Dancing lampshades, singing memory boxes and paying with hugs…
Welcome to the world of Craft + Tech Residencies supported by the Crafts Council and developed at the Pervasive Media Studios at Watershed, in Bristol.
The Flying Skirt Lampshade, created by Patrick Laing, is responsive to movement and touch, a first in what will no doubt emerge as a future trend in tactitle and malleable furniture accessories, in particular for public spaces.
The Music Memory Box, developed by Chloe Meineck, enables dementia patients to access cherished memories using sound association and the very simple Raspberry Pi computers attached to small objects fitted with RFID tags.
And Money No Object is a project conceived by Heidi Hinder, who envisions a future where physical currency is reclaimed with Hug & Pay or Tap(dance) & Pay mechanism, once again using objects like broches and gloves fitted with RFID tags that signal an exchange when in contact with one another.
To find out more, visit http://www.watershed.co.uk/dshed/craft-technology-residencies
Roma Boys - tale of love and prejudice in the Gypsy community
Tonight at 9pm on Community Channel, sees the UK premier of Roma Boys – an inventive, 30min film following the love story of two young men living in Czech Republic, who face the dual prejudice that comes with identifying as Gay and Gypsy.
David, a Prague university student and Roma Rights activist meets online and falls in love with Marek, a young Roma man living in the country. When a Roma Rights rally takes David near Marek’s home town, they finally arrange to meet in person.
Excited, Marek decides to come out to his family, but the violent reaction from his father and uncles was not what he hoped for. Faced with threats from his own family, he needs to decide whether to stay true to his sexuality or his family’s perception of tradition and community values. Will he ever make it to meet David?
The film has a distinctive style, switching between documentary and dramatic form, receiving the Best Documentary Film Award at Famu Fest and the Best Czech Film Award at Fresh Film Fest. It will be broadcast at 9pm on Wednesday 8 May on Community Channel as part of an upcoming season of programmes celebrating Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in UK and Europe.
Community Channel is available to view on Sky 539, Virgin 233, Freeview 87, BT Vision, BBC iPlayer and via www.communitychannel.org.
Tune in, clue up: The Real Gypsy, Roma and Traveller TV programmes are here
This May and June, Community Channel is taking its viewers on a journey to discover the real lives and cultures, hopes and aspirations, problems and challenges of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities around UK and Europe.
The Community Channel, Britain’s only national channel dedicated to giving a voice to marginalised and underrepresented communities, is screening over forty documentaries from award winning filmmakers that cover the themes of youth, education, health, culture, art and migration, dispelling myths that we are used to hearing.
Moving away from the Big Fat….stereotype, we hear from Damian Le Bas in Access All Areas, about his journey to Oxford University while retaining his Gypsy identity. We are treated to a rare last interview with Mario Maya - the world’s most famous Flamenco dancer, explaining how it was the Gitano (Spanish Gypsies) who evolved the historical dance in The Maya Family. We meet Papuscza, an influential Polish Roma poet, and visit the annual Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria, where Travellers and Gypsies meet to trade horses and catch up on gossip.
We follow the captivating love story between two young Roma men in Czech Republic, falling in love while battling the double discrimination against Romas and Gays in Roma Boys. And in Lunik IX, British Roma filmamker Artur Conka visits the estate he grew up in, watching in horror as the pleasant housing near a forest that he loved gradually became neglected by the authorities leaving the local Roma community without gas, electricity or running water.
This series of films is an important and unique chance to find out more about the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities that are an integral part of our culture and society. Watch on Sky, Freeview, BT Vision, Virgin or BBC iPlayer 6 May - 14 June and find out more at www.communitychannel.org.
One mother’s personal journey to The White House
Jo Yirrell is a Special Ambassador for UK Charity Malaria No More UK - she has dedicated her life to raising awareness about the unnecessary and deadly disease since losing her son to malaria in 2005.
Harry was on a gap year in Ghana and selflessly gave away his malaria pills to the children in the village as he felt they needed them more than he did, a decision that cost him his life. Just three weeks after returning home from his trip to Ghana, he passed away – a victim of falciparum malaria, the deadliest form of the parasitical disease. Although malaria cases are almost unheard of in the UK since it was eradicated here in the 1960s, it is still rife in much of Africa.
Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis heard about Jo’s story. He was so inspired he wrote a film for Comic Relief based on her and Harry’s story called Mary and Martha, a tale about two mothers with nothing in common except the shared tragedy of losing their sons to malaria. Martha, based on Jo and played by Brenda Blethyn, loses her son Ben after he gives away his malaria tablets. She and Mary, played by Hollywood actress Hilary Swank, form an unlikely friendship and team up to campaign for malaria prevention.
Since the screening of Mary and Martha on BBC the film has enjoyed a number of high profile screenings and is now being broadcast on HBO following a private invitation for Jo to come to The White House. Jo’s campaign trail continues … in her own words, “I made it my mission to see Ghana become malaria-free”.
Find out more at: http://malarianomore.org.uk/maryandmartha
Help shape the future of creative industries in the UK
Results just published from a pilot industry panel reveal the top priorities for film and games industry professionals.
Employers from the film industry joined Creative Skillset’s influential online industry panels and took part in its pilot survey in February.
Following the success of the pilot, the first of three annual surveys will take place in the summer and Creative Skillset is calling for more employers and individuals within the workforce to join. The short online surveys contain no more than ten quick questions and contributors get priority access to the results.
The pilot results revealed that film employers identified investment needs, training and future trends as their priorities. The issues that were most prevalent around training were funding and future training needs, those most prevalent around future trends were future business needs and technology, and investment opportunities and company development were the most predominant concerns around investment needs.
Computer games employers identified future trends, training and talent acquisition as priorities. Technology, consumer trends, and ‘future needs of business’ were highlighted as the main areas of concern for the future. The issues that were most prevalent around training were funding, future training needs and return on investment, and the issues most prevalent around talent acquisition were staff retention and recruitment. Despite the growth of apprenticeships across the Creative Industries, employers felt these were less relevant to the computer games industry.
Results from the panels will feed into Creative Skillset’s strategies for developing skills and talent to drive growth in the Creative Industries and the UK economy.
Employers and professionals in the film and games industries are urged to give their views and be part of the panels to input into issues such as skills gaps, training and how best to support the UK Creative Industries in remaining globally competitive.
To register for the industry panels, visit www.creativeskillset.org/research/panels.
Oxford Street to get a rebrand
Yes, that Oxford Street, world famous for world famous shops, home to Selfridges, the flagship Top Shop, and top visiting attraction for millions of shoppers world wide, will get a brand makeover, courtesy of Goosebumps Brand Consultancy and commissioned by the New West End Company.
“With the coming of Cross Rail and the launch of new flagship sites, the physical development of Oxford Street is moving forward at a pace. We need to create a brand that’s just as dynamic” explains Jen Chassels of the New West End Company that’s responsible for the street’s marketing and promotion. “Goosebumps’ ideas and methodology presented the best fit with our ambitions.”
“Oxford Street is one of the most iconic streets on the planet so we’re extremely honoured to have been asked to be a part of its future” adds Simon Cotterrell, founder of Goosebumps Brand Consultancy.”
We can’t wait to see what the new Oxford Street will look and feel like.
Choreographer and Strictly Come Dancing legend Arlene Phillips chooses to live below the poverty line
Arlene Phillips has had a glittering career in the world of British dance, becoming a household name in the 1970s with her dance troupe Hot Gossip, before going on to choreograph the 1982 film hit Annie, and most recently, winning the public’s hearts as celebrity judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
This year, she will be taking on an altogether different challenge, as she dedicates a full working week on 22 – 26 April together with her daughter and staff at her office, to live below the poverty line, spending just £1 each day on food.
The challenge is part of a powerful campaign called ‘Live Below The Line’, which is raising awareness of extreme poverty and funds for charities around the world that work hard to eradicate causes of global hunger and disease, including Malaria No more UK.
This is the second year running that the former Strictly Come Dancing judge is undertaking the 33p – a meal challenge. She reflects on her effort last year:
“Living on £1 a day last year was hard, I missed being able to choose what I wanted to eat and where. But that’s the whole point of this inspiring, experiential campaign – It makes you think about life in poverty without choice, the stark reality for 1.4 billion people who live on £1 a day, every day for absolutely everything.”
Keep up with Arlene as she undertakes the challenge to live on just £1 a day and find out how you too can take part at: www.malarianomore.org.uk
Education in the Republic of Korea and the UK: National Treasures or National Headaches?
Rebecca Boyle Suh, founder of Artis, a social business dedicated to transforming education through the arts, posted a blog to Huffington Post UK exploring the education values in the Republic of Korea, where her company was recently invited. Although Korean students do remarkably well in rankings, it seems that they are looking towards more creative and rounded approaches to learning, which would enable pupils to approach new problems with their own solutions rather than just rely on memorised information.
This is something we in the UK do well and should be proud of. To read the full blog post, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/rebecca-boyle-suh/education-in-the-republic_b_2711452.html?utm_hp_ref=tw
To find out more about Artis, visit: www.artiseducation.com
Time to switch: new activity for primary schools from Artis
In this activity children copy the teacher’s sequence of four actions, tapping different parts of the body and keeping a steady rhythm. To make the activity more challenging the teacher says “switch”, so that children drop out and join back in but one step behind. They will have to use their memory to recall the sequence and this makes them concentrate even more and also helps their coordination. In this film Artis Specialist and Mentor Leader Stuart Barter (Chime) demonstrates this activity working with children from St Paul with St Luke Primary School in East London.
Find out more about Artis at: www.artiseducation.com
Burrowing our way through the future
We’ve had a few exciting updates from the ever growing games indie Remode who are currently working on a new game concept called “Burrow.” Inspired by 1990s retro games, Burrow aims to be the definitive digging game in the history of mankind.
Set in the future following a global disaster, the game requires strategic thinking, as players have the option of cooperating with others instead of aggressive player vs player competition to control a range of robots to rescue a group of humans that survived and are now hiding underground. The icing on the cake; players must work together to rescue humans while avoiding the threat of aliens.
Burrow will be extremely enjoyable to play by yourself, but it’s the cooperation with other players that will make it different to the usual single or multiplayer games. Working together to help save fellow humans, instead of killing everything that moves, will be a primary focus and the game will also echo contemporary issues like government response to a crisis. It may even be set in London.
Slated for release in the next twelve months, keen gamers can sign up for updates at www.burrowgame.com