In 2022 we welcomed the return of in-person workshops, collaborated with some amazing community groups and created some incredible stories through film, art and digital creativity. Here is our year in review.
We started the year with Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community Project, a project to engage and consult with children in the planning of the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community through a creative design competition. The children came up with some creative and truly innovative ideas to help shape and inform their local communities using drawing, animation and 3D modelling skills. The winner, Annabelle from Home Farm Primary School created an inspiring eco house complete with vegetable patches, sustainable technology and ecological design features.
Headteacher of Home Farm Primary School, Mr Richard Potter, said “As a committed Eco-Aware, Green School, one of Home Farm’s curriculum drivers is ‘Environment’. It has been a pleasure to be involved with the My Future: My Design competition and our pupils have really enjoyed thinking about what our communities, homes and buildings should look like in years to come!”
Later in Spring we were commissioned by Essex County Council to create an animation to promote Jaywick Martello tower. As part of the project we designed an arcade game cabinet with the help of students from the Tendring Technical College – the game saw you test the aim of a cannon atop a Martello tower at Moretlla Point, Corsica – the home of Torra di Mortella, the design of which inspired the Martello tower’s build throughout the British Empire in the 19th century.
Our work with Thurrock Trailblazer has continued this year with the delivering of workshops in stop motion, wellbeing video games and digital playground games. Established in 2014, Thurrock Trailblazer is an innovative programme of high-quality arts and cultural activities, and specialist teacher training, that boosts creative learning in schools and accelerates students’ development. We love hearing feedback on how these sessions inspire the attendees, the aim is always that students can easily take the skills they learn and further their knowledge themselves.
“One of the girls bought herself the starter kit the next day! She brought it into school today to show me how she had programmed it, several other girls have borrowed one from the library over the weekend too! …They have certainly been inspired!”
With funding from Children in Need, we have been able to facilitate a wide range of autism friendly workshops – all free of charge for the young people that came. From building robots to making film, participants got expert guidance in small groups to create all manner of creative projects. The workshops have been incredibly popular and we look forward to releasing our schedule of Autism Friendly workshop for the coming months.
In May we hosted a Colchester Film networking event with industry speakers from Disney, Sky, Essex Film Collective and our very own team. Building relationships with working professionals is an important part of our organisation, and the event was a great opportunity to connect and exchange thoughts and ideas.
We have successfully held a great many workshops throughout Easter, Summer, Christmas and half term breaks meeting a wide range of children! It has been so rewarding seeing so many young people come back through our doors. Crafty Computing was a really popular session this year, where children learnt how to control games with a webcam or play a keyboard with bananas! Combining arts and crafts with digital tech to create custom game controllers using Scratch, Microbit and Makey Makey. This was a really fun session with incredible results!
In September we launched our Plug In Creatives programme. An exciting opportunity for four creatives who work with technology to learn practical skills in planning and delivering community engagement workshops. We selected four unique digital artists spanning a broad range of disciplines and paired them with different community projects. Each artist has gained so much experience, furthered their skills and developed contacts for their future practice, we can’t wait to see what they do next. Find out more about their experiences in blog posts here.
The BFI Film club ran in Ipswich for a second year, and the BFI Academy here in Colchester ran for its 10th year to a great new group of enthusiastic film lovers. The course is as always a really exciting mix of tools and workshops giving young people hands on experience with professional equipment and industry experts. The course continues into the new year.
“They were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city. Here too it was Christmas time again; but it was evening, and the streets were lighted up.”
— A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
In November we installed a window display as part of the Christmas Carol Festive Trail in Colchester High Street. The trail transformed 12 previously empty shops into chapters from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol using local artists. Our extract – Chapter 8, Want and Ignorance was created by three local, young animators who are graduates of the BFI Film Academy. Marley Triadi, Sarah Moss and Casper Duffy have all brought their own animation styles to the work. The trail is on until 8th January and you can download a map here. Additionally our festive face filters are back in Colchester city centre. Seeing yourself as a smily elf or Santa never gets old, so be sure to pass by our screens in Culver Square to take a glimpse at your new festive self.
We were delighted to find out that we will be funded as a National Portfolio Organisation in 2023. This funding will allow us to do much more work. We feel this is recognition of the great work we do to support children, young people and communities to learn vital digital and creative skills and a show of faith that we can do much more. We know there is lot or work ahead of us and this funding really will help us to reach more people and support the creativity of the communities we work with.