Thursday, 4 November 2010

Evaluation of digital workshops with Future Arts

I was introduced to Future Arts by Global Youth Action. Future Arts first visited Leeds City College, Enfield Centre in November 2009. When I met Gemma Povey I was totally convinced that we could work together to create some great opportunities for my students. Emma’s passion for her work was obvious.

Future Arts provided my students with the technology and skills they needed and helped them to find their voice. This manifested through Emma’s delivery, her creative approach to workshop design and her team who supported her to teach the students how to make digital music using Apple Mac computers.

The first course in November was a single session delivered to two groups. It was a great success. 16 students created short mp3's which they Bluetoothed to their mobile phones to use as ringtones.

After the session a number of students showed a genuine interest in exploring the skills and knowledge needed to compose and produce digital music.

I met a few more times with Gemma and over the following months we planned We were able to access some funding that made the course completely free for the students involved thanks to Global Youth Action, Leeds City College enrichment budgets and funding found by Future Arts. This collaborative approach to getting the funding showed the determination of all the parties concerned to make the course happen.

The course ran over 5 months during term time. The chosen genre was Hip Hop. The young people learnt how to use Ableton to write their own personal versus in a collaborative piece of music. Students also learnt how to write lyrics, how to rap and how to perform in front of green screen.

I was given the opportunity to develop my own skills using final cut pro and editing video from the green screen. This was a great opportunity and I learnt a lot of new skills and techniques that can be seen in the final cut of the Video.

Gemma worked tirelessly during her summer holiday on the final cut of the audio and  then we met to blend the two together. My initial convictions that we would make something special were affirmed and ‘Global Eyes’ had their first single – “Open your eyes”.  

The final DVD is a wonderful piece of work and brought together the weeks of hard work that the young people put into the project. The track has a really strong message thanks to the work of Steve Richards who delivered inspirational lyrics workshops.

I’m incredibly proud of what the young people have produced and hope that we can continue to explore more opportunities in the future.

I found the whole process to be inspiring and fascinating. Seeing young people that I have worked with over a number of years producing a professional DVD was a fantastic experience. Time constraints and other work pressures were overcome and this developed trust between the partners involved in the planning and delivery of the workshops. I am sure the that professionalism of all parties was a huge factor in the success of the project.

I thoroughly support Future Arts work and believe that the young people who have experienced a real learning journey have gained confidence, new skills and most of all, their Voice.

Mike Richmond is a Tutor working with young ESOL students at Leeds City College, Thomas Danby Campus.  

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