Meet Project Manager Kelly who is currently studying for her MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy at Derby University. After studying for her BA in Dance and Related Arts from University College Chichester Kelly came to Birmingham. She has previously taught as a freelance dance artist in Birmingham and has extensive office admin experience which has been utilised to the max during this project!
I caught up with Kelly to discuss working on for-Wards.
Where did the idea for for-Wards come from?
The concept behind for-Wards is writing 40 pieces of new music for 40 electoral wards. Whilst living in London where people are proud of their Boroughs, Project Director Bobbie started to think about how this could translate in her home town of Birmingham. The idea has grown from therein.
What made you first want to get involved in the project?
My friendship with Bobbie is how I initially became involved. I had just moved to Birmingham and Bobbie had realised she had bitten off more than she could chew. She was looking for a project manager to help her with the day to day running of the project. Having previously studied as part of a participatory arts training program called ‘Flying Start’ together the fit and the timing worked for both of us.
Who else is involved in the project?
There have been so many wonderful and talented individuals, who we have worked with throughout from composers, musicians, film makers, photographers and of course the local communities. Each person has been integral and has offered their skills and creative input which has been so valuable.
What challenges have you faced?
Initially it was finding ways to engage with the communities, not because groups and clubs don’t exist but that there doesn’t seem to be a central listing of everything going on in Birmingham which creates a bit more of a segregation. Once we connected with arts champions we overcame this more easily as they all had a wealth of knowledge and passion for what they do which made it easier for us to find similar connections.
What discoveries have you made during this pilot?
That creative projects evolve and you need to be flexible with your approach to them. You start out with a vision and a set of objectives you want to achieve but running parallel to that is the project’s own lifeline. I’ve learnt it’s important to blend the two aspects together for the work to evolve organically which has been challenging at times but exciting.
What do you think are the benefits of participating in for-Wards workshops or attending the live performances?
Local people getting to know each other, connecting with people from all walks of life you might not ordinarily connect with. Having your area in common was a great starting point for people to interact and the recording of the sonic sounds was a massive success in terms of engagement. Using local libraries is also another aspect of integrating the arts and the community by using local sounds, local people and public venues.
What can we expect at the remaining performances?
An experience… each piece will have its own identity and will evoke something different to each person and this will be echoed by each unique setting within local library spaces.
What’s next for the project?
You can expect more community engagement and quality original compositions. It’s a whole new phase, so anything is possible moving for-Wards!
The next live performances are:
Thursday 26th March at Aston Library at 4pm. Free tickets available here
Saturday 28th March at Libary of Birmingham at 3pm, and then again at 4pm. Free tickets available here