All festival workshops created and managed by Sarah Tremlett, and run by ecopoet Helen Moore and media artist and musician Howard Vause, except where indicated.
LIBERATED WORDS 2016, BATH FRINGE FESTIVAL
Butterflies Haven, teenagers with autism project; group founder and coordinator Trisha Williams.
Dance Poetry Film project, with English and Media students from Somervale School, Midsomer Norton, in-school lead media tutor Al Hannan; and dancers from Bath Dance College, Radstock, 2015.
LIBERATED WORDS 2014 – REFLECTIONS AND MEMORY – commemorating the centenary of World War One (1914–18). A three-day festival at: Arnolfini, Bristol; The YMCA, Bristol, and Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, The Watershed, Bristol.
Interpretations of ‘Mametz Wood’ by Owen Sheers; St Gregory’s Catholic College English department; in-school lead, teacher Tom Fieldhouse.
The Golden Bird Project; working with dementia patients at The Royal United Hospital, Bath; hospital coordinator Art at the Heart.
Marc Neys’ One-Day Masterclass
This workshop was really enjoyable, stimulating and informative. He began going through examples of poetry films, and we took part in fun exercises to get the juices flowing. We then began developing and sourcing writing and footage for a poem centred on the Bristol docks, where our workshop was situated (the YMCA meeting room). The resulting film was, of course with his help, refined very quickly. We learnt how he applies some of his well-known techniques, and it was really well worth experiencing. I would recommend gleaning some of his immense knowledge if you can.
MIX II July, 2013, Bath Spa University, Corsham Court
As part of MIX II conference at Bath Spa University, Corsham Court, I hosted an ekphrastic poetry film workshop, where participants could select an artefact or painting from the Bath Spa Art Collection in Corsham Court as their inspiration. At such an event this was a workshop for those with some experience. Rather than ‘how to use iMovie’, it was more about bringing out the objects themselves, making short ‘video poetry sketches’ not finished films. Short workshops cannot achieve startling results, but every person managed to show something they were developing or had even finished in an afternoon. For me it was more about finding out how different people translate an object or painting into a poetic film. Many thanks to Emeritus Professor Ron George for providing details on the artworks.
For my own film, I decided to take quite a folky theme – Owl (1955) a lithograph by Jack Smith, who was known then as part of The Kitchen Sink School, and for what was called a ‘neo-realist’ style featuring domestic subjects. I saw in this comical, staring wide-eyed, owl the perfect foil for my peacock screech recordings. My narrative was that he couldn’t sleep, because of the constant sound of the peacocks, which also gave tension and menace, and it was titled Owl’s Nightmare.
I also was lucky enough to hear a presentation which included the piece Ovid’s Dream – Air and Sea by the gifted composer Dr Jeffrey Boehm, who combines, in layman’s terms, traditional musical arrangements with contemporary sonic effects. With a quirky, minor-key but humorous trumpet set against electronic effects, it immediately conjured the beautiful but pompous strutting of the peacock and the absurdity of the crazy, restless owl’s nightmare. For musicians, here is Jeffrey’s description in compositional terms: ‘the harmonic structure of the piece is unusual because it was constructed from a twelve-tone row that is built with the stipulation that each division of four notes begins with a half-step. It is this interval that forms the melodic structure and, when applied to a 3/4 meter, creates the ‘floating’ feeling of the piece. In order to reinforce that feeling, I chose sounds and effects that attempt to help the listener to sonically perceive floating either in water or air.’ So, there you are! Jeffrey generously agreed to let me use it, and sent over a file. By the workshop presentation at the end of the conference, there was a wide selection of ekphrastic films. I would certainly co-ordinate another event, again.
I also included a fun guess the artwork by the ekphrastic poem competition:
Twilight tangerine segments
circling the brambled
Where the ball
‘The Liberated Words partnership was a triumph. The team understood the importance of not having any preconceived ideas about autism and to simply get to know the young people’. Trisha Williams, Butterflies Haven
‘I think this workshop was really fun. It made writing poetry fun and more interesting. I learnt quite a lot from this. … I can’t really think of any improvements.’
‘I loved it. I learnt I can write poems.’
‘Gave me the opportunity to play around with ideas I had had for some time.’
‘I love writing poems in my spare time. This experience has inspired me as much as I love bunnies (a lot). I would love to do it again.’
‘I feel good about myself.’
‘I am not that bad.’
‘I have learnt new poem types.’
‘I had to miss art’.
‘I liked doing something different.’