Tuesday, 2 March 2010

"Manchester, so much to answer for.."

I don't know why but everytime I say Manchester, I automatically follow it with the words of Morrissey " much to answer for" from the Smith's song "Suffer Little Children".

Anyway, not sure why I'm ramblin' on about that, but to update you on a great day that we spent, a couple of weeks ago, with students on the BA.Hons Embroidery Course at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Having spent my twenties living, working and dj-ing in Manchester I always love going back.

In the morning we gave a presentation about the sampler-cultureclash project to a packed lecture theatre of maybe 100 students or so. Needless to say, we were incredibly nervous but excited about the opportunity to talk about the project with the students. It was great that two of the collaborators - Jason and Yusra - were there, particularly given that Jason had just arrived back from a month in India and Yusra was there with her new child Azariah, only 4 weeks old.  That was particularly special!

The presentation seemed to go down really well, with lots of questions and very positive feedback from the students and tutors.  If you were there I'd love to hear your honest comments about the presentation and the project.  You see I never know whether I'm rattlin on, or presenting the story in an articulate and interesting way!  Hopefully the latter but probably somewhere in between.

We'd been invited up to help kick start a project the first year students were working on about samplers.  To help them think about different ways of sampling, what sampling is and could be, and how historical objects and traditional processes can inform contemporary creative practice and vica versa.

In the afternoon we ran a short workshop with about 30 students from the 1st year of the course, plus a couple of other students who were exploring the connection between sound and stitch in their work. The aim was to create an improvised collective sound piece combining word, pattern and sound.  We worked in three groups, with each student having a go at creating pixel drawings both individually and collectively, some of which the students working with Jason then translated via Reaktor into sound, whilst another group worked with Yusra exploring word and the voice through creating their own collective vocal orchestras.  The groups then rotated so they took part in each excercise.

Here's a link to a selection of photos from the workshop.
sampling manchester
I particularly love the way that the collective pixel drawings take shape as people contribute.  A word left unfinished then being deconstructed and dissolving into a single square.

I'm waiting to get copies of the word excercises back, so I'll post a selection of the individual and collective poems in a future post, so watch this space.  Jason and I plan to work on the sound piece the students started during the day, hopefully going back and working with some of the students further.

I can't wait to see and hear what the students come up with over the next few weeks, and I hope to go back up north to talk to them about how things are progressing, and of course to see the finished work.  I also want to to go back into the amazing room full of all manner of embroidery machines to think about how we might access that resource to inform and create future work.

So a huge huge thank you to Isabel, Kate and everyone from MMU and of course in particular a massive thank you to all the students for such a warm welcome and for making the day so much fun and for throwing yourselves into the workshop so enthusiastically.  Good luck with the project.

We left feeling very inspired.


Helen Harkawenko said...

Hi David! I went to your lecture, I'm a third year Embroidery student. It really inspired me and got me so excited about your project; I was extremely jelous of the first year's workshop! I'm intrigued to see what has been made from your collaboration...

David Littler said...

Hi Helen, thanks so much for such positive feedback. Glad you enjoyed the talk so much. Good luck with your final project. I'll be back up to see what both the first year's have done and to see all your final degree shows. No pressure!!
I was really impressed by the work I briefly saw when I visited.
all the best

katielawes said...

Hi David :) I'm a first year student that went to your lecture and workshop. Working with such innovative and exciting artists was an exciting experience for everyone on the course; I don't know anyone that didn't enjoy the workshop! The end of project exhibition was absolutely incredible, and I think that's a testament to how much you inspired us all. Hope the project is still going strong, it's lovely to be able to look at pictures and reviews of all the other workshops :)
Katie x

David Littler said...

Hi Katie. Thank you so much for writing and for such positive feedback. It does mean a huge amount to all of us that you enjoyed the workshop so much. I'm back up in Manchester next week to see what you've all come up with. Can't wait to see the work, so hope to see you then. Cheers David x