Youth In Action; Reeltimes

January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lots of huge things happening this week! As well as preparing frantically for my workshop at the People’s History Museum on Saturday, I have been working collaboratively on ‘Reeltimes’; a video that myself and the rest of the Future Fires are going to be making together as part of our Youth in Action application.

At first I have to admit, we were looking at themes like ‘youth empowerment’, ‘community’, ‘diversity’ and ‘leadership’ and I couldn’t help feel a little unenthusiastic. I mean, I work in the arts – these themes are something that are explored on a daily basis and although all very important, they arn’t something that are going to make me feel motivated to make a film about. After much chatting and millions of flip-chart ideas later, the group as a collective finally reached a decision about which we all felt extremely passionate: The massive challenges experienced by people between the ages of 19 – 25 years old, who need support and guidance more than anything right now.

Given the economic climate, the time of cuts and austerity, a transitional period in our lives which is already difficult enough, has been hugely exacerbated. As most of us fit into that category, we found that just by talking about the theme, there was a new found energy in the room. I for one was very emotional and had to really hold-back on a lot of the negativity that I inevitably felt towards society and the government. The group decided that despite this huge sense of anger, we had all done something about it. Not many of us are working full time and we have devoted nearly a year of hard-work and devotion to our projects just to ensure that we are helping to make a difference, build our own skill levels and work towards what we hope, will be a positive future. The idea of the film is not to preach at people and tell them everything will be okay, but instead, tell them that despite our ‘success’ – if that’s what you want to call it – we all felt or still feel all of those emotions. We want to try and instil a sense of motivation in people and give them a reason to wake up in the morning no matter what the weather (metaphorically speaking, of course). Here’s some documentation of our conversation on Saturday:

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We are currently looking for AV editing/DVD production companies and freelance artists so stay tuned for more information in the upcoming weeks…


It’s 2012! Less than 3 months until the end…

January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Wow! I can’t believe that the project is due for completion at the end of March. Lots of  exciting progress has been made with this project! The other Future Fires and I ended 2011 with a showcase performance where we presented a range of stakeholders, Contact staff and representatives from various arts organisations a summary of the project thus far and what we have learnt. The main focus of my presentation was around how my perceptions of asylum seekers had drastically changed during the course of the project, and how, when one asylum seekers introduced herself as a doctor and began telling me about her experiences at university in Moscow, I had to admit my surprise. The presentation was followed by a ‘market place’ type event where the attendees asked questions and provided suggestions for exciting leads and follow-on career paths.

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So what is on the agenda this month? Well, as well as continuing to conduct interviews, burning DVDs and transcribing the audio, I am preparing for an exciting workshop on the 28th of January at the People’s History Museum. The participants will be invited to take part in a create workshop that explores the nature of storytelling, engage in some lunch-time networking – an opportunity to share experiences, and then view a ‘Living History’performance. For more information on their exciting projects and performances, visit their website on

As well as this, I am working towards exploring different formats for the showcase of the stories at Withington Library which will be taking place in late February, early March. Seems like plenty of time, but time will fly by I am sure!

Special thanks to Joel Chester Fildes for once again, taking some great pictures (see above). The workshops will be photographed by a professional photographer so keep a look out for those at the end of the month! I’ll also be meeting with Rajni and Alison (my mentors for this project) which will no doubt fill me with enthusiam and energy to get through some tough, but exiting months!

Listen here for my BBC Radio Manchester Interview with Heather Stott!

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Radio interview date: Wednesday 2nd November 2011

Cultural Warriors Blog November 2011

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

I thought I would expand on my entry in the video and talk a bit more about my biggest achievements, challenges and things I am most looking forward to!

Biggest achievements achieved in the last 4 weeks:

  • BBC Radio Manchester interview
  • Articles on several websites (including, newspapers (including the Chorlton Reporter) and magazines (including the Big Issue North)
  • 5 public interviews set-up with assistants supporting the filming
  • Met with asylum seekers and refugees from Boaz Trust, between 5 and 9 of whom are interested in the the project

Biggest challenges encountered in the last 4 weeks:

  • Having enough time to keep on top of things!
  • Communicating with sponsors and funders – it can be tough when things change and working around different peoples priorities
  • Securing a venue at the Peoples History Museum. It feels ideal but I have had 1 meeting, presented a written pitch and applied through somewhereto_ but no luck to far and time is running out!
  • Noise bleed at Contact during the interviews is reducing the quality!
  • Re-working targets. I originally wanted to interview 40 participants, but due to the time it takes to transcribe, I am only about to fit in a maximum of 20! Although disappointed, I would rather do in-depth and thorough interviews that loads of brief and short ones!
  • I am experiencing technical problems and am yet to send participants who were interviewed weeks ago their DVDs which is really making me unhappy!

What am I most looking forward to in November:

  • By the end of November, I should be very close to my amended target of 10 in-depth interviews, and between 5 and 10 additional interviews!
  • I am seeing some really exciting performances in Manchester which will no doubt inspire me!
  • Seeing the project come to life!
  • And, slightly off topic, going on a weekend break to one of my favourite European destinations, Bruges!
It has been an incredibly busy month and I have done all sorts of additional research, including going to Storytelling events in Manchester, reading about Digital Storytelling as a medium for presenting my project, meeting with my mentors and engaging in a lot of PR! It has been a huge learning curve, and I wish I had more hours in the day to dedicate to this project as I really can see such huge scope for potential in the future! It may be that this really is just a mini version of a much larger project to come in the future!

Letter writing with Rajni Shah Projects and updates

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Press Release: What’s your (re)integration story?

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Were you once here, did you then leave, before returning to live in Manchester? If yes, then an intriguing new community arts project, aimed at collecting and exploring stories of reintegration from every part of Manchester’s diverse community, would like to share in your experiences.

(re)integration project organiser, Tania Mahmoud, is hoping that with your stories she can research and explore the impact and issue of reintegration, and the subsequent effect this can have on what ‘community’ comes to mean to people; Do they still belong? Can they easily reintegrate? Is there a piece of community that they can never get back?

Supported by the Future Fires programme at Manchester’s multi-disciplinary arts venue, Contact, and driven by her own history of Mancunian upheaval and reintegration, Tania wants to create a patchwork of heritage art through an eye-opening interactive workshop, in which participants volunteer as much or as little as they like, of how they came to leave and return to Manchester.

Each reintegrated contributor’s experiences will be explored, resulting in a fragmented and broken meta- narrative that tells the stories of several generations

returning to a place they once called home. The culmination of the project will consist of a video exhibition totalling every input and determining the answer to the collective question; can people ever truly feel reintegrated into their community?

Tania is seeking reintegrated participants from across Manchester, all willing to share their story. No memory of reintegration is considered too small for this unique opportunity to help understand more about what forms our cultural identity.

If you would like to contribute your experiences to the (re)integration project or have a query, please contact Tania at or on 07783 880940.

Follow Tania’s project blog at


A little experiment…

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I filmed some of the other Future Fires a while ago now asking them various questions regarding their nationalities and about British culture and heritage. I have edited together a few of their responses…. enjoy!

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