Firstly, I had meant to get this live aaaages ago but you know how life has a habit of ramming things in the way at times; that happened.
On the 9th of Oct Glitch member Luned and I traveled down to Cambridge to play our part as evaluators for Wysing Arts Centre and Kettle’s yards festival, Circuit: Unlock Cambridge. Not knowing what to expect and as neither of us had been to Cambridge before we got an early start on the morning of the festival and headed into town. What a lovely place! Quick visits to the church of St. Mary the Great, King’s college, grounds of Emmanuel college, the museum of earth sciences and museum of archaeology and anthropology…all before 11. And the bikes. Lots of bikes. In case you didn’t know Tomos love bikes. Bikes bikes bikes.
After meeting the other Circulate members Luned and I headed to Jesus Green where we managed to get a bit lost. We later discovered that there was a trail of floor stickers directing interested parties towards Jesus Green; we however went the LONG way round doing a full lap of Jesus Green on the other side of the road missing the massive Marquee that was hosting some of the day’s activities. Wish we’d have hired bikes.
It was really nice to see some familiar faces from the programme and take part in stuff, the first of which was an aptly named game ‘Ducked Off’ based on a local issue – the crippling cost of housing in Cambridge. Ducked Off was a spin on a traditional coconut shy replacing coconuts with houses and balls with ducks-this game went down well with all…who doesn’t like throwing stuff at other stuff. I even won a duck, good times. People were encouraged to create a poster/plaque sharing disdain for the current residential crisis, mine said “come on down, the price is wrong” which I thought was very big and clever of me until I realised no one under 25 got it and I suddenly felt really old. I thought more could have been made of this activity in terms of engaging with the audience that was there
We noticed another activity in the other half of the tent which looked like fun, I wanted in. We made our interest known and at whatever o’clock we joined a number of equally intrigued and apprehensive peeps and were formally addressed by a Ld Trottamus Foot (whattaguy!). He pointed out that we had been walking wrong for all these years but luckily he and his Circuit minders were about to prepare us for our Licence to Walk. This was a bunch of fun and although people were fairly self-conscious to begin with it didn’t take long to fully submerge ourselves in ‘proper’ walking techniques. We were all successful, awarded with our Licence and set loose.
Luned and I the headed back into Cambridge to join the Alternative Tour. This, I felt went slightly awry; the tour itself was well put together, imaginative and engaging for those lucky enough to tag along but shortly after starting our fellow Circuit/Circulate members from Nottingham were told they couldn’t come. I can understand that the tour guides may have wanted to keep numbers down but I felt that this should have been tactfully and clearly communicated at the start. Part of the reason for this was that the tour would include its own evaluation – to me this doesn’t cut it, it’s flippant to assume additional perspectives/evaluation wouldn’t be beneficial. It’s also worth remembering that we were all there as support and to gather evidence for those running the festival to alleviate the necessity for them to do so themselves. The way in which this was handled may have given the impression that we weren’t welcome. The tour ended back at Jesus Green with tea and cake on a canal boat, which was very nice.
After grabbing some food, our day ended with live music and arts at St. Mary Church. It was nice to see this venue used, it had a kind of exciting feel to it as we don’t usually get to see churches in this guise (in fact I rarely visit churches) and the night was really well attended. There were screens in the upper galleries onto which images were projected (I believe these images were from one of the partnership projects). Overall the night had a really nice feel to it and people seemed to be really enjoying themselves, well done Cambridge.