I’m just back from two weeks in Izmir in Turkey with my friend and colleague Ed Bennett where we were both teachers on the Interdisciplinary Involvement and Community Spaces project with Students from Birmingham City University. This project involves 30 students from across Europe coming together in a city that many of them will never have been to before. They form smaller groups with people they will never have met before and work together with a community in the host city to create a piece of interdisciplinary art that resonates with the given community in some way. The students come from a variety of different walks of life and a variety of different disciplines and over the course of ten days or so hammer out ideas, foresee and resolve problems and create something beautiful that usually has a lasting impact on the community. It was such a fantastic project to be involved in and such a wonderful experience to see the six people in my group, all of whom spoke different languages and came from different countries coming together to create something that resonated with each individual student and the space in which they were placed. I was very fortunate to have six fantastic students and co-mentor Mantautas Krukauskas in our group and we were all very fortunate to have such a wonderful host community in Cafe del Mundo who allowed our students free rein to create whatever they wished. They all came together to create something wonderful, of which I was very proud. Likewise did the other groups in the project, whom all created something that was poignant, funny, observant, significant and beautiful. If politicians can learn anything, they can learn from this project.
Furthermore, it was a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk with other artist colleagues working across Europe in a variety of different disciplines and media. Many heated conversations about art and education took place over some lovely Turkish food and Effs Malts. Special praise should be given to host organisers Emre Yildiz and Payam Susanni who in spite of relative political anxiety, handled the whole project with sensitivity, precision, safety and integrity, at all times maintaining the ethos of the project and the safeguarding of every student present. In them along with the other IICS staff members I have made some new friends.
For now I’m back to reality and marking our wonderful student portfolios at Birmingham Conservatoire. It is always refreshing to see and hear what they’re all up to! In addition, I’m preparing for some concerts and recording an extended piece which I’ve listed below. I hope you can make some of them!
28 May 2014 at 1800 National Concert Hall, Dublin 2, Ireland. Matthew Schellhorn performs Thirteen Minutes of Music on the Subject of the Transformation of Things alongside works by Ian Wilson, Linda Buckley and Gráinne Mulvey. Details
3 June 2014 at 1930 Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham, UK. Ensemble KROCK, perform Forty-Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football alongside works by Johan Ericsson and Joe Cutler. Details