Audiovisual Cultures episode 87 – The Secret Library automated transcript of full live recording

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okay a very warm welcome to another episode of audio visual cultures i am very excited to have several guests today it’s been a while since we had a panel and i’m joined by some folks who are involved with otto t’s entertainment i hope i’m saying that right i’m sure i’ll be corrected in a moment if i’m not um and they faced a really massive shift like so many of us and how they’ve had to operate due to the pandemic and they moved from a wide range of live events onto online productions including virtual escape rooms which i’m very excited to hear all about and so um let’s first of all get all the voices attached to names so i’m gonna start with todd and we’ll go around everybody and do some introductions so um beginning with you todd if i could please ask you to tell us your name and your role in the company and it’d be good to hear where everybody is in the world as well if that’s all right that sounds great uh thanks so much for having us here on the podcast my name is todd zimmerman and i’m the producer of oddities entertainment and um i’m excited to share what we’ve been doing online because i think for your listeners your viewers they have an opportunity for um a chance to experience that so we’ll be talking quite heavily i think today about the secret library and uh the many iterations that are coming from that so we’re looking forward to this conversation

brilliant thank you todd and katrina could i come to you next absolutely um my name’s katrina michaels uh i’m an actor based in new york city although originally from london and i’m one of the performers in the secret library brill thank you and deborah what about you sure um i’m deborah bearsley i’m also in orlando um close to todd um and i am the project manager for the secret library and i work for for oddities um so i have a lot of i’ve been involved with a lot of kind of the design elements behind the scenes and things so excited to share that process because it’s it’s all new when we go virtual okay that’s brilliant that sets us up for quite a lot of stuff to get through um so i think it might be good to begin with we’ll come to the virtual side of things in a moment but it’d be great to hear more about how all of you were having to work before all of the world ended and things so the world didn’t end it just

changed so who was it jeff goldblum he says nature finds a way right and uh and so that’s what we’re doing um so for our company and myself included before the the world changed and adapted we were producing a lot of live shows for theme parks across the united states as well as performing arts centers we have all kinds of different shows that that we’ve been doing and we keep about 100 to 150 performers working throughout the year live in all of those different venues so it was quite a shock to us of course when when everything shut down and continues to be shut down for live performances for much of the world so we’ve been trying to find a way to to obviously bring those online but uh it was we were enjoying ourselves and for us it’s it’s about a paycheck just like it is for everybody else but it’s more than that because when you’re interacting with the audience or you hear the applause you hear the laughter it really feeds our soul so and we we’re lucky enough that it that it feeds our pocketbook as well uh that we’re you know able to make our living as performers but but it’s also because i might even say a little bit ego that uh that we just like to hear hey you’re doing a great job

brilliant thanks um katrina what were you working on before um so i come from a in person live theater background um i work predominantly on the regional scenes while i’m based in new york i love the auditions are in new york and then you’ll do a contract in colorado for five months or you’ll go to rhode island for two months and uh i do an eclectic mix of uh i trained in musical theater but i do love shakespeare as well i love like contemporary gritty dramas um weirdly actually when the pandemic hit my next play was a dystopian medical drama um and it was like life imitating art in the worst possible way uh for a while i was like well at least i’m doing some great background research uh for when the show happens uh sally got delayed for air got postponed for a year and just officially got cancelled for next summer um so for me um the thing i love about theater is that it is such a collaboration with an audience and that you kind of you tell a story together there’s that direct feedback um and that was something i was really craving how do i still connect and share in stories i’ve been doing a lot of voice over a lot of audio books but that’s me sitting in a booth and i was fortunate even though i’m i’m based in new york city i’ve worked in orlando orlando shakespeare and i know a lot of people in that environment and so this audition popped up and the fact that there is this kind of immersive element that we get to i get to see the audience you know when i’m singing i play several instruments in the show and i get to kind of have the space where i get to share in song and story with an audience right there and that was an element that was really exciting to me that in a world that has kind of an element of disconnect you know with your fellow human being that this show can inspire that human connection oh that sounds brilliant thank you and uh deborah what were you working on before everything sure so immediately before this i was um doing theater administration at a local community theater um here in central florida um it was a 500 seat theater it is a 500 seat theater it’s still there and you know obviously they’ve been impacted greatly by the pandemic just with all of the capacity limitations and things um so i ended up kind of refining my love for immersive theater um i actually was in new york city for about six years and i worked with an immersive theater company up there and it’s always been a passion of mine to to look into different ways of storytelling you know the world right now wants to be involved and have um you know make a decision about everything something as simple as like american idol you can vote from your phone you know and who’s the next winner like everybody wants to be involved um so finding new ways to tell stories and bring people into that um i thought was always a really cool concept so um you know i came when i came down to new york i actually started an escape room because i wanted to be able to integrate theater actors into that and kind of an element of storytelling into a game play um you know for reasons of being a small business mom and pop shop you know that ended up running its its uh course um but the love is still there so during the pandemic you know we had so much time for reflection i was like you know what i i would love to do something like this and that’s when literally todd called me and said hey i want to do something online and and this was born so fantastic well so i’m hearing a lot about immersive theater and i think you’ve set us up really beautifully there deborah to then talk a bit about the secret library and um explore that a little bit and see right what were the origins of that where did that come from and how do you reproduce that immersive experience for an audience in an online setting so todd would you like to take us through right how did that begin right so again everything shut down and we took a few weeks to decompress and then said you know what we’ve always wanted to do is an immersive experience and it’s very cost prohibitive and obviously i always come back to the cost of being the producer but it’s it’s hard to spend the money to you know build out a building or an outdoor facility that that really makes you feel like you’re immersed into something and so we said well if we we can’t do that physically how can we do that virtually and it you know it’s i just actually gave a speech on this the other day to uh to a conference about um immersive experiences online and it really is virtually impossible because when you are performing to a camera people may feel that they’re coming into your world but you’re sitting there and everything that’s facing back at you right so you have a computer screen facing back at you you have i’m sitting in my office so i have stacks of paperwork in front of me my dog’s at my ankle right now so we we were having a challenge trying to create that immersive uh feel so as we took a look at the secret library what we wanted to do is find something that could be accessed from anywhere in the world you know that that did have a mysticism to it but we had to set it in reality because to make you immersed into something you had to feel uh like those those surroundings were natural uh wherever you were so for us it was you know we talked about how do we do this do we do we do something cool and like oh we’re gonna do a wild west show or or because we’re using computers let’s go and set it in the future and maybe we’re you know going through space and this is the only way we can communicate is through through these tv screens and then we said you know what that’s not going to feel immersive what can we do that is um going to speak to people on that personal level that’s going to put them in a situation where we can talk about their actual lives right now and then twist it to take them into that mysticism and that’s where the secret library was born something that is what we say is the the archive that holds all the records of humanity kind of like the akashic record if you look into some of the new age um wisdom where where all of those stories of humanity are there and that way we could tell different stories to touch on what katrina said we are storytellers so we can tell different stories because a library contains all of this knowledge we can go in in multiple different directions and um you know we’ll talk about this in just a little bit but we have had you know sequels and now we’re working on a prequel and and different iterations that come from that with all kinds of different formats so we’re able to appeal to a wide audience well is that the secret library behind you and your backdrop a library a library the library

i don’t think there’s enough magic going on behind me for it to be the secret library but we’ve got to change the green screen effects guess what i know right

fantastic and katrina how has it been for you um trying to be a performer in immersive theater and then moving into a space and um was that the sort of thing you were doing before were you were ever acting in game spaces as well as deborah was saying and then are you or is that something you’ve moved into now um so i have some background in immersive theater i did i did a show it was a show for children in which the idea behind it was that it was the the kind of brain child of both an educational space but also a kind of choose your own adventure and that they can kind of take ownership over it and so and with kids you really learn to think on your feet especially in a domain that gives them that permission and you know there were certain lines that triggered certain tech and set and lighting and certain projections and puppeteering entrances but then the in-between was often very fluid because you’re basing off what they’re giving you and so in the same way in the secret library we have there is this theater element and that you know we rehearse scenes and we have set characters but everything shifts based on the audience you’re interacting with and how they want to you know they kind of take ownership of what the experience is um and so getting to respond to that and like having feeling solid enough in like what is the world of the story we’re telling was about my character what are the options available to me but how can i go down a different route because that’s the route they want to go down um and that’s the cool thing it’s almost like you’re giving the joystick to the um to the audience um and like that kind of there’s a level of trust and the level and play in that which i think is so unique to immersive theater to games of that it really lets the audience be in control of the experience and so as an actor that’s so exciting because it i mean it fundamentally means every single show is going to be completely different and they’re going to keep you on your toes um we’ve been doing you know the first incarnation of the secret library since we start rehearsing end of august um and you know opened in september so we’ve been doing this together for a while and every single show is different um and that i think is the real magic there katrina you said something about um you know the audience has a choice and and i think not to jump and interrupt but but um i’d like to hear your perspective on a couple of things let me preface it with when we created this to to really give it that immersive experience we asked all of our performers to not only um you know bring their characters to life but but bring their characters to reality in the fact that we asked for um you know facebook pages to be created or instagram accounts or uh linkedin or you know we wanted to give them an online presence that our audience could go and find these characters in the real world each of their characters has a website that is dedicated to their their character’s profession or backstory and so for those audience members that want to really kind of go down the rabbit hole or really explore there are opportunities to find um hints of of these characters living in the on the internet um so and i know katrina you’ve got some fun stories of of guests that have reached out to you but i want you to speak if you can on the creation process of of trying to help build this character not just you know when you are on stage for that hour and a half but but that lives in the real world sure um i mean it was a fascinating experience for me because i’m used to the reverse of i you know constructing my character based on the clues and the text and tailoring that to the text well in this case i’m creating the text the text is mirroring it’s it’s very it’s a flip of that kind of process um but the exciting thing about being engaged in that creation is that you know the materials so well you know i can my character works at a bar and i can rattle off the drinks menu and like you know when in doubt it gives extra fodder to rely on um and i had a lot of fun uh my bar is a literary themed bar so i got to come up with the most terribly punny names um such as a george r.r martini or a pitch of dorian grosgoose um frankenstein um oh terrible and i have so much fun um and so then i can make a game throughout the show of like kind of assigning a signature cocktail to a guest and you know that material at hand to kind of go back to is fun and it’s it is interesting having you know this online presence with the character of i’ve had people reach out to me through my character maggie’s instagram and i they genuinely like they think i am maggie and there are elements of me and maggie um but i i’m not a bartender musician on the lonely side i know but it’s if it is really like someone was asking where my next gig was and i was like i mean i’m performing virtually from my apartment that’s that’s my gig um but it’s so it is funny how it’s it’s fabulous it states like how much they invested and believed in the world and i think having those tie-ins to you know we had like we’re all so connected on social media and things and having this character have those elements as well grounds them as a human um and like they can i’ve had conversation one of the videos on my uh character’s instagram is me playing accordion and i’ve had you know people reach out to me asking about the accordion which i will always happily talk about so you know it’s a great way to connect and a fun like added it creates another layer of kind of immersion of that it integrates in that technology even beyond the show

sorry i hijacked that a little bit deb uh because i know that you wanted to talk about immersive too and the fact that oh please that uh what what you brought to the table from your time uh in new york and the escape room i think are are really important so i just jumped in but i was like oh katrina said something let me hear about it no no i i’m fascinated actually that this was actually one of the things is being able to talk to the performers too because you know we we had a really robust uh writing team when we were first coming up with this i mean we all kind of sat around a table or sat in zoom meetings you know just trying to like nail down the concept nailed down the story you know we had 30 plot points that came and went you know like and then the amount of research we have an entire tome that you know talks about all of these uh libraries these historical libraries that are actual actual places you know that had actual significance in history and we had to pull all of that material just so that we could give that tone to the performers so that way they had that fodder to keep pulling from as well but like we didn’t just create you know todd and i we we didn’t just create this it was such a collaborative effort we were getting materials every day i remember you know we had um you know our writing team would send us a draft of one scene while at the same time somebody would send me a draft a character you know like katrina would send me a the the the bar menu you know and then the next day somebody else would send me a song i think katrina even wrote an entire song

which it like it had a clue it fell by the wayside as we changed the gameplay in rehearsal but i once won with that and then there’s another song my character was linked to another one who’s a history teacher and i made a ditty that was a mnemonic device about the ptolemaic empire which i mean it’s


you know and during the pandemic which has been such a time of like you know we’ve all had to go inside of our bubble right um a lot of us were missing that creative outlet so i think that pulling in all of these performers and whatnot too and allowed everybody to kind of find a quick creative outlet you know in a time where we’re all very frustrated because we can’t live our not our lives as normally as we want right so you know i don’t even think we tasked people with some of the stuff that got created you know i just said hey could you write you know could you have a little ditty because i think that maggie you know i think katrina your character and this other character they know each other and they went to school together or something you know and next day i have a you know page long you know 12 verses of the ptolemaic empire you know so like it really gave us all a chance to be really creative you know and kind of push the boundaries of how can we keep telling stories in a new and imaginative way and just make everybody laugh because everything is so 2020 right now

um so just giving everybody that outlet that opportunity has been you know has been wonderful and and you know you both hit on something and and paul i’m just completely hijacking this whole conversation todd you’re making my job so easy i don’t mind at all you know as a as a producer and director i get accused of of monopolizing the time quite often so i’m good i’m just gonna you know lean into it anyhow deb you kind of mentioned you know having that outlet uh for people where they you know were stuck in their own bubble and and katrina talked about the autonomy for our guests and our audience members but that was also a part of the immersive process was you know we looked at what platform to use and zoom’s a wonderful platform to connect with people but you as a participant have very little purchase on what you can do and so um deb in particular went and found a great platform that we’re using it’s a conferencing style platform but it gives the participant quite a bit of choice in where they go and who they talk to and how they interact with the space so it’s not just one of us putting someone into like a breakout room or something but rather allowing them to to make this journey on their own which is going to make it a unique experience for each audience member and in turn for our performers because it is that different story every time we needed something when we were like first searching for this software we needed something that would universally uh translate because we had you know during this time so much new technology has been thrown at us you know everybody’s had to get used to using uh zoom and stream yard and all these things uh you know we just needed to find something that universally could be understood but we knew that we didn’t just want zoom because it didn’t give people you know the the autonomy to do what they want we had to assign people to break rooms we had to uh like curate their path you know and if they uh katrina’s character is the bartender if they didn’t want to talk to the bartender and they wanted to go talk to somebody else

it never happens her room is always full to be fair but let’s say that did happen we didn’t want to force somebody in there you know they can go enjoy and they can move on so the software that we found is actually a software that we’ve had to kind of hijack just a little bit um i mean it’s kind of the best way to explain it because it was not designed for our use at all um but that’s what we do we think outside the box so um this software was originally designed for like trade shows so you have a two-dimensional map you can invite your guests in and then each room or each booth as it were you know if you were doing a trade show each little booth on the map can fit a certain number of people so they’re automatically like little mini breakout rooms you just have a map that allows you to move through it right so when we looked at that i i’m like an avid um board game player i have an entire wall an entire shelf of board games you know and when todd mentioned we kept going down this path of it’s almost like a clue board kind of thing so that’s kind of where we developed that everybody instantaneously everybody has played clue you know in their childhood at some point or seen it or seen the movie or something they understand the concept of i’m looking at like this mansion and i can all the rooms are labeled and i can move around all the different rooms so it helped the education factor uh which helped them feel more comfortable immersing themselves they know that they have the ability to move from one room to the other whenever they want and now they’re in control you know so now it’s one step deeper than just a video conference and it’s a beautiful map we worked with the graphic designer to come up you know with exactly what we were looking for and since then deb in all of her talent has taken on kind of our map building for some of the further games and we’ve had such a hit within the the conferencing platform that we’ve been working with that they are now coming to uh to us but to dev more specifically to help build some of that richness into their uh layouts as well so it was all part of that immersion to make sure people were really feeling like they were being sucked into it and i think we’ve done a really good job i’m proud of us team where you go

i thought we’d like to hear i’d love to hear people going you know what we did good that’s great i love it it’s we need that positivity that’s fantastic um so i mean i i take it you’ve been getting feedback from users of this and um what what sorts of things are you all hearing from them so far so we’ve had some of that interactivity that katrina has had um and i suppose they’re believing it it’s plausible that these people are real which is fascinating um but are you hearing anything else from people who’ve given it a try you know before you just said it’s great to hear positivity before we go down that road of positivity let’s just go to the dark place when we started this we we you know came out of the gate and we had had you know two or three months of development you know a writing team of 12 to 15 people all the new technology um our performers we have um what do we have we have double performers so eighteen twenty performers uh that were part of this because we were double cast so we had this this pretty massive team heading into it and we were so proud of what we developed and we got out there and the response was um and and that was such a learning experience for us because we had taken all of our passions and we had poured them into this but we didn’t have a clear direction of who our audience was i think right off the bat we wanted to um hit on escape room players because we had these incredible puzzles that were put together and each uh performer had their own puzzle to lead the the group through and we had similar to a buzzfeed quiz that when you before the game even started you could go and find out you know what kind of adventure you were and what library you were associated with and then that led you for us that that was kind of a litmus test of how puzzly they were because some puzzles were more difficult than the others so it would help place them in the right areas of the game so they could start with a harder puzzle if they were gamers uh and then we had the second half of the the performance now and even then there was a bit of a murder mystery element to it without the murder uh let’s keep it positive but they um had this performance opportunity to also be a part of it and decide you know who was the nefarious bad guy and and what we want found out is that theatergoers who are coming for that side of things were very frustrated with the games and escape room players were frustrated that they had to suddenly interact with performers and and so our audience was giving us these really mixed uh reviews of of the game so of course we were like oh no and and that’s i think where deb was talking about the the many iterations and the different things we went through to get it to where it is now and part of that was just focusing in on on our audience and we’ve done that and since then one of the the reviews that i heard that i was so excited to hear was um i really enjoyed myself but moreover i’ve forgotten how much i missed human interaction and and to have that be something that they pulled out of the experience that meant that that our characters were real that our storyline was engaging and they took that 90 minutes and really were immersed which was what our goal was they were really uh were immersed in this experience to the point where they felt they had made friends through the characters and they felt like they had made a genuine human connection through a virtual medium so i was excited to hear that the creation of the you know we did have so many escape room players interested in the concept because the escape room community has just kind of blown up with with virtual ideas you know with virtual concepts a lot of the brick and mortar escape rooms have pivoted to the gopro style where you have you know their attendant their employee wearing a gopro and streaming live and they go through and the players just have to tell them okay pick this up and now do this and now unlock this you know so you have to act through a medium um there are other escape rooms where you know it’s kind of gone point-and-click where it’s almost all video game the vr space obviously is is really turning up the heat right now because more people are starting to get vr but that’s still probably you know a few years away before it’s real commonplace um so you know we wanted to try to make something as well knowing that we had this audience that have now come through and tried this and not quite had a a perfect experience in the first iteration right because it was too immersive theory right it was too dramatic it was too much conversation for them so that’s kind of why we decided to now create an escape room as well so we you know the secret library like todd said it gives us the opportunity to tell so many stories so there’s always another story to tell right so we are doing the next one it’s called escape atlantis and it’s actually a prequel to the the original experience but it’s very escape room it’s 60 minutes it’s you and your team of up to eight people and there is one attendant one character that’s there with you but they are not intrusive at all they will send you some hints when they think you need it and that’s about it they otherwise will leave you alone and maybe run some some technical components you know run a video here or there um so yeah we’re hoping we’re actually launching that this weekend so we’re actually hoping that that appeases the escape room community a little bit more not just the pieces we want to excite them and that’s what we’re doing there we go see this is why he’s the producer and i just whatever

but the but the great thing about the escape room um being a prequel is for those that did want a few more puzzles and and did enjoy the original experience they can go and they can see how it ties into the the show um and on on the back end for us the the performer that is going to be running the game by and large are performers that are doing the other experience so they also have that rich backstory of of the secret library and of we have a shell company called delfix solutions that is the um corporation that is that is funding the the research for the secret library so they have this whole history of delphic solutions as well the play off of and they’re going to be able to then infuse that into the clue giving and and bring those performances through the the escape route without being heavy-handed with it well okay and katrina how is this for you as a performer these um interactions with people and keeping up with the knowledge that you must have to have of the games and things i mean do you find it it must be quite tiring to have this online presence that’s not you but you’re maintaining it as well as maybe your own like uh painting is a generous one okay it’s an other layer if someone wanted to explore it but usually you know it stays within the experience itself um it’s just you know kind of a little easter egg in a way if someone happened to look it up um but it’s not you know i’m not suddenly a social media manager or anything in that level um as for i mean i find it there’s something like very invigorating about like being kept on your toes and it’s that while yes we have this kind of treasure trove of knowledge and backstory you kind of just get to say yes and in the moment it’s very improv and whatever is kind of given to you is like it’s a gift that then you’re gonna run with that um there was one show this was right before christmas and i always i sing a couple songs in the intermission and um or the interval and um someone one of the other characters in the chat i was singing what are you doing what are you doing new year’s eve and one of the other characters who is uh in the story frequents the bar a lot he was like oh i don’t have plans and so then i decided to seize upon that and yes and that and then formally ask him out and then nothing even one more story for like that we got to filter in and there’s another character that day who’s playing my half brother and so he got to jump in the overprotective half brother and so there’s something like so exciting and thrilling a little bit terrifying like where is this going we don’t know um but there’s the wonderful thing is you know i fundamentally trust everyone i work with it’s a really talented really supportive team so you know that like no matter what avenue you go down they’re gonna be there like not only like supporting you but having the merriest time too and so there’s something really gratifying in that um which kind of keeps each performance very much alive and of that moment too because it is while it is you know paying homage to everything that was created before there’s new creation happening in that moment and i think katrina you are uh i i hope that you can see or hear the personality and the charm that she always brings to her character through what she’s saying today but she really is a fan favorite and we get so much positive feedback about her her singing uh of course but also they just they really connect to to katrina’s character maggie um on a on a different level than they do for many of the other performers so when you asked about feedback there’s a lot of great positive feedback about katrina in particular

oh fantastic and um

so do you think this has um broadened out your audience because i mean you were with what you were doing before you seem to be us wide but this must be global why are you getting people from all over the place it is we we’ve gotten people from all over the globe literally we did a a 7 a.m performance on our time for a group that had um people in in hong kong was it down um so we are reaching parts of the the globe that you know we normally wouldn’t be able to our challenges and is is trying to keep enough performance times available for people to to join us from other places quite frankly because it is a it is a game that is is social it’s an experience that’s meant to be with a good number of people and while you get a very personal experience if there’s only three people there for the show that night it also can be a bit overwhelming when there are more performers than there are audience members so for us you know a really great number is between you know 30 and 40 people in the game it uh provides a lot of avenue for what katrina’s been talking about which is that changing directions and unique experience for our guests but it’s hard to have a you know a european time slot that’s enjoyable at 8pm um and then we’re having to do a a matinee and so we’ll get a few people from over there and maybe a couple from here but but we’re trying to find those times to concentrate the guests so that it’s a better experience for them yeah and earlier debra mentioned board gaming and um i’m a real lover of cooperative board games and so i was wondering is the is the escape room online is the secret library is it the sort of thing where everybody has to cooperate and you all lose or you all win or is it just everybody for themselves how does it work yeah so um it is a collaborative experience um it’s a minimum of four people is what we suggest and you can have up to eight people um so far in our early testing of it everybody seems to kind of stay together um and ever you know all four to eight people attack one puzzle at a time collaboratively um it is designed so that way you can split up you know we had one escape room player uh come in the other day and she’s she manages a an escape room in new york city and she came in and she was like okay i want to divide and conquer let’s have you two go here you two go here but everybody else was just a little too nervous um and they didn’t all know each other very closely so they all stuck together and she kind of guided them through it um but i think that when you get a real you know passionate team that has done this many times that you know when i owned my escape room there were some groups i i kind of my brick and mortar was at the beginning of the escape room phenomenon you know back in like 2014 um and only towards the tail end did i start seeing like avid players who have done every single one in town they travel nationally they always have to do them and they know how to do it and they go in there and everybody has a plan you know if my husband and i were kind of the same way i would go in he’d go in and search for everything and bring all the the pieces to me and then i would sit there and just analyze every single piece and then it’s like you’ve got a plan right so i it can be done you know broken up like that but ultimately it is a simultaneous or a collaborative experience um we have been talking about actually you know for some groups that are bigger than eight um we can kind of do a competitive side where we have two games running at one time and it’s a race the clock kind of competition um but we haven’t yet played with that but it is always an option we’re we’re staffing up and and getting ready to do it so we’re excited for the first group that actually wants to compete cool great stuff and um do you ever do any of the characters mislead anybody are there any sort of plants or are they just purely good information are there any plants in there that might be a bit misleading like do you make it hard for people do you have different difficulty levels for people is it difficulty or is it playing with them i think that’s the the real question right so general oh god no i was just gonna say yeah i think we have some red herrings built in but but this is where and i i’m gonna dab not to catch up but i do want to hear katrina’s aspect now i know that i’ve had to sit and i i’ve played multiple characters now as kind of the understudy for the show um but but i don’t i don’t live and breed them as well as some that are more dedicated to their their performance but i know that there are nights that a performer will come in and say i want them all to suspect me tonight so i’m going to do everything i can to be suspected or tonight i’m going to send them all to this person it’s not the right person but i’m going to send them all to this person and really cast a shadow of doubt on them so i think there’s a little bit of that that um ribbing between the performers uh that also keeps it fresh for them but katrina katrina have you ever been suspected i mean uh your character um the funny thing is often my character gets suspected because she’s quite optimistic and naive in a way and so then i get people who are like she’s too nice she’s too optimistic um but then i also uh one of the other actors who i actually uh she was my music director once in a show in orlando um so we’ve known each other for years but she decided to make me the top suspect and her life she was like i don’t even think that’s her real accent i think she’s faking it i don’t have people who would come into my room and this guy remember

um like so there is like fun lines of and so and that you know we all know kind of where the story is going but we can take a little detour and encourage guests to take a detour along the way um and because we have this kind of sense of play and trust with each other we can definitely go down that route um but the man who popped in said spell color

captain um but yeah so we can kind of it’s like a it’s a helpful you can nudge people in a certain way and especially like uh like any and it can help with like the pacing as well as you’re like judging you know how kind of how clued in they are and kind of experience they are trying to gather you can shift them this way and that so that they are going to maximize their time and kind of keep things fresh and enjoyable and to that end dev you also uh while you’re running things behind the scenes for each game you have the opportunity to interact with the guests and and she’s a bit mischievous herself uh so oftentimes she will help guide things just in the in the chat interactions between the other um performers or the the audience so it’s it’s it’s always a new experience but yeah there’s definitely some some leading misleading

i mean there are sometimes too that you know um not only are the character you know our actors creating and we’re creating on the fly but the the participants and this is exactly what we hope for the participants are creating on the fly we have heard some outlandish conspiracy theories like during the intermission when um you know katrina’s character is is playing sometimes they’ll have the opportunity to just chat with each other and be like well i think this is about to happen and you’re like what what did that have to do with anything you get that from but the fun part about it is you yes and it right so one of the characters will pick up on and be like oh that’s a really good idea you might be onto something come find me later and we’ll explore that you know so it just keeps giving us the opportunity to for everybody to kind of have fun with it you know and we have modes of um we separate all of the performers and the technicians for the show we have a feed where we can talk to each other privately so it’s almost like a backstage area so you can be like hey heads up this guest is going down this direction like lean into that and so that you know we can keep each other on board as we do this or sometimes it’s even i just move it can also be like hey i just made a backstory you know like uh this character suddenly decided that she you know played chess with this other character whatever you know and you’re like i don’t i i don’t know where it came from and now suddenly you need to make sure the other performer is aware that you have this relationship in case the act the participants go over there and ask her about it and that’s something that i had a friend who came over and watched as we were running the backstage side of things or the the back end side of things and they were like this is almost as exciting almost as interesting as watching the experience itself because he said i i had no idea first of all that the performers who i i keep talking about how great they are but they really are because they are multitasking like you can’t believe they are running first of all they’re acting like that’s their first job but then they’re running uh puzzles and helping to guide guests they’re having to think on the fly as the guests change things they’re having to run their own technical elements which is in and of itself sometimes a challenge but they’re also keeping this conversation going in the the channel behind the scenes and so they are just killing it but as as he’s watching them roll with the punches and us change out different um technical aspects throughout the game and talking about it and then just our own frustrations as humans when something doesn’t go right and you’re like no no we’re you know he was like this is amazing you should celebrate to watch the backstage is there an avenue then for a behind-the-scenes experience for people who’ve completed it at some point i don’t know put your producer hat on we’ll figure that out

yeah maybe we could live stream something that would be fun oh that could be fun

i feel like we would still end up with like two chats going on there’s like you know

the public behind the scenes and the private behind the scenes well it’s even reality tv is not reality right so you can create another whole experience i don’t know there’s a lot of work there

so um so like point people towards if anybody’s listening and they fancy having a go at this point them towards where should they go to sign up to do paula first of all you say if anybody’s listening they they better be listening come on you’re going to do this for yourself right this is my family’s podcast i this is how we communicate during quarantine

um so they can come and find out about the experience at uh secret library dot io that’s dot and um there’s an opportunity there to take a look at all the different experiences that we have we did have one for christmas where we dealt with uh krampus and the the lore of that with the secret library it was a super fun show and i’m so sorry that it’s seasonal because it was uh it was a lot of fun every night even for us to to watch what was happening because it forced us to really create new new experiences each night you know sometimes as much as we say the audiences can change the story sometimes they do sit back and watch and so oftentimes we have to to really drive their participation if they’re not being particularly interactive but with that one we had uh the opportunity to really delve into some improvisational chops um and then we have a couple with the new escape room that comes out uh next week and then we have a couple of new other experiences on the horizon they can find all of that at secret library.yeah thank deborah were you going to say something there no um i was going to jump in real quick about the um about krampus um that show it it’s amazing kind of we went through such a learning curve with the original experience right we we went through and now that we’ve done it and everybody is so comfortable with it you know with running it like we keep kind of driving home that we keep finding new things and that has now informed the subsequent games so like for for instance um there there is an ability in the in the platform you know you’re looking at a clue board right and you’re looking at all these little pieces on the board all these little avatars that are your character and all the performers and everybody right well you can watch them kind of jump around right you go into this room and then you jump over to this room and then you jump to that room right well we realized that people kind of that was very intuitive and there was something kind of fun about watching people kind of chase each other a little bit you know everybody trying to i really want to track down katrina because she has some important information oh wait he went to this room go get her you know so there’s like this chase element that we were actually able to integrate as a a real chase where you had to chase down krampus we said okay krampus had just got here you have one minute everybody bounce around go get him you have to corner him you know and it ended up being one of the most like adrenaline-filled kind of minutes for a virtual game you know like we’re all just sit everybody that does this you’re generally sitting back in your office or your living room or something maybe a glass of wine but now you’re like clicking around and all of a sudden you’re really really excited right and we’re really you know trying to keep an eye on those things that people really enjoy because we can exploit them a little bit and kind of integrate them into future experiences which i i’m really excited for you know like we thought we had had covered everything with the original experience but it feels like there’s just always more you know it’s so untapped it’s great and it’s funny we keep talking a little bit like a politician where we we’re talking about this thing that we love so much but we have to keep skirting the issue because there is mystery involved and because there are puzzle elements that we don’t want to give away the the endings to and so i’m listening to us talk and i know exactly what we’re talking about but i’m sure to the listeners it sounds a little bit like we’re avoiding answers um or or not giving you the full story and we’re not because because we want to keep it a mysterious element and um so i do apologize for the double speak or the confusing it all makes sense in our brains but it may not come across in it vocally right now

great and so um is there is there anything else that we haven’t covered yet today is there anything anybody wants to say i mean you’re all working your socks off by the signs of it on this but you sign like you’re having a blast which is really positive here but is there anything else you want to put out there for people

it’s always it’s like having a menu that’s just so big like what do i say now what’s really important

um i mean i think that as a producer i have to say please come and experience this for yourself and and that is to keep our performers working because they are the top in in the biz and they are just working so hard having a great time but but we’d love to have the opportunity for um for them to continue but more importantly we really do believe that we’ve hit on something that is universally enjoyable and an opportunity for some escapism and a date night or whatever else a good way to see family that you can’t be with um and we’re so proud of it and we really enjoy what we do so much we want to share that with everybody so please please please check it out yeah boss man summed it up pretty well

yeah i feel like this is the sort of thing that over the coming years researchers new academics and things are going to look at this kind of innovation and how people like you have have just taken this by the horns and just done something with it you know and created out of you know something really quite dark and difficult for the world and um so it’s an amazing achievement so well done and i’m really looking forward to giving it go myself it sounds really hilarious fun exciting you know brilliant thank you all so very much thank you for that thank you and let us know when you’re coming because we’re uh we’re excited to show you absolutely

yeah and i suppose if there’s an opportunity if anybody is anybody listening to this does give it a go just make sure you let somebody know because that would be lovely to to know about thoughts what do you say deb should we set up a discount for listeners i was just thinking that too all right so kind thank you absolutely so we’ll we’ll send you over a special code just for your listeners and and you can include that in your your byline so that they uh they have a chance to experience it for a discount that’s so generous thank you all so much that’s wonderful yeah hopefully it would be good if we it’d be great if we could get a little audio visual cultures team together

so todd zimmerman katrina michaels and deborah beard say thank you all so so much for joining me today it’s been a blast thank you thanks for having us thank you so much


Audiovisual Cultures episode 62 – Community, Collaboration and Courage International Women’s Day Panel automated transcript

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we need to sound for jobs consulate throw to any podcast recording one knows when judge hassle free throws hello and welcome to audio visual cultures podcast exploring different areas of the arts and cultural production I'm polo player and I'm delighted to present this special episode recorded at the community collaboration encourage event for international women's day twenty twenty organized and hosted by creative producer for placeholder and abstract video artist Rachel Breck which took place at B. indie studios in Newcastle upon Tyne huge thanks our members at Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures for you continue to much valued support and thanks as well to everyone engaging on social media this episode cuts between several speakers introduced throughout the session so there will be some changes and audio quality that I've tried this method as much as possible to listen to the end for details on how you can help support custom proof and those sorts of areas and just so you know there will be a wee bit of swearing a hundred per night chilled D. enjoy this discussion thank you for coming to community collaboration and coverage led by Marxist productions %HESITATION to place holder %HESITATION we are here as part of international women's day in solidarity as people who identify as women or non binary to look at how we can counteract bias isolation prejudice under courage collective ness and support each other through building courage via community and collaboration as part of the discussion we have a few people have joined us here a lot of harm in Austin print make it was also a community worker and activist have clemency Mogan of Memphis productions it's R. ET Dr brings life experiences to spaces and finds new ways of talking to audiences as well as bringing all this together collaboratively we have just been S. independent curator working with emerging all S. and founder of the curatorial collective which is a program of development and support security is outside of the university environment I'm recording for a podcast city with for a playoff or do visual cultures we're going to enter into an agreement today that we will respect each other's diverse city and you know listen to each other and engage in a positive conversation and try to support each other as well as providing counter perspectives and arguments and such we don't have to agree but we can all respect each other I'm going to start with Kira so Kira what is the value of community in a creative environment and what your experience with this and then to the rest of the group after that war or the people's experiences of that as well I think as a socially engaged artists I couldn't make work with the Irish community not only as inspiration can you see also acts as a catalyst for pushing me forward in terms of support a lot of the work that I make is informed by a lot of the active my do I work with a community union called acorn fund terribly and %HESITATION a help people like myself from working class backgrounds are low income backgrounds to challenge the status quo and take things that should be there's like their basic human rights so I think having community involved in my work is just something that's always going to be there when I began making arts or begin a project I always think it bears who's this project for I am really interested in accessibility as a person with a disability accessibility in the act can be quite you know in terms of like if you haven't had an arts education view and feel that you're not awkwardly mobile island off to enter a gallery I prefer to take our house to the people and I see the community as being like my community and people in Newcastle's being like truly vital to everything the project I'm working on at the moment involves the community of terror box so there is one in the east and that's where I live and then one in the west end I used to live in the west and to the Starbucks a state pass every day and I working together with some amazing inspirational people to write a musical advice well I use the term musical very loosely head to write a musical of sorts obeys what it's like to live in a terribly and washed we imagine a tower block blaze team or feel or like in the distant future if they were to be like Joe goes how would people look at that as a relic or are they type of time capsule I think the community is so integral to everything I do and everything I think a base you can't live with the community you live in the community but I've really taken a big leap and making sure that it's deeply ingrained and enmeshed in my work sometimes the music acts gets a bad name people think it's going to be like a load of collages you know or like some bad paintings and I never think that they're like buy clothes and buy paintings but people are like %HESITATION so it's just gonna be lovely thing everyone do it this initiating it'll be great what community arts could be radical Katie and can be about taking charge of the situation for me it's a base in reaching a community and helping people to see their own work and also to impact people's mental health positively because it's something that I struggle with and I think if the girls are going to provide any sort of leisure services or aren't going to phone the NHS very well also we need these sort of things to cling on to how do you feel that gender can essentially mean that you require a community to support you because of your identity yeah I mean it's no secret as a person who identifies on the transfection and he was also L. G. B. T. Q. that's there's a lot of opposition to the US in the world I've found new castle thankfully to be a very open and accepting place I wasn't able to be acts as buy or non binary or time reading and non binary when I was in Ireland and I think moving here really helps me I think in terms of community I was able to make a huge leap in my practice as an artist and suggested my general well being by becoming more involved with the L. G. B. T. Q. plus %HESITATION H. M. all the letters community I helped find the DJ which is drag gender folk and androgyny and it's a group of people who enjoyed drag as a pastime or as a way of life or as a way to say fuck you to the world or like love used to where I live and with X. staffs organization I don't think I would have become as confidence so amazing not just for like myself but to see younger people I think the youngest track before we have this fourteen in the DJ amazing they're so cute share drive to leave the Harlem but it's really amazing to see hello across multiple ages and multiple gender identities that can really impact young people in a really positive way so I think when there are so many trans people being oppressed and dying and when people are still fighting for the right to get married or at the right to like nas B. merger to for the person that they are I feel incredibly lucky to be in the position that I'm in to be in a welcoming space and yes I think if you are in Ireland and she wants to be a big case somewhere else come to Newcastle what is he colonizing that's another big thing for me is like look at a lot of this sort of stuff right recommend community and in terms of my identity as a non binary person us at Penn sexual person as a way of decolonizing myself and troubling that idea of no offense to the Hampshire room norms of world but it's a bit passe white colonialists tossed meat for that to be the only way for us to live our lives just do you have any thoughts on laughs yeah well I think you may like can you see it is extremely important and definitely I think I've noticed a lot more being a new castle compared to be in Buckham Liverpool origins to Manchester I do think new castle is very honest lads but the same time was so supportive of each other and I think it's great to be here and in the environment more than anything yeah I think it's with that comes a lot of support which I think we only use because you know we all have sinned during the practices which we can all agree every week you probably to get inside our heads and I'm sad I think that was one of the main things which made me stop the crucial collective cause for me as a mission trip yeah I was in this very weird space where you know often traineeships and I've been getting this experience %HESITATION I'm now replying to some other up to school but now the like %HESITATION no go to qualified but then I'm not applying for the entry level curation jobs in institutions and techno you don't have enough experience yet some in the spare we we it's in between you know my husband like okay how do I get from a to B. what do I have to do to get that experience got that spoke about recognition on one thing I did learn was voice not to the community and attends all of the people were in a similar situation as me you know it might often you're totally was like you know autistic whether it be a rise to and that is what it's like in full speed to make a collective and we'd be having these conversations these discussions and just you know being very like minded and supportive of each other of what we can do with a new castle you know it might not be make information available %HESITATION support and %HESITATION maybe driving someone else's development that they got today I think that's really important key to this a little bit about your accusatory looks active please yes Sir with this style is I think was last August so I'm an associate member of the new bridge projects and when I saw this was a conversation I did have with Nairobi who's the program director that she again felt the same way she's what's both sectional loss of around the northeast issues at this loads of all sweatshops and stuff take the flaws but nothing ready for the behind the scenes people involved in exhibitions we had a big discussion about what is a curator because he's gone but years ago is this idea of like the G. D. of K. in a museum but realistically that's not where it is now you have to be able to do market and you have to be able to network you have to be able to install this loads of you know I never do a correction job is the same as the previous one of don I think it's about you know okay well how do we create group %HESITATION we start these conversations and provide these tools which can help people with and there is they probably do struggle with singing of since then we did like a bit of a social see what people wanted to get out of the collective we've been inclusion of the queue right is to come up and have conversations we did a writing workshop for the local rice at right into something I struggle with all the time so I think that's a simple and almost provide an all around spectrum of what people want to get out of school so it is still an ongoing thing and you know if anyone wants to get involved with anyone wants to recommend anything like do get until it's because I'm always wanting more webshop some more discussions on anything is there a website URL or an email address and citizens from the moment curatorial talk lex if I am making a website currently amazing thank you Jess okay hello would you like to add any thoughts on the subject matter twenty three first I'm calling from China China Carolinians me currently thank you so much for coming %HESITATION the castle's buildings and I'm doing a project about the international and state side found this Siemens AG here is my friend the only sighing Helen's knoll and well you know in my country we I don't know maybe I just focus on family and the world but since I came here I found there a loss of communities as the last week we've been to like a workshop there are over twenty hours thirty communities they just help of men to go back to Korea and how to be stronger he's really inspired me since you've been in new castle what's your kind of experience of the arts and creativity and and that sort of thing up what kind of experiences of the hot I guess first class online always smile and that you %HESITATION just stranger but slowly you know how I context will say hello and how are you something like this and there's still my unique life we can't difficult L. challenging for us because the information is not our mother tongue so at the first L. Y. leasing to my teachers talking about I couldn't catch what they're talking about I've been here full hour half years I think my listening it has improved and the talking I think I'm really loves this place is not as easy as a mentor and I think the last time we spoke these people have more time to enjoy your life and not just focus on the work I think do you income challenges as a woman in your educational practicing your preferences D. field tests as a woman you need more community around here I'm really happy to see there's lots of community to help the woman I haven't found in my country maybe they do how that's I just haven't had that in touch with them yeah do you have any thoughts yeah I think for me I've always find it a bit difficult to find my people find my community I think it took years and Belfast's T. become part of the arts community more broadly and then I had to up sticks and come here and I had to move around a lot for a few years and I've settled in new castle for the past three years and I feel like I'm beginning to see signs many people my tribe and quite a bit of my tribe is currently here in this room I think it's something I value which is why I feel like I seek it so I feel like it's it's I'm still accumulating but I have real trust issues as well and I think just on the gender is she I think a lot of my trust husband spends on specifically women who have broken my trust and so I find thoughts a bit of a difficulty that I'm trying to overcome maybe it shouldn't but it hurts a bit more when women have been your police so it's just trying to be overcome not and spell trust again with new people it's something I value a but I'm quite tentative bite if that makes sense I'm still working three community issue yeah I completely understand the perspective that you coming from and %HESITATION I've encountered my own experiences of loss of confidence where I've been in an environment maybe one way or the colleagues who all I did a similar with level as me and same gender or who would be my CD I have made me feel less confident about the work that I do less confident about my ability to achieve things I think it's so important that we support each other and that we give each of the motivation and recognize each of us value and we're already up against huge challenges with regards to gender bias and inequality and so the value of supporting each other so you know important and my experience as an artist is that I've always been to create a since I was a child yes it's only being in Miami must say is now I've only just really started to bring myself out of isolation with I always used to make it home and spend a lot of time on my own and the loss that was about trust as well and so I've moved into B. indie studios which where we are today recording %HESITATION specifically moved here because I was already working in the building so I knew people in the building already and just chose my studio based on the location being essentially alongside this room that we're in right now and the importance of thought was the opportunity to be able to come out of that room and speak to people and meet people and I've already made in two months that I've been here I've made so many connections both of people based in this building and people outside of the building %HESITATION over here today and that's just amazing and the confidence that you get from being around other people who either have similar experiences to you or who you identify with or who you know were all written for you it's just it's one of the most empowering brilliant things that I've ever experienced it's really important that %HESITATION maintain this community because I'm a norm of soft sort of person that will allow myself to retreat into my own soul sort of neurotic vocal and I called like the Hoffman because it affects my creativity at the end of the day absolutely my name's on the post I'm from the northeast and are free before midnight on the northeast for many many years now I can see both sides at the flow of being here and being knocked systems play a bit of time on the west coast of America as well for me I think there are so many layers of community events almost difficult to skip this one woods said what can be applied to so much because of course in the office community there are so many blessings that are closest to a cancer center this is the second biggest comebacks merit it's a wonderful thing to feel part of something but even when you feel hot you could feel very much distance in every single event maybe I caught a forty three members don't feel well enough and all of those things can be difficult for it's still for the fact that many of us I'm sure how many assumptions but no surprise %HESITATION it's no weird feelings towards the office and aside from any kind of US eccentricities be wonderful folks we spend a lot of time on our own it's a lot of the city it is an easy life so community in terms of in the office communities it's essential thing but it's a very living being and it can be very changeable and sometimes difficult to work with book of salubrious sensitive people school together in both so I was thinking about community and more of a %HESITATION identity modern city communities that working class person and representative specially because I'm a poet and poetry it is someone sorry no skin apparently in terms of sales of poultry all time high for recent news which is amazing and I think it's probably because for in trying times and difficult times and people who haven't necessarily been leaning on social sciences find this is the place that they can find expression they can express themselves people songs right proteins Carissa %HESITATION yeah in terms of a percent a sense of working class there's a lot in the country but it's not the first thing that people think about necessarily coaching because it was very much in the early to stay on topic this practice is for everyone so you have to be present in the working class communities just palm Hassel what I do hope that up to the state economy hi am class community oh my goodness what a huge would have resulted in different connotations to every individual here today I think for me looking at community in an artistic context I think I've spent a long time somehow thinking that the great artistic community of the northeast was this great golden circle %HESITATION to conduct penetrate this great Goldenson collective read the wonderful dynamic people on so for a long time I felt very much I. scientific community book now locks start to feel like I'm kinda Grob truly becoming mall appalled after community and being able to a sold it to find it on my own tunes I kind of feel that a lot of those Smith said I had to borrow all too soon the northeast when they submit actually a lot of those people of justice in securing more regions struggling the site that's a B. so I think it's also about breaking down the meal hi but also as well the class is massively important and this somebody who studies are a comprehensive didn't go fee paying school didn't go off experten Cambridgeshire will answer from the northeast feeling not the pasta syndrome somebody was talking about that as well and nothing stopped it for a long time my reality through sort of the films that put it a sort of still very much bag and I think there is still this perception that the all star lanes will somehow kind of quite middle class but actually the vast majority of regular people all hugely creative in one way shape or form and it's about supporting people they give themselves connection also community sounded depictions to feel that they all created beings and that it is since the roe we lost our heads the company but it doesn't have to be it can be let's have it sit together and do some knitting I'm not too old you know it's not kind of creative perspective on nothing poetry is read the excitement of the wrongs of working class people who needs poetry is a medium with which to Sharon expressed that realities reading but I think we'll do the same as well about curation and gate keeping and glad we show our creativity within communities is a real challenge but I think it's really exciting and I also think that it's something that is going to become more and more exciting %HESITATION it's vitally important as we go through a formal yes if the Tories yeah great great yeah months of scam but also lots of opportunities to do just still sorry clappers wondering please K. do you have a good description of what you would say impossible it feels like this is in case if anyone doesn't know what else to do so I think imposter syndrome is about feeling that you all know with you have been happening the particular space on the comp B. two two sometimes with sex or gender a combi today with experiences of class or variety of different sort of identities my understanding of the is it supposed to feed them that they shouldn't be why shouldn't they put Oxley yes the show to the justice entitled to be in some way I was unable to yells but it is a psychological thing it's something that people have developed over a long time because by virtue of the feeling they shouldn't be so let this be the point where they've been told I digress he'll indirect means that difficult no right to be somewhat thought would be my interpretation of that I mean obviously everybody will help them to individual experience office and I think for a lot of people a lot of women in the law of non binary people of people who identify as female I think it's a much sufficient for people to just sort of feel know what money doing here I shouldn't be allowed to be here I think for roses creative people it's about creating spaces where people feel they should include the cops would be a welcome to please select the number of the people's taste call not only do I agree with you and I think whatever your gender or your upbringing is imposter syndrome kind of makes us home when you've got a cocktail of things if I think back to base when I lived in Ireland and when I moved here I mean I had a bit of imposter syndrome and %HESITATION and it might have been that I was a bit younger but more from the follies of youth I'm not usually %HESITATION now speaking on the idea of seeing like you know like to be somewhere I was never more aware of how different I was and when I moved to this country because I wasn't aware I had a class until I moved here I wasn't aware of this I had a funny accents or obviously I was aware of history unfortunately not many people in this country are more into Tories yeah I wasn't aware of all the sort of thing so getting a big opportunity like this project that I'm working on every day I'm like I'm just a little baby pence sexual non binary immigrants from the backers of know where those come over here what have I got to do or say or sometimes I feel a bit weird but like getting a nice group of ragtag Georgie's together and like and I'm not like a true Georgie and I work for grades so I'm a little bit like a golf tournaments and but yeah I think it's imposter syndrome homes to you when you least expect it and also when you most expect it's it's just kind of %HESITATION yeah actually I wasn't as scared as a bears what I was a lie which to do until late moved here and that goes for like England's ands nas necessary new castle as a place I'm talking about culturally in this country because I mean they're super super and sports appeared yeah I wasn't ready for that I wasn't ready for that sort of weird indirect questioning of who I am and what I'm even here yeah and then it's obviously all fell apart from brexit happens that's a lot to contend with that's my take on I mean I think for me especially being a cure right yeah a lot of big curate is especially from London all white middle class men hate spring the open I'm gonna bring opal it's just I said I feel like all the time when I'm doing stuff I question myself as a woman I'm like should I be doing this should have been put on this big exhibition I don't know I shouldn't but I feel like it's just looking back to raise of history that I am like I shouldn't be here I should be doing this off the time and I don't even know why I think not because you know even like a lot of of self friends at the new bridge projects and like even I come from such a great family where all the women in my family have some strong like with us we've got like a women's like what's hot shot I like it when I have a life don't know cells which is you know I'll always get messages like just stop like you know get out of this mindset like you doing great and I think it's almost is trying to always remind yourself that that you know impose syndrome is also like a counter reaction of fuel and Janie as well and I think you have to think about the Cheney %HESITATION wrong as individuals but just remember it's a really valuable thing that I asked my friend Leslie guy once told me when I was getting the base imposter syndrome eight that's the patriot Seoul don't let yourselves and I was like any time I feel the bass imposters like the patriarchate if she could do that either way I'm just like if I have a second double like white middle class men in my role to go to the women who are surrounded me and got that support Chinese and I think that's important as women that we all do in not in the creative arts in this there is a saying that you should approach things with the confidence of a mediocre white middle class man because almost like any other super again Weiss middle class mediocre men can have problems too and I'm not denying that S. yeah he's right there if you're listening I think one of the most interesting arguments I've heard recently is this if well educated middle class men who all whites all struggling then the social you know and and you know if if you hear of people in those environments struggling at that shows this we have even more reason to be coming together and supporting each other I was knocked man and %HESITATION as creative people %HESITATION as people who want to make things happen I'm one of the supportive of both the people and celebrates accuracy is impossible something that people experience in China is that a similar do you have the terminologies for that kind of experience do you have something similar %HESITATION is there anything that you can relate to because I'm asking this question for my own ignorance to a certain extent in that I don't know if it's an internationally valid experience or whatever whether there's something is there a term or a similar wording full of the experience of when you all at work or you in an environment that you feel out of place please if I have some problem travel I think only my family all my relatives come help me like I mentioned though I didn't send any community and all kind of help heal like how a child to and to talk about your experience let's take together no I haven't I think system your family and the relatives that's a really interesting point because I think you family all so important yes sometimes families can be part of the problem as well as a most times before I came here I worked for almost three years and they find a problem with my work I prefer to talk to my friends I think they can give me some advice that I tell the sides not to like my heart is maybe our meal off something is different and even sometimes they kill me someone last I'd still does habits yeah do you feel as a woman dies you feel different to the men in your places of work in in your educational environment the interesting because my major is international multimedia journalism my position in my company was Jennifer Staab presenter all of the presenter %HESITATION girls the law is yeah but are simple life there %HESITATION now that's a mon managing a group of women and Jana sing that rex spectate shins yeah that's really interesting yeah I think it's quite difficult for a woman to be us provide there why do you that is the household name especially when you'll get married you need to balance the life and work you know you don't how much energy to put in your work so I think just my opinion I think maybe the lost her for to kill promotion was not I think I think it's really important for us to be conscious of the fact that our experience nationally and heroes someone from Ireland we have so many different perspectives around the world and that what we're experiencing here is very different to maybe what you experience in China %HESITATION and stop balance of your ability to think about your work and your life as a woman is so different would you say that the expectation to get married for example in China was I guess the question I want to ask you is in China if you decided I'm not going to get married %HESITATION and I'm not going to go into business and I'm going to be an all is what without experience be like for you would you you know do you know people who've who made decisions like that he said I'm not going to marry I'm not going to work I'm to make often gonna make music yeah I'll call friends she was my classmate we lived together she said %HESITATION accountants now has a boyfriend I don't know why but she told me she bill months again marriages hello marriage is quite difficult maybe I guess she just smiled focus on her work her job and she's doing well he's doing really well in in her own position and last year I eat we talked and she told me about race the her salary excellent that's wonderful cool even the imposter syndrome well I am a working class person from what's called a P. U. L. community in Belfast the Protestant unionist loyalists identity and I did an arts and humanities PhD so yes I am well acquainted because you're not supposed to do any of these things you're not supposed to get an education or B. RT farting where I come from so that's probably an indication behaving quite rebellious but also it's amazing hi many from that community are really rebellious and do those things people from working class backgrounds there's just something intrinsically artistic up white people and they need and desire and I know that you have to break through a lot of social norms to be yourself even if yourself isn't really that radicalization to the rest of society you know twenty twenty four assists are considering my own constant imposter syndrome and how it feels like it can live very much in you working you can spend two days waiting on a roll you write something down you're doing something else to say like what do you do and why you doing this and aside from any issues with your and your lucky nope within all of us I think the sun realty is a female descent person all this is that it's almost like it's been in greens in nearby I've come from a musical background as well and I would President Johnson bonds that never ever regarded itself as a female fronted bond for every single bill you on there like well dressed female came to bones no smell the necessary things to get people to comb and then now I feel like I have this kind of issue with being written down or recorded us feminists ports and please don't smoke free right away to school science and heard because my work is going to be program and it's going to be a pro and marginalized persons and groups but lots of movies I want to help the female artists we don't have that and then the office analysts at this late I realize this because it's something it's a gas problems that white people do I don't know but it bothers me I can't recall the spot a little phone bills I think it's putting you in your place it is maybe we should start using the term %HESITATION this mail postal mail radio broadcasting hello this male journalists like so many years of being the only woman on a bill and then your way to the top of the children C. mobile service do you mind and everything going for the men and that's very frustrating so that on my own of course there was an imposter syndrome when you make in the woods when this is what you'll be met with way more often than not for every for street in port that's why I guess to go back you need to have things like community and we need to build each other up and realize that you call a syndrome means with that in mind I guess when I asked Kay and %HESITATION how kind collaboration empower us and why should we collaborate on he couldn't do huge chunk of what I do with that collaborates and %HESITATION basically in my work mainly now this creative producer among fish production side would come with a huge range of different all this and creative people in all sorts of settings using a range of difference all forums whether tops music soundscape vision loss the act that may K. %HESITATION huge Paul thought this collaboration on a spool sort of thinking about why I think collaboration is important for me is given the sort of the current climate that worldly mommy Kareena walked troops if you like for twenty twenty off walk cold three scenes connective itty so connecting with others and I don't necessarily mean this justice in an artistic or creative way but generally is connecting with as many people as I possibly calm and also not necessarily online I think we do a lot of spending time online %HESITATION dust sprays but sometimes it's not grease compaction and I told me not in a cool complexions so quick but maybe I do but I mean compassionate really strong power a full way connected in the complexion with so that is a critical thinking thinking critically thinking about the world from a range of different perspectives I'm one of looked at those three watchwords of full cooperation is absolutely key from my perspective to make an old of those three things happened and as a creative person making those things happen so connected with %HESITATION there is hope and compassion and support me on to this to think critically and I think collaboration as of Oct of solidarity so whether you're working with another office to make some than what you would do with the community to make or to engage together and make something happen solidarity on low fought with it it's a really active it's not a possibility we talk about the act of solidarity and I think in terms of international women's day and while we all as just one example of those many things I think that's really important to build each other up I think collaboration is really important for all of us here in terms of support in building each other up I think if rich's might create practice whenever I'm working with somebody it allows me to see something from a range of different perspectives %HESITATION it supports me to make working the way I look the Wiest wouldn't even think about Mary Kay so I think that's really important I think eighteen tombs all of the current climate cooperation over competition I think it is absolutely important strategically as alternatives to talk about the patriarchy the ghost of patriarchy and as an alternative to capitalism and neoliberalism the idea of cooperation and the power of thought the power to do that and I think that's why it's no accident the humanities and all in creative subjects are being hammered out with universities and how may doubt spoon because they don't want to creative critical thinking skills I'm not sweat our work as creatives is just so valuable to smash in the system basically keeping it going and keep a hold of communities go with and I think yeah in the current climate keep in those stories flowing and providing women and non binary and female people with the space to remarks in the Oldham option noble and dream for what can be dreamed and strong enough to support each other to make real the realities of the spaces we wish to say shopping is really important and I just found this on low for this quote real queens fix each other's crowns are not just hold that thought leadership thing about because I thought that was just a really lovely thing in terms of cooperation and working together I just thought that was a really lovely thing to do and a lovely thing to think about this and also I found a quote which I thought was really interesting for me Dana champagne cold I need to open I'm sorry if I'm gonna have pronunciation right if I need when women lead to slight committees do not feel the inequality we tend to forget something is not working and I think that's a with a shot across the bows about intersectional let's see %HESITATION you know I'm very conscious that to all intents and purposes on the white woman and you know what I experience a range of the privileges %HESITATION you know to be mindful of the fact that it's been mindful of old all wine to different experiences as women put that goal box collaboration I think it Gadot as huge opportunity to learn from other people who have a variety of life experiences and that was the full set of cable with but I think the power that we have this collaboration and the power to smash the patriarchy basically through continued to collaborate and be creative we need creative people now like the finance it needs great people check I would like to ask Jess you fools on the process of wanting to take a Cray if possible make a new creative path in your life than you would if you practice but feeling like you might have constrains by society by culture by gender by finance how do we encourage each other to kind of make the big league so small changes to work towards getting to where we want to be in how do we encourage each other to do that I think this is something I've rarely felt recently so I went from being in in a full time job for like two years and then I've recently holds about six months ago now I left and came down to part time and during that time I was in that job world even those in the office you almost got yourself in a mindset okay I'm still being creative I'm into all its related job this is okay and then about three or four months and I was very young women I'm not to my curation I'm not do not want to do and when I was kind of cheesy city were free not still I'd have to take a whole day in my role I'm like why not okay the anyway I then left that job role and became part time I'm on my finances all I you know I am struggling a lot right now full the amount of opportunities are hot and you know my curation taken off of No Way diving just said if I was still in that job role it probably take me about two years still been in the jungle to get what I've done in the past six months don't find not the saw that it's almost like a juggling process and I think we should get those creative people as well you know a lot of people will have the job the family at the house and you know a past %HESITATION my first week the oldest them plus a creative practice I think we just got so forgetful not sometimes I think I've definitely learnt recently that it needs to be that I need to listen to myself from where I am right now and that is okay I got a third of that feeds into this whole process syndromic I am I think we get so drilled into comparisons to all those in the %HESITATION what they're doing right now they sometimes do to think okay realistically what do I need right now but even I'm thinking now okay maybe I need to get these projects some watch online deal and then maybe go back into full time for a bit I can get a bit more money and then drop it down again maybe that awaits me I think it's been mindful and supportive of the people around you is while he may be I can go through a similar situation and then speaking in terms of society and culture so I whipped full the Liverpool biennial in two thousand eighteen as a curatorial training AT I'm we were having a chat with a lot of the women who were in the office and I actually hot one of my colleagues asked me canasta SO you ever want to have kids in your life as a something of thinking about it like what the time was like I'm twenty three now it can be this is way off and she was like I'm gonna tell you this now as a support women in the industry do not have children until you are in a comfortable role where if you take a densely you can jump right back in and I was like what was that was I think she was I'm telling you now it's been loads of women who she knows what they've taken maternity leave %HESITATION they've gone back into the organization and then they just drop the light up and then they also help stop the creative path again that's really not okay %HESITATION needs to be voice not unusual voices women to change that in the industry it is important as women that we all not just be mindful self mean mindful of the women around us who we get support from I'm checking in with everyone and seeing if they're okay what advice would you give to someone in a situation where they were like I feel trapped in well I'm in now when I want to get to a certain place you talk about believing in yourself yeah that's obviously a huge step in I remember someone saying to me not that long ago believe in yourself it sent a shiver up my spine yeah because I was like wow that's the first step post it's not the only step because the so many so many challenges and I'm just wondering how we can advise people almost or five P. is to go understand everyone passing understand the room needs you know how did you come to that point really well did you or did you just suddenly just fall into it I guess but the alternative is that sometimes it doesn't necessarily involve is thrown out the whole process sometimes you just find ourselves in situations that what would you say to another person who was finding itself in a similar environment to the terms he I do think I have been quite lucky in the opportunities I've hot well I am very driven myself anyway I have such a strong work ethic and I again I don't have to stay in with class and northern of always been able to think you know what if I want something I'm gonna have to with bloody hot together I will get it well I'm going to have to wait for the hot I'm almost always set up to make public since I was like in ages I think that is just important in yourself I think that has always been my drive to be like okay I'm going to be a great cure it one day well it's going to be hard to is to get the I do not think it should go back to the scientific community and collaboration not we should be using our voice with people I'm just really been supportive because I know that my Cheney is completely different to the express and sit next to me and I think my advice would be to maybe it's okay to take a step back and reflect on your Cheney on what you're doing and all the people in your community and going that way too you can have these conversations with to be honest and open minded and just be you know this is where I wanna go how do I get that old even if its financial advice even times if I'm working full time both got a family to Rome I wanted to make her practice is there a way of me trying to juggle a lot I think it's just about reflection with anything convince full of one of the I was just when Jeff was talking I was reminded of this really great campaign that was started in Ireland called waking the feminists that was a bag is essentially challenging the gender bias in arts and critically and future in Ireland this happened after the centenary of the nineteen sixteen rising in twenty sixteen the abbey seizure which is the theater in Ireland commissions I can't remember the exact amount of place that they'd commissioned or writers of the commission of the charge of the moment I think it was two women yes two women out of sixteen all the women and people of the country were like hi yes wash is going on I was just thinking about use this really powerful thing that I read in a thesis last grown you Pollock ropes called staying awake which was Iran's the waking the feminists think she wrote it for her masters and they submitted powerful quotes in advance the idea of you have to go away to make a human person and then you come back and says women often find themselves marginalized and stigmatized and aren't likely to be defined by the superiors as not committed to a career this leasing opportunities for upward advancement however or last this is the person that the coaches also pointed at motherhood actually helped her work life balance she said I started leaving at five o'clock because I have to crash pickups and that was the first time in my life that I kept my hours so it kind of was helping to keep we believe that having my kids made me a more balanced and better worker bush for those who do resume their careers and future some find their views through a new unfavorable lands palm voids and Irish writer and actor articulates a subtle manifestation of this being a motor instantly ranges you as less of a thinker less ambitious less interesting Fiona recalls feeling like this really old housewife that was coming out and trying to pretend to be an artist %HESITATION her return to the sector one female artist or artist as we like thank you for the purpose of this as I think it's important that they specify the response of the arts council commissions research on the living and working conditions of arts and art and expressed an active decision not to have children as a result of the lack of support I would never have children she says I chose my path knowing the conditions that lay ahead but could not subject them on children not without some financial security so this is not a new thing it's not and in a lot of this activist work or even just working S. I mean my activism and being an actress or very much complacent in doctor refer spect I always try to think about people and their families and how that fits in so when I was starting this project called most of it is sky the musical of sorts I made sure that I told people who wanted to be part of the project status people with children are welcome that children can be involved not to worry about commitments arrange childcare bring them with you if you want to be part of this it's totally fine and the same thing in terms of activism with acorn one of our youngest acorn heads is %HESITATION wonderful little girl calls later his two and a half your parents are amazing I think the person who I look up to last as a researcher is her mother winds that blow she's a researcher at Newcastle University our branch here in new castle new castle a cornice specifically very open at base grace and children in activism and we were thinking about use how do we facilitate coming crash stuff he has unique bass and I think in the world to where more we've been down binary people trans people even trans men who might be wanting to have children we need to start thinking about yourself hello we provides the sort of services I think employers in the arts sector you need to be a lot more proactive and you know a lot more understanding of Asian family life and stuff like that I mean it's not necessarily a big thing for me most I would fight to the ends of the earth to have that for somebody else again it comes back to that idea to supporting each other and working together and listening I think listening is a big thing sometimes just having an ear to run tests or I would say that a lot of the people who participated in the research for waking the feminists were just really happy to be able to be listened to what about the issues that they were experiencing as women and people making future making creative stuff in Ireland and I'm sure it's the same situation here there just hasn't been a countrywide speak thing I mean this is a big country with a bigger population I think the fact that you're running curatorial collective is a really great thanks to the makes me really proud to be your friend but I mean just just one not really weird though that you know it's twenty twenty and I was sad that I need to worry about if I want to have a child in the future is not okay is not normal I mean I'm sure we all think that as women anyway people especially in the creative sector I think to start a movement I feel like maybe it needs to be you know something we do speak about more because you know even this conversation how to just in the containers a couple shows kind of thing radical crashes yeah radical approaches her rental leave I think we need to be more Raj but that's always my and isolation yeah so I'm gonna read she just sort of thing because well there's a white full size class strings that are about having a family and also for people who maybe want a different work life balance so one of the different lifestyle why should people be excluded from the arts and creative industries because they won't finally old because they have elderly relatives to care for all that the woman to science hall for them life we can creatively Avenue the halls with something else that they want to do that it seems that it's a wine to discussion of bites how industries all constructed its mountains that is incredibly toxic patriarchal this is what you do nine times out of ten for a lot of people that this is what they do people have lives outside and I think it makes for a more creative people to know all the food in the midnight common goal every single night to get an exhibition will probably show waldholtz whatever G. so I think it just feels incredibly punishing to the same quarter they set to use for example %HESITATION you know don't have any elderly relatives will be a United supporter okay I rolled a spam so RuPaul who needs additional support to lower you know but I think it's really interesting as well in terms of gender it's really just wanna go head dresses the only time I read read women's magazines and you see the man and should be done about the scenes of let Justin if you and then you see the women in the field and this is always my res with so many children or not mom didn't doesn't have children still lots late and I was always very mindful of the writer and journalist Caitlin Moran he said she was at the B. nas when he helping children no but when the option good option in an interview just about musical writing what happened and she kind of fell is this a way of people she saves me when he couldn't get lost when you gonna make space for a bloke to common to inhabit the space inside the box really interested or when you're going to make space for the next woman or person who can become pregnant take your space for that little bit of time so they can have their like you know a couple of years of a career and a lady like fade into obscurity this is miss I think there's another aspect of this as well which is the idea that will so openly and comfortably ask you such personal questions about your decisions on your body the idea that it's okay to ask somebody that acts I mean it's not too I do believe it is anyway and less you personally know the more you you know have a logical reason to be asking that question you wouldn't say someone so what's going on with your bottles okay tell me about your loans to you do you don't I mean you wouldn't ask someone a personal question about the body at the end of the day it's not just about your lifestyle it's not just about you'll would call you'll eat like Hugh you also also proxy choosing to allow your body to do something that's so personal the fact that we can ask someone a question about having a child and that's okay in your place of work someone could say to you %HESITATION you're going to have children but you wouldn't save them so %HESITATION did you have sex last night do you know what I mean it's not actually they're completely links like why is that okay and other things on okay in the is something about the way that we just expect that women are going to make those decisions and actually you know this is such a multitude of reasons why someone might not want to have children who might not be able to have children and actually asking someone a question like that you don't know who you're sending offering potentially you don't even know if they were signs that gender that they have it this semester you could be talking to someone who actually talked to a child because there's so many reasons why those conversations shouldn't be forced upon us we can choose to have them and have them in the in the environment that we want to with the people that we want to have them with but the idea that those questions should be false promises just seems bogus to me %HESITATION saved from my enemies who is not celebrity who was asked in an interview well I have favorite position walls of Simeon this expedition have responsible CEO I was like yeah yeah even just not questions like why was she even assign an interview it was a radio interview Stephen ask Amanda you know on Facebook when like I mean I don't enjoy Facebook you don't like things and I still have one for some reason but you know what it's like your Facebook memories I thought it was such an after memory for today it was from a couple years ago and it was a status that I put up I was like on the eve of international women's day I waited with bated breath to see if one of the top human rights lawyers in the world would just be spoken to about her amazing accolades as a human rights lawyer but no they asked her how her marriage was going with George Clooney only god's amount Clooney is amazing she's an amazing human rights lawyer what are you doing why are you asking about it what's it like to be married to the most handsome man of the world who cares nobody asked him what's it like to be married to one of the top human rights lawyers in the world that's right when we talk about it in this kind of lands it is so crazy that this is the norm it's because I'm the big talk I always feel very on the outside because it's almost like it's just not possible to me because it's not something I've ever been to I know loves books my response whether it's from family friends strangers della is always polite and also and so set up so you'll change it to nine come on no why can't you just have a definite answer %HESITATION pretty certain most often I don't think that needs to be fit to face %HESITATION bus but it's very very frustrating and I feel like in terms of optimism and continuing the conversation and some option and looking over the narrative you just have to keep questioning %HESITATION I guess being not arrested Patel indignities views to people because they suddenly the questions are going to keep on communities opinions also live on the cost of this technology shift opinions of concern conscription down because that's the only way forward with these things I just wanted to see if there was anything else that Poland wanted to act any thoughts on yeah probably if he just a quick thought on the interrogations over pregnancy and parenthood and so on one difficulty is being interrogated so much and make she wonder I don't know what my reasons are any more for making a decision one way or another because I'm not sure how you want to talk to me I have anymore so that's just a really quick point of mine that I suppose it's a nice opportunity to say that I suppose on the issue of collaboration and hopefully the speak see what we're talking about more broadly as well I just thought of it the podcast is a nice example of that because for me personally I've been trying to transition from somebody he analyzes culture to somebody he produces culture on this podcast is a way of trying to do both at the same time so it straddling these different identities I started it for me to see can I do this but also as is happening status the reading of the thing is I wanted to be able to use that to platform other people so this is a really nice collaborative effort that I hope will be the first of many more to come so thank you all so much so it took by lifting each other up putting each other out for me and just being a part of that's really nice thank you offer to sing it right now it is so wonderful wonderful work do you have any thoughts on that means the things I've talked about %HESITATION this lovely to be here and something to talk about I am not responsible maybe I'll get pregnant I thought the food this is nothing but it's normal for me but today and all is non normal is tending quality right so asking woman yeah why do I do I still none this question do you remember the last time someone asked you about whether or not you would be able to live there is a Helen to being asked about to Linda along again R. E. yeah I'll listen being asked this question is my house is my thing is none of your business how does it make you feel if someone asks you do you want to get married only very annoying on this question until six while this is being so feel like this is the beginning of something to be continued I think maybe that's yes maybe that's why we can go from there you've been listening to audio visual cultures this me Paula Blair Rachel Grech Claire Murphy Morgan Carolina hand Jessica Bennett Jenny McDermott's and Caroline this episode was produced by Rachel Breck recorded by Paula Blair and reach a brick an edited by Paul the player the music is common ground fair to licensed under a creative Commons noncommercial three point zero attribution and is available at the SEC mixer don't work episodes are released every other Wednesday subscribe on your podcast app so you never miss any release we can't currently cover the costs of hosting but the fill back catalogue can be fined on my you tube channel if you search for P. A. prior and it's also linked patrie on on the episode PH of audio visual cultures DOT wordpress dot com if you can contribute funding to continue this work regular donations to the leper at pay dot com forward slash PP a player for one of two nations to pay pal dot me forward slash PP a prior are hugely appreciated be part of the conversation with AP cultures post on Instagram and Davey cultures on Facebook and Twitter thank you so very much for listening caption next time