Hastings’ Creative Summer Programme
Hastings’ Creative Summer was a five-week long festival held in August. It offered a creative and digital skills programme for young people aged 11 to 18, comprising Media Slam workshops, Royal Institution (Ri) Masterclasses, Creative Mystery Tours of studios and workspaces, and research and practical activity. Funded via the Broadening Horizons Fund, it was all about personal development, new opportunities, discovering new challenges and having fun.
The Media Slam workshops were led by top creative industry experts and held in and around Rock House on Cambridge Road on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout August. They were a chance for young people to get hands-on with leading practitioners in Virtual Reality, documentary photography, music and digital technology, textile design and screen printing, running events and gigs, and how to be a young entrepreneur.
The Creative Mystery Tour was a two-hour insight into a range of jobs in the creative industries and was held at Rock House on Fridays during August. Ever wondered what a Foley Operator is? Or a Lightroom post-production expert? If someone phoned up and asked you to organise an agile scrum stand-up meeting would you know where to start? These are some of the weirder job titles and tasks that keep people in the creative industries busy.
Not a lot of people know that in the centre of Hastings, at Rock House, we’ve got quite a few successful media experts working in all sorts of interesting industries, from digital photography, to building digital networks across the town. Participants were able to meet these media experts and digital businesses in their pace of work. They got a chance to find out how the experts got into their professions, what they studied at school, and how they made their way into these exciting careers. The visits were a really useful help towards GCSE or ‘A’ levels choices.
On Saturday mornings in August Hastings Library hosted a month of prestigious Ri Masterclasses for the first time in the town, partnering with MSL Projects and the Royal Institution of Great Britain itself.
i-Rock is a new service for 14-25 year olds, and opened every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in August. Participants were able to talk to workers about emotional wellbeing, mental health, education and employment. The advice was free and there was also a special presentation every Friday of what we do and to meet the team.
i-Rock is based at Rock House, 49-51 Cambridge Road, Hastings TN34 1DT
Facebook: Hastings & Rother i-Rock
Participants completing all four Ri Masterclasses received a certificate from the Royal Institution. Participants completing any Media Slam two-day workshop, Creative Mystery Tour event or Masterclass received a certificate from Hastings’ Creative Summer for great ideas, nice work and positive contributions. Participants also got access to specially-compiled research materials in Hastings Library. Every session included free refreshments. All programmes were free and open to students from schools across East Sussex and Kent.
so what HAPPEned?
Below is a selection of photographs taken by participants at the two-day Documentary Photography session held on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 August, led by John Cole and People in IT. The aspiring photographers worked with John on the streets of Hastings and St Leonards using digital (DSLR) cameras. From left to right, the photos were taken by: Alex, Anna, Elija, Evie, Hannah, Jack, Larisa, Leon, Olympia, Radu, Siobhan, John Cole.
Session 1 of the Creative Mystery Tour was held at Rock House on Friday 10 August and consisted of five 20-minute insights into the creative industries and the mystery that is Rock House.
We began with Adam Clements, animator and filmmaker, demonstrating a simple animation on a graphics tablet, screening his current showreel and another that won him a place at university. We then climbed two floors to Technology Box where Ian McInnnes opened up 360 degrees of his office and live-streamed it to YouTube. We sank five floors down in the ‘slowest lift ever’ to the Alley and an intro by Beth Woolf into the magic of regenerating old buildings, alleys and townscapes. Back up one floor to iRock where we saw another film (with animation) that offered routes to health and happiness for troubled young people. Up one more to Chloe White’s lair and a first-ever showing to a small clutch of the public of Whalebone’s trailer for a potential documentary on The Coffin Club. We then rounded off with lunch.
Two young people, one a veteran of most of the sessions we’d run so far and the other a newbie, took a great deal from it – ‘really enjoyed it’, ‘how can I get into Rock House?’ – asked intelligent questions, got honest answers, and opened up about themselves. We learned from them about bullying at school, self-harming and getting over it with counselling, career aspirations (floristry and photography) and plans from one to live forever and patent the secret, the other to pay back a brother with some dreadful funeral music!
About the Royal Institution:
Every year, for the last 30 years, the Royal Institution of Great Britain has run Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics Masterclasses in schools and public venues across Britain. The classes are free and open to school students from all backgrounds. For many students, the Ri Masterclass is their first experience of meeting and hearing a real scientist, engineer, computer scientist or mathematician, and the inspiration often leads to further study, university courses and more.
About Rock House:
Rock House is a showcase scheme, blending living, working and community space with people working in the creative enterprise sector – start-ups, small businesses and local entrepreneurs. Tenants include people working in design and media (print, web and everything else), photography, website development, animal welfare, youth projects and initiatives, festivals and event management, the music industry (vinyl), documentary film, architecture, film and television, digital animation, and technology.
MSL celebrates individual creativity, community and place. We create performances, exhibitions and installations that engage and inspire people, and transform communities, integrating creative work with social, learning and economic objectives.
Margaret Sheehy, MSL Director
Margaret has a background in education as well as wide experience of the cultural and creative sector. She has worked as a theatre director and writer, and as a producer of both large and small-scale festivals and celebratory events.
Jon Pratty, MSL Associate Director and Co-Director People in IT
Jon is a Digital Producer and Curator and is currently a postgraduate student at the University of Sussex. He specialises in digital skills development programmes, education technology events and place-making activity.
Donna Comerford, Co-Director People in IT
Donna is curious about how things work and making processes effective. That curiosity has led to her gaining experience as a technology consultant, IT Trainer, Project Manager and Business Education Teacher. She has managed and been involved in various collaborative arts, education and technology projects and supports her passion for learning with the study of an Open University Masters degree.
Steve is a young and creative teacher of economics and business studies, currently working at Battle Abbey School. Steve loves talking with young people about new business ideas and is also passionate about the environment. He’s going to be present at most of our Ri Masterclasses, helping manage the events. He will also be helping Rob Price develop his Internet of Things Ri Masterclass, which will be a fascinating live experiment tracking car pollution across the town.
Hastings’ Creative Summer has been developed by MSL Discover and MSL Digital with People in IT for the Hastings Opportunity Fund, in partnership with the Royal Institution, Hastings Library, and White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures. Additional funding from Love Hastings.
Hastings’ Creative Summer is supported by the Hastings Opportunity Area Fund, Love Hastings, The Royal Institution, Hastings Library, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures and i-Rock.