Ducked Off! (and how I was supported to take the lead)

Hi, I’m Rebecca from the Circuit Cambridge group. I was recently asked to talk, alongside staff  from Wysing and Kettle’s Yard: Tahira and Lucy, at the Cambridge Arts Network Conference 2016. We shared our experiences of working on our festival. Below is the presentation I gave:

When we first started to come up with ideas for the festival, it was exciting, anything was possible and no idea was too absurd. This was partly due to the artist we worked with, Rasmus from Superflex. He created a relaxing environment of possibilities and helped us to think about what we wanted the festival to say. What voice we wanted.

Taking part in creating Circuit Unlock Cambridge festival has been both challenging and rewarding. I joined Circuit over 2 years ago, thinking that it would be a good opportunity to meet People with similar interests and get involved with the art scene in Cambridge. I did not yet know the skills and confidence I would gain. Out of all the events we put on, I feel I gained the most from co-creating the festival.

Rebecca hosting and welcoming guests; kicking-off the evening party at Circuit Unlocks Cambridge

Hosting and welcoming guests; kicking-off the evening party at Circuit Unlocks Cambridge

The parts of the festival which I became most involved with are Ducked Off and the closing party at St Marys church. When we first started to come up with ideas for the festival, it was exciting, anything was possible and no idea was too absurd. This was partly due to the artist we worked with, Rasmus from Superflex. He created a relaxing environment of possibilities and helped us to think about what we wanted the festival to say. What voice we wanted.

I came up with the game idea Ducked Off. We all became strangely obsessed with ducks through out the planning sessions of the festival. At first my idea seemed quite bizarre;  but at no point did the staff team discourage me. Instead they found ways to help me make my ideas a reality.

One of the realities to the festival was that we had a budget and a short time scale, so some of the original ideas had to be rethought to what was actually possible. Originally for Ducked Off I was thinking of a game similar to a life size version of Angry Birds, where we used a massive sling shot to sling ducks at blocked buildings. After meetings with an artist, who I also helped to choose, Elaine Tribley, the whole game was rethought and became more like the fair ground game coconut shy. Although it was not as big scale as the original plan, it still kept it’s original concept while taking on a life of it’s own. I became completely involved in every aspect of making the game, from the signs, the model houses, the posters and the prizes. I really became proud of the outcome, even more so when I saw loads of people enjoying and becoming quite competitive with the game.

Rebecca and artists Elaine Tribley at Wysing, making prototypes of houses for Ducked Off

I worked with artists Elaine Tribley at Wysing, making prototypes of houses for Ducked Off.

I often lack confidence as an artist, in the past I have found it hard to call myself one.

Test run setting up Ducked Off at Wysing

Test run setting up Ducked Off at Wysing.

Completing this project has given me so much confidence in my own practice. Making me realize that I can make my ideas come to life and that I can complete a project.

Circuit Unlock Cambridge_Photo Mike Cameron 2015 (114)

A participant playing ducked off at the festival.

Through out the whole process of creating the festival we could become involved as much or as little as we wanted to. This meant that during the planning for the closing party we could come to the initial meetings, planning sessions with artist and even some of the council meetings. A lot of confidence was put on us and trust that we would make it happen. All of our thoughts were taken seriously and the meetings lead by our ideas. One of the challenges was that not everybody had as much time as me to get involved as me, due to their busy work or school schedule. So a lot was left on my shoulder, especially with making Ducked Off. Although it was hard I learnt so much and was so enthusiastic about getting it finished. Even though some of the Circuit members could not be there I felt supported all the time by the staff.

I worked with Rasmus from Superflex to design posters for the prizes. 1st prize was a key to a secret house!

I worked with Rasmus from Superflex to design posters for the prizes. 1st prize was a key to a secret house!

The best things I got from co-creating the festival was confidence and I learnt so much about how big projects work. The ups and the downs and how to make it through the

I was great to see people at the festival creating their own placards - commenting on the inaccessible housing situation in Cambridge - the whole reason I came up with Ducked Off was to express opinions and anger about the situation.

It was great to see people at the festival creating their own placards – commenting on the inaccessible housing situation in Cambridge – the whole reason I came up with Ducked Off was to express opinions and anger about the situation.

challenges. That if you keep putting in the effort eventually you make something amazing.

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