It has been a busy and successful year where the company have delivered all aspects of the new strategic business plan (2016 -21). We have further developed The Festival of Imagineers as the showcase of the company’s work and the programming and co- production of local national and international artists and companies. Festival Director Claire Maddocks and a team of 4 Creative producers have developed a programme from essentially presented work (2015-17) to a programme with more newly commissioned work. Festival highlights this year include: The Museum of The Moon installation by artist Luke Jerram and with performances of The Broken Tusk a new commission by Balbir Singh; The Wonders of The Moon with The BBC and 200 local people to be screened in February 2018; The Winter’s Tale Imagineer/ Teatr Biuro Podrozy co- production, following its performance in Poznan (Poland) 2016; Moonlight Medley – the festival finale with Talking Birds Theatre company and Open Theatre Company. We also were delighted to host the development of Vessel, a new outdoor production by Acrojou as the first major residency in The Daimler Powerhouse. The festival also featured Bridge a collaboration with Imagineer, Arup, Coventry Cathedral and Coventry Secondary Schools. The 15metre construction, being created as a structure for a new performance piece was exhibited in Coventry New Cathedral accompanied by a VR experience.
Bridge will be further developed as part of The Cathedral 100 Commemorations in 2018 symbolising bridges people and communities build especially at times of adversity. Bridge is also the project Imagineer, Arup, Coventry Cathedral, The Canal and River Trust and partners in Worcester and Lincoln have submitted for an Ambition 4 Excellence – Arts Council Award. This will be a major development for the company if we are successful and could place Imagineer and partners at the centre of outdoor arts development in the east and west midlands.
Imagineer has also further developed the underpinning programmes of education and training, Transformations 3’ Going Underground’ and 4 ‘Into the Woods’ and The Imagineerium Initiative. Transformations Programme is led by Kathi Leahy Associate Creative Director Imagineer and The Imagineerium Initiative is led by Kathi Leahy & Jo Trowsdale (University of Warwick) who is heading up a team of researchers.
The work is a direct legacy of Godiva Awakes and the creation of Godiva and The Cyclopedia with 17 engineering companies. With a solid funding base achieved by three years from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Heart of England Foundation and additional support from Talent Match, Kathi has been able to shape both programmes and create extraordinary, successful and impactful projects. For further information about current projects in development/publications, please visit Projects – www.imagineerproductions.co.uk . The support of Warwick University and the work of Jo Trowsdale is enabling the company to research the impact of our work within the Imagineerium to access whether the project produces more confident learners in STEM subjects in primary education. Reports and evaluations with beneficiaries following Transformations 3 and 4 evidence young people gaining in confidence and skills and overcoming barriers to further training and employment. The ability to deliver year- round programmes allows consistency and enables young people to develop and attain their goals. Many of the young people we have worked with have gone on to training and employment in the creative industries. Both current Imagineer apprentices are Transformations graduates. Both programmes are pathways for young people to find a passion in creative engineering/ discover an interest in further training in the creative industries including technology, construction, graphics, and performance. The City currently has a 45% skills gap in creative engineering and both projects have a real significance in terms of the City being able to address this. 60% of the children and young people who take part in these projects are from priority neighbourhoods in the City.
As part of The Imagineerium Initiative Programme Imagineer held its first Inspiring Change Conference which took place at Study Inn Conference Centre in September (part of the Festival of Imagineers). The aim was to share projects promoting The STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, maths) agenda to artists, educationalists and businesses. Included in the programme were case studies from Highly Sprung Performance Company – One Giant Leap; The Imagineerium Initiative, Marvellous Mechanical Machines; Dominic Wilcox The Little Inventors Project; The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Picture and included the work of Scarabeus.
The conference posed a series of questions around the value of the work and how to move it forward. Delegates were keen for the conference to continue each year to expand the knowledge base other national and international work and to influence change in relation to STEM curriculum development. For further details of the conference and to receive conference notes please contact Jane Hytch – firstname.lastname@example.org . In September, Imagineer met Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England who was very interested in the STEAM education activities of the company and keen to help. Jo Trowsdale and I remain in contact with him and hope that he will continue to support our work particularly The Imagineerium Initiative and curriculum development work.
During the year Imagineer has also delivered other projects led by Associate Creative Director Imagineer, Kathi Leahy, including:
- Warbride Tour to museums & libraries in Staffordshire. The production was created in 2014 originally as part of The Museums On The High Street (MOTHS) project, commissioned by Museums Worcestershire and then adapted for Coventry Cathedral and Birmingham Cathedrals WW1 Commemorations (2015).
- Operation Migration – commissioned by The Birmingham Hippodrome Summer in Southside Festival (June 2017) Choreographer Daisy Moorcroft, and built by The Monday Night Makers Group. Accompanied by a Birmingham Primary Schools Project – Choreographers jade Falconer and Ben Venson.
- Halloween Fiesta & Voyage to the Otherworld – A large scale participatory Halloween Event & Finale Performance (100 Performers) working with local community arts groups and professional arts companies, commissioned by The Coventry BID which took place in Broadgate Square.
During 2017 Imagineer has gratefully received funding from Coventry University, The University of Warwick, Medwell Hyde, The Premier Group, Arup, HS2, Talent Match, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Heart of England Foundation, Whitefriars, Arts Council England, Coventry City Council, The City of Culture 2021 Trust, Great Places, Coventry BID.
We look forward to 2018
- Making significant developments to our capital plans for he Daimler Building as a creation Hub for making and producing outdoor art
- Setting up ART Café’s neighbourhood areas of the City
- Taking part in a major national project with Artichoke
- Developing our current commissioning and festival programming and setting 3 new major outdoor commissions in process
- Working with local businesses and building new business relationships for festival and education projects eg The Premier Group/Arup/IDP/Medwell Hyde/MTC /Complex Developments Projects.