Tag Archives: The Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2015

The Nine Realms Update #10: November

17 Nov

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Vikings Ahoy! 

Overview

I am pleased to say that I submitted The Nine Realms Arts Council evaluation form the week before last and all seems to have gone well. This will mean that on the 18th of November they will release the final grant payment to us which will allow us to pay our final invoice. So it’s all good! The whole evaluatory process is a very interesting and informative one. It’s fiddly but it makes you look at what you’ve done in an objective way whilst subjectively exploring your achievements and lessons learned. This year we’ve dramatically increased our audience reach, and created 193 new artistic products which wouldn’t have existed if The Nine Realms had not taken place and our overall audience benefit was approximately 92,000 (online and offline).

The remaining backer rewards for our Indiegogo campaign supporters are going out this week and then everything will be more-or-less tied up with The Nine Realms for this year. It will be on to planning the national tour for 2018/19 next year and a new season of work, plus becoming a charity. I shall post out on that shortly….

 

1. The Festival of Ideas

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The taster we put on at The Cambridge Festival of Ideas on the 24th of October went down very well. 34 people attended, and we set up the realm boards and art work around the room so everyone could get a sense of what the event at King’s Lynn was like. Apologies that there aren’t any more pictures with people in them we all ended up being so engaged with what we were doing there were no spare hands for any camera work.  Vikings Ieuan Edwards, Shirley Golden, Simon Beavis, Jim Mackintosh, Gill Offley, Heather Burns, Karin Heyer and our Norse Expert Caitlin Ellis came along. Caitlin giving overviews of the realms where necessary.

We did mini realm tours around particular realms, the poets and artists talking about their work as we went along and we finished off with a Q & A with the help of the Viking Helmet of questions (each creative could pick out a random question and answer it) which worked out very well.

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Viking hat

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We also set up two computers with our Yggdrassil Minecraft game on them; and, like in King’s Lynn, the children attending became very absorbed. One young man even began to use the planks he found within the realms to build his own Viking boat within the game! Amazing!

2.  The Nine Realms in an Image Story (Photobucket):

In order to give the Arts Council a real sense of the breadth of The Nine Realms I created an image story of the whole event- encompassing as many elements as I could. I think the quality of what we produced and benefit artistically and educationally is apparent.

Click on the link and it will take you to the photo story.

http://s1028.photobucket.com/user/artipeeps/embed/The%20Nine%20Realms%20in%20Photos/story

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3. Artistic Statement and Future Intention

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Significantly, out of The Nine Realms has come a solid clarfication of ArtiPeeps’ intentions in relation to its large-scale projects and its purpose as an organisation.  This now gives us a very clear focus and consolidates how we approach the work we do in the future. Here’s what I outlined in the mini-self evaluation for the Arts Council:

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‘A. ARTISTIC ASPIRATIONS AND INTENT:

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1. ARTISTIC STATEMENT:

This is the statement that appeared on one of our scroll-down banners outlining what ArtiPeeps does:

Driving all our work is a belief in creative potential and in the power of the combined arts to transform perceptions and facilitate enjoyment in the arts. Through our projects we hope to go into schools and communities to:

Engage the imagination and senses.
Promote interaction, participation, collaboration and creativity.
Move people from attendance to ‘active participation’.
Challenge and shake up perceptions of art and culture which create barriers to engagement
Give creatives the opportunity to make a difference in schools and communities through large-scale educational projects.

We also believe that creativity, in all its various guises, plays a significant part in maintaining our well-being. This specific interest is made manifest by our mental health themed initiatives.

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All attendees at The Nine Realms respond well to our new combination of art forms and validated our use of it in our projects. This positive response has confirmed our belief that the particular framework we have created is worth pursuing and developing. We want to use the combined arts imaginatively to change and challenge, breakdown boundaries, to subtly educate, and to nurture creativity. This intent was positively accepted in King’s Lynn and Norwich, and this realisation means we can go forward into future projects with a very clear intent, which we can now express and share through our new artistic statement.

We want to create projects which immediately facilitate interaction and participation, shaking up perceptions of what art is, who it is for, and how people ‘should’ think about it or behave in relation to it. Engaging emotions and minds- in an active and stimulating manner through ‘Experiences’, challenging notions of what an ‘Exhibition’ is.

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B. MOVING AWAY FROM GALLERY SPACES:

This idea of ‘challenging’ and ‘shaking up’ has fuelled our intention to move our projects away from obvious gallery spaces and either into places that are within the community, or unusually placed: unusual spaces where art is not usually found.

We want to take our projects into communities rather than communities coming to us and viewing them. This notion was also inspired by the response of teachers to our work who all wanted us to ‘go into’ schools with tasters of our projects. This ‘going into’ approach will not exclude us using institutions such as libraries and other artistic spaces, like The Forum. Of course, we will not totally exclude the idea of gallery spaces either but our emphasis will be on ‘going into communities’. Our aim will be that the artwork and writing and music and sculpture etc will be presented in an innovative way- not necessarily hung in the expected manner, but in a manner that will promote exploration and first-hand contact with the artistic and writerly products of our projects. This may also extend to performance. The same showcasing possibilities for participants will be there, as will the possibility to buy work. We will still provide high quality showcasing opportunities for participants but the emphasis will be on the fact that the creatives involved in our projects will be ‘making a difference’, contributing to something wider beyond their creativity, which affects young peoples’ education or peoples’ imaginations. This can augment creatives other artistic pursuits as well as giving them a sense of connection, new opportunities and collaboration through the large-scales.

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C. ‘GOING INTO’ SCHOOLS AND PLACES. CLASSWORKS:

Inspired by the ‘going into’ suggestion of the schools it is ArtiPeeps’ plan to form a small team of participants who will go into schools after the larger event and work creatively with pupils. In the near future The Management Committee and director will be exploring the finer details of how this would work and who would like to get involved. Transformations and The Nine Realms creatives will be asked  and this will be (in consultation with schools).
We have also created a brand: ‘Classworks’ , which will have under it our curricular projects, as well as our Schools’ books, Minecraft and Educational Packs. With our full educational, combined arts template in place, what will be in our Educational Packs for each project can now be addressed and explored. With the view in mind that these are ready for a national tour in 2018/2019. Branding our educational work as ‘Classworks’ will also help with our professionalisation.

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Having this very clear directive will allow us to create imaginative, challenging projects in the future and that feels very inspiring and a testament to the talents and creativity of all the people involved in The Nine Realms.

 

Watch out for another post shortly on what will be happening with ArtiPeeps in 2016. As ever, thank you so much for your interest.

Nicky

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The Nine Realms Update #9: September

21 Sep

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Vikings Ahoy! 

Having emerged from a packed week, and with my launch into the evaluatory phase of The Nine Realms on-the-go here I am to give you an idea of how  The Nine Realms five day event went. I hope you caught some of the tweeting about it and the posts by Viking participants etc. I’m thrilled to say that overall we had over 800 people passing through the Experience in King’s Lynn, and probably around 150 kids played on  our Minecraft (See section 5).   ‘Boat’  found it’s true home, and looked very stately as if it were meant to be in the space. People weren’t afraid to touch it either, and the sculpture acted as a real centre piece. You can also see the backer initials have been embossed on it, and a line of poetry hinting at the mead of poetry along the side. Mark has created a fantastically organic piece.

More Vikings came this year. With poet Jim C. Mackintosh coming, Karin Heyer and Becca Smith. Artists James Mackenzie, Lili Morgan Robert Fitzmaurice and Heather Burns coming, along with Elaine Offley, Diana Probst  and Gill Offley. Musician Simon Beavis also came too. It was a real treat!

5 paintings were sold across the 5 days and 3 prints- so all is well there too. We also had good attendance and feedback about both our poetry and art workshops. In order to decrease barriers to participation we made them free, which I think was a good thing.  60 pupils also attended our Schools’ Day and they loved our Yggdrasil Minecraft game. You’ll see some pictures below. We also found some children who were called Freyja and even Loki which was very fitting!

The poetry reading in Norwich was fun and relaxed. 34 people attended and 3 of us were there: Karin, myself and Caitlin (our Norse expert). We had somebody recording everything on a digital recorder. The audio will be winging it’s way to Future Radio on Monday.  Nearly every  poet had a poem read in the time and we even had a little girl reading as well.

1. A Visual Taster of the Experience

Under starry sky and Northern lights. Enjoying the spoken word, trying some poetry, participating, looking, responding, connecting.

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Everyone at the Experience came a way with a:

Viking Worksheet

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and a

Ragnarök Comic! 

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By Elizabeth Fernandez and Koos Kleven 

We took people around the nine realms via poetry readings whereever possible getting poets and artists to talk about there poetry and art. It was a real privilege to hear them and a very personal way to communicate.

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2. Yggdrassil!

As mentioned above, 60 pupils from Whitefriars attended on the Friday, and they absolutely loved the Minecraft game we had specially created for them by Adam Clarke. Not only did it contain all the project material in it: pictures embedded in rugged mountains or on easels, and poetry and music audios in press button boxes; it also had objects that we had subtly hidden within the individual realm boards in the Minecraft as well. Having found them on the boards, the children could then find them in Yggdrassil. The children were so engaged, it was a treat to see! We also gave away the zip file of our game to every child that wanted it. In so doing we could take the learning experience started in The Nine Realms and take it into the home as well.

Here is a video about the game from the game’s creator:

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A visual overview of the impact of Minecraft:

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and some Minecraft feedback from a pupil:

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3. Poetry and Art Workshops

We had two workshops on the morning and afternoon of the 14th. A poetry workshop facilitated by poet Rebecca Audra Smith in the morning and a art workshop facilitated by Viking artist Robert Fitzmaurice. The poetry had a maximum of 8 people as attendees  but 1 person slipped in so 9 people took part and the art had 9 attendees. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and came out of the workshop having learned a new skill and a little bit more about Norse mythology. Here are some pictures. I will be posting a Workshop Special post shortly which will include more pictures and videos. For now here are some photos. They should give you an idea of how engaged people were!

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4. The Nine Realms DVD is now available on Bandcamp and the Books are available too. 

I’ve just made our DVD available through Bandcamp. Here is the link:

https://artipeeps.bandcamp.com/releases

Audios are also available too!

You can also find the 40 poems selected for The Nine Realms in a book format here (£4.75):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/nicky-mortlock/the-nine-realms-poetry-book-2015/paperback/product-22354216.html

and The Schools Book here (£4.50):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/nicky-mortlock/the-nine-realms-schools-book/paperback/product-22354224.html

5.  Some audio Feedback on our project

 

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6. Interactive PDF

Here is the Dropbox link to the Interactive PDF of the whole project too. It includes 2 forewords by Caitlin Ellis (Gonville & Caius) and Anna McNay a freelance art writer:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wmgeb6mm0rnqa7l/The%20Nine%20Realms%20Interactive%20PDF.pdf?dl=0

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 7. King’s Lynn New: Press Coverage

Here’s the latest piece that went out about our Schools’ Day! There will be a more detailed follow-up article coming out in the Lynn News shortly:

http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/local/latest-local-news/king-s-lynn-school-pupils-face-viking-past-1-6961536

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Vikings Day at Hanse House, King's Lynn, pupils from Whitefriars School, LtoR, Stephen Barker (10), Nicky Mortlock (event organiser), Vilma Endriukaityte (10)

Vikings Day at Hanse House, King’s Lynn, pupils from Whitefriars School, LtoR,
Stephen Barker (10), Nicky Mortlock (event organiser), Vilma Endriukaityte (10)

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 8.  The Norwich Poetry Reading

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Viking poet Karin Heyer, myself and our Norse expert trotted off to the Millennium library on the 14th all set for a reading of the poems from the project. We read and performed as many as we could between 5,45 pm and 7 pm, and then the floor was opened up to other poets, some of whom had specially written a Norse themed piece. We recorded the whole session, and the file will be going to Future Radio next week to be edited and turned into a programme.  The whole experience was very casual and we even had a young girl reading a poem by mexican poet Mina Polen. Big thanks to The Poetry Unbound Team for letting us come! It was the first time they had had something so finitely themed.

Apologies, there aren’t any photos- we were either reading or recording. Oh yes, and we also made another school contact at the reading, which is a great thing! 

Overall, the outcome of the 5 days is that the general public and the schools love what we’re doing and want us to go into schools with our work. This is a brilliant position for us to be in and we’re thrilled at the new connections we have made via Whitefriars and our Norwich poetry reading.

I think that’s all for now! I’ll post out the Workshop Special shortly.

As ever, thank you for your interest.

Nicky

The Nine Realms Update #8: August

28 Aug

nine realms8

 

Vikings Ahoy!

There’s lots happening with preparations for The Nine Realms- now that it’s only 2 weeks away! Everything is swirling a long (in a good way).  Lots of elements for ‘The Gallery’ are being checked- like the realm boards, the scroll-downs, picture plaques, Viking Worksheets.  Pictures are being framed and books being created. It’s exciting, stressful, and wonderful all rolled into one- everything finessing into the 5-days ahead (11-15 September). 

Here is what has been afoot! 

1. Posters and Flyers

The posters for The Nine Realms in King’s Lynn have been going up all over the place, and the same is happening in Norwich for the poetry reading. I think that Minuteman in King’s Lynn have done us proud with the designs. Here are the two posters  I think they are an effective blend of Viking and the combined arts!

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2. And lo, the DVD is finished! (Sneaky peek)

I’m thrilled to say that yesterday I received a lovely box full of 200 of our project  DVD. All the poetry, art and music from the project is on it, and it has both audio and video elements as well as artists’ credits. I worked with DMS in Plymouth and in particular someone called Alex who was an absolute star in catering to our need to combine more than one art form and a visual and audio element. This was tricky and they resolved all the issues attached to this with aplomb. 

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3. Northern Lights and Starry Skies: Lighting

The idea behind The Nine Realms is to move people away from ‘merely attending’ to ‘active participation’. We want visitors at our event to engage and feel, and one of the ways we are doing that is to through the use of  lighting; to recreate (as best we can) the Northern lights and a starry sky. For that reason Pearce Hire (who are doing our lighting ) came over to Hanse |House  for a site visit to try a few different lights out.

As a consequence of this trial we will be using the baton lights on the right about 5 batons on the left of the gallery in the alcoves,  and 5 across the other side. Each have a variety of different colours and when they are all on you have the Northern lights! The pictures and sculptures will be well lit by the spotlights in the gallery and other overhead lighting. We were going to have stars on the ceiling but because ‘the Gallery’ ceiling is quite low the stars just became splotchy, so we are having a mass of fairy lights running down the centre beam of the room instead. When people walk into the room I want people to go WOW; be met with the unexpected.

4. Brochures and Press

We’ve had great press coverage within King’s Lynn. We have two more newspaper articles coming up: one to garner interest just before the event via The King’s Lynn News and another in ourlocalpaper. The King’s Lynn News will be with at our launch too. We were also featured in The National Heritage Open Day Brochure- a main entry and inside page mention too. We’re really happy to be part of the celebrations: 1000+ people are expected through Hanse House on the Open Day Sunday. 

Heritage Open Days

Apologies- the photos are a bit blurry.

.We also put an advert in the local Majestic Cinema for our workshops. It was  a great way to reach our target audience. Apologies once again a blurry photo….

Cinema Advert

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5.  Platform, The Future Radio Arts and Culture Show

Future Radio

 

Earlier this month (07/08/2015) Future Radio in Norwich put out a radio piece about ArtiPeeps and The Nine Realms. It went out on their arts and culture show called Platform.  They interviewed me, and some Vikings prepared audios which the producer is hoping to use as well- in a later programme or in another podcast…Watch this space….

The interview on 07/08 will be available shortly in a podcast. I’ll put the link in the next update. Bite-sized pieces have also been put out of the poetry and music, and Abbie (the producer) is contemplating using the full mixdown of the poetry and music for a podcast too. We’re thrilled to get so much support from Future Radio. We’ll be shortly sorting out with them how they will be recording the poetry reading in the Millennium library in Norwich.

As soon as I know when the podcast is out I’ll let you know.

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 6. Meeting Kat: Poetry Unbound Coordinator

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I travelled to Norwich  the week before last to actually meet the Unbound Poetry Coordinator in The Millennium Library. We talked everything through: our equipment needs etc. They have a well established publicity strategy, and we gave them our posters to distribute within the library and outside. There is, apparently,  a base number of around 40 attendees at their series events which is great news. There will probably be about 5/6 of us there including ‘our Norse expert’, Caitlin.  It will be exciting to share the poetry with people who are at ease with orality and are part of the oral tradition themselves. We’re hoping that some of the poets there will be reading Norse inspired poetry too…

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7. The Festival of Ideas Online Directory

Festival of Ideas logo

We are also taking The Nine Realms in a taster format to The Festival of Ideas in Cambridge on Saturday 24th October 2015. A group of us from ArtiPeeps and The Nine Realms will be going along. As well as sharing the poetry, art and music from the project we will be discussing the difficulties involved in engaging with the Norse Sagas… It’s going to be great and a BIG thanks goes to The Cambridge Norse and Anglo Saxon Department for letting us share our project with them.

Here’s the link to our entry in the online directory.

I think that’s all for now!

As ever, thank you for your interest. I’ll aim for another update next week.

Nicky

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