Thursday, 13 October 2011

Just over 3 months to go

Just over 3 months to go until Illuminate Bath at the end of January and there is a lot to organise. I'm probably not going to sleep well from now on because there is so much to think about. Tomorrow we're sending out a press release about the programme and our new website goes live so that's very exciting.

It's fantastic to see it all coming together. Not long ago in 2009 it started as an idea I was thinking about. Then other people began to get excited about it too and it just took off. The first festival in November 2010 was a great success and the 2012 festival is shaping up to be even better. Moving it to January means it will take place right at the start of Games year and I think concentrating everything into four evenings will help to generate a real buzz around Bath.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Behind the scenes at the Paralympics GB training camp in Bath

Me chatting with some of the Paralympic GB fencing team at the simulation camp

Last week I was invited by BT Storytellers to go on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Paralympics GB simulation camp held at the University of Bath.

The scale of a Paralympic Games is much bigger than most of the athletes have experienced previously, so the simulation camp is designed to help them prepare for the unique conditions that they will live and train in during Games time. During the camp athletes stay in student accommodation on site, providing a distraction-free environment for them to eat, sleep, train and relax in.

Over 150 athletes will spend time at the camp over a two week period. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the tremendous buzz around the place. I’ve been to the University of Bath before for meetings and young people’s events but this time was different. Security was tighter and everyone wore special passes to allow them access to the camp area.

We headed straight for the busy dining hall marquee where athletes, coaches and staff catch up and bond over lunch. A selection of hot food is available including pasta and vegetables, and there are lots of fridges full of drinks provided by Coca cola. After lunch we joined a tour group of about 15 people who I think were mostly press and corporate sponsors.

On the tour we looked around the sporting facilities and heard from some of the numerous coaches, therapists and practitioners involved in supporting the athletes. There is even a designated pee station where they carry out hydration testing and weigh athletes before and after they train. We saw a reproduction of an athlete’s bedroom in the Olympic village. The athletes share twin rooms and I was surprised at how sparse and functional they are, very similar to student halls of residence. The highlight for me was seeing the fencing and sitting volleyball squads training. Fast-paced, noisy and energetic, we were offered a tantalising preview of how exciting it will be to watch the Games next summer.

It was amazing to experience the atmosphere within the camp for an afternoon and catch a glimpse of how the British Paralympic team are preparing for London 2012.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A digital record of the 2012 Games for future generations

I met up with Sam Downie, another BT Storyteller from Bristol, for the first time last week to chat about how we might collaborate. We also had our picture taken by a photographer from the Bristol Evening Post to accompany an article in today’s paper.

Through BT Storytellers I’d like to help promote and celebrate some of the fantastic projects taking place in the South West that are inspired by the Games. I’d love to hear from people about different projects/ events that might be of interest.

One of the main reasons I started this blog two years ago was because I thought it would be interesting to document my role with RELAYS, and a time in my life that I could look back on in the future. For many of us, next year will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Games in London. Enthusiasm is building the closer we get and it’s exciting to think that I'm contributing, along with many others, to a creative digital record of the 2012 Games for future generations.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

One year to go!

It's one year to go until the Olympics! Apparently the preparations in London are all on track. I'm busy here at Bath Spa with preparations for 2012 too.

Our Games, Our Values
Our resource pack for primary schools in the South West, exploring the Olympic Values, is being designed as I write. Five history students are leading on this. In September they will test the resource pack in local schools before we give it away free of charge to over 300 primary schools later in the year.

Illuminate Bath 2012
The second Illuminate Bath will take place on 25 - 28th January 2012. I promise these will be four very special evenings to look forward to in Bath. We're working with some amazing artists who are currently developing and testing ideas. We'll be launching our new website in a couple of months.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I'm a BT Storyteller

I'm really chuffed to hear that I'm going to be a BT storyteller.

I'm one of about 100 members of the public to be selected. Storytellers include artists, athletes, filmmakers, writers, bloggers, celebrities, social networkers, designers, photographers and musicians. Over the next year we'll be telling our stories about London 2012 and helping to capture the excitement that is building around the country. 

I've just been reading about some of my fellow storytellers on the website and it's fascinating stuff. It should be a great platform for sharing the RELAYS work we've been doing in the south west with more people. 

I'm looking forward to writing more and I might get the opportunity to attend special events etc. Apparently we'll be set different challenges. How intriguing!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The glamorous world of arts/ event management

People sometimes ask me what my job involves on a day to day basis, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give a brief snap shot of what I’ve been working on today.

First off I met with the Arts Development officer at the local Council. We discussed my plans for the next Illuminate Bath in January 2012 (including creative content, funding applications, marketing, and who else I should consult with etc) as well as other activity planned in Bath for 2012.

Back at the office I sent some emails and wrote a new ‘To do list’. At lunchtime I met up with someone from a local digital agency to talk about our new festival website. We considered the kinds of features it should have and agreed a rough schedule for the work. I spent the afternoon drafting a commissioning agreement for an artist, before thinking that it was really about time I updated my blog.

So there you have it, my day in a nutshell. It’s not exactly glamorous but I enjoy it anyway!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Be a Champion

Here I am with Bath Spa Uni History students Jade, Natasha, Vicki and Grainne outside the O2 in London. We attended the launch of the new NUS project 'Be a Champion' on Tuesday at Ravensbourne College, which aims to help students get involved with London 2012.

Our project was used as a case study at the event. The students are developing a resource pack for use in primary schools exploring the history and culture of the Olympics, with a focus on the south west of England. The content is nearly there and we're looking forward to working with a designer to make it look lovely over the summer.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Projection at Exeter Cathedral

Very excited to be able to watch this film of a projection I saw back in February in Exeter. I'm having problems embedding the video to the right size so am posting a link to it instead: Isca Obscura by Tundra*

Tundra* were commissioned by Animated Exeter and their work was projected on Exeter Cathedral using four projectors I think. I love the eery music by Beth Gibbons from Portishead, and the bit where the lights inside the Cathedral come on!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The most useful training I've ever had

I did some first aid training with St Johns Ambulance a few weeks ago, so that I can be a first aider at our events.

I'd never learnt any first aid before. I thought it might be a bit dull and theoretical. I hadn't even given much thought to what the role might involve. But I'm so glad that I did it. I think it's the most useful training I've ever had.

It's unbelievable that so many people die needlessly, because no one could give them first aid when they needed it.

If I do find myself faced with an incident I don't know how I'll react, or whether I'll remember what to do. But I hope I will be able to help someone when it really matters.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pinball game projection for Comic Relief

All photos by Edward Lockyer

Here are some photos from last weeks Pinball game event to help promote Red nose day in aid of Comic relief (Red nose day is on Friday 18 March 2011).

10 BA graphic communication students worked with Bath Spa Uni lecturer Anthony Head to make the games which were projected onto the Pump Room, Bath on 24th Feb. The red people are actors from the Natural Theatre Company. This project came out of Illuminate Bath. It was technically challenging but thankfully it worked fine on the night. Great to see passers by joining in and playing the games, and it made the local news! We would like the next Illuminate Bath festival to be more interactive like this.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Tickets for the Olympics on sale next month

The full competition schedule for the London 2012 Olympics has been released. You can apply for tickets between 15 March until 26 April 2011. For sessions where demand exceeds supply they will use an automated random selection process to try to make it as fair as possible.

I'm still deciding which sessions to apply for. Top of my list are the Opening ceremony and synchronised swimming! I'd also really like to see some athletics, BMXing, diving and gymnastics. I can't wait to see the Olympic park finished and full of people.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Projection at Exeter Cathedral

I'm really looking forward to Animated Exeter next weekend. There will be a big projection at Exeter Cathedral, 18 - 20 Feb from 6.30 - 10 pm each night. Visual Artists Tundra* have apparently created a luminous narrative, in animated graphics, incorporating mythology and symbolism and referring to Exeter's rich history. Plus Beth Gibbons, the lead singer of Portishead, will compose a score to accompany the projection.

I'm also going to a seminar on the future of large scale projection. Invited to screen and discuss their work are Tundra*, UVA, Urban Screen, Gaia Nova and NVA. We're currently planning the next Illuminate Bath festival so this is a great chance for us to catch up on the latest developments from the world of projection and meet some interesting artists.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Upcoming Events Feb - March 2011

1. Juggling and circus skills taster workshop for Bath Spa University students, Tuesday 15 Feb, Moreton, 7.30 - 8.30pm

2. Comic Relief projections, 24 February 2011, The Pump Rooms, Bath, 6 - 8pm

Ten students from the School of Art and Design are developing 3 games inspired by the red nose characters to be projected onto the Pump Rooms.  

3. Bath UpChuck 2011, 26 February 2011, University of Bath
A one day juggling and circus skills convention convention consisting of workshops and games during the day and a professional show in the evening. See the website for more info.

4. Foosball Tournament, 25 – 27 March 2011, Widcombe Social Club, Bath
Organised by Bath Spa student Richard Potts. Richard started playing table football when he was 16. He became the UK Junior champion at 17 and represented the UK at the world cup in France. He is currently the coach for the junior British table football team. For further info visit: