ACTIVISTS + ARCHITECTS OF CHANGE was a series of community events
for Bloomsbury Festival, including a mixed media stall for my participatory project, I Am Here Too
(2018). The highlight of a process that attempted to reach local people, it functioned as a much-needed platform for direct engagement with a public to facilitate conversations and/or mark-making.
The event provided opportunities to develop organisational skills in collaboration with a festival, and a useful experience in public interaction and performance.
A proposal was written for the festival which explained the concept, goals and requirements of the project. The organisers then decided to support it and kindly offered a stall at one of its main hubs at UCL Gower Street, starting a process of communication and coordination involving paperwork, logistics and marketing.
The main challenge in this effort was participation from local communities, which felt like a monumental task for an outsider and unknown individual (particularly with introverted tendencies). The allocated space was also on a quieter end of the venue with lower footfall than other areas.
Nevertheless, the project required contributions from visitors which encouraged persistence on all fronts. Attempts were made to maximise potential of the situation, from making an obvious sign inviting visitors to write or draw, to walking around the venue in search of a receptive audience.
The overall experience was positive and instructive while fulfilling the goals of the activity. In the end, enough interactions and exchanges took place to propel the project to its next stage, taking with it some information from personal conversations as well as various human imprints left on cardboards.