Emergency Exit Arts (UK): Out of the Box
What drew us together was the desire to explore the topic of Cultural Youth Protest/Creative Activism. Each of us were particularly interested in how we may use creative and digital methodologies to empower young people to respond to topics that they were passionate about and enabled them to move beyond preconceived ideas of a protest.
As a collective, we would focus the co-production on a participatory event that would be the culmination of a more process driven approach. We were also united in our ambition to involve young people from each of our countries as the co-creators of this project and that they would play an instrumental role in developing content for events in each country.
With the creative practitioners having a diverse skill base, ranging from puppeteering to visual arts, the team was able to offer a variety of artistic approaches. However we also devised a manifesto that anchored the project through shared aims, objectives and ambitions.
“We are a collective of artists, theatre makers and creative practitioners and we represent 4 organisations from 4 countries…
As a collective we have come together to activate and inspire young people from our countries to become change makers in their local, national and global community. To achieve this we aim to empower young people through creative activism and inspire change through arts based interventions.
We want young people to think outside the box and use a creative methodology to encourage action, reflection and change.
We believe that everyone has the agency and capacity to instigate a positive change and inspire others to do so in the process.
Our hope is that through actively participating in our joint venture young people feel curious and motivated to instigate a creative intervention as individuals and as a community.”
Between November 2016 and February 2017, we hosted meetings in Tallinn and Dresden where the team would develop ideas that would form the basis of our methodology. It wasn’t until the production camp in Italy that the ideas were developed into a project called “Out of the Box”. This consisted of a set of transportable boxes that contained materials and guidelines for participatory experiences.
The idea of the box was inspired through our desire to create a “tool kit”, which would allow participants to have a practical, hands-on experience that explored different topics and themes ranging from gender stereotypes to environmental issues, to name but a few. We agreed that the boxes would be easy to set up in any situation by anyone and therefore could happen without the constraints and pressures of having a touring art work or production created or presented by artists. The content of each box included a mixture of materials for young people to use creatively and digital kit (from tablet computers to mp3 players) that would play video and audio content to bring topics to life in a playful and positive way.
After the production camp, partners programmed their own “Out of the Box” event in each country. Artists from the four organisations travelled to Tallinn, Marseille, Dresden and London to support the delivery of the project. Here’s a snapshot of how the events happened…
Now that the events have been completed, we begin the next phase of the project, which is to create an online platform where our audiences will be able to digitally unpack the boxes and create their own creative activism toolkits to inspire action in their own communities.
Project Producer Ross Bolwell-Williams (EEA, UK)
Dramaturge/Project Producer Ulrike Lessmann (tjg, DE), Mihkel Seeder (VAT Teater, EE)
Digital Lead Eric Christopher Straube (tjg, DE)
Graphic Designer Henry Griin (VAT Teater, EE)
Creative Practitioner Tas Emiabata (EEA, UK), Jo Paul (EEA, UK), Johannes Deimling (tjg, DE), Henry Griin(VAT Teater, EE), Claire Letarget (Theatre Massalia, FR), Cyril Bourgois (Theatre Massalia, FR)