Things have been going well for me at A New Direction recently. I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll. The organisation has become a sort of junction box between the Olympic Park, young people and opportunities in the media, in cultural institutions and the creative economy. I guess my niche at the moment has become designing and delivering ‘learning experiences’ at the point where these things meet. This weekend I ran a bizarre exchange between some young people in A New Direction’s Headstart Programme and some young film-makers in Glasgow. If the British Council is thinking about how England builds future relations with an independent Scotland, maybe this is one way forward. Heh. Here’s some exercises there wasn’t actually time for.
In February I ran an ‘immersion day’, with my colleague Fran Plowright for young people who are working with youth radio stations across the Olympic borough’s that border the Olympic Park. The aim was to basically get them to the point, whereby they would be able to critically think about and report on the Olympics.
The day was a bit like a court-hearing with different witnesses coming in and testifying to the group. I think since I’ve been freelance, I’ve had a real itch for making the sharing of research, like the experience of doing it; School of Olympic Research, An Anatomy of Youth and even the forthcoming but currently non-existant magazine ‘Useful’ are/were attempts at this.
So anyway, on this immersion day we had Jeff Minnithorpe from London City Airport, who talked about how the airport is making special arrangements for VIPs, Olympic teams and a general increase in passenger numbers. There was AJ Rivers who talked about his forthcoming documentary ‘Torch’ about the Olympics and whether they are benefitting people in East London; Amy Marren a 13-year old aspiring paralympic-swimmer who can beat able-bodied athletes in her classification at county level. We also heard from the Met Police. Best of all, we had Goldie who did an amazing motivational talk about his journey from a childhood in care to becoming a world famous musician/graffiti artist complete with all the rough bits inbetween and since. I don’t care how many crap TV programmes he’s been in – the man has such a thirst for life. He has a scar from a waterski accident that runs from his foot to his arse.
Here’s Amy, AJ and Goldie.
Instead of doing a series of hand-outs for the day, we produced a little ‘reporter’s book’ – with introductions to the speakers with useful names, addresses and resources for further reporting on The Olympics. We made them for the cost of the books from Cass Arts (95p per book) and the use of Modern Activity’s stapler. We kept about two thirds of the original pages of the book for notes in the middle. Here we go:
My involvement with this group has paired off a bit now, as they are actually making real radio programmes now (some of them were in The Aquatics Centre on Sunday) which isn’t really something I know anything about. But yeah, I definitely think that if I do anything like a conference or a learning event again, I am definitely, definitely doing one of these book-come-programme things!