MIF were delighted to support six Greater Manchester based Jerwood Creative Fellows who spent time with the Festival in the build-up to and during MIF17. The cohort of creative practitioners worked alongside creative teams of major festival commissions, exploring how work is created, gaining great experience and learning new skills in our unique Festival environment.

The six successful practitioners are: Simon Bray, a landscape and documentary photographer; Hafsah Aneela Bashir, a poet, spoken word artist and facilitator; Chanje Kunda, a Manchester based poet, playwright and performance artist; Amy Lawrence, a multidisciplinary live and visual artist with a practice that encompasses facilitation, curation and creative producing; Erinma Ochu, a writer and producer of immersive and participatory experiences; and Mahboobeh Rajabi, a Digital Artist, Animator, Film Maker and Theatre Director.

The Jerwood Creative Fellows programme is generously supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Jerwood Charitable Foundation is dedicated to imaginative and responsible revenue funding of the arts, supporting artists to develop and grow at important stages in their careers. The aim of its funding is to allow artists and arts organisations to thrive; to continue to develop their skills, imagination and creativity with integrity. It works with artists across art forms, from dance and theatre to literature, music and the visual arts. www.jerwoodcharitablefoundation.org

Chanje Kunda

Commission:
Fatherland

Chanje Kunda is a Manchester based poet, playwright and performance artist that tours nationally and internationally. She has performed at venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Calabash Literature Festival Jamaica, National Arts Festival of South Africa, Podium Mozaeik Theater, Amsterdam, and for the British Council at the Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe.

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

I would like to develop my skills in writing for theatre, voice for theatre, dance and movement (especially contemporary dance). I would also like to increase my knowledge of music and how it enhances theatre.

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

I feel like I am in receptive mode at the moment. I am keen to see masters at work and learn about their processes of making work, their methodology and how they rehearse for shows.

Erinma Ochu

Commission:
What If Women Ruled The World

As writer, producer and researcher of immersive and participatory experiences I collaborate with artists, designers, scientists and the public to create experimental work across a range of settings. Past commissions include gallery piece, Nature’s Switch, FarmLab, a pop up urban farm and The Manchester Recycled Robot Orchestra. I teach at Salford University.

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

The fellowship is a timely opportunity to learn from international artists as they create work with the MIF team. I hope to learn from the production of high quality work, particularly in relation to participatory and cross disciplinary elements, evolving artistic forms and creating ambitious, memorable and unique works that can tour.

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

I am interested in ‘what remains’ in the afterlife of a cultural experience. How might making work together create the kind of society we might like to see materialise? This is particularly relevant to Yael Bartana’s brilliant concept, ‘What If Women Ruled The World’ which crosses a range of disciplines, media and cultural forms to indelible effect.

Simon Bray

Commission:
One of Two Stories, or Both

Simon Bray is a Manchester based artist, currently utilising photography to explore the notion of place and landscape. Through project collaborations with artists and participants, he looks to encourage the exploration of our connection with locations formed through memory, shared experience and emotional response. Having completed a degree in Music at Manchester University, he continues to utilise music within his research, particularly how sound and composition can influence and support the creation of visual content. His work has been shown at The Whitworth, Southbank Centre, Brighton Photo Biennial, The Guardian and BBC In Pictures.

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

I need to persevere with the development of my image making, the motivations behind the projects and photographs I’m taking and building a body of work that engages a more emotional response.

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

Primarily, I look forward to working alongside some of the artists, engaging with their process at a professional level, seeing where an idea is formed and how that is developed into a final piece and practically delivered to a new audience. To have that insight direct into another artists practice is a rare thing and I shall not let this chance pass up without soaking up as much understanding and experience as I can!

Mahboobeh Rajabi

Commission:
Party Skills for the End of the World

Mahboobeh is a Digital Artist, Animator, Film Maker and Theatre Director. Her specialisms are animation, moving image, documentary, promo videos and making theatre

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

I need to develop both my performance production and Digital skills. I am open to explore and experience the process of any form of art work.

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

Exploring different ways, techniques and ideas that will be used during the devising process and how the the main themes are communicated to the audience.

Amy Lawrence

Commission:
10000 Gestures

Amy Lawrence graduated from Manchester School Of Art in 2013 and has since worked across the UK and beyond as an artist, creative producer and facilitator of participatory settings and events in various settings from the gallery to site specific settings and theatre spaces. Amy is also the co-founder of LEGROOM, a new space for approaches to movement and visual arts in Manchester city centre (supported by Castlefield Gallery).

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

Observing the preparations for 10,000 gestures (Boris Charmatz,), will allow me to develop a more coherent and knowledgeable approach to choreographic methods, performative skills, devising processes and rehearsal methods in order to professionalize my practise further. I would apply this knowledge to my own work both independently and collaboratively but also when facilitating the work of others to improve improvisational approaches, direction and communication. I would also hope to learn about the infrastructure of ‘Musée de la danse' (Rennes) and the wider dance ecology in Europe. Further, I hope to develop my curatorial practise through being embedded within MIF and explore how creative relationships are instigated and managed but also closely observe the diversity ethos and talent development programmes so I am able to apply these approaches to LEGROOM (Amy Lawrence & Juliet Davis).

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

Understanding the processes and techniques behind creating choreographic work, particularly rehearsal methods and approaches when working independently or with a larger group. A deeper knowledge of movement and performance and the possibilities of choreography. How to use language and direction to create a physicality within work and how other forms such as design, video and sound might be successfully and effectively incorporated into works that have a more active conversation with the viewer.

Hafsah Aneela Bashir

Commission:
The Welcoming Party

I am a published writer and performance poet based in Manchester. I facilitate creative writing workshops with underrepresented and marginalised groups in the community with a strong focus on empowerment and identity. I'm also co-director of a new arts collective I co-formed, Outside The Frame Arts, which aims to challenge the gatekeepers of knowledge and platform voices often absent from the mainstream. http://hafsahaneelabashir.wordpress.com/

What are the key areas of your practice you would like to develop?

I want to develop skills for script writing and learn more about the collaborative process of devised theatre making. I want to be able to develop my confidence especially performance skills as I will be producing and acting in a play centred around the complex relationship Muslim women have with the cloth.

What are the specific questions or challenges you would like to explore through this experience?

I'd like to explore how artists co create and respond to each other throughout the festival and how the festival is engaging with the local community and what this means in terms of legacy after the festival is over. What does it take to put on a festival of this kind? I would also like to explore the challenges of sustainable practice and ways in which artists and their work can grow creatively and professionally.

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