(Yes it's a month overdue, sorry.)
SO. Usually not a huge fan of this kind of thing, but it's been one hell of a year and I'm certainly in a very different place now, compared to where I was at the start of 2014 so I thought a bit of reflection was called for! (Also I've taken a lot of photos I haven't published anywhere so here are some of my faves.)
I started the year blacking out rooms (making them into Camera Obscuras) with Pete Ashton, firstly at the top of the Rotunda in a Staying Cool apartment, and then at the Old Joint Stock Theatre. This was the first stage of our Camera Obscura adventure! In January I also produced my first of several Creative Alliance events; Get Into Creative Employment, which took place at The Rep and went swimmingly with an attendance of over 500. Since finding out I had successfully gained funding for the Birmingham Loves Photographers Spring/Summer programme on Christmas Eve, January was also the beginnings of the planning of this programme of events. I also met Kerry for the first time in January!
Meanwhile, I was still working in retail (Thorntons) to pay the rent..
February was a little quieter, I was working upto Valentine’s day working at Thorntons, planning the BLP programme, beginning to plan Birmingham Architecture Festival (BAF), I also registered BAF as a company.
In mid-Feb I visited my friend in Oxford for her birthday, saw an exhibition at Modern Art Oxford which involved a lot of oranges.
March saw my 21st Birthday, (going to Cadburys World for the first time, which was incredible), my other half starting a new job, going on a two day Event Management course in London, which helped me realise I did actually know what I was doing. It also saw the beginning of the Arts Council Funded BLP programme, kicking off with a collaboration event at 6/8 Kafe as part of Flatpack Festival. I began some volunteer work with Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP) and produced my second Creative Alliance event- Creative Journeys: Meet The Professionals, at Thinktank.
In April I started a whole new era, leaving my retail job and pursuing my arts/events career full time. After securing the job in December, I had my first shift at NN Contemporary Gallery, Northampton. I also started at Ikon as a casual front of house worker too (my only successful job interview this year, thank you Ikon!). April was full of more BAF preparation, continuing to manage the ongoing BLP programme and planning the next Creative Journeys event for Creative Alliance.
May saw me produce my third Creative Alliance event, at The RSC 'Creative Journeys:Meet The Professionals'. Shortly after this It brought me the news that one of my closest friends had been killed in a road accident, this made the rest of the year feel very strange. I had an urge to take something positive from it, but I think it'll still be a while until that happens.
I did however manage to run Birmingham Architecture Festival still, and building the Camera Obscura also gave me something to focus on.
In June I got some new work from Creative Alliance, working within business development, apprentice programme admin and overall administrative work. Pete and I also took the camera obscura on its first outing at Digbeth First Friday which went really well, lots of people were interested in the project and it was great getting exposure. It was knackering but good fun and we agreed that it was the equivalent of 'walking around with a giant business card' - a really strong networking tool.
June was also the month of the National Photography Symposium, where I did a half hour talk about BLP. On the second day of the Symposium we also rocked up with the Camera Obscura.
In July I took a bit of a break, I went to Lisbon with my friend Ash for a long weekend. I also went to Venice which my other half. In between these two holidays I visited my parents for a few days and went to Art in Action at Waterperry gardens as well as an event about historic textiles at Denman College. In between the holidaying I was helping out at LPAP too, as well as BLP ticking over.
August started with an open day event for LPAP, one part of which was promoting Longbridge Light Festival. My other half and I also went to Silverstone to the motogp, when I rode pillion (scary at first then super fun).
Later in August I was offered some paid work with Longbridge Light Festival as a result of my vountary work.
Pete and I made several Camera Obscura appearances such as Festival of Imagineers, a screening of Pinnocchio at mac Birmingham/Cannon Hill Park and Moseley Folk Festival.
Not much excitement in September apparently, just continued Creative Alliance work and lots of Light Festival work.
A month of changes. My friend Ash left for Lisbon for 9 weeks. My friend Sarah moved to London. The BLP programme had its last event. The Light Festival work came to a head too. The Camera Obscura appeared at Fun Palaces. I became concerned about future work but Camera Obscura stuff became more strategic and hurray Creative Alliance got some ERDF funding for a new project and I became involved in the project management; coordinating content for a new online platform.
In November I went to Paris with my mum and later to Brighton for the weekend with my other half to celebrate 5 years together. I also properly started my new work at Creative Alliance and we launched the Kickstarter campaign for the Birmingham Camera Obscura project.
In mid- December the Birmingham Camera Obscura Kickstarter campaign came to an end with us having raised over 2 and a half times what we set as a goal. Continued CA work. When I was at my parents' for Christmas I went to Modern Art Oxford to see the Warhol and Morris show. It was rather lovely- they are two artists whose work I love and it was really interesting to see how the work had been curated and similarities had been drawn between them.
Shadows made from paperchains ^^
Christmas tree at CA -->
It’s been an eventful and overall busy year. Here are some goals, things I’ve learnt, and advice to myself for 2015…
Shout more about what you do/shout more full stop:
I found myself in the same situation several times last year, when I was talking to someone about a project I was working on and they’d say ‘Oh you’re working on that, I didn’t know that was you’ often when it was a project I was running. Let’s not have that again this year!
‘Don’t ask don’t get’
I had a mentoring meeting at one point this year which included a discussion about new clients. I was asked whether I had ever actually approached an organisation which I wanted to work for and asked them if they had any work. It was then made clear that I’d never done such a thing. On two occasions later in the year, this approach fabricated into work.
One thing I’ve definitely learnt from 2014, The Year I Went Freelance was that everything really will pan out in the end. Despite having a few weeks here or there when there wasn’t much going on, I also had some extremely busy times. Whenever I was concerned about an upcoming quiet time, things would fall into place, so the angst really wasn’t worthwhile. I worry by nature, but now that I know how things tend to work out, I should be able to chill out a bit more.
See more stuff
I spent a lot of time producing stuff last year which was great, but it meant that I did miss out on seeing things that other people had produced. My aim this year, especially if I have a quieter time, is to get out there and see more. I also want to travel more – but within the UK especially. I’ve never been to Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol… crazy huh?
That’s it then. Here’s to a good 2015!