Share my world – week 17

At the end of a long week, I look forward to taking part in Share my world. As usual this week’s questions don’t disappoint. Bit more thought and rumination for these… this blog post was stuck in my drafts for a while as i pondered over the ‘going to a new place’ question.

1. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

When I work on a project and I forget its a ‘project’ and it becomes an experience – this is quite often when I feel most passionate and alive. A recent example is when I worked as Open Cinema film coordinator at the Booth Centre Manchester that supports homeless people. My job every week was to screen a movie, like Sherlock Holmes, Shaun of the Dead, Billy Elliot, 24 hour party people and Ratcatcher and then encourage conversation about the movie afterwards. I was doing the job part-time, half a day a week, so it was time out from a reasonably interesting job that had become a bit mundane with all its paperwork, reporting and management. Every week at the centre, something would happen a bit out of the ordinary but we would still watch a movie together and chat about it afterwards and review and rate the films. It was wonderful to share thoughts and tap into one another’s worlds’ if only for a while. Every week i could quite literally see a light go on in someone’s eyes as they chatted about the movie and told a small related anecdote about their own life. It fired up my own passion for the power of film with renewed vigour. Movies really can be an opening to people sharing something about themselves and their passions, a way to get to know people beyond immediate assumptions or stereotypes of what it might or might not be to be ‘homeless’.
I remember a similar experience, but this time when i was starting out teaching a nine week scriptwriting course for refugees and asylum seekers at Community Arts NorthWest. I had brought along several polaroid cameras and hoped to use photography as a way to talk to one another and share ideas. In the first instance i thought we’d take photographs of one another with the camera so that this could not only serve as a register each week (not everyone could speak english) and reminder to me as to who’s who and as a way for us to get to know one another.
The simple exercise turned into something quite extraordinary to me as the class took lots of photos posing with one another, asking one another to take photos of this person with that person. And i realised of course the value of a photograph. I think it was in this moment actually that I realised in practice how important it is to build mutual benefits into simple tasks like taking registration. Again this is when people come alive, and you know there is actually something else going on, bigger than you, or your actions, the experience has taken a new turn and again, you go beyond, this group of ‘refugees and asylum seekers’, into the heart of what it is to be human and the simple thing of having a photograph of your new friends to put on your wall. We, who, seemingly have everything, must remember this every once in a while. The simple joy of a creative endeavour that enables someone to strip through the pain of isolation, of having no belongings, no family, no money, no certainty, no stability.
These are the moments and the memories that i crave, to find humanity in the extraordinary yet everyday and its that, that makes life worth living.

2. What individual item of food would you not eat, even if it was served to you at the Queen/President’s dinner table? (Something ordinary.)

Tripe! I cannot imagine and really don’t want to imagine what this would taste like. My uncle told me a story about how he ordered it once by accident (not knowing what it was) when out to dinner with a new friend and how he went on to eat the whole thing by cutting it up into tiny pieces and washing every piece down with water. I have no desire to eat tripe!

3. If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

Originally i thought wisdom, but life needs luck. Perhaps its not a question of one or the other and maybe they come together sometimes. In essence I can’t choose! Wisdom without luck is like life without love!

4. What was the last time you went to a new place?

I’m just finishing up doing a residency at the Chinese Arts Centre. It’s not a new place as such as i have come before as a member of the public to see work there. However, it now feels like a new place having seen inside the offices, made tea in the kitchen and eaten slow cooked food in the residency space and teahouse. I also sewed a piece of work together called ‘small things’ from objects that I found in their amazing artists’ store cupboard.

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Donations: If you’d like to support an arts organisation or support agency, do consider these:

So, that’s my answers to the four questions for week 17’s Share my world, check out everyone else’s here. Love this challenge! I am a little behind, the rest of the world is already on Week 21!

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