I received the Creative Producer Award in 2016. The outcome could not have been anticipated as the changes were at lifestyle level and not just artistic, a necessary intertwining!
I have been working as a creative producer for many years and it would be fair to say the reputation I developed in the UK arts communities was as a ‘creative’ thinker. It took me a long time to appreciate this aspect of myself as I believe all individuals to be creative’s. Around the time I received the award I knew it was becoming unsustainable for me to remain in a full time employed role within an arts organisation and I was at the height of creative frustration. I felt desperate to give myself some freedom to work on more aspirational future projects and to take stock, protect myself from burnout and move into the next stage of my creative life.
With the Arts Foundation Award behind me I made the step I otherwise would not have been able to do and entered entirely into independent working.
One year on my method of working has dramatically changed. I regularly meet with artists of all forms to talk on ideas and sound out ideas on each other and I have carved out space, time and wellbeing to do my best work.
I work as an Associate Producer for the Attenborough Centre of Creative Arts in Brighton. This equates to a 2 day per week role that I could not be happier with. The artistic focus is strong and I am getting to develop a high calibre music programme from scratch. As part of this I have brought 3 artists into residency (Anna Meredith, Felix Thorn, Poppy Ackroyd) for new work to be created in the space with me leading on involvement as a producer. I have been able to establish a way of working in this role at ACCA which is research-based and delves deeper into thematic and ideas. I am currently working on a group of interesting projects including the Brighton Digital Festival – a week-long programme of installations and multimedia music led work that represents this type of work for the Brighton Digital Festival, Cinecity Film Festival on music and film soundtracks and HOUSE visual art festival and Brighton Photo Biannual – working with Photoworks in curating live elements that coincide with their festivals.
In Autumn 2016 I came on board as Producer for the live realisation of a video game called Dear Esther. Dear Esther was a breakthrough game in storytelling. I learnt a huge amount in the potential for immersion by utilising gaming technology i.e. a feeling that you are inside the visual. We realised the live score with a string quartet, pianist, live electronics, gamer, soprano, narrator and conductor. We trialled the project with the support of Barbican in Winter 2016 to a sold-out audience at Milton Court Concert Hall. This year we are to embark on a 12 date UK tour that takes gaming into concert halls and have 2 international dates planned for 2018 – Holland Festival and Musikfest , Bremen.
My personal journey of this last year has enabled me to refuel, re think and re imagine. I envisage one result of this is the placing more live events directly in nature. I am currently researching a project this has a working title of ‘67 Books’. It’s a long-term project with 67 contributors. I am initially looking into Phase 1, which will have10 contributors. Each phase can be a self-contained work and is a multimedia and will incorporates live performance. The live elements will be realised organically and embedded in natural environments rather than formal venues. I have secured the initial few contributors who are high profile international artists. The Director of ACCA is supporting me with an application through Sussex University for an Arts and Humanities Research Grant. I am excited for this project which has global aspirations and having taken the time out from a full-time head of music role for a busy arts organization has afforded me the space to dream up this new project.
The Arts Foundation Award has genuinely been transformative in my life and enabling a necessary stepping back in order to step forward with new projects. The impact is huge and I remain immensely thankful for what it has afforded me.