Archives for posts with tag: Workshops

Click here for the full story…



I came back from New York at the end of September with a crash into playing catch up with my ordinary working life. October was upon me and I was facilitating a week of professional development alongside my longterm colleague Alan May.

Thanks to Bedminster Winter Lanterns achieving a successful Grants For The Arts bid from Arts Council England, I was delighted to co-lead a professional development in lantern making with Alan May last October. Blessed with a fabulous team of artists from those at the beginning of their professional practice to those with many years experience we set to work designing an experience in animated lanterns.

As a team of lantern makers it was an opportunity to explore light diffusion and puppetry within lantern making and develop new ways of working with colleagues in the region.

Hard on the heels of my return fron New York City it was a fabulous chance to Experiment with some new technical skills inspired by working alongside Processional Arts Workshop last September.

Alan May and I trained fresh artists from DNA arts and Boom Satsuma in the art of delivering a fast and furious community workshop. We collaborated with Richard Headen from The Desperate Men to develop a narrative for our large structures and built 3 new animated lantern structures.

FLO the giant girl, her jar of wonders and the moth were drawn to five different lantern events between October and January. Radstock Light The Night and Bath City Farm Bonfire Produced by DNArts and The Natural Theatre Company, Devizes Lantern Parade produced by DOCA. Church Road Lantern Parade produced by The Lamplighters and of course Bedminster Winter Lanterns.

Many thanks and credit to all the creatives involved Alan May, Steph Reeves, Megan Bentall Clarke, Ali Brown, Amy Peck, Ruth Ramsay, Becky Prior, Ruth Patchett, Niamh Peace, Dik Downey, Richard Headen, Phillips Haynes and Amber and Kathleen fromBoom Satsuma.ArtsCouncil_BritishCouncil_Lockup_Black

It has been a week since this event and I am back in the uk, apologies for not posting photos earlier. All works produced with Processional Arts Workshop.



And so the day of the parade came…

after a week of workshops with both the local community and PAW regulars there was a calm before the storm. The workshop was hyper organised but I was struck by a few things.

We processed mostly on the pavement which I am told is normal for New York. The pavements are much wider here, but there is something powerful about taking the street with hand crafted fragile objects powered only by humans.

Even on the procession day it was predominantly an adult affair which is interesting to me. I wonder if there will be differences next week when I work on a more established event.

I have learned lots of new tricks during the week in terms of both production and making. One of my quests in coming here was to research how PAW uses storytelling within its processional work. In this particular project the story was well designed before the workshops and the input from the public was in the crowd sourcing of imagery to decorate the generic puppets.

What is the key to the storytelling being well designed

A strong concept & brief.

A reasonably financed project development phase.

A well developed mailing list of keen makers and volunteer performers.

Good use of a wide range of social media tools.

A good visible workshop area which encourages crowd input.

Also yesterday at the other end of Manhattan, workshops began for Morningside Lights. I move over to that project today and the second phase of my research trip begins.




The first few days of workshops on Astor Alive led by Processional Arts Workshops were largely de dicated to introducing the concept of sharing imagery, the building of puppets and many cardboard tributes to a locally well loved piece of spinning public art The Alamo Cube.

Participating in a creative workshop designed by others has been a sheer pleasure for me. I was out of my traditional comfort zones of plastazote, tubing, rattan, willow and fabric and in a land of cardboard construction in a really quality way. The mas – production also gave me the energy to reflect on my own processional arts workshops and the differences between the two.

Significant planning has gone into this six day run of workshops (at least a weeks work.) The workshop day begins at 2pm on a weekday and ends at 8pm allowing participation from adult volunteers with other professional roles of which there is a reasonable amount. So far I have met systems analysts, former Wall Street traders, healthcare workers, teaching assistants, self employed business people, native New Yorkers and newcomers and only one child. There is a policy of participants being aged 10 plus, the reasoning behind which is to get the work taken seriously and it is.

My own work in the UK is often either school or health setting centred. Workshops in the community are more often than not perceived as places where children are ‘entertained’ while adults sit back. Or it is seen as having therapeutic qualities – which I believe it does but then workshops are institutionalised and therefore closed. It’s great to witness this wide open community arts workshop it has clearly created a well adult community performing to create dynamic events.

Below are a few geek shots for workshop junkies…


%d bloggers like this: