Open Media) is described as a ‘creative, collaborative workspace for art, technology and science’. With a clear emphasis on building, doing and making, this dynamic, recently renovated building is home to an organisation that has an interdisciplinary approach at its core.

Enter, Future C U R I O U S – a festival devised and curated to provide creatives with the space to experiment with the latest advances in technology. Developed by mac birmingham and curated by Amy Martin and Yinka Danmole, this forward-thinking festival promoted and explored future art practices through a series of commissions, workshops, lectures, visits and labs in summer 2015.

Image © Louise Byng

FUTURE C U R I O U S

Showcasing some of the city’s most brilliant technologists and innovative thinkers, the Silicon Canal Tour provided a peek into Birmingham’s technology and innovation hubs. While the bus journey around these inspiring spaces has ended, be sure to visit the destinations (right) for an insight into future technology trends, innovative ways of working and upcoming events.

@FZZPOP / FIZZPOP.ORG.UK Fizz Pop is a Birmingham-based makerspace that supports creativity, providing hackers and makers with a place to create and share their ideas and projects. Initially a community that met up around the city, Fizz Pop now provides members with access to a growing range of equipment and facilities.

@IMPACTHUBBRUM / BIRMINGHAM.IMPACTHUB.NET Aiming to co-make an #EpicBrum, Impact Hub Birmingham is ‘a network of amazing citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and a better world’. WWW.FUTURE-CURIOUS.COM | @FUTURE_CURIOUS

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HOW MANY PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED TODAY? YOU’VE PROBABLY LOST COUNT.

As digital interaction increases, so has the challenge for creatives. The need to keep up-to-date and innovate is now at an all time high. @BOMLAB / BOM.ORG.UK BOM (Birmingham Open Media) is described as a ‘creative, collaborative workspace for art, technology and science’. With a clear emphasis on building, doing and making, this dynamic, recently renovated building is home to an organisation that has an interdisciplinary approach at its core.

Enter, Future C U R I O U S – a festival devised and curated to provide creatives with the space to experiment with the latest advances in technology. Developed by mac birmingham and curated by Amy Martin and Yinka Danmole, this forward-thinking festival promoted and explored future art practices through a series of commissions, workshops, lectures, visits and labs in summer 2015.

Image © Louise Byng

FUTURE C U R I O U S

Showcasing some of the city’s most brilliant technologists and innovative thinkers, the Silicon Canal Tour provided a peek into Birmingham’s technology and innovation hubs. While the bus journey around these inspiring spaces has ended, be sure to visit the destinations (right) for an insight into future technology trends, innovative ways of working and upcoming events.

@FZZPOP / FIZZPOP.ORG.UK Fizz Pop is a Birmingham-based makerspace that supports creativity, providing hackers and makers with a place to create and share their ideas and projects. Initially a community that met up around the city, Fizz Pop now provides members with access to a growing range of equipment and facilities.

@IMPACTHUBBRUM / BIRMINGHAM.IMPACTHUB.NET Aiming to co-make an #EpicBrum, Impact Hub Birmingham is ‘a network of amazing citizens, makers, doers, entrepreneurs, activists and dreamers committed to building a better Birmingham and a better world’. WWW.FUTURE-CURIOUS.COM | @FUTURE_CURIOUS

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APPLY FOR CREATIVE JOBS LIKE A PRO BY MANIBA ZARIAT

Translating genuine career enthusiasm into a sincere

job application is a fine art; especially if you’re on your ninth application of the week and you would much rather be watching Game of Thrones. Before you attempt another application take a look at our top tips. LEARN THE ART OF EDITING To avoid a cliché-filled application, ask friends, family, colleagues or mentors to proofread your application. You can also give them the job spec so you can see if you’re successfully translating your practical creative experience to written answers. EVERY APPLICATION IS UNIQUE Often we just opt to copying and pasting from application to application. STOP! There is no point to your application the minute you start to do this. Instead, research the company and find out about industry-wide issues to demonstrate the extent of your interest.

GIVE YOURSELF TARGETS It helps to set small targets and steps to complete the application. Pull it apart; what is the easiest section to complete and what should you do first? Remember even though some applications ask for references and portfolio work towards the end of your application, consider compiling those first.

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Images by Lily Wales

DON’T ECHO THE JOB SPEC Constantly repeating phrases from the role profile does not leave a good impression. Be careful as the reader is looking to see skills and experiences that bring alive these phrases, not just a brief mention. Remember to detail what aspects of the job you are interested in and why, rather than just detailing your achievements and physical evidence.


APPLY FOR CREATIVE JOBS LIKE A PRO BY MANIBA ZARIAT

Translating genuine career enthusiasm into a sincere

job application is a fine art; especially if you’re on your ninth application of the week and you would much rather be watching Game of Thrones. Before you attempt another application take a look at our top tips. LEARN THE ART OF EDITING To avoid a cliché-filled application, ask friends, family, colleagues or mentors to proofread your application. You can also give them the job spec so you can see if you’re successfully translating your practical creative experience to written answers. EVERY APPLICATION IS UNIQUE Often we just opt to copying and pasting from application to application. STOP! There is no point to your application the minute you start to do this. Instead, research the company and find out about industry-wide issues to demonstrate the extent of your interest.

GIVE YOURSELF TARGETS It helps to set small targets and steps to complete the application. Pull it apart; what is the easiest section to complete and what should you do first? Remember even though some applications ask for references and portfolio work towards the end of your application, consider compiling those first.

| 18 |

Images by Lily Wales

DON’T ECHO THE JOB SPEC Constantly repeating phrases from the role profile does not leave a good impression. Be careful as the reader is looking to see skills and experiences that bring alive these phrases, not just a brief mention. Remember to detail what aspects of the job you are interested in and why, rather than just detailing your achievements and physical evidence.


CREATIVE COMMUNITIES: GRASS ROOTS

A

cross the West Midlands individuals and organisations are working with communities to encourage creativity, self-expression and inspire the next generation. Forge spoke to some of these individuals who, through hard work and persistence, are redefining community arts and connecting people through creativity.

BY ASHLEIGH MOORE & LUCY MULGREW

REDEVELOPED AND REDEFINED BY JACK NELSON Following his passion and re-entering education to gain a degree in photography from the University of Wolverhampton, Jack wanted to capture the essence of the suburban populous and developed the Heath Town project. A series of community portraits of individuals, the project captured their complexities of character to help remove the stigma attached to those who are often ignored or maligned by the wider population. Redeveloped and Redefined extends this project, working with a group of young people using a disused shop as a gallery and workspace. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR PRACTICE. I am an artist and photographer with an interest in archive. While I feel that conceptual work is the crux of my practice, being involved in projects which try to help individuals who are affected by problems and injustices in society both informs and adds weight to my work. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT PROJECT? Redeveloped and Redefined aims to provide young people with the opportunity and skills required to examine, consider and document their experiences within their own environment, create an archive from within the community itself and to help them in attaining further education or a potential career in the arts. The gallery space, situated in the heart of Heath Town in a shop unit in Chervil Rise features a permanent ‘photograffiti’ wall to which anyone can submit an image. This will be shown alongside a series of rolling exhibitions from both local and external artists until it is demolished in 2017.

“I FOUND THAT IF YOU HAVE PASSION FOR YOUR PROJECT THEN THAT PASSION IS INFECTIOUS AND OTHERS WILL BEGIN TO SHARE IT.…”

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR WORK IMPACT THE COMMUNITIES YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH? Early on in the project I discovered the main stumbling block for many of the young people was a lack of confidence and self-esteem, which was preventing them from taking a chance and therefore achieving. Once they had engaged and began to see the results of their work, confidence blossomed. Some of the images created by the young people have now been displayed at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. A far cry from being excluded from school, some students even attended on days they were not obligated to attend. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER CREATIVES HOPING TO DEVELOP PROJECTS WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES? Faith, passion and persistence. While some elements felt potentially beyond my control, it was my responsibility to convince other people to engage and participate. I found that if you have passion for your project then that passion is infectious and others will begin to share it. I had little experience with elements of the project. I came up with the mantra “just because you haven’t done something before, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.” Eventually you reach a point where you have enough experience to say “I can do that.” This project has been one of the hardest undertakings I have had so far, but has definitely been the most rewarding.

Image © Jack Nelson

WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVATIONS BEHIND STARTING THE PROJECT? Estates such as Heath Town, dominated by high-rise blocks of flats that once represented post-war optimism, may soon be eradicated from our landscape because of the negativity that now

surrounds them. Due to its impending demolition, I felt it was more important than ever to create a record and capture those memories before they were lost. I was compelled to continue with the methodology of working closely within the community. We uncovered such interesting stories from those we spoke to during the previous project, so I wanted to create a platform through which people could tell those stories themselves and be heard - not just as subjects, but as creators.

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CREATIVE COMMUNITIES: GRASS ROOTS

A

cross the West Midlands individuals and organisations are working with communities to encourage creativity, self-expression and inspire the next generation. Forge spoke to some of these individuals who, through hard work and persistence, are redefining community arts and connecting people through creativity.

BY ASHLEIGH MOORE & LUCY MULGREW

REDEVELOPED AND REDEFINED BY JACK NELSON Following his passion and re-entering education to gain a degree in photography from the University of Wolverhampton, Jack wanted to capture the essence of the suburban populous and developed the Heath Town project. A series of community portraits of individuals, the project captured their complexities of character to help remove the stigma attached to those who are often ignored or maligned by the wider population. Redeveloped and Redefined extends this project, working with a group of young people using a disused shop as a gallery and workspace. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR PRACTICE. I am an artist and photographer with an interest in archive. While I feel that conceptual work is the crux of my practice, being involved in projects which try to help individuals who are affected by problems and injustices in society both informs and adds weight to my work. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT PROJECT? Redeveloped and Redefined aims to provide young people with the opportunity and skills required to examine, consider and document their experiences within their own environment, create an archive from within the community itself and to help them in attaining further education or a potential career in the arts. The gallery space, situated in the heart of Heath Town in a shop unit in Chervil Rise features a permanent ‘photograffiti’ wall to which anyone can submit an image. This will be shown alongside a series of rolling exhibitions from both local and external artists until it is demolished in 2017.

“I FOUND THAT IF YOU HAVE PASSION FOR YOUR PROJECT THEN THAT PASSION IS INFECTIOUS AND OTHERS WILL BEGIN TO SHARE IT.…”

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR WORK IMPACT THE COMMUNITIES YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH? Early on in the project I discovered the main stumbling block for many of the young people was a lack of confidence and self-esteem, which was preventing them from taking a chance and therefore achieving. Once they had engaged and began to see the results of their work, confidence blossomed. Some of the images created by the young people have now been displayed at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. A far cry from being excluded from school, some students even attended on days they were not obligated to attend. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER CREATIVES HOPING TO DEVELOP PROJECTS WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES? Faith, passion and persistence. While some elements felt potentially beyond my control, it was my responsibility to convince other people to engage and participate. I found that if you have passion for your project then that passion is infectious and others will begin to share it. I had little experience with elements of the project. I came up with the mantra “just because you haven’t done something before, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it.” Eventually you reach a point where you have enough experience to say “I can do that.” This project has been one of the hardest undertakings I have had so far, but has definitely been the most rewarding.

Image © Jack Nelson

WHAT WERE YOUR MOTIVATIONS BEHIND STARTING THE PROJECT? Estates such as Heath Town, dominated by high-rise blocks of flats that once represented post-war optimism, may soon be eradicated from our landscape because of the negativity that now

surrounds them. Due to its impending demolition, I felt it was more important than ever to create a record and capture those memories before they were lost. I was compelled to continue with the methodology of working closely within the community. We uncovered such interesting stories from those we spoke to during the previous project, so I wanted to create a platform through which people could tell those stories themselves and be heard - not just as subjects, but as creators.

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CONNECTING COMMUNITIES BY JOE COOK

THE SMART GIRL

Joe Cook is a spoken word artist, workshop facilitator and drummer for Reggae punk band Lobster. When he is not creating his own work he works with young people on creative projects to engage and enthuse, many of which take place in community youth centres across the city. His most recent project, Connecting Communities, is a project based in Clifton Road Youth Centre and other youth centres across Birmingham. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE PROJECT AND YOUR INVOLVEMENT. The project was originally called Connecting Communities, identifying hard to reach areas that have little relationship with art and are areas of social deprivation. This project has now grown in to an on-going rap project getting young people to write lyrics and record them to music and visuals. WHAT MOTIVATED YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE PROJECT? I personally didn’t feel that there was a lot going on culturally or artistically within my surrounding area that would appeal to young people who want more than going out and dancing to chart music. I’m passionate about young people finding creative ways to express and empower themselves and got involved with the project through a number of people and organisations including Clifton Road Youth Centre in Sutton, which was big part of my own life growing up. HOW HAS YOUR WORK IMPACTED ON THE YOUNG PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH? Despite being fans of grime and UK rap, most of the young people I worked with had never sat down and written lyrics themselves before. I think it’s taken a lot of them by surprise that they can do it, that their opinions are valid and that they have freedom to talk about whatever they choose. Most importantly, they enjoy doing it and it has definitely given them a confidence boost. It has allowed them to put their energy and frustrations into a channelled art form. HOW HAS THE PROJECT INFLUENCED YOUR PRACTICE? I think it has confirmed the importance of working in a community at a grass roots level and the importance of youth centres that are often the unsung heroes within society. While it’s great to have workshops centrally that people will flock too, in areas that have never had that option it’s vital to bring it to them. Mainly it has influenced me to remember where I have come from and really be true to myself. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CREATIVES WHO WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE? Just go out there and do it. Plenty of great ideas around working within the communities just stay as ideas in meetings. It might sound cheesy, but just be real. Be who you are as you’ll generally find a common ground with the young people you work with. Also have a plan A, B, and even C, and scrap them all if you need to. Even if you stayed up all night making an awesome workshop, if it ain’t resonating with them ditch it.

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BY KANIKA SAFIYA

“I PERSONALLY DIDN’T FEEL THAT THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON CULTURALLY OR ARTISTICALLY WITHIN MY SURROUNDING AREA THAT WOULD APPEAL TO YOUNG PEOPLE...”

The smart girl she was, The smart girl she is, The smart girl she will be, So effortlessly standing on her own two feet, Feeling the ground burning beneath. She does not ask to be smart but to take charge of her destiny. That’s a small little feat, At least for her she thinks. Oh why smart girl do you weep? Is it because you try so hard To speak, to think, to eat? Why do you look so sombre? Are you so lonely you cannot breathe? Please smart girl, help me see, The errors of my ways so I can compete, To you I must be so immature and weak, To you I give you my heart to keep. Smart girl, do remember, The world is not so bleak, To shy away and stay obsolete. Please understand we are a fertile few, But we have only begun to start anew, We bend, we break, We toss, we twirl, But we are really all about the little things girl. We dance, we shout, we scream a little loud, We cry, we sob, we are silly, So many things that make us real. So smart girl please won’t you take my hand, And travel to foreign and distant lands. We can hunt, we can hide, Or stare at the sky. As long as you’re by my side, Until the day we die.

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CONNECTING COMMUNITIES BY JOE COOK

THE SMART GIRL

Joe Cook is a spoken word artist, workshop facilitator and drummer for Reggae punk band Lobster. When he is not creating his own work he works with young people on creative projects to engage and enthuse, many of which take place in community youth centres across the city. His most recent project, Connecting Communities, is a project based in Clifton Road Youth Centre and other youth centres across Birmingham. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE PROJECT AND YOUR INVOLVEMENT. The project was originally called Connecting Communities, identifying hard to reach areas that have little relationship with art and are areas of social deprivation. This project has now grown in to an on-going rap project getting young people to write lyrics and record them to music and visuals. WHAT MOTIVATED YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE PROJECT? I personally didn’t feel that there was a lot going on culturally or artistically within my surrounding area that would appeal to young people who want more than going out and dancing to chart music. I’m passionate about young people finding creative ways to express and empower themselves and got involved with the project through a number of people and organisations including Clifton Road Youth Centre in Sutton, which was big part of my own life growing up. HOW HAS YOUR WORK IMPACTED ON THE YOUNG PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH? Despite being fans of grime and UK rap, most of the young people I worked with had never sat down and written lyrics themselves before. I think it’s taken a lot of them by surprise that they can do it, that their opinions are valid and that they have freedom to talk about whatever they choose. Most importantly, they enjoy doing it and it has definitely given them a confidence boost. It has allowed them to put their energy and frustrations into a channelled art form. HOW HAS THE PROJECT INFLUENCED YOUR PRACTICE? I think it has confirmed the importance of working in a community at a grass roots level and the importance of youth centres that are often the unsung heroes within society. While it’s great to have workshops centrally that people will flock too, in areas that have never had that option it’s vital to bring it to them. Mainly it has influenced me to remember where I have come from and really be true to myself. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CREATIVES WHO WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH YOUNG PEOPLE? Just go out there and do it. Plenty of great ideas around working within the communities just stay as ideas in meetings. It might sound cheesy, but just be real. Be who you are as you’ll generally find a common ground with the young people you work with. Also have a plan A, B, and even C, and scrap them all if you need to. Even if you stayed up all night making an awesome workshop, if it ain’t resonating with them ditch it.

| 22 |

BY KANIKA SAFIYA

“I PERSONALLY DIDN’T FEEL THAT THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON CULTURALLY OR ARTISTICALLY WITHIN MY SURROUNDING AREA THAT WOULD APPEAL TO YOUNG PEOPLE...”

The smart girl she was, The smart girl she is, The smart girl she will be, So effortlessly standing on her own two feet, Feeling the ground burning beneath. She does not ask to be smart but to take charge of her destiny. That’s a small little feat, At least for her she thinks. Oh why smart girl do you weep? Is it because you try so hard To speak, to think, to eat? Why do you look so sombre? Are you so lonely you cannot breathe? Please smart girl, help me see, The errors of my ways so I can compete, To you I must be so immature and weak, To you I give you my heart to keep. Smart girl, do remember, The world is not so bleak, To shy away and stay obsolete. Please understand we are a fertile few, But we have only begun to start anew, We bend, we break, We toss, we twirl, But we are really all about the little things girl. We dance, we shout, we scream a little loud, We cry, we sob, we are silly, So many things that make us real. So smart girl please won’t you take my hand, And travel to foreign and distant lands. We can hunt, we can hide, Or stare at the sky. As long as you’re by my side, Until the day we die.

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FUND YOUR CREATIVE PROJECT BY LUCY MULGREW

S

o you have a great creative idea but you have no money to make it a reality? Whether you’re an individual or organisation there are many funding streams available to bring your project to fruition. Here are a few options: ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND ARTSCOUNCIL.ORG.UK Grants for the Arts funding is a great way to fund an art exhibition, performance or artistic project that will engage the general public. COMMUNITY GRANTS BIRMINGHAM.GOV.UK/ARTSCOMMISSIONING If you want to create artwork that will benefit your local community take a look at your city council website for funding options. Birmingham City Council’s Culture On Your Doorstep and Next Generation are two current funding streams encouraging community-based art. CROWDFUNDING KICKSTARTER.COM | INDIEGOGO.COM An innovative way of funding is crowdfunding via platforms such as Kickstarter or indigogo. You will need some marketing and interesting perks to get your audience’s backing, but if you meet your goal you will also have created a community around the project.

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© The Recreational Retina by Lily Wales, commissioned by BOM

MEDIUM SPECIFIC FUNDING THESPACE.ORG Creating a project with some cool digital aspects? Head to The Space for financial and technical assistance. PRSFORMUSICFOUNDATION.COM Are you a musician that wants to develop your practice? PRS Music Momentum can help you reach the next level of your career. NETWORK.BFI.ORG.UK   Have a film project that isn’t covered by Arts Council? Take a look at BFI NET. WORK for a helping hand. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING Have an idea that needs more development? Consider Research and Development Funds to help you research a project in its initial stages.

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FUND YOUR CREATIVE PROJECT BY LUCY MULGREW

S

o you have a great creative idea but you have no money to make it a reality? Whether you’re an individual or organisation there are many funding streams available to bring your project to fruition. Here are a few options: ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND ARTSCOUNCIL.ORG.UK Grants for the Arts funding is a great way to fund an art exhibition, performance or artistic project that will engage the general public. COMMUNITY GRANTS BIRMINGHAM.GOV.UK/ARTSCOMMISSIONING If you want to create artwork that will benefit your local community take a look at your city council website for funding options. Birmingham City Council’s Culture On Your Doorstep and Next Generation are two current funding streams encouraging community-based art. CROWDFUNDING KICKSTARTER.COM | INDIEGOGO.COM An innovative way of funding is crowdfunding via platforms such as Kickstarter or indigogo. You will need some marketing and interesting perks to get your audience’s backing, but if you meet your goal you will also have created a community around the project.

| 24 |

© The Recreational Retina by Lily Wales, commissioned by BOM

MEDIUM SPECIFIC FUNDING THESPACE.ORG Creating a project with some cool digital aspects? Head to The Space for financial and technical assistance. PRSFORMUSICFOUNDATION.COM Are you a musician that wants to develop your practice? PRS Music Momentum can help you reach the next level of your career. NETWORK.BFI.ORG.UK   Have a film project that isn’t covered by Arts Council? Take a look at BFI NET. WORK for a helping hand. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING Have an idea that needs more development? Consider Research and Development Funds to help you research a project in its initial stages.

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VANLEY BURKE BY SABRINA DUNKLEY

Vanley Burke born in Jamaica in 1951 and resident in Birmingham since

1965, is a renowned international photographer and artist, concerned especially black culture in Britain. In 2012, Vanley exhibited a retrospective of his photographs at mac entitled: By the Rivers of Birminam. Sabrina Dunkley interviews Vanley at his exhibition At Home with Vanley Burke at Ikon Gallery.

WHEN DID YOU START ARCHIVING YOUR COLLECTION? I know I started some considerable time ago. I’ve been collecting since the seventies and I had a fire that damaged some of that material. But what you see here isn’t the full collection. I have an archive at Birmingham Central Library. COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS? I can tell you how I started to document the lives and experiences of Black people. Having realised a need to document, or create this documentation, I broke it down into basic topics like religion, politics, social, education and so on and then I would photograph those topics as they presented themselves. Rather than just go out and photograph protests because it happened I needed to think about protest and what types of protests were taking place, why the protests were taking place and all of that, and to see how it fits into the lives and experiences of the people, you know, what are they protesting for. Not only would I photograph the protest but also I’d try and collect some of the banners and leaflets, things like that. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ACTIVIST? Are you calling me an activist? I try not to define myself, that’s a privilege of others. I

never really called myself a “photographer” you know, people asked me what I did, I said, “I take photographs”. And later on they said, “Well, you’re a photographer”. And later on they said, “You’re a documentary photographer”. I accept all the labels (laughs) but they then went on to say “I’m an artist”, so, you know - really, I don’t really try to define myself. COULD YOU SOMEHOW CONSIDER THAT THE COLLECTION MIGHT END UP AS A TIME CAPSULE? Well, in a way that was my intention when I started - because the material, because they were so current, the value… it was not immediately identified. I wanted to collect as much of this material as possible and wait, let’s say 10 years, and then after another 10 years look at that material and see what value there is within it. One of the things I sort of take pride in is making the material accessible. Institutions have so much of our archives already, but I just didn’t want to go and add to any of that material. I want it to be a living archive. YOU HAVE HAD SUCH A LONG AND RICH CAREER... I mean, the perseverance has been rich, the endurance obviously, y’know. I kind of say sometimes, I didn’t choose photography, it chose me. Sometimes I feel I’d rather have done something else. LIKE WHAT? Anything – sweep the street! (Laughs) Anything! Many thanks to Vanley Burke and Ikon Gallery.

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At Home with Vanley Burke. Installation photograph, Ikon Gallery (2015). Photo: Stuart Whipps, courtesy the artist and Ikon.

DID YOUR CREATIVITY BEGIN IN CHILDHOOD? My photography, yes it begun in childhood. It began while I was still living in Jamaica. I was about 10 when I received my first camera from my mother and that’s where I was introduced to photography.


VANLEY BURKE BY SABRINA DUNKLEY

Vanley Burke born in Jamaica in 1951 and resident in Birmingham since

1965, is a renowned international photographer and artist, concerned especially black culture in Britain. In 2012, Vanley exhibited a retrospective of his photographs at mac entitled: By the Rivers of Birminam. Sabrina Dunkley interviews Vanley at his exhibition At Home with Vanley Burke at Ikon Gallery.

WHEN DID YOU START ARCHIVING YOUR COLLECTION? I know I started some considerable time ago. I’ve been collecting since the seventies and I had a fire that damaged some of that material. But what you see here isn’t the full collection. I have an archive at Birmingham Central Library. COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS? I can tell you how I started to document the lives and experiences of Black people. Having realised a need to document, or create this documentation, I broke it down into basic topics like religion, politics, social, education and so on and then I would photograph those topics as they presented themselves. Rather than just go out and photograph protests because it happened I needed to think about protest and what types of protests were taking place, why the protests were taking place and all of that, and to see how it fits into the lives and experiences of the people, you know, what are they protesting for. Not only would I photograph the protest but also I’d try and collect some of the banners and leaflets, things like that. WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ACTIVIST? Are you calling me an activist? I try not to define myself, that’s a privilege of others. I

never really called myself a “photographer” you know, people asked me what I did, I said, “I take photographs”. And later on they said, “Well, you’re a photographer”. And later on they said, “You’re a documentary photographer”. I accept all the labels (laughs) but they then went on to say “I’m an artist”, so, you know - really, I don’t really try to define myself. COULD YOU SOMEHOW CONSIDER THAT THE COLLECTION MIGHT END UP AS A TIME CAPSULE? Well, in a way that was my intention when I started - because the material, because they were so current, the value… it was not immediately identified. I wanted to collect as much of this material as possible and wait, let’s say 10 years, and then after another 10 years look at that material and see what value there is within it. One of the things I sort of take pride in is making the material accessible. Institutions have so much of our archives already, but I just didn’t want to go and add to any of that material. I want it to be a living archive. YOU HAVE HAD SUCH A LONG AND RICH CAREER... I mean, the perseverance has been rich, the endurance obviously, y’know. I kind of say sometimes, I didn’t choose photography, it chose me. Sometimes I feel I’d rather have done something else. LIKE WHAT? Anything – sweep the street! (Laughs) Anything! Many thanks to Vanley Burke and Ikon Gallery.

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At Home with Vanley Burke. Installation photograph, Ikon Gallery (2015). Photo: Stuart Whipps, courtesy the artist and Ikon.

DID YOUR CREATIVITY BEGIN IN CHILDHOOD? My photography, yes it begun in childhood. It began while I was still living in Jamaica. I was about 10 when I received my first camera from my mother and that’s where I was introduced to photography.


PAPER BY KATE MORETON

There’s something about writing on paper Tracking scrawl on cheap A4 Throwing away words as pennies in fountains. The way my hand lurches to keep pace Like a curtain being parted over and over I fear nothing is ever actually revealed? The way murky ink collects on the underside hand, Clumsily marring, smudging, forever following Behind like a stunted leg. The way I can feel the imprint of words; Emotional fly tipping on wide rule lines, The callous disregard of preoccupation I hazard. The way I can physically hurt it, Screw it around and mess things up Then unfold it over and over like a weak apology. There’s something about writing on paper I think As I type my final full stop. Image © Hand Project by Sarah Fowler

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PAPER BY KATE MORETON

There’s something about writing on paper Tracking scrawl on cheap A4 Throwing away words as pennies in fountains. The way my hand lurches to keep pace Like a curtain being parted over and over I fear nothing is ever actually revealed? The way murky ink collects on the underside hand, Clumsily marring, smudging, forever following Behind like a stunted leg. The way I can feel the imprint of words; Emotional fly tipping on wide rule lines, The callous disregard of preoccupation I hazard. The way I can physically hurt it, Screw it around and mess things up Then unfold it over and over like a weak apology. There’s something about writing on paper I think As I type my final full stop. Image © Hand Project by Sarah Fowler

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BE CREATIVE AND STAY INSPIRED BY AGATA KLOSOWSKA AND MANIBA ZARIAT

T

here are two kinds of people in the world – those who devote their days to creating new things, and those who don’t consider themselves as creative. But the fact is, we are all undeniably creative regardless of how prominent that quality is, how much time we spend or how much we consider ourselves to be capable. Whether you are consciously creative or not, here are some tips for finding your spark and staying inspired. MAKE TIME So how can you be creative and stay inspired, if you have little time? Everyone is passionate about something, and where there is passion the most extraordinary things can blossom, if you make the time. TAKE RISKS Extraordinary artists are not afraid to cross the line of conformity and ordinariness, which is essential to produce revolutionary arts forms. Social norms shouldn’t determine how creative you are or limit your artistic state; don’t be afraid to take risks. WHAT MAKES YOU TICK? Creative blocks can be annoying and inconvenient at the best of times, so learning how to overcome your block is a must. Everybody has something that helps them work or stay productive so whether it’s a cup of tea, indulging in another creative form or being around nature, allow yourself these breaks.

Cyanotype by Grace Cappy

SEEK OPINIONS AND PERSPECTIVES Self-doubt is a no. 1 creativity crusher, so stay open to different opinions, perspectives and criticisms. Artists are often more harsh and critical of their own work, so seeking other views can help spark new ideas and positive changes rather than perhaps just scrapping the whole idea.

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BE CREATIVE AND STAY INSPIRED BY AGATA KLOSOWSKA AND MANIBA ZARIAT

T

here are two kinds of people in the world – those who devote their days to creating new things, and those who don’t consider themselves as creative. But the fact is, we are all undeniably creative regardless of how prominent that quality is, how much time we spend or how much we consider ourselves to be capable. Whether you are consciously creative or not, here are some tips for finding your spark and staying inspired. MAKE TIME So how can you be creative and stay inspired, if you have little time? Everyone is passionate about something, and where there is passion the most extraordinary things can blossom, if you make the time. TAKE RISKS Extraordinary artists are not afraid to cross the line of conformity and ordinariness, which is essential to produce revolutionary arts forms. Social norms shouldn’t determine how creative you are or limit your artistic state; don’t be afraid to take risks. WHAT MAKES YOU TICK? Creative blocks can be annoying and inconvenient at the best of times, so learning how to overcome your block is a must. Everybody has something that helps them work or stay productive so whether it’s a cup of tea, indulging in another creative form or being around nature, allow yourself these breaks.

Cyanotype by Grace Cappy

SEEK OPINIONS AND PERSPECTIVES Self-doubt is a no. 1 creativity crusher, so stay open to different opinions, perspectives and criticisms. Artists are often more harsh and critical of their own work, so seeking other views can help spark new ideas and positive changes rather than perhaps just scrapping the whole idea.

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Forge Mag  

Forge is a magazine enriched with thoughtfully written and carefully curated visual content, brought together to take you on a journey of di...

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