Sunday, 28 February 2010

Ham House Diaries - Planning and Preperation

The weekly meetings seem to have been getting quite heated recently. Everyone really wants this project to come together and be brilliant and i think that it will, we just need to have patience that those people we have contacted will reply and that all of us are doing our jobs properly. I think that this started to sink in a bit towards the end of the week, especially when Jennie and Jade gave us some great news about the funding application to Richmond Council. Its going straight to the top of the pile - its all about who you know these days - Great work girlies!!!

I have been compiling a spreadsheet of all those that have been contacted so far with the other necessary information. Its now up and running in the office and after looking at it, i have started to calm down a little bit. We have contacted a lot of people and from quite a wide range of areas and disciplines. There is room for plenty more though, and we need to keep plugging away at it. We definitely don't have enough people yet, but maybe we need to be firmer with those groups that are taking their time in replying/deciding. This event is going to be fantastic but there is a limited amount of space. As Mark said in Thursday's meeting - publicise to everyone, but let them know that they need to get in quick.
During Thursday's meeting, the design team showed us how to make flowers from recycled materials such as bin liners, paper, card etc. Each week they are showing us different things that we could put in the procession and also some great workshop ideas. It's very exciting to start seeing how things are really starting to come together. I am starting to picture the event now much more clearly.
Next week we are giving a presentation to Gary and Jorge. This is to update them on all that we know so far - to reassure them in some ways that we know what we are doing! We discussed in the meeting our concerns about the presentation - that they want to know a definite on numbers and on what is happening where. Unfortunately we can't give them all of these details right now as we simply don't know. It isn't ideal as i'd love to be able to give them a complete breakdown of the day and who is involved, but there are still 3 months to go and it would be ambitious to have all of that information at this stage.
On Monday we are going to the house to have a look at the grounds and see where we can put people and try to form some kind of structure for what will happen.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Ham House Diaries - Meeting the bell ringers

This has been a strange week for me. All my plans seem to have gone completely out of the window, possibly after a fleeting visit from my mum on Tuesday. Maybe I slipped back into the mentality of, its OK i can do it tomorrow! Oops.. but this week I'm back to my recently quite organised self. Getting things done and trying to fit it all in!

So an update on how its all been going:
Briony and i had a meeting with the chairman of the Middlesex County Association of Bell Ringers where we discussed the project and what their involvement if any could be. It began with Stephen (the chairman) giving us a brief history of his club and church bell ringing. His suggestion of getting a hand-bell team together for the event sounded great and when we discussed what the day would entail, he was very happy to be involved and thought that they could fit in wonderfully. He explained to us that as they would need to be able to hear each other it would probably work better for them if they could play in the grounds, rather than in the procession. I think this is better as it is important for the group to be comfortable and to be showing what they do to the best of their ability. Whilst we would love them to all be in the procession, i think that we need to accept that it won't always be possible and compromises will need to be made. We discovered that the ringers also have a kids group, which is fantastic and we agreed that perhaps they could take part in the procession. Stephen told us that he hoped that the event would encourage people to 'have a go' and take bell ringing up- i think that this is a fantastic idea. The whole idea of the event is to celebrate the community and bring people closer as a community who share something - Ham House! If it showcases the best of the local area and encourages people who wouldn't normally get involved to do just that then i will be really proud of what we have achieved.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Its All Kicking Off....

We are now 4 weeks in to our final semester at St Mary's and its been a bit of a baptism of fire!! Last semester i was only taking DIC, Dissertation and Physical Approaches to Playtext and so i was working hard but a more comfortable pace! This semester i actually haven't stopped and I'm sure its the same for everyone else, with 5 modules including my dissertation and Drama in the Community.

We are underway in our planning for Ham House's 400th Birthday celebrations this coming May - setting up working teams and beginning to contact community groups. Our plan is to have all the groups come together in a procession that will begin at Ham Common and will walk up to the south gates of the house. We walked the proposed route of the procession 2 weeks ago and it seems perfect! The common is directly behind the house down a straight avenue all the way to the common which will hopefully work as a great meeting place for the groups and for the community to see everyone gathering together.
The meetings have been going well, although there has been a few people missing in the last couple of weeks. Thursdays meetings will now be given to the creative team to teach us what they have been doing with Tina. Last week we learnt how to make masks which we can possibly do in workshops with children so that they can wear them in the procession. Claudia filmed the meeting and interviewed us so that we can have an archived process of the whole project.
Everyone has been given a group to contact so we will hopefully have a broad range of groups participating in the event. A good thing about the project is that people will gain awareness of the different community groups in their area and therefore hopefully come together more as a community and borough. For the younger generation to gain an interest and knowledge of Ham House and the National Trust would be really fantastic as well.
Zoe mentioned that one of the landlady's of the pubs in Ham said that they didn't feel that the house was a part of the community. It didn't seem to do anything that showed that it was a part of Ham. This is exactly the reason that the National Trust want to do have this party and from the work that we did with Spiral, it is something that i would love to be able to achieve. I hope that we can give the people of Ham and the surrounding areas something that they can really be proud of and help them to really celebrate having the house in their community. It would be really great if the party was just the beginning, and that the community begin to take a much bigger role in the future of the house and supported each other.