One of the things that we want to do on this blog is let you know about our plans. As Chris pointed out in his recent post on Created in Birmingham, this is a chance to share with you some of the areas of work that you may not know so much about.
This summer is one of growth and development so there’s a number of key announcements we’d like to make.
A number of you have already been in contact with interest in being involved with next year’s Fierce! Festival. As you know, we’ve now delivered 11 festivals, including our record-breaking Fierce! Ten in 2007 and this year, where we handed the reins of power over to you in programming “My Fierce Festival” online.
It’s been a great eleven years, and as you know, Mark Ball stood down as Artistic Director of the festival after Fierce Ten, working part time now as Creative Director here at Fierce Earth.
It’s therefore a chance for re-appraisal, looking to what we want to do and fundraise so that the festival can meet our artistic ambitions.
So now we are looking at the future of the festival, what we should focus on, when in the year it should take place. Most importantly, we hope to appoint a major new artistic director. But that will require a different funding structure and new partners to help us deliver a programme that has lots of collaborations, new commissions and international work – all the things that make Fierce! …well, Fierce, really.
So that’s what we’re doing at the moment. But as you can imagine, conversations like these take time. We’re also participating in a wider consultation about the future of festivals in the City.
So watch this space for more developments: at present I think it’s fair to say that there will not be a Fierce Festival in 2009 but that we will aim to produce 2-3 large scale ambitious public projects throughout ‘09, one of which may be at the festival time. Our partners too, may still want to programme audacious and risky work in May and June, and we will certainly be working with them as usual to promote performances if they do.
We’d like to deliver a bigger, more ambitious programme, and it may take some time to sort that out.
Rest assured though that, while we’re developing the festival, we will still be busy delivering the work of some fantastic artists from all over the world, in unusual places and spaces in true Fierce! style. We are also about to launch another three years of our enormously popular Platinum programme. The Platinum programme is a development programme for artists who wish to develop their live performance work, focussing on risk and difference. It will kick off in the autumn with a regional series of Fierce! Talks. We’ll keep you posted.
Creative Learning at Fierce!
Fierce! has also developed a really challenging and innovative stream of creative learning work as a year-round strand. In conjunction with Creative Partnerships in Birmingham (now Bright Space), we have developed projects in and out of school settings and worked with a variety of artists and young people.
Highlights of our work have included the Feed Me feast, a community feast held at May Lane Allotments where young people from four schools in the Kings Heath/Billesley area prepared a meal for 200 guests. The food had been grown on a plot on the allotment by the young people led by an artist-gardener, they had made the bowls we ate off with a ceramicist, served soup in watering cans, made table cloths and dyed them, created an entertainment courtesy of Miss High Leg Kick and even performed in a Vegetable Orchestra.
Or last year, where in a project which is typical in placing young people at the heart of our learning work, our Youth Panel was given budget to select and artist to show as part of Fierce! Ten. The panel conducted the selection process, contracted the artist, secured a venue, marketed the event and ran the performance on the day.
We have been very fortunate in having Andrew Tims as our Creative Learning Manager to lead on these projects. He has been a fantastic pioneer of this work and is much loved by staff and pupils alike! Andrew is leaving us at the end of September to pursue a career as a free-lancer, and we wish him all the very best.
This means that again, Fierce has an opportunity to take our Creative Learning work and build on our strengths. We’re considering announcing a call for projects and inviting ideas for innovative and exciting creative learning projects with people who would be willing to partner Fierce Earth. The work would initially take place speculatively, agreeing a set time during which Fierce and artists or creative learning professionals would look at the feasibility of a project and how we can make it work. We think it is a really exciting way of finding out new, ambitious and large scale work that continues to make a difference to young people’s lives through eye-popping moments of contemporary arts.