Art Social ’15 – Anyone for Tea?

22 October 2015

Hi, my name is Ronnie McDowall and I am a trainee, currently half way through the Employment Academy training program that The House of St Barnabas run.

Art Social ’15 for me was wonderful mixture of work experience, activities and events, working as a volunteer on the production team at The House of St Barnabas.

I  started at the Employment Academy on September 1st and, after meeting the Culture team,  I opted to work with them for my work experience at HoSB.  The Culture team have an amazing remit of bringing music and culture to The House all year round.  So this to me was a fantastic opportunity to experience event and arts management first hand.

Well…What an experience!  Hester Reeve’s ‘The Life Voyager’s Tea Service’ (that giant teapot in Soho Square) was one of the main attractions.  However, Daddy G’s headline set on the Saturday night was also one the highlights of the week!

For anyone like me who is new to The House of St Barnabas, watching resident writer Jason Ward wandering around and setting up his old school typewriter and working on ‘What the House Wrote’ was pretty bemusing.  The Tie Dye High Five workshop was also a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the garden.  Marlene Haring’s ‘Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine’ involved a rather intriguing art closet which had people queuing up to take a peek in the Monro Room.  One of many films we ran daily in the Chapel was ‘So Many Ways To Hurt You – The Life And Times Of Adrian Street’.  A mesmerising film by Jeremy Deller, it was one of my personal favourites, really engaging and slightly alarming at the same time.  We actually had an incredible turn out, from both our members and curious non-members, intrigued by the history and mysticism of The House of St Barnabas.

One of the people that I really enjoyed working with was David Standen, who helped to co-ordinate all the volunteers.  David is a graduate from the fourth Employment Academy that The House has run.  He selflessly volunteered round the clock to make sure we had a team of volunteers to run the box office and hosts to greet people in Soho square, enlightening people about Art Social ’15.

Our statistics show that over 125,000 people came through Soho Square, and countless numbers stopped to check out the many ‘Mini Manifestos’ that took place in the square, all in the shadow of  Hester’s wonderful teapot, giving them the chance to absorb her message…TEA.  Talk, Exchange, Arrive.

A final note from me….

I have only just managed to post this blog now in week 8 of my work experience at the Employment Academy.  The weeks are flying past, with activities on personal growth, such as leadership training, money management and not to mention our City and Guilds qualifications.   One of the mentors mentioned to me that some of the training we have been receiving at the Academy was the same as one of his modules on his MBA!  I never thought that up-skilling your life and career would be this intense and fun!