Friday, November 26, 2010

MADE IN MUSINA is making friends in Musina!

During our first week of research and networking we met a lot of cool kids doing some awesome work: The Musina Community Theatre Group, The Musina Arts Council, Field Band Foundation, Renaissance Band, Musina Theatre Youth Development, Musina FM and a variety of poets, actors, musicians and visual artists.

On October 28th, together with these groups and members of the Musina Municipality, we held a meeting to talk about what’s happening in the Musina arts scene. We talked about how Musina’s creative people are making art, but they’re not doing it as a community. We learned a lot about how there have been efforts to create forums about the arts and to work with the municipality to organise festivals, but none of these efforts have been sustainable in the long term.

We also talked about the idea that this border town has a lot of energy, talent and activity, but that it is also somewhat isolated and unknown to potential audiences. There is also an element of competitiveness between groups, fuelled by the mindset that the “pie isn’t big enough” (a real anxiety based on the idea that opportunities are limited.) However, in our first discussion about networking, we began to explore the idea that working together can yield greater visibility. We talked about how a collective voice could be more powerful in articulating to the powers that be what the arts community of Musina needs to build itself. This view was echoed by the Arts, Culture, Sports and Education councillor, Hlaulane Mlati who attended this meeting and pledged support for not only MADE IN MUSINA but the creation of Musina arts network.

The second MADE IN MUSINA meeting was held on November 13th (and carried through to the 14th). At this second meeting we agreed that the network is indeed something that people are interested in building and we held a mini-workshop to explore the notion of a “network” with the participants. We started to talk about what would kind of network would be useful to the Musina arts community and what kind of workshops would be useful in to the process of building the framework for a network.

Our third session is planned for December after exams are over for school kids. We have agreed to hold a networking workshop that will generate both artistic products as well as facilitate skills transfers. We want to build the network through workshops based on collaboration, organisational development and artistic practise. So, we are currently planning a t-shirt making workshop that will both advertise the MADE IN MUSINA project and get our first collaboration off the ground. The t-shirts will have the MADE IN MUSINA logo on them and will be “personalised” with the name and logo of each of the participating groups on their own series of t-shirts. The idea is to hype MADE IN MUSINA and encourage wider participation in the project. We’ll be back with an update on the December T-SHIRT extravaganza!

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