Art

Generation Z: Creative Workshops

Exploring new possibilities, ideas and genres is a great way to open your mind! And you just might find something you really love that leads you – well – wherever you want to take it. So Get work-shopping!

This autumn, there are a range of creative workshops running under the ‘Generation Z’ banner as part of the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival. For 14 to 25 year olds, it’s a chance to try something you might not have done before, or that opportunity to speak to people already working in the genre you’re passionate about; and have a great time while you are doing it. Here’s what you can have a go at.
Motion videography: Mahboobeh Rajabi is a digital artist, who’ll be working with you to explore film techniques for mobiles. You’ll be filming and using free editing software all on your mobile phone, and even creating your own soundtrack!

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CREATIVE WORD: Artists and performers from The Contact Theatre will work with you to express your thoughts and opinions via exciting activities in creative writing, poetry and spoken word.

ACT ON IT: Get your imagination flowing with M6 Theatre’s directors & writers, Caroline Kennedy and Parvez Qadir in this challenging, high energy drama workshop. You’ll be taking part in improvisations, creative writing and making instant theatre.

MOVED: Artist and creative producer, Amy Lawrence, will work with movement, choreography and visuals to explore how we interact emotionally and the concept of being ‘moved’ by something, someone or some-place. You will discuss experiences in an open, safe space to share and create.

Find out about Generation Z workshops at www.rochdaleliteraturefestival.co.uk.

Get into your Headz

A reality check on what makes young minds tick, Headz gets to the heart of urban life.

Getting into the ‘Headz’ of the youth of Liverpool, this is a collection of stories seeking out the heart of urban life with a hard-hitting dose of real and powerful issues. It’s a performance full of secrets and stories just waiting to unravel.

If you want a historical reference for ‘Headz’, look to Alan Bennett breaking ground back in 1988 with his televised monologues ‘Talking Heads’. Bennett’s tales gave us a privileged window into the inner thoughts of ordinary people often revealing more about the subject than they might have intended. But whilst Bennett’s stories focussed on the poignancy of middle age – a widow, an actress, a vicar’s wife – these stories give us a window into the young and disaffected.

Theatre company, 20 Stories High, are behind this series of gritty and humorous contemporary monologues. They are not pulling any punches. You’ve got ‘Black’ where Nikki watches the reaction of her Dad who is ‘not a racist’ to an African family over the road. Or ‘Home’ where we see the reaction of kids to the bombshell of their parents’ separation. Or ‘Soft’ on moving a relationship past just a booty call.
Developed from stories from real life, 20 Stories High present an intense look at modern life that’s a reality check on what makes young people tick.

See Headz as part of Rochdale Literature & Idea Festival on 20 October at Heywood Sports Village.

Catching Sight: Rachel Goodyear

words by Emma Conroy

The four storey climb to Rachel Goodyear’s studio through the corridors of Salford’s Islington Mill has the nostalgic familiarity of a high school art department. Encouraged from a young age to pick up pencils and paper by her school teacher parents, and inspired by leafing through illustrated classical mythology books, Rachel tells me she’s always been interested in art.

A key moment for Goodyear was a Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate Liverpool. “It blew my mind,” she smiles, remembering the spark of inspiration and the feeling of connection. A piece of herself, not so much found but uncovered.

As part of the last year of students to attend university without fees – Goodyear did her art foundation at Rochdale’s Hopwood Hall College before going on to Leeds University – she believes this experience and the people she met were part of building her character. Her strong views on the governments’ cuts to the arts and her opinion that “education should be for all” serve to highlight the passion she has for the creative industries. “Places like Walsall Gallery are under threat…the closure would be devastating,” she says. “It’s important that everyone has access to the arts.”

I asked about how links with others can work for artists like her. “I used to be this anxiety ridden, shy person,” she says.“The idea of networking made me shudder…but it can just be chatting to like-minded people.” Rachel herself started simply, getting together with a group of friends to discuss art and get constructive feedback before showing work more widely. This is a more personal kind of network – like the creative community at Islington Mill with its, “on-going friendship and conversation.” It’s helped on a practical level too, with collaborators bringing the technical know how to realise her largest piece yet; a huge installation of three animated panels paired with an instrumental soundtrack, that is part of the ‘Catching Sight’ show.

As we chatted, Rachel took out prints of her art and laid them on the table, discussing how her work has developed over the years. Where previously characters and images floated in infinite white space, more recent pieces use abstract washes and landscapes, mountain ranges and empty rooms to prop up her figures. “The tension between, for example, a bear and a girl,” she explains of her past work, “has moved to the techniques I use.” The precarious relationships are now spelt out by the method, rather than a conflict of characters on the page. She uses triangles or “mountains” and circular “blind spots” which interrupt space to alter the dimensions and add layers of tension. The female figures in her ‘Catching Sight’ exhibition have their eyes covered. Goodyear sees it as “obscuring, not blinding” and compares it to seeing with alternate vision or being able to sense things instinctively.

Goodyear admits to leaving pieces of herself in her art, and her personal response too is almost entirely emotional. When looking back she remembers how she was feeling at the time of creation. “Other people might not see it,” she says, but adds, “it’s really important to me for a viewer to have their own response.”

On asking what advice she’d give to her 18 year old self, she muses, “I’d say not to worry but worrying is fine! It’s healthy.” She thinks for a moment before adding, “Stick at it. Carry on making your art even if it feels like no one’s watching.” However, Rachel laughs at being called a ‘real’ artist, saying the concept is always something that seems out of reach. “You always feel you’ll be outed for being fake!”

Art isn’t the end of Goodyear’s creative endeavours, as the small black moleskin she carries with her shows. A self-proclaimed “obsessive journal keeper”, she confesses that writing her thoughts daily helps her to keep things ordered and unwind. “I solve a lot of things through writing,” she says, recounting her recent trip to New York in which a notebook from years gone by fell from the shelf which coincidentally contained her notes from the last trip she took to the Big Apple. Reading it back she saw how much she’d changed, “I was a completely different person…the way I viewed the world.”

‘Catching Sight’ was at The New Art Gallery, Walsall.