There is a lot of things happening in Corby. Young people are engaging in a wide range of exciting artistic provisions, with young people commuting from Kettering, Wellingborough and Oakham to name a few. Because of this, there have been an abundance of recruitment opportunities for Emerge, from facilitating bespoke taster workshops for college groups, holding stalls at volunteer evenings as well as frequent workshops in community centres in the heart of Corby. The Core at Corby Cube combined with Made in Corby (Creative People and Places) have such a rich outreach into young people in the arts, which has helped with recruitment massively. However, there still seems to be a subconscious barrier separating the arts from some of the communities in Corby which has made engaging with specific communities difficult. From this, I have made this an aim of my recruitment, to ensure that those communities have the opportunity to explore the art provisions available and make sure that the voices of their community are woven, directly or indirectly, into Emerge Festival 2018.
We are lucky to have returning Emerge participants from last years' festival, who have joined with an eager vision for the festival's legacy, and keen enthusiasm to get involved in event management and logistics. Giving young people the ownership of an event and their journey from the start has really made the first few months of the project organic with genuine enthusiasm and interest. The most important thing about Emerge returning to Corby is to utilise this platform to develop and strengthen these young voices to contribute towards the legacy of youth led projects. It is this level of creative input from the young people that will really push this and demonstrate a growing need for such provisions.
To contribute towards this vision, I have been working with a community group at The Core at Corby Cube, a group at Maplefields Academy, a Young Voices Panel group (looking at the logistics and the planning side of the festival) and Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre. Although a lot of work (including a lot of liaising from group to group), it has meant that we have been able to look at a variety of art forms, again devised naturally by the young people. Workshops have varied from creating immersive spaces inspired by some of Shakespeare's iconic shipwrecks to pairing up anything Shakespeare to any art form (which has resulted in me mustering up plans to explore Shakespeare's beard through origami!). I approached the workshops with the mind-set that I was going to have to demystify Shakespeare for the young people of Corby, essentially to make Shakespeare relatable to the snapchatting teenagers of today, which I was fully prepared for the sighs and glum faces. However, most of the young people I'm engaging with find Shakespeare fascinating, and can reel off the most obscure quotes from the most obscure plays and sonnets, which for my literary brain, is so pleasing. This has made delving into the nooks and crannies of Shakespeare's verbal artistry quite an easy one in the community setting.
But this is what Emerge has made me return to- my love of words, writing and literature. As an artist, you are sometimes side-tracked by the pressure to conform to the traditional definition of an artist creating something visual. Seeing the young people, who are so inspired by words and putting those together to create something that is theirs, has reignited my desire to write and create something that can be read, spoken, written and drawn. Working alongside other like-minded artists and meeting frequently in training sessions facilitated by The Mighty Creatives has been a really inspiring process, especially through sharing best practice, workshop ideas and really just having a group of people you can share positive and constructive feedback with- all contributing to your artistic practice.
So, what's next? We are just approaching finalising a fantastic adaptation of The Tempest with Maplefields Academy, who have turned the ship into a school bus. The young people in the community sessions are just about to start planning their arts skill share for their Arts Award, varying from origami to ballroom dancing which I'm looking forward to. Over the next couple of weeks, we will also be working on our bid for the festival fund. The young people have some fantastic ideas so I can't wait to begin to put it altogether.