Circuit: Affinity – A Collabor-8 Festival

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On Friday, the Nottingham-based youth arts group, Collabor-8 took over Nottingham Contemporary gallery to showcase some of the young talent Nottingham has to offer. The two days were a celebration of art, music, film and performance from both local and international backgrounds.

Collabor-8 work alongside an organisation called Circuit, a national programme that aim to connect young people to the arts and involve them in activities and events around the country. They are led by Tate and funded by the Paul Hamlyn foundation, whose main focus is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity.

The event began on the Friday and continued into Saturday.  Becky Timmins, Marketing Assistant at Nottingham Contemporary, said: “The whole aim of the project is to smash assumptions about young people and to show that they are capable of doing great things.”

The festival certainly gave the opportunity for all of those involved to show what they were capable of. Some of the live performances included MOBO nominated Lady Leshurr, BBC Radio 1 xtra DJ Jamz Supernova, Harleighblu and many more young talented individuals.

Three members of the group, The Mouthy Poets aged 16, 17 and 18 took to the stage to read out their own creations. The poems were extremely moving and cleverly put together. Their work was based on the current ‘Fugitive Images’ exhibition in the Contemporary.

Many of the youngsters said that the arts had given them a sense of self belief and self-confidence. Jasmin Issaka a singer songwriter who performed on Saturday, said that the arts mean allow people to be themselves and express who they are, and that is what is so important to the artists. She said: “I believe that music and art is the best thing for young people. Music has helped me to blossom and escape social anxiety to become a lot more confident.”

Throughout both days there were numerous workshops getting visitors to make things and to express their interests and creativity in different ways. A walk in cinema was also available where a number of short films could be enjoyed whilst being able to enjoy a free bag of popcorn!

As well as art, music and film there were also performances from Dance group Spritzer, a young group of dancers from Nottingham who said they think the arts helps show a different side to young people. Josh, a member of the group said that events like the Affinity Festival are important to show young children what they can do. He said: “If you train hard, try hard, you can do it. You won’t get there by sitting on your backside all day and playing video games.”

It is clear that the two days of arts appreciation has had an incredible impact on the young people involved and all of those lucky enough to attend. The work Collabor-8 is doing is inspiring and ultimately essential in keeping the arts alive, offering young people fantastic opportunities and showcasing the incredible talent that may otherwise go unknown.

A wonderful festival with wonderful people.

By Jade Vowles