Emerge Corby 2018! By Emily York

by Emerge Festival (2018)

So, apart from a few celebratory sessions and Arts Award moderations, we have come to the end of Emerge Corby 2018! It has been a bit of a bumpy road (yurts not arriving, gazebos getting lost in the post and staff shortages to say the least), but we got there.

The project, undoubtedly came with its challenges. We were in new settings, with new partner organisations and with new young people that we knew nothing about. And these are the people that without, there would have been no festival. The young people from The Core Emerge Ensemble and Maplefields Academy were absolutely fantastic. Come rain, shine... or snow they would be there with their folders ready to get their heads down and make a festival of their own. Their levels of imagination and creativity know no bounds, and they really put us "adults" to shame! The partner organisations in Corby (Made in Corby, The Core at Corby Cube and Maplefields Academy) were a great support system. We knew where each of us were stepping in and where they could best support me. From the offset, I knew getting my head around the logistics was going to be tough and rather than doing it for me, they gave me the tools to help me do it myself, and although it be quite scary (and monotonous) I have now got the art of writing commissions and contracts down to a T. Something I had never done before. Our festival housed a variety showcase of young people's work, arts and craft stalls, island installations, live music, town parades and not to mention an acrobatic fairy and living gargoyle. It was great, and from the feedback, our audiences really enjoyed seeing something "different". On reflection, however, you do sort of question what could have been done better. We should have thought about staffing a lot earlier than we did, we should have stuck to a plan B when the yurt did not arrive and we could have had more visuals on the day. But it's all a learning curve (and you are your own worst critic after all).

At the start of the project, here in Corby, we wrote messages about how we were feeling towards the project and what we want to gain. We enclosed them in an envelope and we put them away in a box to be opened at the end of the project and recently, we opened them. Heaps of excitement escaped the teared enveloped. Everyone was excited for Emerge! But under all of that, came snippets of anxiety, curiousness, worry and apprehensiveness. The young people were not sure what Emerge was going to be, and neither was I. They hoped for a place where their voices could be heard and their artistic ideas and opinions valued, and I think we did that! They valued not being given a script to learn but a pen and paper to write their own script. They didn't want to imitate art, but wanted to mould it into something of their own, and something relevant. For me, that was the most important thing.

To muse on the importance of young voices a little longer, we wrote an Emerge acrostic poem during a quick-write activity with a local Corby poet Liam Ferguson, that I hope it summarises what Emerge has been.

Energetic and enigmatic voices enclosed in an envelope
Mutterings rippling the corners of the tainted pages
Entranced, they dance out of the tears of the crease
Reaching to be heard, to be released
Grasping the chord, the instrument, the pen
Ever to be heard, never to be enclosed again.

So, from all of us folk from Emerge Corby 2018 (living gargoyle and acrobatic fairy included). We hope all of you have ignited something in somebody to continue "emerging".