Presenting Eyeview: In conversation with Nathalie Palin
Something new is happening in the Bay. It's called Eyeview and it's here to celebrate, reveal and re-imagine the Bay. We spoke to Nathalie Palin, Creative Director of Eyeview to find out more about this programme.
Q. What is Eyeview all about?
A. Eyeview is a cultural programme - it’s about really celebrating place, people, revealing what we do here now, and reimagining Torbay’s potential. Torbay has this incredibly rich heritage – its landscape, buildings, history, communities, intangible things – How do we unearth these? Reveal the things that get overlooked? Collaborate creatively to make, see, experience things in another way? … Eyeview is trying to draw out a Torbay story that invites people in ... But not everyone is on our doorstep – hopefully by bringing together inspiring work in June and November, folks from elsewhere will find their way here too.
Q. Who is behind it all?
A. Torbay Culture secured funding from the Great Place Scheme (Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund). Through this, a whole programme of cultural activity is taking place across the Bay including commissioning arts and health, townscape development, destination, understanding audiences – is you look on the Torbay Culture website there are details on the whole of the Great Place Scheme – Eyeview is part of this wider programme.
The Eyeview team at the moment is quite small – led by me and Tom Littlewood, with Lead Producer, Clare Parker. Producer Mair George and James Tyson (International Agatha Christie Festival / British Council) are also involved. As the specific projects are confirmed, we’ll be supporting development of a production team to deliver them.
And then of course there are plenty of partners and collaborators coming forward - if you ask me the same question 12 months from now ‘who is behind it’, I hope that the list of people making it happen is so long and varied that it really is representative of Torbay – that would be a good outcome.
Q. What is a live call?
A. A ‘call’ is simply an invitation to apply – some calls will be specifically for established artists, others will be for emerging artists, others will be for community members with a good idea. All of the calls ask for people to respond to a specific question, idea or challenge. ‘Live’ calls are ones that are open for applications now.
Q. Who can apply to the live calls?
A. That all depends on the call. At the moment we have one call for established artists interested in making work in particular sites in Torbay, another one for locally-based creatives working with communities – and then there’s a general call for interest in production opportunities. There’ll be more coming online in the new year. We’ve had a few enquiries asking, ‘What is an artist’. We’re interpreting the word ‘artist’ in a broad sense – writers, musicians, performers, makers, designers. It’s best not to get hung up on titles – it’s the quality and energy of the vision that matters – and whether we can see clearly how it can become a reality. Whatever someone’s experience or the way they would describe themselves, we’d rather folks just emailed us to find out more or ask a question. I’m sure that for our ‘Creative Sparks’ call out for example, there are plenty of community-creatives with amazing ideas – there’s nothing to lose by getting in touch …
Q. How can those applying help themselves stand out?
A. By trying to really get under the skin of their idea and bringing it alive, so that we are as inspired reading it as the person who wrote it. Walk about in it, imagine how it will become a reality. This requires a blend of both the imaginative and practical. We’re looking for work that clearly connects with audiences and place, so making sure that this comes across will be important. We’ve drawn up eight programme principles that we hope will really help people understand what Eyeview is about. These are the criteria we will be using for our selection, but the proposals that stand out will most likely see these eight principles as exciting invitations, not hoops to jump through.
Q. What is the 'Production Crucible'?
A. That’s a very good question. To make Eyeview happen, we’re going to need engage the skills of a wide variety of people – producers, stage managers, technicians – all the people who make great things happen behind the scenes. The idea of the ‘crucible’ is to bring these people together – through new opportunities, employment, placements, training – depending on career stage and aspirations.
My hope is that by the end of the programme, a group of regionally-based producers, technicians and event-makers will have collaborated to bring Eyeview to life – and they might see a benefit in forming some kind of collective that is sustained into the future, helping our region’s production capacity flourish. But what this looks like is for the people who form the crucible to vision, not me. We need to enable our creatives, not tell them what the future should look like.
Q. How can the wider Bay community get involved?
A. In loads of ways, I hope! Part of what we are trying to do is to look at the Bay through lots of different people’s eyes. Not everyone wants to make creative work, not everyone wants to look at it. Some projects will invite people to take part in making a piece – we’re planning to include some events that rely on participation by loads of the community to bring them alive. As soon as some our artist commissions are confirmed, we’ll be able to start letting the community know about these.
We are also hoping that people will join us as volunteers - as stewards, researchers, marketeers, production support, helping with creative activities... We also hope that groups of residents might get creative, bringing neighbourhoods alive in new ways – we’re really keen to hear ideas that we might be able to support in some way.
And of course, there’s coming along to events, seeing great creative and cultural activities in the Bay – some might feel familiar, some might be strange, curious, joyful, adventurous. But we want them to be accessible - many will be free to access, and those that have an entry fee will be carefully priced, so they are open to as many people as possible.
Q. What type of things can we all expect to see and do in 2019?
A. From 7th -16th June, we’ll be putting on events across the Bay in (extra)ordinary spaces - in the landscape, in a private house, in a grand heritage site. We’re hoping to bring these spaces alive with theatre, music, dance, visual creations and activities. Through the Eyeview website, e-news and social media, we’ll be keeping everyone updated regularly on new projects and spaces will plan to takeover!
Then in November, we’ll be supporting a series of artworks using light and sound (hopefully involving lots of people locally) building up to a weekend of joyful activities and experiences after dark that bring people together.
Scattered through 2019, there will regular individual events and happenings – including feasts, get-togethers, debates, performances and activities programmed with cultural partners across the Bay.
Q. What are you most looking forward to with Eyeview?
A. I’m looking forward to surprising people and being surprised myself. I’m looking forward to being part of enabling some really special, joyful experiences with and for people – opportunities for us to step outside of our everyday, just a bit, to see what might be right in front of us in a different way.
Live Calls are out now with commissions available of up to £10k, with a deadline of Friday 14th December, download and apply at https://eye-view.org.uk/live-calls/ You can find out more about Eyeview and sign-up to enews at www.eye-view.org.uk Give Eyeview a follow and like on social too: facebook, instagram, twitter.