I thought the Fresh 6 film event at the weekend was excellent and a real credit to Sam Burkey and all who helped organise it from Calling the Shots, Knowle West Media Centre, Suited and Booted and Firstborn Creatives, and all the young people who made the final decisions. At various times I was on the script surgeries table – giving advice to people on their film ideas, overseeing the library archive screenings and on the welcome table.
During the script surgeries I met a lovely guy from Knowle West called Michael, who had the fascinating idea of making an animation/live action mixed film about a human and a fox. (I won’t give his storyline away here, but it is very good.) I would be keen to see how his film progresses as it had masses of potential. He is linked with the Media Centre, which is a good thing. For anyone to be given the support (no matter how formal or informal) in creatively expressing themselves I feel is a fundamental role of arts & media in society, and one I feel is grossly overlooked or not greatly valued.
Arts in many ancient African, Native American and Aboriginal societies were part and parcel of the fabric of the community, not separate from religion, family, rites of passage and the general sense of identity. Artists didn’t sign their names on their works as they made them for the whole community, not for themselves, but still, the artist was held in high esteem, as his/her role was serving the community.
In today’s climate the artist is vilified, as no one understands the art and why it is being made. I can defend conceptual art as I (think I) understand it’s place on the wide spectrum of the arts, but there is no doubt there is now a wide gap between the arts produced and the communities within which the artists may live. The advance of digital technologies in ‘developed’ countries is seeing a convergence in arts/media and mainstream services, with proven impacts on education, health, and other vital areas of society. Harnessing and pushing the boundaries of how these new technologies are used – and much more importantly, widening the access of them – is a dynamic way of connecting these strands together for the common aim of serving all.