Creative Stars: Insider’s Story

The Creative Stars project ended this month with their impressive final project showcase. They have had a jam-packed year and have accomplished amazing things. Read Liz’s blog to see what exactly they got up to these past 12 months:

On Saturday 5th of May, I got the train into Manchester with my family to go to Cornerhouse. This wasn’t just a visit; we were going to watch the Creative Stars Showcase – a film followed by an exhibition of our artwork; in my case photography.

It was a wonderful day, and it made me stop and realise just how far we’ve come in a year, and how much we’ve achieved as Creative Stars.

The beginning

It started in February last year, when one of the leaders of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group sent me an application form for a programme at Cornerhouse called Creative Stars. She knew I was a creative person and thought it might interest me.

At the time I didn’t know Cornerhouse that well; I had been once with college and that was it. However, the time I went I really enjoyed it, and I found it a fascinating venue. And I am a very creative individual; I love creative writing, art, photography and filmmaking. I thought this opportunity looked ideal for me, so I applied – yet I didn’t really think my application would be successful; there were so many talented people out there, and I live in Wigan, quite a way out from Manchester, which I worried might affect whether I was selected for the project.

So, you can imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that I had been chosen for the Creative Stars programme! I was so happy.

I didn’t really know what to expect, going to that first meeting, but everyone was really friendly and I met people with whom I have a lot in common, and I soon realised that I was really going to enjoy this year as a Creative Star.

Our first big project was deciding which films to screen at Cornerhouse as part of the Young People’s Cinema Takeover Day in July.

We worked in groups to discuss which films would be right for the event; which would attract young people to come to the cinema but also fit in with the Cornerhouse values of showcasing smaller, more arty films.

We eventually decided on; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Attack the Block and Green Lantern. I went to the event and watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and I really enjoyed it. I love the small, cosy Cornerhouse cinema.

The summer workshops

Over the summer, the Creative Stars took part in many different workshops, such as street dance at Z-Arts, DJ-ing and MC-ing at Unity Radio, acting at Contact, stage management at the Royal Exchange and music production at Band on the Wall.

I really enjoyed the acting workshop at Contact; I am quite a shy person and it helped me to develop more confidence. The MC-ing at Unity Radio was also really good; the DJ-ing was fun too but very tricky to get the hang of!

Probably the highlights for me were two productions we went to see: As You Like It at the Royal Exchange, and All the Way Home at the Lowry at Salford Quays. As You Like It was very funny, and I like how they modernised some aspects of the story. All the Way Home was very moving and sad, and the actors did a brilliant job.

I also got the chance to attend the preview of an exhibition called Constellations, which was amazing – I loved the artwork and the whole atmosphere of the opening night was lovely.

Lost is Found

In September we got the chance to start planning our own exhibition, curated by us Creative Stars. We were divided into four teams; the Curators, the Documenters, the Comms team and the Events team. I was a Curator and a Documenter, and I also attended a meeting of the Events team.

As part of the curation process, we visited various artists’ studios. I loved Rogue studios, and I met several artists and had the chance to ask them about their work, which was fascinating.

The Curators – Jennifer, Neetu, Alistair, Alex and I – spent a long, long time going through work from all the studios; picking out the pieces that we thought would be best for our exhibition, and trying to find links and common themes that would form a good foundation on which to build the exhibition.

The themes we decided on were rebirth, identity and fragility, and our selected artworks represented nine artists from across the north of England. We named our exhibition, Lost is Found.

The whole process gave me invaluable experience and was a real eye-opener into how exhibition curation works, and how artists work.

The opening night of Lost is Found has to be one of my favourite parts of the Creative Stars project; I felt such a sense of achievement seeing all of these people (five hundred plus) enjoying the exhibition I had helped curate. It was fantastic.

The showcase

The final part of the programme was creating our own showcase, to show off our talents as individuals and as a group. We decided on a film, Henry: Portait of Serial Sketcher, which would star Oliver and which would be part live-action and part animated.

I was able to combine my talents for drawing and filmmaking in order to design animated characters and titles, and then animate them, and then edit the film in Final Cut Pro. It was great developing my skills and working with the rest of the group to combine our talents in order to create the best showcase we possibly could.

So, that brings us back up to the 5th May this year. For a whole year I’ve been a Creative Star, and I’ve loved it so much. Now, sadly, the project is coming to an end. However, now that I’ve discovered just how wonderful Cornerhouse is, and what fantastic opportunities they offer there, I will be sure to get involved in more projects there in the future.

So, thank you, Marisa, Leila and everyone at Cornerhouse for giving me this amazing opportunity. I’m so glad I sent off that application form! Creative Stars was a wonderful experience which will stay with me for a long time.

Link to my blog:

Written by Creative Star, Liz Gibson (May 2012)