Where I Am Now, by Ayla Huseyinoglu, June 2020

We have been catching up with some of the people we’ve worked with in the past, hope you enjoy this series as much as we’ve done creating it. 🙂

“I got involved with Luxi’s projects when I was 14, and met Caroline and various other wonderful people. I’d had an interest in theatre from a performance perspective but Jabberwocky Market made me realise how much was involved behind the scenes, and how interesting it can be to be involved in that side of things. Jabberwocky Markets were the first time that I dipped my toe in this behind the scenes work. I remember walking around Darlington town centre with another member of the team who was dressed in a tent, helping to paint the Jabbervan, chairing a panel discussion about theatre and going out and doing face-to-face marketing by chatting to people. When I went to university in Manchester in 2015, I loved looking through Jabberwocky’s social media pages and seeing how well the events were doing. It brought something really great to the arts world in the north east.” 

“In terms of where I am now, I’m at a crossroads. I graduated last year from the University of Manchester in Politics and History, and have been working as the Women’s Officer at the Students’ Union, after being elected to the post when I was in my final year. It’s been a crazy, wonderful five years in Manchester; I’ve really become the person I am today. However, I’m writing this from my home in County Durham. It was sad to leave Manchester under lockdown, without saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made and places I love. I’m looking forward to the next chapter though (hopefully a Master’s in Public Policy). 

I learned about feminism and its importance as a student, which is what inspired me to take the job as Women’s Officer. However it’s only in the past year, since I’ve been in post, that I have realised how important it is for feminism to be intersectional. This week, when I’m writing this, that means supporting Black Lives Matter. I couldn’t in good conscience write a blog post and not mention this. As a white person, I am not going to reiterate what black people have been saying for years but I am going to encourage readers to research, educate themselves and use their agency to take action to stand up to racism by writing to MPs, donating and calling out racism.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog, and for reading!”

For more about Ayla Huseyinoglu, check her LinkedIn 

Community & Collaboration by Leila d’Aronville, April 2020

Leila set up a new community in the form of a facebook page called Tyne and Wear Cultural Freelancers in March 2020, it was received like hot cakes. Here she talks about how and why and what.

“So, this is my first blog – and it was originally written before CV-19 took hold of us all in such a life changing way. I have edited it slightly to be more relevant to the current situation, although most of what it says is relevant today…in fact it is more relevant in some ways! 

 I am starting the first of my blogs off looking at the network and community which we have created together, exploring how and why it is so successful and also exploring my own journey over the last 12 months.

Firstly it might be worth giving a small amount of info about me! I worked for one of the biggest NPOs in the North East for a lot of years, 12 to be exact. That 12 years at Sage Gateshead helped me grow professionally and personally and developed my professional network exponentially. I started in the communications team, but went on to run strategic projects across the region and the country. I left 5 years ago, and have been working freelance ever since – in that time I have had the privilege to work on some truly special projects.

It might also be worth saying that I grew up in a cultural freelancer household with my mother working as a jobbing actor in the North East – a job which she is still doing.

My career has usually been about firsts, as well as being about connecting people and extending and connecting networks.

During my time working for Sing Up – the National Singing Campaign, I was able to test out the idea and usefulness of networks; exploring expectations, purpose, participation and momentum. Moving to the Bridge North East team (not Culture Bridge) meant I was once again in a privileged position to explore and test networks. One of my most positive and successful experiences here was the development of the Sunderland Learning Network, which was set up in partnership with my wonderful colleague Helen Connify.

So, jumping forward to now. A little over 12 years since setting up TWCF. People have recently asked why I think the network works, and I have flippantly talk about it being a happy accident whilst having a glass of wine one Thursday night.

These things are technically true, but the network was formed and based on my extensive experience of testing and developing useful and successful networks.

I recently re-read David Price’s Open; as well as Clay Shirkey’s book on cognitive surplus. David talks about global learning communities and the fact that effective networks are built on 3 main principles; Participation, Passion and Purpose.

If we translate that into TWCF, what do we get?

PARTICPATION

David talks about participation and engagement being essential to a global learning community, and the fact hierarchy gets in the way of collaboration.

In relation to the community of TWCF; the network has always been about the members. Without their/your participation the group would be stagnant. Don’t get me wrong, Caroline and I spend a lot of time and energy making sure people feel supported and able to engage, and the network was set up with collaboration at its heart…but the membership is keeping that going and making sure the online community is all about supporting each other in which ever way they need – being agile and flex to what that is.

PASSION

I don’t think I really need to explain this one! We are all doing what we’re doing because we are passionate…and when we are challenged by the conditions we’re working in and we realise others feel the same, the passion is tenfold.

PURPOSE

The group was set up with purpose! The purpose of relevance. We are collective group with several things in common: the cultural sector; freelance / independent; Tyne and Wear.
The rule is anything posted needs to be relevant. Individuals have been unbelievably good at sticking to that rule! It means the group has clear purpose and has remained relevant.

We have been able to shout with a collective voice – we have been in a position to sit at the table with other loud voices. The experience and network of the members mean our reach is far and high. For once, the grass roots in the North East seems to be gaining and voice.

This is important anyway, but this is especially important right now. We are in the midst of a life changing global experience – and the other side is going to look different. It is up to us to make sure that different is as positive as possible for us!

We are in the process of making the model of TWCF sustainable, building capacity to run it as well as providing opportunities for us to pay other people to work alongside us on pieces of work.

On the other side of CV-19 our sector will still need us, we will still be the makers, the producers, the crafters and the grafters. In the NE freelancers (did) make up over 50% of the creative sector – it is time we use our collective power to ensure a better deal for ourselves! Being a freelancer or an independent organisation is a choice for most of us, which brings with it many positives and some serious negatives, which have been highlighted by the current situation. We should not be in such a precarious position. On the flip side, the funded part of the sector will need us more than ever. We are used to adapting and flexing to the situation; building businesses from the ground and working in a precarious environment – being creative and entrepreneurial! It isn’t about an us and them situation, quite the opposite. It is about creating equity between funded and independent, with an understanding of our value and worth across the sector. I truly believe we need to rebuild this together! “

Visit Tyne and Wear Cultural Freelancers on facebook or the new website https://culturalfreelancers.wordpress.com 

In Conversation: Mobility & Change, April 2019

Mobility and Change, 2019, featuring Caroline Williams, artist and creator of the show Now Is The Time To Say Nothing and Fran Wood, founder of the charity Darlington Assistance for Refugees ,chaired by Caroline Pearce; taking place at Darlington’s Quaker Meeting House.

In Conversation: Room for More, Oct 2018

Featuring Miriam Sherwood and Thom Andrewes from the show Rendezvous in Bratislava, and Jade Byrne, associate artist and creator of Pricks, chaired by Kerami Roberts; taking place at Polam School’s Liddiard Theatre foyer.

In Conversation: Play, Oct 2017

Featuring artists Kirsty Harris and Hazel Anderson, Ed Patrick aka Kid Carpet and chaired by Miranda Thain of Theatre Hullabaloo; taking place in Paines Plough’s Roundabout venue, on location in Darlington’s market square.

In Conversation: Truth & Compassion, Oct 2016

Featuring artists Kirsten Luckins, Joe Sellman-Leava, Rhiannon Armstrong, Conrad Murray and Will Taylor, chaired by Steve Gilroy of Northumbria University and Live Theatre; taking place in Polam School’s Liddiard Theatre.

A Mixed Bunch : on audiences in ArtsProfessional, June 2016

Re-posted from ArtsProfessional magazine, here’s a link to the original page posted on 3 March, 2016  

Realising that its audience members were all in ‘a stage of transition’ was a revolutionary moment for Jabberwocky Market. Caroline Pearce explains why.

As a producer I have worked across the country for big and small arts companies, local authorities and festivals. I’ve always been inspired by things that are new, different and collaborative. In 2012 when David Jubb tweeted a call out for potential partners in far-flung towns to work with Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) on the Collaborative Touring Network project and invent the future of touring, it was completely up my street.

My home town of Darlington was up in arms about the imminent closure of the much loved Darlington Arts Centre. At the time I was working there on a site-responsive, community and professional devised dance theatre piece to celebrate the stories and memories held inside the building, still with the hope that we could affect its fate.

Our audience includes some quite wealthy people and many very deprived people, old and young, male and female, arts sophisticates and new attenders
Over the next few months, we had phone meetings and residencies, held workshops with producers (both established and emerging), and drafted version after version of proposal and plan. On the second time of submitting, we were successful in securing the major funding for the network that now comprises BAC and partners in Hull, Gloucester, Great Yarmouth, Torbay, Thanet and Darlington. And so we started planning the first six of 36 festivals in our respective towns.

Jabberwocky Market
The name we chose for the Darlington project was Jabberwocky Market, which came from a fairly rigorous process and a couple of moments of inspiration. People remember the name and it’s a conversation starter. We talk to more new people about theatre than we would if the name was more obvious and it’s a brand that is building.

I still can’t recite the poem, but it was never about a literal reference – it’s a literary reference. Darlington’s a market town and a market is a place that people come together for transactions of one sort or another. At a Jabberwocky Market they come to exchange stories.

An audience in flux
In summer last year, three years after starting this process, at a development workshop in Battersea, we finally found the words to articulate what we knew about our audiences. Conventional models of engagement just don’t match the people who come to Jabberwocky Market events. Ostensibly, our attenders seem to have little in common and one great thing we do is build bridges between different types of people. At our events people encounter other local people in ways that are unique in our town.

Our audience includes some quite wealthy people and many very deprived people, old and young, male and female, arts sophisticates and new attenders. But they do have things in common. Sometimes these are shared experiences, but very often that commonality is their attitude and response to the different things happening in their lives.

The statistics we were gathering didn’t match the feeling we got at a Jabberwocky Market event, so we began to wonder if we were asking the right question. Then we realised that what they have in common is that their lives are in flux in some way; something significant in their world has changed and brought them to a place where they’re looking for something new: new stories, new friends, new hobbies, new jobs even.

Articulating that the bulk of our audiences are people at a stage of transition immediately helped us understand and communicate the Jabberwocky Market experience. It’s been really helpful in developing our communication strategies and prioritising audience development activity, as well as talking to funders and partners.

Targeting teenagers
We didn’t think teenagers were a core audience group at all and steered our programming away from them as they seemed like someone else’s challenge. And then I heard Martin Wilson from the North East Cyber Crime Unit talk about the police’s work nationally in addressing social isolation in young people. When that is combined with intellect, curiosity, creativity and ambition it can lead to 15 year olds committing internationally significant cyber crimes from their bedrooms, unbeknown to anyone in their real-life social circle.

They are also at a stage of transition beyond what many of us really understand. We identified our teenage audience and started working immediately with the police to develop theatre projects to tackle and prevent social isolation and use tried-and-tested storytelling processes to engage young people with the real-life implications of their online behaviour.

Going forward
This is just the start. We’re already building more projects and partnerships and developing our practice around this activity focus. By focusing both programming and project development around people at a stage of transition we can genuinely engage with the people in Darlington who are most ready and open to new stories and ways to understand the world. The stories that we believe theatre can communicate more effectively than anything else.

As funding cuts mean the infrastructure continues to change faster than ever before, we have a model of theatre events for sharing world-class storytelling with those who need it most.

In Conversation: World Class, Oct 2015

Featuring business leader Haani Hasnain, Bill Vince from Arts Council England, Battersea Arts Centre’s David Jubb and chaired by renowned writer and thinker, Maddy Costa; taking place in Be Premiere hair salon.

In Conversation: on social conflict, Oct 2014

How Social Conflict Affects the Development of Theatre, featuring Nir Paldi from Theatre Ad Infinitum with artist Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh and chaired by Stella Hall, Director of Festival of Thrift; taking place in Voodoo Cafe, Darlington.

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Intern check in, by Ella Tuck, May 2014

Ella Tuck was brought up in Barnard Castle and moved to Darlington recently.  She is keen to be part of the rich future of arts and theatre in the town.

I’ve always had a passion for the arts and creative industry, but felt that in order to volunteer and become directly involved I’d have to relocate to another area or wait until I start university. So discovering the Jabberwocky Market was both a welcomed opportunity and a relief from indefinite concern over future plans.

I signed up for volunteering and was soon contacted by Caroline, the producer, who arranged a meeting where we discussed the type of things I could get involved in. The Dales Festival of Arts in Leyburn was the first project I worked on as event support. This role consisted of helping the team ensure a smooth run of the festival, such as providing the public with schedule information, leaflet distribution, helping stall holders and assisting the artists. Tim Casson from The Dance WE Made was a treat to work with – seeing how an artist develops a piece and manifests it, while enabling them to achieve the end result, was incredibly interesting and exciting.

 

Shortly afterwards, I began my volunteering with Jabberwocky.  Caroline was a wonderful provider of guidance and the knowledge she shared from her work had a striking clarity, which instilled a real sense of understanding and confidence in my role, so that I was never unsure about how to take on any task or challenge. The team as a whole were fantastically supportive in all areas, and I learned many valuable aspects of creative development, event production, PR, the importance of promotion and marketing.


The first show I saw was Dear Mister Kaiser by Matthew&Stan. I loved the humour and the bright imagery of hot air balloons, a wandering letter, and the sentiments surrounding the notion of a ‘stiff upper lip’. It will be going to Edinburgh for this year’s Fringe Festival, so it was brilliant having the opportunity to see the rehearsed reading. My next favourite was Shame by John Berkavitch. As my core interests tend to lean towards spoken word performance I was enthralled by this piece. The performers executed a gripping atmosphere of anticipation, I was humbled and awed to have a quick chat with the artists, and also to be involved with the casket of talent and material which the Jabberwocky Market has brought to Darlington.”

Crowdfunding, by Alison Nicholson of Bowes Museum, April 2014

Alison Nicholson attended the Fundraising training we ran in 2013 with The Management Centre and support from Creative Darlington.  When we heard what a great job she has done since then, we were keen to read what she has to say.  

“The crowdfunding seed was planted when I attended a couple of fundraising training courses last year. As Digital Communications Officer at The Bowes Museum, with involvement in fundraising for the Museum’s exhibition and education programmes, crowdfunding seemed to be the perfect amalgamation of my two roles! Unlike applying to Trusts and Foundations, it would maximise the use of all of our established online communications and give a much more instant result.

I spotted a one day training course in Newcastle in October which was to be delivered by Hen Norton who co-founded ‘wedidthis.org.uk’ a UK crowdfunding platform and the course was also going to be attended by someone from Kickstarter. It seemed like an opportunity not to be missed.

We had to go with a project in mind as the course was very hands-on. I met some inspirational artists and people from arts organisations all with edgy ideas about how they planned to build their online audiences and reach their project targets. We did pitches about our projects and rewards, and gained heaps of feedback and ‘top tips’ from Hen and Stephanie from Kickstarter.

I returned to the Museum totally fired up and eager to have a go at this new type of fundraising. Although there are lots of crowdfunding platforms out there, we chose Kickstarter for our project, to commission a Gavin Turk neon art work to be installed on the front of the 19th century French façade, because we knew that Gavin Turk the artist and his wife Deborah Curtis had already run a successful campaign on Kickstarter for their children’s charity ‘House of Fairytales’ so we hoped there would be some Kickstarter backers who knew and liked Gavin Turk’s work.

I planned to run the campaign for 30 days, as was recommended, to end the day before Christmas Eve, but unfortunately it took much longer than I had imagined to build the campaign online before the launch. It’s crucial to have a short video about your project, and I was lucky to have Greville Worthington, the curator talking to Gavin Turk about what we planned to do and how we needed the help of the public to make it happen. Preparation is key, and Kickstarter allows you to share the campaign with a few friends before you launch to gain feedback on its impact. We were advised to use language like we were telling our best friend something exciting in the pub, avoiding the sort of formal language you would use to write to Trusts and Foundations for funding.

The rewards need to be wide-ranging starting with just £1 or £2. Gavin Turk was very generous and donated lots of excellent rewards to our campaign, to offer along with ‘behind the scenes’ access to the Museum with our curator and afternoon teas in Café Bowes!

I began the 40 day campaign in December and in the first week there was an initial surge of pledges from those I had lined up to start the ball rolling. In the planning stage, it’s important to tell as many people as possible what you are hoping to achieve so that you can hit the ground running from day one! Over Christmas it was nail bitingly quiet as everyone was at home enjoying the festivities. However, during the first week in January the campaign picked up momentum as contacts came back to work with numerous emails in their inboxes from me promoting the exclusive rewards for pledging towards the neon art work and sharing with their networks of like-minded contacts.

Two days before the Kickstarter campaign deadline we hit our target of £6,000. It was a huge relief and an extremely memorable moment. It had been an amazing first attempt at crowdfunding and we had learnt some valuable lessons along the way. We had reached new online audiences, some in the USA through keeping in touch with Stephanie from Kickstarter, and many new supporters from Europe and the UK who had never been in touch with the Museum before. Updates throughout the campaign helped to inform backers and encourage them to share the project with their networks, and relentless mentions on the Museum social media channels throughout Christmas and New Year may have helped to spread the message of how much we wanted to put a huge neon number on the front of the Museum in January through to April.

So the exhibition is coming to an end and the external neon, aptly named ‘We Are One’ having been successfully funded by over a hundred backers from all over the world, will be taken down to be installed with the exhibition at two other UK venues. What better reason to visit The Bowes Museum this Easter? Gavin Turk’s exhibition of neons ‘Seven Billion Two Hundred and One Million Nine Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand and Two Hundred and Thirty-Eightends 5.00pm on Monday 21st April.”

 

Photos on this page by Andy Keate

 

In Conversation: the power of personal stories, March 2014

Featuring artists Will Dickie, Jo Hellier, John Berkavitch with chair Lynda Winstanley, Director of Darlington Civic Theatre; taking place in the Conservatory Bar of the Civic Theatre.

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My first multidisciplinary show, by Debbie Waistell, March 2014

During Christmas 2012 I had the idea for a piece, inspired by listening to a lot of Celtic music and coming across lots of visual inspiration.  I began to research Celtic tales, folk tales and fairy tales and started talking with a writer about creating a story for dance. The developments since then spiralled into talks with a musician, researching space, playing with movement, and developing design ideas. I had a really strong vision and needed the time and resources to work with a variety of people in order to see if this idea could become a reality.

CELTIC CHRISTMAS (WORKING TITLE) R&D

In December 2013 I received funding from Arts Council England, Creative Darlington and Tees Valley Dance to carry out some research and development towards a site responsive piece for families and young people set at Christmas.  The experience was exactly what I needed in order to experiment with my ideas and vision. The opportunity to work with 3 dancers and the complementary elements we needed, such as music and space, are as highly important as the choreography for this piece.

This brought with it very new challenges and experiences for me, working with a live musician and a dramaturg, creating a piece for an unusual outdoor setting, pulling everything together making sure all aspects complement one another. This, as well as focusing on the integrity of the movement and making sure it wasn’t getting lost amongst everything else!

Placing everything in an unusual setting was so exciting, I chose Darlington Cattle market for its amazing character, scope for promenade, and its semi rural quasi-theatre feel. Working in this non-traditional space really helped create the atmosphere I wanted.

Both the music and the dramaturgy brought the choreography to life exactly how I had hoped, really bringing out the story, making me ask myself questions about the piece and make slight alterations that enhanced its readability. The children at the partner school added mischief and imagination. All of these factors helped the shaping of the piece and made it work.

Working with a producer has enabled me to share the workload of managing the project and helping to make space for the creative team to focus on creating the work.  I have particularly found the advice given and continuous support invaluable.

I have been working individually on this piece for a long time, but the amount that we achieved in just two weeks working with a great team was outstanding and it fills me with confidence that the vision worked, that all the additional elements complement each other and that I can create a really enchanting, engaging piece of new dance theatre. Working on this piece has provided me with new experiences, challenges and development as a choreographer, director and manager and with what I have in mind for the next stage, will hopefully continue to do so.

Now I just need to come up with the title!

 

Debbie is a dancer and choreographer who runs her own company The D Project and works with professional and non-professional dancers.  She is based in Darlington.

Booking the show:     A version of the show of around 20 minutes suitable for found spaces is available to book.  Debbie is also seeking interest from people who would like to see the fully developed show of 45-50 minutes in duration.

Team:  Creative Director and Choreographer Debbie Waistell – Dancers Lissie Connor, Lauren Rafferty, Michaela Wate –  Musicians Mike McGrother and Joe – Dramaturg Bernie C Byrnes – Writers Laura Degnan and Carmen Thompson – Photographer Scott Akoz

 

All photos on this page by Scott Akoz.

A new year, some new ideas, January 2014

This time last year I wrote about how much the company had developed and all the things we were hoping to achieve in 2013.  It was an action-packed, phenomenal year and we’re now looking ahead at another 12 months of exciting projects with wonderful artists.

 

New for 2014 is our Associate Artists programme.  We have realised, through working with our fab board and advisors, that supporting artists to develop into new ‘markets’ and ways of working isn’t just a means to an end, but for us, it really is an end in itself.  It’s been the case for ages, but sometimes it takes an expert looking in to point out the obvious.  Therefore, we have decided to articulate this specialism more clearly.  Those artists might be what is often termed ‘new and emerging’ or they might be very established, trying something new and honing a different aspect of their artistic portfolio.  This type of work is really exciting as it can definitely amplify the voices of unheard artists and their communities, and it can help to refine methods of working by bringing in norms from different sectors – cross-pollenating, if you will.  Supporting brilliant people to realise their ambitions is a key driver for the Luxi community.

 

Additionally, we have been working informally with a wonderful business mentor, and 2014 sees a plan to really develop the company, in order to create a water-tight, sustainable business model.  Right now we are small and flexible and that is how we would like to stay so we can be responsive and provide the right support for each artist and project we work on; at the same time, the core business needs strengthening to ensure that we can weather any adverse conditions and to do this, we have found the perfect person to complement our ambitions.  Fingers crossed.  Details will be shared as soon as possible.

 

All the artists we are working closely with are doing fantastic things right now.  Peter Groom has developed the Moon Dreams project in a really exciting way, which will see a series of performances in forests in Northumberland this coming summer.  Surface Area Dance Theatre will be touring their 2013 sell-out hit, Auricular, to galleries and deaf communities across the country and beyond from autumn, and in the short term, right now The D Project are rehearsing the site-responsive development of their show (currently titled) Celtic Christmas, and we’re sharing it with invited audiences tomorrow.  If all goes well, the new and improved show will be presented to families in a theatrical event next winter.

 

Jabberwocky Market will happen again in Darlington in both May and October.  The spring event will sit alongside the Darlington Arts Festival, happening in their 3rd weekend, 15th-18th May, featuring 4 key shows, a wonderful launch event, and a series of workshops and talks.  There is a dog, a show in a park, some audience interaction, stories of dementia and teenagers dealing with feeling ashamed, and a beauty queen!  After the summer is over, Jabberwocky Market will again take place over the first weekend of October, and you won’t believe me if I tell you who we have managed to entice to Darlington for that one!  It’s out of this world.

 

Finally, save the dates 3rd-5th May for the Dales Festival of Art in Leyburn, which we are working on with Richmondshire Council.  The famous Food Festival attracts 10,000 people to the town and we are bringing music and internationally renowned performances to complement artists from around the Dales.

In Conversation: Epic in the Everyday, Oct 2013

Featuring Leandra Ashton and Marta Isabella Rizi from Flying Cloud Theatre, Jessica Latowicki and Christopher Brett Bailey from Made in China Theatre, chaired by Katy Milne, Director of Greenfield Arts; took place in the cafe in Darlington’s famous indoor market.

Jabberwocky Market is here, by Caroline Pearce, Sept 2013

As it has now become the custom, I write a blog when we’re just on the precipice of something unknown. Luxi has really gone from strength to strength over the past few months and in less than a week our first full blown festival will already be over. As ever, there are an incredible number of people to thank, those who are turning up and volunteering or performing or any number of other things – but also those behind the scenes.  We have overcome all sorts of barriers and challenges in order to achieve a wonderful programme of events, thanks to all those people.

 

Last Monday I was lucky enough to be able to have lunch with a table full of some of the most awe inspiring producers about today. Helen Marriage from Artichoke and Louise Blackwell from Fuel, joined Sarah Shead from Spin Arts , Joanne Peters from 53 Degrees North, Anne-Marie Crowther from Panda and myself (who together with John Franklin our trusty admin, form Nexus – Northern Dance Producers). It was a fantastic discussion, on a really sunny September day, that reminded us of the value of tenacity and that the fear of not achieving is an incredible driving force. We are definitely and defiantly moving forwards to make bigger things happen with each other’s support.

 

After lunch, I visited the Creative Darlington board to tell them more about the festival and how their support has helped us develop what we hope will be a fantastic programme.

 

A couple of weeks previously, another Luxi dream became reality. We brought The Management Centre up to Darlington to deliver a bespoke two-day course in fundraising for the arts. The venue was the luxurious Rockliffe Hall, which perfectly complemented the sense of quality and attention to detail in the delivery and content of the course. Jules Bellingham, our trainer, was as fantastic as ever and artists and arts professionals from across the north east came together to share the learning. We have already used a number of things we learned or remembered in order to raise money for projects and to create mutually beneficial relationships with businesses and individuals.

 

Earlier in the summer, a session with a business mentor helped me to define the company’s motto and re-articulate some of our core purposes. Everything mentioned above really helps to demonstrate the realisation of our aims and objectives; and the motto? It’s there on the About Us page now…

Luxi helps light up people’s lives through arts.

 

Now, onwards and upwards, keep an eye out for Jabberwocky Market and if you’re interested, we’re already talking to people about programme and projects for spring and autumn 2014 – get in touch!

Jabberwocky Market is coming, by Stan Hodgson, Aug 2013

Hello, I’m Stan Hodgson. I’m an actor and theatre maker, Darlington born and bred. I’ve been working professionally in the North East for little under a year, and I’ve already been fortunate to meet a wealth of artists, actors, producers and writers working in the region and promoting it.  My theatre company Windermere Productions started in the Darlington Arts Centre, and as a member of NORTH, Northern Stage’s resident young company, I’ve seen how important it is to have theatre in and about the region.

To a lot of people, Darlington is a town you simply travel through. The platform at the station or the turn off on the A1 is quite often all that anyone sees. Battersea Arts Centre recognised and related to that. They think that Londoners view them in the same way that the country views us. That’s why they’ve entered into a partnership with Luxi to produce the Jabberwocky Market: a  theatre festival (3-6 October) taking place across a host of venues in the town.

We’re bringing you some of the most exciting theatre and spoken-word artists working in the country, including Kate Tempest’s epic rap/poetry show “Brand New Ancients”, Paper Cinema’s astonishing interpretation of Homer’s “Odyssey” using live cinema and puppetry and Polarbear’s absorbing exploration of story-telling “Mouth Open, Story Jump Out” for children and families.

But the Jabberwocky Market is set for more than just hosting an exceptional array of talent from London – it’s about sharing and showing what Darlington has to offer. It’s celebrating the town and communities that make it. Our stall in the covered market is going to host a wide variety of “pop-up performances” from regional groups and artists. There’ll be local vendors at the venues, workshops and exciting opportunities for everyone in the town, young and old.

As a lifelong resident of Darlington, it fills me with pride that this is taking place in the town. I think it is going to be a really significant event for the town, and give Darlington a rare chance to shout about its achievements.

We’ll keep you posted on all the developments, and bring you the latest news on tickets, offers and more.

In the meantime, get in touch with us on our facebook group, our twitter page (@JabbMarket) or via the Luxi website, for more information.

Stan Hodgson is an Assistant Producer for Jabberwocky Market.

Opportunity to intern or volunteer with Luxi, June 2013

Luxi produces various events and continues to work with brilliant artists.  We frequently offer the opportunity to emerging producers to intern or volunteer with us.  In return for your help, you will gain insight and experience of producing a range of exciting theatre, dance and cross- artform projects, with the chance to focus on the areas and skills in which you have most interest.

If you are interested, hard working, based in the north east, friendly, enthusiastic, with a good attention to detail,  and at college, university or recently graduated – please email cp@luxicreative.co.uk with a short introduction to yourself, and a CV if you have one.

We thought you might want to know more about what you could get from the experience, here are some thoughts from people who have trained, volunteered and interned with Luxi and company director, Caroline Pearce, in the past:

The HAAM (Higher Apprenticeships in Arts Management) programme was an incredibly valuable opportunity for me. I was well supported by Caroline throughout the programme and was provided with excellent opportunities to experience  arts management across a range of art forms and events. Caroline nurtured creativity and individual interests alongside developing essential skills in administration, project management, budgeting and marketing. The internship directly led to me getting my first permanent job in the arts, which has led to a successful and fulfilling career as a Creative Industries Manager.”  – Roxy Bramley, Creative Industries Manager at Northern Film and Media – trained with Caroline in 2005-6

I worked with Caroline for just under a year as an intern, assisting on the Cultural Ambassadors’ Network at Newcastle City Council. The Network seeks to build stronger relationships between artists and schools in the North East. Caroline was a brilliant mentor, and the experience that I gained whilst working with her was undoubtedly crucial in securing my first paid job in the arts. My work was always clearly structured, and Caroline offered plenty of advice and insights into the Arts Education landscape in the North East. During my placement I got really involved in organising some key events, which provided invaluable networking opportunities (and were good fun as well!) During and beyond my internship, Caroline has been incredibly supportive of my development, and we still keep in touch 3 years on. If you have the opportunity to work with Caroline, I would really recommend a placement with her as a great way to gain some invaluable experience in a professional arts environment.”  – Liz Bacon, Operations Officer, Creative Learning at Barbican Centre – interned with Caroline 2009-10

Caroline is by far one of the best creative mentors I have ever had. She is very honest and dedicated. She was always keen to understand what I wanted to achieve and help build my skills and knowledge to enable me to achieve this. Back then I was just starting my career within the creative industries and I needed guidance to figure out my direction and Caroline was amazing in assisting me to gain lots of experiences in lots of different areas. I feel very privileged to have had such an amazing mentor. There is hardly a day that goes by now where I don’t use a skill that I learnt from Caroline. I would highly recommend her. ” – Nichola McIntosh, Creative Director, hART Factory – trained with Caroline 2008-9

As a mentor Caroline Pearce is supportive, attentive and responsive. As an expert in her field Caroline was able to advise, guide and most importantly challenge my thinking effectively, helping me define and move my work into the direction I wanted it to go.  8 years on, Caroline still remains a great support and often the first port of call for advice and opinions all things career and arts related. ” – Laura Hunter, Arts Project Manager, Freelance – trained with Caroline 2005-6

After completing my undergraduate degree at Northumbria University, I secured a place as a trainee on the Performing Arts Management Internship (PAMI); an opportunity to design and deliver creative arts projects in and around the Tees Valley. Caroline led the PAMI and was my mentor through the 12 month internship. She provided great support and encouragement throughout, with a wealth of experience.  Caroline was essential in guiding me through my first working experience after University. The skills and training I gained then, provided the foundations for developing my career around young people, community driven advocacy work and a passion for inspiring, educating and building confidence in young people.  I joined the BBC in 2007 as an event organiser for BBC Blast, in 2009  I started at Radio 1 as a producer – my dream job. My journey in getting here, most certainly started when I met Caroline. She has continued to be a positive influence and a great source of contacts when I have needed! ” – Clara Raven, Radio Producer, BBC Radio 1 – trained with Caroline 2005-6

I worked at Luxi, alongside Caroline, for only a few days (unfortunately) at Easter 2013.  I was amazed at how much Caroline taught me within that short space of time. I gained an overview of what it is to produce and be a producer within the art; a very important, skillful and fruitful job. With the opportunity of internships now available with Luxi I think anyone with even a slight piece of interest should apply, it’s a fanstastic opportunity with lots to gain. ” – Jasmine Devlin, Student in Fine Art, York St. John University – work experience with Luxi 2013

Student Placement, by Jasmine Devlin, May 2013

As a student studying, working and living within the art world, Creative Industries are a very important place to be involved. As part of my second year course at York St John University, we are required to find placement somewhere within the ‘Creative Industries’, particularly a place where we feel our career aspirations may lead.

My practice is very much Fine Art based, concentrating on installation work which provokes thoughts and experiences within the viewer. I straight away saw a connection between working with different artists and creative groups to support their projects and my own ideas and work. This placement and connection with Caroline and Luxi will, I think, be a very beneficial long lasting and important one.

I was introduced to Caroline Pearce through a mutual friend, Artist Francesca Hudson, and was met with great enthusiasm and exciting ideas for placement opportunities.

Being a manager and producer working across many art forms and projects, with a specialism in business and marketing, is an area which is completely new to me, but something I think will be very important for me to farmilliarise myself with for the future.

One of the main benefits of this placement was absolutely seeing the many different types of art practice which Luxi works with, and the huge amount of possibilities and opportunities art and culture can have within the community and within the world beyond education.

The types of tasks involved included, press, marketing, social and traditional media, market research, sourcing new customers, sourcing competitions and potential galleries, attending arts and understanding the pros, cons and general realities of making a living in the arts.

There was a lot of discussion on creative theories, different artists and the audience of art. It was so refreshing and motivating speaking to someone outside the Fine Art boundaries and seeing the different ideas and interests of someone so in-the-know within the Creative Industries platform. Caroline took me under her wing and along to meet the Head of Arts for Newcastle, which was a privilege and a very interesting experience listening to the converstaion between them discussing past projects and possible future ones. We then collaborated on some decision making and chose some of the art work for Nicole Vivien Watson’s performance scheduled for the project ‘Auricular’ scheduled  at BALTIC 39 at the end of June

Research and Marketing was a large part of the week, and I learnt how to research adverts for projects and performances, and research press opportunities, as well as learning how to write limited blurbs for documents such as leaflets, posters and press releases. These processes gave me an interesting insight into something which I would love to learn.

We took a trip to the Theatre Royal where I was able to see how Caroline has helped develop a dance project for the Salamander event, which will happen as part of Festival of the North East in June. It was then very apparent that people approach Luxi and Caroline to help support their ideas and help manage their time, contacts, budget and ideas, which is a very important role to play and needs to be done in each any creative project.

One day we were cutting out paper shapes, the next day we met with heads of cultural organisations and had lunch out, another day it was all writing reports at the computer.  I am really looking forward to seeing Gillie Kleiman’s show A Lyrical Dance Concert and learning more about performance at GIFT Festival.

From working with Caroline and having done other different placements previously it is very clear to me the different routes working in the Creative Industries can take. I will absolutely be attending any of the projects Luxi take on when I can, and I intend to broaden my Creative Industries knowledge and experiences. I am ecstatically happy with how my placement has gone and have a lot of inspiration to take with me wherever my career may lead. To any student or person with an interest in art, I would highly recommend contacting places you are interested in to see how they work and what you can learn. I think that Caroline’s job and Luxi as a whole is a very beneficial company, and there is a huge opportunity for it to become something very popular and really special. Thank you Caroline and thank you Luxi.

Happy New Year from Luxi, January 2013

2012 was a great adventure; we established the company, worked with some extraordinary artists and travelled the world.  2013 feels like its going to be even better.  We are working with partners nationally and internationally to develop genuinely ground-breaking artistic projects.  It might not be big ground, but it’s ground nonetheless.  We shall be helping to tell the stories of communities, bringing the world to the north east and some home grown talent to the world.  New opportunities are emerging, the cultural world is very different and continues to evolve and much as we oppose cuts to vital infrastructure, we are ploughing forward to find new ways to thrive.

If you, like us, are interested in pushing the boundaries of collaboration, keep an eye out for Happy Accidents, our project working with makers of different artforms to explore collaborative processes and especially how different people consider their audiences.

If you want to see a play in an amazing warehouse, you should book tickets for Alice in Bed which we are producing with Tender Buttons.  Tess Denman-Cleaver is a brilliant, young director who has been working with artists and community groups for two years to prepare for the production.  Rehearsals start later this month and performances are from Wednesday 27th February to Sunday 3rd march.  Tickets are really scarce so if you are interested, I suggest you book now.

Later this year we are planning a host of projects in Darlington, not least The Jabberwocky Market.  2013 marks the 150th birthday of the town’s Indoor Market so it’s overdue a bit of theatre, not that daily happenings there aren’t performance enough.

Dancers are still really close to our hearts and we are finding ways to support professional development opportunities for the excellent artists we work with, making links with some of the best international training and performance spaces and helping shows made here to travel.

That’s all for now, but before I go, I’d like to publicly thank some of the people who have been extremely supportive during our first year…  Peter Flynn and Katherine Banner our amazing board, Stephen Wiper, Lynda Winstanley and Lyndsey Middleton, everyone involved in If These Walls Could Dance, Amanda Drago and Arts Council England, Jeanne Hale for her unerring support, Natalie Querol and Caroline Routh, Hannah Clarke-Stamp, Sarah Hearn and all the dancers from Dance Nest, Heather Knight and Teresa Threadgall, James Froment and Alison Rigby for variously picking up the technicalities and some wonderful artists, in no particular order, Emma Beach, Lynn Campbell, Peter Groom, Gillie Kleiman, Michael Spenceley, Nicole Vivien Watson.  As ever in these things this list could go on and hopefully it will, this year. 🙂