These Beyond Empathy blog posts document my internship with the not-for-profit organisation Beyond Empathy (BE). BE works in the community: making art and fighting social disadvantage. You can see the previous post here, and the first post here.
Blue Rose Show Reflection:
Whilst interning with Beyond Empathy I had full support and mentorship. I gained a lot from observing the type of hands-on work BE employs. When required, the role let me apply developing practical skills formed over years of study and social life. I relished the challenge to use these practical skills, though found they needed improvement.
A vital lesson learnt from my time with BE was to be prepared. You cannot know everything or predict the outcomes of an event so it is best to put in place contingencies and be flexible when needed. The ‘Water Space’ for example was excluded days before the event due to time and people-power constraints.
As an intern my role was to assist with the current project, the ‘Blue Rose’ installation event, understanding that my mentor’s, Philip, Gemma, and Toby, would guide me through the process of getting the show on the road. During my time I have noticed that Phil recognises people’s potential; he sees what challenges I need. If there is a task that challenges me, it allows me to build not only self-confidence but as an artist also. Phillip Crawford recognises a skill he lacks or has no recent history with. This is why he teams up with the right people. An example is programming; he employs Toby. Leland’s contribution was the event; coordination.
Phil’s hands-on mission statement celebrates empathy and difference. This helped me realise possibilities of a diverse world and the ethical responsibilities of the artist. In a diverse world an artist can begin a dialogue with people of all abilities addressing new ways of looking at technologies and visual culture. I see this as not just a possibility but a responsibility.
Toby Knyvett’s similar university experience to mine (UOW) makes him an inspiration. Toby complemented his formal education with his artistic passion; by using his degree in computer Science to his advantage, picking up coding language and driving it with creativity developed outside of the university.
Understanding that to learn in a computer feild like Arduino, an exciting interest of mine, takes time and any advanced coding or electronics cannot be attempted off the cuff. He is a good mentor because he does not see lack off knowledge as a handicap, Toby instead sees the benefits of sharing ideas with outsiders new to the game.
One of the things I did was to assist in video editing with Phillip Crawford. He taught me to look for ‘rhythm’ in my edits, paying closer attention to apply timing as a technique. This fine additition to my film practice will be used as part of a checklist. Another key experience was the coordination between Phil and Leland when decision making for the event. Being included in this process taught me that in order to be the most effective you don’t always have to be active in every interaction. This can be over-exerting. Instead of this, it is important to absorb information whilst still focusing on your role within the team. This might inform my approach to working with galleries and event teams in the future, for instance, there are questions that I will now know to ask when approaching work with organisations for film and art.
My plan is to now further my education through prostgraduate creative arts honours. My strategy will also adopt elements from the Blue Rose project, including Music Therapy techniques such as using new technologies like the ‘Sound Beam’. Opening up a new area for me to explore in my work are places of stimulation; sensory spaces for people of all-abilities. For this I’d like to focus on developmental disorders and build safe spaces where there are no standards of expectation. I will continue to engage with disability and the arts; through future Blue Rose events and Cultural Events. Speaking with Megan McKay from Wollongong cultural services led to prospective work in the Viva la Gong festival if able. And so, as my ability to collaborate with ranging artists and audiences has expanded, I am building the scope of my communication, including communication without language.
This experience has led to a part-time temporary position editing for Beyond Empathy in 2017.The internship has furthered my education and can serve practical benefits, but can also help self-confidence. It has given me inspiration for a project for honours, exploring non-verbal communication, sounds, rhythm, and tone.