Category Archives: Volunteering

Hi there!

Alex Heaton - Intern - June 2016 - 2My name is Alex and I am in my second month as Assistant Producer Intern at Mid Pennine Arts, where I feel incredibly lucky and excited to be undertaking my placement year. I have just finished my second year of University, studying Illustration and Contemporary Art at Huddersfield, but come from the local area. This meant I already knew about Mid Pennine Arts and some of their amazing work. I wanted to join MPA because I am passionate about bringing arts to the community and I feel there is sometimes an absence of this, and MPA do a wonderful job of engaging a wide community for their work.

I am going to be helping Nick, Melanie and the other project managers with some of the projects as they advance towards their completion, which I find brilliant as I have never been involved with projects on such a large scale before. A few I have been helping out with are: Burnley Canal Festival (27 & 28 August 2016), Spodden Valley Revealed and 50 Years of Mid Pennine Arts.

I have only been at MPA for four weeks and already feel as though I am growing, both in learned skills and confidence. So far I have attended a lot of meetings, these help me gain more in-depth knowledge about the projects, how they are brought together, and how good communication is an important part of the process. This has, slowly but surely, been helping me with my confidence. I have also been minute taking, which is really useful, as it is helping me learn to write down key points when making notes, rather than writing down every part (no matter how irrelevant)!

We recently had a Spodden Valley Explorers event at Whitworth family fun day, where a few of us went down in our exploring gear and welcomed new explorers, helping them make badges and inviting them to share their stories of the area. This was to raise awareness of the Spodden Valley Revealed Project. It was great seeing both kids and adults alike join in on the fun, and wonderful how excited everyone was when the final badges came out. I have to say I got a bit too enthusiastic about the badge making myself. I feel as though badge making brings out the inner child in everyone, though some people won’t readily admit it!

Whitworth-Family-Fun-Day - 3.7.16

I have also been helping with the 50 Years of Mid Pennine Arts project, and have found reading through the old programmes and press cuttings really interesting, as I am scanning them in preparation for the digital archive. This sometimes proves to be quite hilarious, when any member of the team finds a particularly funny story or headline. Though we do sometimes have to drag ourselves out of the time warp, as you could get lost in them for days!

Along with the many lovely and wonderful people I have been given the opportunity to meet, I am very excited to say that this week I will be meeting the artist Lucy Birbeck, who is creating the flags for Burnley Canal Festival. I can’t wait to know a bit more about her working process, and I feel I have lots to learn from her.

Four weeks has flown by, and I can’t quite believe how much I have already learned at MPA. I always start each day with excitement when thinking about all the projects that are in progress, and I am so excited about the parts I am going to be here to see all the way through – like Burnley Canal Festival! I can’t wait to learn more from the kind and helpful team at MPA and all those I encounter while working here, and I would like to thank everyone I have met so far for being so friendly and great.

Penzance to Burnley – Day 34

Long-time supporter and Friend of MPA, Barbara Sanders, is undertaking the most extraordinary feat this spring. Barbara is walking from Penzance to Burnley and is asking people to support her efforts by donations to MPA.

The weather has continued to give Barbara a rather hard time, with lots of rain, high winds and cold to negotiate, even some hail!  In mid March she camped for the first time and woke to find frost on the tent.  Wearing two t-shirts, plus two insulating layers; a hat and nose mask kept her warm enough.  As she says, “the advantage of sleeping in a set of warm clothes inside your sleeping bag is that you are ready to make a dash for the toilet block at a moment’s notice”!

But thankfully there have also been brighter days, as you can see from her photographs.  You can also see the two amazing bridges she needed to cross.  Both during high winds.  The Clifton Suspension Bridge into Bristol and the Severn Bridge into Chepstow were both swaying precariously as she crossed.  In fact the Severn Bridge was closed later the same day. We are continually impressed by her determination to keep moving, no matter what.

By the end of March Barbara got her first good view of the Black Mountains and with that reached more than 50% in days, miles and ascent.  She has walked 400 miles and climbed 23,380 metres of ascent.

As a member of the Clarion Choir we are sure that it was very meaningful when yesterday, walking the Cambrian Way, she passed the Chartists Cave where they used to hide the printing press for the Chartist movement and then a memorial to Aneurin Bevin -the architect of the NHS.

For the next few days Barbara is being joined by her friends Derek and Ellie who are also walking the Cambrian Way (commonly known as the Dragon’s Back) and are acting as her guides.  We do hope the weather treats them all kindly.

So far Barbara has raised the wonderful total of £440, but this magnificent effort deserves more.  If you can help, contributions to Barbara’s fundraising can be made via Just Giving.

Look out for updates on Barbara’s progress on this blog and on our Facebook page.

Penzance to Burnley – the beginning…

Long-time supporter and Friend of MPA, Barbara Sanders, is undertaking the most extraordinary feat this spring. Barbara will be walking from Penzance to Burnley and is asking people to support her efforts by donations to MPA.

Yesterday was the first day, and as she headed off from Penzance she has ahead of her, 700 miles that will take her along the North Coast Path, through the Somerset Levels, along Offa’s Dyke, across the Black Mountains, through the Peak District and then on to the home stretch of the Pennine Way.  She hopes to walk past the Singing Ringing Tree at Crown Point, Burnley around the 27 April. Throughout the miles, and the 35,000 metres of climb the walk entails, Barbara will be carrying a 30lb pack containing everything she needs, including her camping gear, as she will make camp or stay in hostels for most of the trip.

Unfortunately the weather on Day One was wet and windy so she decided to stick to lanes rather than face a westerly headwind.  There were no campsites open and her planned lunch time pub turned out to be shut on Tuesdays in the winter!  So a testing first day.  We do hope things get easier.  A plus side to the day was passing the Tregiffian burial chamber.

Day 1 - 1.3.16 - 2 - compressed

Day 1 - 1.3.16 -compressed

The local papers have supported Barbara’s efforts by features in the Burnley Express and the Lancashire Telegraph, which is great.  Although we think Barbara might find the Telegraph’s focus on her age as testing as Day One’s weather!

Contributions to Barbara’s fundraising can be made via Just Giving.

Look out for updates on Barbara’s progress on this blog and on our Facebook page.

A Volunteer’s Progress

Dominique Dunand-Clarke reflects on her time with MPA (so far)!

On a warm April morning in 2011 I crossed the park and climbed the steep hill to Clitheroe Castle, I was going to take part in an arts project which I knew involved the Castle, a composer and a recording of my voice as I hummed a song. As somebody who has never listed singing as one of my talents I was a little apprehensive. I soon realised I needn’t have been when I met Rebecca Alexander and Lucy Green, two members of the Mid Pennine Arts team, who were very friendly and put me at my ease as well as assuring me that however bad my singing was the talented compositional skills of Ailís Ní Ríain would transform the sound!

My first day at MPA

The project was called Taken and Ailís did indeed create a beautiful sound installation from the donated hums of the local people who took part, which was played in the castle keep for a year and transformed the space. While I was at the castle I plucked up the courage to ask Lucy and Rebecca if I would be able to volunteer for Mid Pennine Arts to gain some experience while I was at university.

I am glad I did because three years later and I’m still here and have gained experience in an extremely wide variety of areas including: assisting artists with research to dressing as an Elizabethan Lady of the Manor; updating MPA’s website to hanging photographs outdoors in the rain, on a windy day in Burnley’s town centre, which as most people who work in the arts will know, is a very useful skill to master.

A windy day in Burnley.

While volunteering for MPA I have had the opportunity to gain training such as being qualified to deliver the bronze and silver arts awards as well as learning about marketing and project management. After I graduated from university and was looking for employment within the arts it was invaluable to be volunteering for an organisation with so many contacts within the arts community and my work with MPA certainly enabled me to apply for my current job in arts management.

Flicker

Volunteering has been a hot topic recently with questions raised about how helpful it is to volunteer as an unemployed young person. I would say that if you volunteer for the right organisation you get back what you put in. Mid Pennine Arts has certainly been the right organisation for me and I am still enjoying my varied role here, the best part of it being that I am never bored!

If you would like the opportunity to find out more about volunteering with Mid Pennine Arts, do not hesitate to email me. I am normally in the office every Friday however I will be out of the office on Friday 17th and Friday 24th of January.