INTERVIEW: Teesside Rising | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image T-B, L-R: Patricia Suarez, tuhutzs, Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley, Alice Wilkins

Inspired by a blossoming creative scene and keen to find her place within it, artist, writer and ‘playwrong’ Lisa Lovebucket’s connection to the Teesside arts scene has always been a tangible thing; she founded the Teesside Literary Society in 2015 and set up multimedia cabaret club The Red Room in 2019. Her artist residency at Middlesbrough Art Weekender 2019 delved further into what was to become a real passion project, Teesside Rising involved feeding a series of 10 minute interviews with Teesside creatives into an artificial intelligence programme to make the content interactive.

When the whole world turned into a Zoom call last year, it occurred to me that Teesside Rising leant itself to a lockdown project.” She says of what has become an epic video interview series which has been steadily revealed via YouTube since January.

Teesside Rising consists of interviews with a vast array of creative talent from the area, each lasting around 10-15 minutes, and conducted by a team of eight interviewers/transcript editors. Four videos are released every day via social media, with the final total of 230 interviews available within eight weeks. Narrating a personal and collective journey through the creative arts, Teesside Rising aims to form an important historical record of the positive and negative effects of the lockdown on the arts community.

Narrating a personal and collective journey through the creative arts, Teesside Rising aims to form an important historical record of the positive and negative effects of the lockdown on the arts community

The videos span a vast range of disciplines and offer a variety of insights. Lisa herself concentrated on reinterviewing the original 30 people who participated in her MAW19 residency project; Bobby Benjamin’s interviews focus on visual arts; Julie Easley talks to poets; Jane Jorgensen and Simon Shaw chat with musicians; CG Hatton’s conversations are with writers; and Rachel Laycock and Emma Wheetman interview an array of creative people from Hartlepool.

Obviously being a lockdown project conducted via Zoom, the quality isn’t always the finest. But the lo-fi recordings with background noises, invasions by pets and kids, the umming and ahhing, and the pinging tech all seem to fit with the feel of the piece, which isn’t intended to be a slick presentation, rather an informal but meaningful chat about how people engage with the creative arts and the journey their involvement has taken.” Lisa explains. “Although they have the same basic set of questions as a starting point, the interviews all tend to go their own way, together telling 230 different, personal stories. We also talk a lot in broader terms about what art is, why people do it, and the part it plays in society.”

There have been many highlights from the project; each video is utterly unique, taking surprising twists and turns, some are emotional and many are positive and hopeful. “Filmmaker Lizzie McKeone was probably the biggest laugh, multi-disciplinarian Jane Burn made me cry the most, and Annalice Argyle from TRAC UK was the most formidable.” Lisa says, of some her favourites. “There are chats with seminal players like Kirsten Luckins, Sarah Jane Rooney, Dominic JP Nelson-Ashley, Vicky Holbrough, Laura Degnan, who have long been encouraging, nurturing and facilitating local artists and creatives. Hip-hop dance choreographer Rob Law and artist Jamie Sample were a total delight. Shakk and Eyeconic gave me a bit of cred with my kids. But Danielle from GGAllan Partridge in a crocheted wrestling mask would be hard to beat.”

Watch the Teesside Rising interviews via their YouTube page

 

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