HEART OF HAWICK (ROOM 205)
THURSDAY 28 APRIL – SUNDAY 1 MAY
11:00 – 16:00
Content warning: flashing imagery.
by Tom Swift and Michael Pattison
Alchemy Film & Arts has been collaborating with Branching Out Youth Group since 2020, when we partnered on a series of socially distanced outdoor film workshops in Wooplaw Community Woodland in Galashiels. A project of Borders Additional Needs Group, Branching Out is a Scottish Borders service for independent young people aged 14 – 21 with additional support needs.
The group’s members aren’t strangers to Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. In 2021, at its eleventh edition, their film Wooplash screened as a free livestream to audiences worldwide. While that film is screening this year as part of our exhibitions programme, Start Making Sense reflects an ambitious leap into multi-channel installation for the group – an outcome of its participation in Outwith, Alchemy’s community filmmaking programme for young people in the Scottish Borders.
Whereas our earlier collaborations with Branching Out embraced digital filmmaking techniques to explore the sounds, textures, colours, rhythms and joys of a woodland environment, in 2021 the group ventured into analogue methods. Facilitated by Alchemy’s Film Town Coordinator Tom Swift and under the guidance of artist and educator Lydia Beilby, participants learned about direct animation – applying paint and colour directly onto old 8mm filmstrips – and how to operate an analogue camera. The inclusive, cooperative and supportive environment fostered through the collaboration allowed participants to thrive, build confidence and explore issues important to them in creative and expressive ways.
Start Making Sense is a film installation, a sensory hub, a popup autism awareness campaign. Its guiding principle is that not everyone experiences or enjoys things the same way. Through various interventions, the group has generated an interactive space in which audiences are given an opportunity to explore their own sense of calm, comfort and happiness in an environment over which they have a certain amount of control. Viewers are invited to see, hear, touch and engage with the world from a unique perspective different to their own.
With thanks to Borders Sensory Hub.