Fostering creative community: a turn of phrase that’s been reduced to buzz words on a grant application, or in a parliamentary speech, or perhaps the kind of vernacular that spells out a vague dream. Not that we think it’s a myth or a waste of time — just that the idea has been reduced to something cliché somehow, despite it being what we’re here for. Perhaps because it’s easy to think that ‘creative community’ is either utopic, or that it’s a thing that just happens. The fact of the matter is that our business lies in inspiring our audiences and artists to make it happen with us.
At the 2012 National Young Writers Festival, Scissors Paper Pen ran an event similar to the hilarious-and-tightly-packed ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ debate at You Are Here 2012, only this time it was a matter of pinning the arts communities in the cities against those in regional areas. Now, to be honest, none of us here at Scissors Paper Pen believe in pinning any artistic community against another, even if it’s Sydney. One of the members of our pro-regional debate team was Jeremy Staples, a dude from Toowoomba, who built an arts community and project to boot with his bare creative thinker, cool counterpart Elouise Quinlivan, and a collection of supportive artists. They’re a great bunch.
This project, and Jeremy’s cause, were things we found ourselves spurred by at the 2012 National Young Writers Festival. Being creative and getting out there to make others creative are two different things — one captivating, the other stoic — and these guys are wanting to make them both happen in regional areas, cities, metropoles, mouseholes and mountains. Yes — in mountains*. They’re doing this by building a moveable pop-up DIY workshop station, that can be transported and cycled around Australia, and assembled anywhere and everywhere. The DIY pop up workshop opportunity extends beyond the school community, or the community centre community, or the Community-watching community. It summons people with a proclivity for any kind of imaginative spark and gives them the opportunity to participate in, or run their own workshop. It’s a way of proactively forming a link between artists and children and angry teenagers, and shy adults who are passing by, and who have always thought to themselves, ‘Oh, I would have liked to have drawn something/written something/performed something once. But nothing I produce is legitimate.’ It’s a project that grabs that soggy term ‘creative community’, shakes its cobwebs off, and sows it across an entire continent in one explosive throw. Here’s a super-hot picture to give you a sense of what this looks like. (And here’s a place where you can find out more things about it)
You know what else is impressive about this project? They’re doing it without government funding. They’re making this project happen through public support, by asking those who believe in testing and pushing the boundaries of how we make creativity available, and how we value creativity, to co-fund the project. Having launched a Pozible campaign recently, the crew are reaching their final days before accepting donations is closed. We implore you to visit the campaign, take a look at the video, and consider whether it’s the kind of project you’d like to see rolled out in 2013. We had to make that pun. If you’re not in a position to make a donation, you can give to this project by sharing this post around.
Though we’re not attesting to a judge of character for a rental property, Jeremy is an excellent person. Having heard him speak of this project, and show us the plans for the pop up workshop space at the 2012 National Young Writers Festival, we’re thrilled to think a project like this exists. We would love to bring him to Canberra, Goulburn and Young to work with ANYONE EVER; to develop zines, poems, songs or badges, bloody paper lanterns or snowflakes, even: each workshop serves a purpose that extends far beyond the realms of making the best work with the best artists in the best, curated circumstances. This is about keeping art, in all its forms, alive, and celebrating it again, and again, and again.
*we made this up.