Third year Music student Molly Ellis tells of the impact the arts have had on her life here at University of Southampton and looks ahead to the next few months in her role as Arts Ambassador.
I had such a good time working as an Arts Ambassador last year that, when the opportunity came up again, I couldn’t not apply! Last year, I had a blast reviewing theatre, art exhibitions and concerts, attending events and networking with both my peers and professionals in the industry. This last year has really opened my eyes as to what kind of future could be possible in the arts beyond university.
This year I hope to continue working to promote the arts to both my fellow students and the local community. It’s so important for students to understand that the arts you’re involved with at university could pave the way to a career, regardless of your degree. Showing that the gap between the ‘student’ and ‘professional’ worlds is not that wide is something I’m really keen to do – exploring these possibilities and networking is what university is all about!
As a third year music student, the arts have shaped pretty much my entire time at University. I’ve been lucky enough to start shaping my passions for music, theatre and filmmaking into the beginnings of a future beyond graduation- something I’m incredibly excited about.
I’m a freelance filmmaker and photographer and have had the pleasure of working with some amazing groups, such as SÓN and SUSO, and on some cinematography passion projects- one of which has just been accepted for screening at the Canadian International Comedy Film Festival!
I am also a Musical Director for musical theatre society Showstoppers after joining last year (on the advice of previous Arts Ambassador Ben McQuigg). I soon found myself stuck in with nearly every show and my first as Musical Director, ‘I Love You Because’, is coming up at the beginning of February! Getting stuck in with all of these activities across a breadth of arts topics has been an incredible experience, and has really extended the scope of skills learnt during my degree. I encourage absolutely everyone to get involved with at least one arts passion they have during their degree!
Being an Arts Ambassador for me is about both being a role model for participation and engagement with the arts, but also being a gateway to helping others access the arts, particularly those that think ‘it’s not for me’. There’s a wealth of things out there to explore in Southampton and beyond!
Children and young people from across Southampton are at the heart of ‘Connecting Culture’, a ground-breaking project focused on addressing the question of how the city’s thriving Cultural Quarter can enrich the lives of those aged five to 25.
The project begins this winter with an Artist-led ‘Creative Consultation’ with over 350 participants that will provide an insight into each participant’s individual experience of culture and collectively, it will form a picture for Southampton of how children and young people would like to engage in creative activity across the city.
The ‘Connecting Culture’ Consortium is delighted to announce that Southampton-based artists Nazneen Ahmed, Anna Carr, Faye Phillips and Natalie Watson have been selected to undertake the Creative Consultation.
“We are thrilled to be working with Nazneen, Natalie, Anna and Faye. Each artist brings an extraordinary wealth of experience. Together their individual practices include dance, theatre, photography, stitching, writing and visual art, alongside a deep commitment to enable children and young people to develop their own creative voices and means of expression,” Louise Coysh, Associate Director, Arts and Culture, University of Southampton
The artists will work together with Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde and the Research Team to devise, develop and deliver a series of workshops suitable for a range of ages and levels, taking place in different settings across the city’s 16 wards. This vital work will inform the subsequent stages of the project, which overall will see young people produce a Young People’s Manifesto and Map that will adopted by ‘Child-Friendly Southampton’ and create a sustained programme that reflects their needs. The city-wide Creative Consultation will commence this winter and we will be working with our strategic partners to identify participating groups that reflect the city’s population.
Led by University of Southampton, ‘Connecting Culture’ is a two-year research project, supported by a £75,000 grant from Arts Council England, involving a large consortium of arts organisations and child-focused services, to catalyse a new future in the arts.
About the Artist-Facilitators:
Nazneen Ahmed is a writer and creative
writing facilitator and lives in Southampton. She writes fiction for children,
creative non-fiction and poetry for adults, all of which are often inspired by
the theme of migration, which was the topic of her work as an academic
researcher and historian at University College London and the University of
Oxford. She is currently Writer in Residence with the Southampton Stories
project at Southampton City Museums and has held residences at John Hansard Gallery
and Southampton City Libraries in the past. She runs writing workshops in
schools, libraries and community settings. She was selected for the 2016/17
round of Penguin Random House’s Write Now Live mentorship scheme for
underrepresented writers for her historical fantasy novel in progress which is
aimed at readers aged 11 upwards. She is represented by Louise Lamont at LBA
Anna Carr is a Southampton-based
socially engaged, multi-platform Theatre Maker, and Associate Artist at The
Point, Eastleigh. She trained at East 15 School
of Acting. Her work draws on cross-form devised, verbatim &
autobiographical approaches. She regularly collaborates with
professional artists and under-represented communities and has 8 year’s
experience of facilitating a broad range of community groups.
Phillips is a visual artist and educator with a BA (hons)
degree in photography from Southampton Solent University. Since finishing
her degree in 2013, Faye has worked within the local community and a range of
settings across Hampshire and the South of England, delivering a variety of
high quality arts workshops to young people from diverse backgrounds. Faye
specialises in conceptual photography, visual art, book making and is a trained
Arts Award advisor.
Natalie Watson is a freelance contemporary dance artist. Since graduating from Chichester University in 2014 with a BA and MA in Dance, she has performed nationally and internationally with Michaela Cisarikova Dance Company (MCDC), Nexus Dance Theatre, Hayley Barker and DarkFest. Alongside performing, Natalie teaches and choreographs in wide range of educational and community settings such The Point, Fluid Motion Theatre Company, Newbury Corn Exchange and Zoie Logic Dance Theatre.
The Connecting Culture project strands
350 participants, aged 5-25, and Early Years families in a city-wide artist-led
recruitment of 10 new ‘Cultural Connectors’, a programme for young people aged
16-25 integrating ‘youth voice’ leadership and organisational
commissioning of a series of new public artworks led by young people;
use of data gathered by the consortium, participants and partners to trial,
develop and shape activities for children and young people – now and in the
The ‘Connecting Culture’ consortium includes: Artswork, Art Asia, ArtfulScribe, ‘a space’ arts /
God’s House Tower, Black History Month – Southampton, City Eye, John Hansard
Gallery, Mayflower Theatre, Mayflower 400, Nuffield Southampton Theatres,
SeaCity Museum, SOCOMusic, Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton Central
Library, Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton Music Hub, SÓN, Turner Sims,
Unity 101, Voice FM, ZoieLogic Dance Theatre.
Strategic partners include: Southampton City Council (SCC) Children’s Services
(Children, Young People and Families), Southampton Youth Forum, Southampton
Children in Care Council, Southampton Cultural Education Partnership (SCEP),
Southampton Education Forum (HE/FE), Virtual School Head, Primary Heads
Conference, Southampton Cooperative Learning Trust, Youth Options, No Limits
(Young People, Young Carers), Diverse City (Dorset/Bristol), Creative Youth
Network (Bristol); UoS: Public Engagement with Research Unit, Widening
Participation Department, Social Impact Lab.
The Project Research Team comprises: Dr Dan Ashton, Dr Seth Giddings, Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde,
Professor Jo Sofaer, Dr Alan Wong and Louise Coysh as Project Manager.
Arts at University of Southampton is looking for Southampton-based Artist Facilitators to deliver a ‘Creative Consultation’ Workshop Programme involving over 350 participants, aged five to 25 and Early Years families across the city starting in Autumn 2019. This is stage one of ‘Connecting Culture’, an ambitious Southampton-wide project with children and young people at its heart.
A large consortium of cultural organisations and child-focused services, led by the University of Southampton, will work together on this ground-breaking research project to address the question of how the city’s thriving Cultural Quarter can enrich the lives of those aged 5 to 25.
The Artist Facilitators will work together to devise, develop and deliver a series of consultation workshops suitable for a range of ages and levels, to take place in different settings across the city’s 16 wards. In collaboration with the ‘Connecting Culture’ Research Team, the Artist Facilitators will embed the consultation questions and Arts Award Discover and Explore framework into the workshops, enabling all participants to achieve their own Arts Award.
The Creative Consultation will form the basis of Connecting Culture’s research and long-term cultural planning relating to ‘Child-Friendly’ Southampton.
For full details including how to apply, download the brief (PDF & Word):