The Media Factory

Timescale: April 2015 – April 2018

Media Arts proposes the establishment of a socially inclusive, creative media venue called the Media Factory. This would be a permanent venue for a range of media related activities aimed at engaging diverse audiences. This initiative will build specifically on the work of the PUMAr research cluster.

The focus of the venue would be experimental creative media. Thematic explorations of Media Arts will be offered through events, workshops, screenings and exhibitions. The venue will be open for people to drop in and enjoy the space in an informal social way as well as taking part in structured activities. It is important to us that the Media Factory has an open, fully participatory ethos and is seen as an accessible and attractive as a venue for a wide ranging audience.

PUMAr is exploring the Sutton Harbour development (see separate section) as a possible host for The Media Factory. The length of contract available may make the venue untenable as a focus but the idea of the Media Factory could be explored as a multi-venue branded entity as with Imperfect Cinema. The aims of the Media Factory will fit with those of PUMAr in relation to Impact, Engagement and Inclusivity. Subversion of the factory as a concept is part of this: a factory of branded ideas rather than commercial products; is the factory a place of play or work or both?

Funding will need to be explored for this initiative which could potentially cohere and support all the aspects of PUMAr.

Media Factory Pilot: Free Time: a collective film project:


FREE TIME is a pilot proposal for a 7-day participatory filmmaking project based at the Media Factory. It will focus on building an open access, visually exciting collective and active cinema, working with local residents, families, Media Artists, and students. The Media Factory will be used as a space for workshops, training, self-training, discussions, and screenings. The project is interested in inclusion as a means towards making what we don’t know visible and will harness the accessibility of mobile phone video technology: All you need is an eye, a camera and the world around you.

Filmmaker Allister Gall will direct the project. He is the founder of the DIY film collective Imperfect Cinema, a Plymouth based film collective. They have organised multiple filmmaking workshops and events in New York, London, the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham and Plymouth. Allister has directed and overseen several participatory and collective filmmaking projects. He is an associate lecturer at Plymouth University and PhD candidate, exploring participatory film practice.

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Proposal:

‘Workers Leaving Lumière Factory in Lyon’ (1895) by the Lumière brothers is credited as being the first publicly screened film. The film is 45 seconds long and shows workers leaving their place of work: a factory. They leave first as a collective and then, leaving the factory gates, as individuals.
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This open-access project will ask participants to make a 45 second piece which shows us what you do in your FREE TIME when you leave your factory (or your place of work today in 2014). Taking inspiration from the experimental Mass Observation projects, it aims to give a voice to the public through the art of the moving image.

Using mobile phone technology as a creative and accessible tool, the weeklong film project will begin with a workshop on a Friday evening introducing the project and its key concepts. The participants will have the week to respond. The Media Factory will be available between five and seven every-day, to assist with ideas, production and editing. The final screening will be on the following Friday.

If this proposal were accepted, the idea will be expanded further towards a long-term residency. The project will be used to explore the different way users might interact with the concept. Editing workshops will be run to show participants how to get more from the technology they now have access to. The aim is to create a framework within which the people of Plymouth can depict their experiences whilst engaging with contemporary forms of mass media.

The project will also seek to explore how we consider/engage with cinema, by creating a participatory cinematic production factory always in flux. This will work with and go beyond the film – leading to dialogues on the nature of work/leisure in 2014, as well as thinking around notions of moving image culture, cinema and technology. Workshops, talks and social events will aim to bring people down to the Media Factory and further 7-day projects will be run with different groups, from local schools, retirement homes, students, sports clubs, to rotary clubs, library’s and more.

After the project is finalised, the work will be disseminated in a variety of different ways. All the footage will be stored on an online webpage to create an interactive idocumentary. The footage will also be used to create an experimental diary piece, cut-up and reimagined, through a series of open participatory editing sessions responding to themes, colours and rhythm. This will allow for the participants to engage with alternative and experimental methods of film and editing production. Drawing from diary filmmaker Jonas Mekas, we will chance-editing methods, linking memories, to form a visual document. This final piece, a personal collage of the everyday, scored by local musicians, will be the final screening of the project.

Plan:

Friday, 5-8pm: Introduction to the project and concept

Monday - Thursday 5-8pm: Workshops and open sessions in the Media Factory, with screenings, discussions, editing sessions.

Friday, 10am -10pm: open all day for final editing and support, set-up, and final screening in the evening with discussions and plan of what’s next.


Media Factory Pilot: Sonic Workshop and Award Ceremony:


Award Categories: ,Soundscape, Documentary & Sonic Research

Soundscape:
This award is specifically for beginners and young people from the Plymouth area.
Registered participants (max 10) will be given tuition on basic sound recording, using a handheld recorder and allowed time during day 1 to record sounds around the harbour to make a soundscape. Limited time will also be given to edit the work in time for it to be judged the following day alongside the Sonic Award ceremony.

Documentary:
An open call to local sound artists to create an audio documentary.

Sonic Research:
A national call for exploratory music/sound works that reflect or incorporate elements of social participation or research.

All material generated/submitted would be used for future community radio or Media Factory productions.

Prizes:
This still needs defining, but I would hope to include the winning works on local radio, in venues and businesses around the area with the ultimate winner on an FM station perhaps? Space/time/installation at an exhibition? This needs to be arranged prior and would require networking once we can confirm the event.

£100 prize for each category – with the beginner award offset by having a £10 entry fee for workshop and use of facilities?

Performances:
On the day performances from local sound artists and collectives.

Exhibitions:


The factory will have a rolling programme of exhibitions. This is important to generating a vibrant and vital atmosphere within the venue and to attract new audiences to the space. Exhibitions will include the output from community workshops, staff and student showcases as well as research and enterprise derived exhibitions including ICCI 360 screenings.

Media Arts Residencies:


3 month residencies by practitioners with community engagement expertise will mean that the venue has a person responsible for running workshops, being available to engage with visitors and to generate work specifically for the space over that period.

Broadcasts:


Both on-line TV and Community Radio broadcasts would take place from the space. Material for this would be community, research and student led.

Workshops:


Workshops would be delivered to engage new audiences including: local residents, schools, existing students and prospective students. Local arts organisations and community groups will also be invited to collaborate with for relevant workshops and events. Material generated in such workshops will contribute to exhibitions and broadcasts. The media covered in these workshops will include: photography, video, sound, animation and other media related practices.

Cultural Events:


Annual events such as a substantial film festival, sonic arts awards ceremony as well as monthly open screen and mic evenings.

Other potential activities include a pop-up shop for the selling of media work and enterprise events linked to the Formation Zone.

Media Arts:


Media Arts research cluster PUMAr has a participatory focus and its ethos will support this initiative as well as the Media Factory providing a valuable opportunity to generate and showcase research material.
We have a proven history of successful outreach and collaborative activities including:

Over 20 years of collaborations with regional organisations, groups and individuals. This is a core part of the media Arts curriculum and philosophy.

Film Club where children from across Plymouth have successfully engaged in evening video production workshops and screenings. This five month long programme has run successfully for 4 years now.
Media Teachers Network allows us to offer workshops and a common forum for secondary school teachers specialising in Media.

Media Arts offers workshops to groups such as care leavers and autistic children as part of its widening participation programme.