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Posts Tagged ‘free’

Farewell Welfare: What can be done?

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Ming Tse interprets Cathy McCormack's message

Friday the 13th and no spooks or serial killers, but a horror of a different kind and you are the heroes.

In face of a community eroded, a division between them and us, systematic stigmitisation and destabilisation of ties that bind, is an apolitcal united front possible?

This Friday the 13th we invite anyone who seeks an alternative to join us to face these demons to dig deep into the dusty forgotten toolkit to recover the power of our hands and feet to see what we can begin to do together.

5-7pm

Conversation with Cathy McCormack: What can be done? Free Film Screening

Activist Campaigner Cathy McCormack was forced to try and keep her three children alive on welfare away back in 1982 when Britain was changed from an industrial to a money market economy; she managed to inspire both rich and poor who supported her to go on a journey all over the world in search of the truth. Now Cathy has come home, and would love to share and engage in real conversations with people who are really interested in asking the same questions and exploring possible solutions. She shares her powerful film “At the Sharp End of the Knife” (52mins) about her visit to the townships of South Africa to meet fellow activists building the ‘New’ South Africa. She may be dodging the bullets, but finds energy and inspiration in the people she meets as she makes intriguing parallels with their lives, and her own back in Glasgow’s infamous Easterhouse housing project.

2-4pm

The screening is preceeded by a unique writer group that meets at 2pm, they share their co-operative practice that has developed over the past 18 months through self governance. Though they originally began in Hillhead Library, the negotiation of use in Public spaces may mean the group will have to migrate soon. Come discover your voice, be inspired perhaps to start your own group to share experiences. Cathy, author of Wee Yellow butterfly, shares her activist writing experience with the group as well.

Entry is Free, All Welcome. The venue can get drafty so please wrap warm and hope to see you there.

Special thanks to http://www.sowestand.com for their support in Glasgow

this collection friendly slam: the fallout

In Performance, poetry on April 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

Cat Dean
Slam virgin Cat Dean wows the slam crowd at the Banshee Labyrinth.

I’ll admit – I was worried about how this event might go down. My aims for the slam were manifold. Firstly, I wanted to drag a few more “page” poets (i.e., poets who are normally more at home publishing in journals and books, and reading at traditional stand up readings) kicking and screaming into the performance scene – mainly to show them that hey, it’s really not that different or scary and look, there’s good poetry to be found here. Secondly, I wanted to get the message across to the performance crowd (although they do tend to be more receptive to stuff outside their own field of literary experience) that page poets can be fun, and that they can – sometimes, at least – perform. Mostly, I wanted to try and narrow the divide that – in spite of the best efforts of fabulous folk like Jenny Lindsay, who has been organising very open and approachable performance events for years – still stubbornly exists between page and stage in the Scottish poetry community.

As I say, this was by no means the first friendly slam that’s ever taken place. Indeed, I’m proud of the fact that Scotland seems to be at the forefront of new and innovative thinking when it comes to slamming and other performance poetry events. Over the past few years there have been one or two “sotto voce” or “quiet” slams about the place – the now-sadly-defunct VoxBox held a “quiet” slam specifically for page poets, and the Scottish Poetry Library also did a sotto slam in 2009, which yours truly here somehow managed to win. Working in this tradition, I wanted to further mess around with the traditional slam format, and by doing so, I hoped to chip away at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the phenomenon.

The main difference was in the scoring of the poems. I’m defiantly against the “traditional” slam scoring method, which involves the audience getting involved in rating each poet. In the US, where slams are always well-attended and often patronised by folk who are not either a) poets or b) friends of poets, I can see how this system could work… but in Scotland, where almost everyone in the crowd is a friend/enemy/editor/publisher/workshop buddy/love interest of at least one of the performers, it makes for skewed results. The poet with the most mates wins, to put it simply. The other traditional slam scoring option is the use of a judging panel. But this was a this collection event, and this collection is very much anti-hierarchy, anti-quality-control, anti-curation. To gather a panel of “esteemed judges” for the poets to impress was really not our style.

Instead, we decided to let the poets score each other. Each poet received a personalised score-card, which bore the names of all the poets performing, except for their own – so they could not award points for their own performance. Scores were out of 30 (10 for content, 10 for delivery, and 10 for that individual’s particular “overall opinion”), and recorded at the end of every poet’s performance. At the end of each round, all the scorecards were collected up and the scores anonymously tallied. Poets with high scores progressed through the ranks; poets with lower scores fell by the wayside – but everything was on a democratic, peer-review basis, and thanks to the wide variety of poets performing, we were confident that there would be little-to-no bias.

The scoring system did throw up some issues. Most obviously, it was a logistical nightmare. It wasn’t until I received the first batch of scores at the end of the first round that I realised: I was going to have to add up sixteen sets of scores out of 30 for sixteen poets within fifteen minutes. In round one alone, poets were competing for up to 580 points… that’s a hell of a lot of adding up. Fortunately, I had the help of two glamorous calculator-wielding assistants (my poor, long-suffering flatmates), and we managed, but if I were organising another event of this type, a more simplistic scoring method would have to be devised!

Secondly, several of the poets told me afterwards that they’d found the quick-fire nature of the scoring rather tricky. With only about 30 seconds or so between poets, they had to make snap decisions about the numbers they entered for each. Some said they appreciated this – it prevented them from getting bogged down in thinking and re-thinking their decision, and it meant that their responses were instinctive. Others said they found the whole thing rather stressful, and would have liked a bit more time to reflect on what they’d heard in order to give a score that they felt was reasoned and fair. Next time, I just need to spraff a bit more between performers, I think!

Finally, a couple of people said afterwards that they felt the poets-only scoring left the audience a feeling a little bit surplus-to-requirements. I was really pleased with the enthusiasm the audience were willing to give for each performance in spite of it being quite a long night, but I did note that things cooled off a little in the middle. I’m now thinking that perhaps a compromise of some scoring being done via audience reaction and some done by just the poets may be an interesting avenue to explore.

Otherwise, I was really pleased with the outcome of the scoring experiment, and really interested to see how poets reacted to other performances. Some folk were clearly being very harsh across the board, with some poets scoring certain performances with a big fat zero and never venturing into figures much higher than 6. Others seemed more than happy to dish out perfect 10s across the board to poets they really liked, and – my favourite part of the adding-up process – many of the scorecards came back with doodles, marginalia or explanatory notes decorating their margins. Overall, scoring was extremely close. Numerous folk have noted in their feedback about the evening that poets like Andrew Philip and Dave Coates deserved to move up to the second round, and I agree on both counts. However, it was literally the odd mark here and there that separated 10th place from 11th and 11th from 12th, etc. It was almost too close to call in some cases, and at one point my glamorous assistants and I actually did a re-count to ensure that the right person was getting the correct score. Poets who came lower than they would have liked – or perhaps lower than some of those in attendance felt they deserved – will hopefully be ever-so-slightly placated by the fact that it really was very close indeed.

The main discussion taking place in the aftermath of the slam – and may I take this opportunity to say how happy I am that so much healthy discussion has been generated by the event – concerns the old chestnut of performance vs page. Who had more of an advantage on the night? Who in attendance counts as ‘page’, and who counts as ‘stage’? Did one camp score the other unfairly – was there a bias for or against either side? And so on and so forth. Personally, while I am watching these discussions with interest, and chipping in every so often (of course), I’m kind of sad to hear these questions being raised. As I said above, my aim for the evening was to temporarily erase – or at least blur – the dividing line that exists between page and performance poets; to see the two sides of the poetry world come together and yes, compete… but also to listen to and acknowledge each other. And it felt like this happened on the night itself. In many cases it was difficult to ascertain who belonged to which camp – over at Tonguefire, commenters are scrabbling to define poets like Alec Beattie (whose set was decidedly performance-esque, but read from a book and something of a departure from his usual work), Colin McGuire (a poet who performs with great gusto but who normally shies away from performance-heavy gigs and whose stuff works brilliantly on the page too) and Emily Dodd (a poetry slam virgin… but one who embraces audience participation). I think it’s only later that the feeling of never-the-twain-shall-meet has begun to slink back in, which perhaps is inevitable. For me, the night itself did exactly what I wanted it to: it picked up the traditional make-your-own-slam kit and gave it a bit of a shake, and it got page-folk and stage-folk up to the same mic, and forced them to rate (or, indeed, slate) one another… all of which involved everyone listening carefully to everyone else. The array of talent on show was refreshingly varied and – if you ask me – of excellent quality, and everyone seemed to have a damn good night. It might take a few more of these things before folk really start thinking differently about how poetry is performed and received in Scotland, but for now, I’m really quite pleased.

Responses to the this collection slam:

“A great learning experience for us novices and some wonderful poems and performers.” – Alec Beattie

“It was a great success, with consistent quality and entertainment, from a controlled crowd of temporary human beings and poets…I think there may be more this collection SLAM nights to come. I hope so. Let there be mic!” – McGuire (more here

“I loved that Claire did something new with slams, and particularly that the ‘friendly’ tag encouraged folks to take part who usually wouldn’t touch slam with a barge pole. A couple o the scores raised my eyebrows – but that’s always the case with competitions isn’t it?” – Jenny Lindsay

“stand-out poems of the evening were Colin McGuire’s “Wrap the children in white”, Mairi Campbell-Jack’s “The Book of Antonyms” and Stephen Welsh‘s newspaper poem in the last round. Colin’s poem set me in mind of some of Neruda’s work, with its combination of surreal imagination, incantatory impetus and political edge. Mairi’s poem seemed to me to mark a significant and exciting step forward in her writing, and I was really impressed with how well she read. Stephen had cut up a Sunday Herald report of the weekend’s protests in London and blanked out certain portions, creating a beautiful, strange, quirky, lyrical, powerful poem — perhaps not so much found poetry as released.

Hearing those poems alone would have made it a worthwhile evening, but there were others. I particularly enjoyed “Scotland as an Xbox Game” by Andrew C Ferguson — just the sort of witty, imaginative examination of the hame nation that appeals to me. Dave Coates also read good work but unfortunately joined me in the junkyard after the first round; that’s just the risk you run at these things. And I liked the sci-fi poem that Russell Jones read in the second round.” – Andrew Philip (more here)

“I know what you were trying to do [at the slam] and there is movement in that direction we can see in the quiet slams that have been held. It’s fair enough and I really liked the poet judge thing.” – Tickle McNicoll

“The night was an enjoyable one, though, holding a friendly atmosphere and quick pace that kept things interesting. If you didn’t like a poet you only had to put up with them for 2.5 minutes, much like my love life.” – Russell Jones (more here

You can find photos of the event here.

Anyone else want to offer feedback? If so, comment below, link me to your thoughts or drop a line to poetry@thiscollection.org. All comments welcomed!

Post by Claire

Film Factory adieu

In Community, film on January 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Photo by Austin Muirhead

As part of our workshop series thiscollection.org in collaboration with Tollcross Community Center’s Adult Learning Project presents:

Who

Austin Muirhead, Canadian born technical director of The Gulf Islands Film and Television Film School has worked on various web and film productions such as Riese the Series, Time Before the Light and Charlie St. Cloud.

What
Austin takes us through some of the basic rules of filmmaking and challenges participants to break them.

This workshop based exploration of the craft invites participants to adapt one of the thiscollection poems using their own basic digital technology.

Craft a film poesy in a day and sow a seed for something greater.

The Challenge:
All films made in the workshops must be based on a poem from thiscollection.org and will be showcased in various events across Scotland.

All workshops are free but donations are welcome.

Participants need to bring:
– Digital Camera/ mobile phone
– Relevant cables
– Laptop (if possible)

When
Pick ONE workshop date:
Friday 21st January 12pm -9pm or
Monday 31st January 12pm -9pm or
Friday 4th February 12pm-9pm

Customised clinics for more advanced camera and editing techniques are also available:
3-9pm
Wednesday February 9th

Where
The Art Room @
Tollcross Community Centre
117 Fountainbridge
Edinburgh EH3 9QG
View map

How
email film[at]thiscollection.org to confirm a space.
or join thiscollection’s facebook page to register interest.

Interested in pitching a workshop please get in touch.

Day Two: the this collection McEwan hall showcase finale

In 100 Poems, film, poetry on March 31, 2010 at 10:38 am

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

Following the success of our film exposition the day before, expectations were high for our poetry-film finale on Friday 26th…

The evening kicked off at 6.30pm when we flung open the doors of the McEwan Hall, and were delighted to find an already-sizeable gaggle of keen poets, filmmakers and enthusiasts waiting on the doorstep. We quickly uncorked the first of many bottles of free wine and sat back to watch the influx of visitors. Once the crowd had gathered, Claire kicked off with a speech welcoming everyone to the event, giving a potted history of this collection and explaining what the evening had in store. Stefa then gave a brief round of thanks to all the wonderful people who’d helped make the event happen, and then without further ado, the party got under way!

The first four poets to read were Dan Mussett (a late addition, stepping in to replace Morgan Downie who sadly couldn’t be with us), Russell Jones, Anita John and McGuire. Russell was spotted brandishing copies of his pamphlet, The Last Refuge (Forest Publications), which would suggest his reading went down very well with those who gravitated towards Poet Station #1. At Station #2 Dan Mussett gave a beautiful reading in spite of his late addition to the bill, and Anita John gathered a sizeable audience in the upper gallery at Station #4. Meanwhile at gallery Station #3 McGuire was a total triumph — even gathering a crowd in the main hall below! These four poets were followed by Tom Bristow, Juliet Wilson, Simon Jackson and Andrew C Ferguson respectively — Juliet brought along copies of her hot-off-the-press pamphlet ‘Unthinkable Skies’ (Calder Wood Press) and read a particularly lovely poem about a sycamore tree, among others. Simon Jackson was multi-tasking, as two of his films were also showing in the hall below, and Andrew and Tom both received rapturous rounds of applause from their respective audiences.
The third sets were provided by Rob A Mackenzie, our very own Claire (standing in for Aileen Ballantyne who also sadly couldn’t make it in the end), Christine de Luca and Chris Lindores. Rob and Christine both read excellently and Chris Lindores was a tour de force, gathering the largest crowd of the evening — and the most glowing feedback! — and shifting a fair few copies of his pamphlet, You Old Soak (Read This Press) over the course of the evening! The poetry was wrapped up by Andrew Philip, who read from his critically-acclaimed book The Ambulance Box (Salt); Jane McKie, whose film adaptation of La Plage (courtesy of Alastair Cook of DISSIMILAR) played in the background as she read; Hayley Shields, who entranced a small but attentive audience with her ghostly tales and accounts of Edinburgh’s darker side; and Mairi Sharratt, whose audience were asked to pick her set themselves, by shouting a series of numbers which each corresponded to a poem.

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

All the poetry readings were accompanied by a continuous stream of beautiful, dark, inspiring and moving images courtesy of our many talented filmmakers. Adaptations by Helen Askew, Sean Gallen, Abhinaya Muralidharan, Alastair Cook, Ginnetta Correli, Diana Lindbjerg Jorgense, Dominique De Groen, Hans Peter, Heather Bowry, James Mildred and Francesca Sobanje, Laura Witz, Lewis Bennett, Rawan Mohammed, Rose Creasy, Simon Jackson, Stefanie Tan and ThatCollective all graced our projector screens as the evening progressed. Although some of the films included audio (piped through headphones at each station), the McEwan Hall had its own soundtrack for the evening. This took the form of a mercurial city soundscape, put together by the super-talented Simon Herron of ThatCollective; as well as improvised music and ethereal sounds from the CRA:CC experimental ensemble.

this collection McEwan Hall showcase

The evening rounded up just before 9pm, but the festivities continued well into the night at various alternative venues around the city! Altogether, the this collection team worked out that over 200 people had come along to be a part of our showcase, and so far we’ve received glowing feedback from poets, filmmakers, musicians and visitors alike. Thanks so much to everyone who came along, everyone who helped us organise, set up, take down, fund, promote or otherwise realise the event, and of course to all the brilliant artists who lent their creativity to us for the evening!

Here’s to the next…
Love,
Claire and Stefa

this collection showcase photos by Tom Bishop.

Day One: the this collection McEwan Hall showcase

In 100 Poems, film, poetry on March 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm

this collection day one

So unless this is your first visit to this blog, you’ll know that today marked the first half of our two-day March film and poetry showcase at Edinburgh’s magnificent McEwan Hall

…and what a first day it was! We flung open the doors at 10am and greeted the good people of Edinburgh as they came in to escape the swirling haar. Our DIY flags, posters and flyers drew a crowd made up of all sorts of people — some told us they’d had the date marked in their diary for weeks, while others just wandered in for a look and seemed to like what they saw! The film screenings were spread across four screens within the main hall space, with each screen housing around five or six films. These were subtly grouped by theme — warm, cold, stop-motion, palimpsest — and accompanied by their respective poems either on-screen or in DIY pamphlets for viewers to pick up and read. Sound engineer Simon Herron provided a spectacular non-stop city soundscape which played throughout the hall, and Glasgow-based experimental orchestra CRA:CC provided an improvised musical soundtrack in response to the films as they played out. Visitors were also able to congregate around our free press merchandise table: a source of books, pamphlets, magazines, journals, promotional materials and all manner of other poetry- and film-related paraphernalia, all of it completely free!

Through the afternoon we saw a steady stream of visitors, all of whom responded positively to the installation and the project as a whole. Documenting their reactions to the films was almost as enjoyable as the films themselves — watch this space for photos, video and stop-motion footage of the event in due course! We were particularly happy to see people who’d never heard of this collection, but who left raving about it and asking how they could come on board and get involved!

If you missed us today, please don’t worry — the event continues tomorrow (Friday 26th March) at the McEwan Hall in Bristo Square, Edinburgh. This time it’s our grand finale: an evening event at which the poets get a chance to take to the spotlight and read their works. The films will be screened throughout, and the whole thing will again be accompanied by our soundscape and brilliant improvised sounds from the spectacular CRA:CC ensemble. Our free merch stall will again be open for business, and there’ll also be free wine for anyone who turns up! Entry to the event is also totally free, and everyone is welcome. Doors open at 6.30pm and the readings kick off at 7pm. We really hope you’ll come and join us, and spread the word!

(this collection image by Marzieh Jarrahi.)

Filmmakers! Come and join this collection!

In film on February 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Are you a budding filmmaker? Want to get involved in a huge non-profit public access project in Edinburgh? Want to make a film that may end up being shown on the Edinburgh festival circuit? Come and find out more about this collection at our FREE speed-dating evening on Friday 5th March from 6.30pm at the Scottish Poetry Library.

It doesn’t matter what stage you’re currently at — maybe you’ve only just heard about this collection? Maybe you’ve visited our website and have a poem or poems in mind that you’d like to adapt? Maybe you’ve already started — maybe you attended one of our free film workshops? Or perhaps you have a completed film already under your belt. Wherever you are with the project, we’d love for you to come along to our poetry/filmmaking speed-dating event on Friday 5th March at the Scottish Poetry Library, starting at 6.30pm.

Basically, the event will be an opportunity for you to meet your poet — or, if you are not yet working on a specific poem — to find a poet you think you’d like to work with, and talk over your ideas. You’ll be able to speak with poets whose work you’ve earmarked for possible collaboration, as well as poets whose work you maybe haven’t seen yet. We’re hoping it’ll be a laid-back, fun and productive evening for all involved.

If you’d like to attend, you’ll need to:
— check out the 100 poems at http://thiscollection.org before you come along, and pick out any poem/s you think you’d really like to work with
— provide previous work (if you have it) so we can show the poets you’ll be meeting what kind of stuff you do (if you can, feel free to bring your own tech to play your videos from — or if you have clips online, respond by email (to film@thiscollection.com) with some links, and we’ll be able to play the footage for you)
— RSVP to film@thiscollection.com so we can get an idea of numbers (and the poet: filmmaker ratio)!

As well as giving you the chance to mingle with Scotland’s poetic rising stars and superstars, we’ll also be holding a raffle with covetable prizes up for grabs… including a state-of-the-art videocamera phone and a year’s supply of literature! The event is free and liquid refreshment will be provided.

So let us know if you can make it — please do try to come along at 6.30pm as we’re hoping to brief all the filmmakers prior to the poets arriving!

this collection poetry/filmmaking speed-dating event, 6.30pm on Friday 5th March, at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Hope to see you there!

Claire and Stefa
film@thiscollection.com

this collection: FREE all-day filmmaking workshops!

In film on February 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm

ROUND 2: DING DING
Fancy making a short film? Always wanted to try it but never knew how? Ever wondered if you could make a film using your mobile phone? Want to help us make our 100 poetry/film collaborations?

If you’re nodding right now, then good news — we can help! We’re on the lookout for budding filmmakers of all ages and levels of experience to help us adapt our 100 poems into 100 short films. In order to help you become part of the project, we’re running a series of FREE all-day filmmaking workshops in and around Edinburgh.

this collection wants to attract filmmakers from all walks of life — from experienced directors will Hollywood aspirations to those of you who’ve never got behind the camera before in your lives. We want our selection of films to be as wide and diverse as the city they celebrate, which is why we’re offering YOU a chance to make a short film for us.

Our FREE workshops aim to take you from absolutely nothing to a completed short film in the space just one day. Run by our experienced film co-ordinator Stefanie Tan, you’ll learn everything from the absolute basics of putting together your shots right through to editing your final short together. Stefa will show you how to make the most of the tech you’ve got (whether that’s a van-load of super-hi-tech equipment or just a phone with a video camera function), and give hints and tips on the best way to adapt your chosen poem. You’ll get the chance to go out and shoot your footage, and then learn how to edit it all together to make your film complete.

You don’t need any previous filmmaking experience, but if you have some, you can still come along — everyone’s welcome. You don’t need any fancy tech — again, just bring whatever you have and we’ll teach you how to use it to its full potential. You don’t have to come alone — if you have friends who are also interested in filmmaking, or if you want to work with a team, the more the merrier!

The second run of workshops will take place at Forest Cafe’s Upper Hall on 10th of April from 10am – 7pm. We are still waiting on confirmation in other venues but will keep you posted.
The workshops are totally FREE but we recommend bringing your own equipment ANY kind of camera device you may have, laptop if you have one and all relevant cables. Also please bring your own lunch (and snacks!) with you. Spaces are limited so if you’re interested in getting involved, drop us a line to film@thiscollection.com — we’ll also be able to help if you have questions or need more info!

Got a particular poem you want to adapt? Let us know in your email. If you want to get some ideas, you can check out all the poems on offer right here.

Can’t make these dates? Don’t worry — we’re hoping to run further workshops in the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!

Hope to see you there,

Claire & Stefa

Facilitator
Stefanie Tan is a University of Edinburgh first class honors graduate in English Literature with a Masters in Science in Design and Digital Media. She was an educator for 6 years, English, Literature, Drama and Philosophy. Tan has produced award winning collaborative youth films for public exhibition, notably THE SECRET OF HAPPY CHILDREN, creative video reflections on what school and home mean to 5 youth (Silver, Student Video Awards); and produced several award winning 24 hour film competition submissions. She has recently published a chapter about nurturing creative communities by employing digital video in the classroom. She has produced and edited trailers and sponsor segments for Television as an On Air Producer. She also exhibited and designed an installation art project: ATTENTION: an experimental film edited purely by eye-tracking technology. Her latest short film TROPHY 2009 was made in Canada and received at 3 international film festivals& a Rising Star Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Canada International Film Festival in Vancouver 2010. She currently is a SORSAS funded PhD student at the Glasgow School of Art researching collective creativity and open microcommunity setups.