2014 kicked off rather splendidly for us at top speed with our Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for our film 'The Closer We Get', which raised over 15k from 333 of you. It's still hard for us to believe how generously the project has been supported (some of you even coughed up way after the campaign ended, gently into our Paypal account :-)) - everyone says it, but there's nothing like crowdfunding to remind you how important and rewarding it is to connect with your audience - it was great to hear from so many of you i in person. And it's wonderful to reach the end of the year with the film at long, long last 'in the can' with the additional support of Splice in London on post-production. We look forward to an as-yet-to-be-confirmed festival premiere in 2015 and then to lots of screenings to share with you.
Taking part in May's 'Science, Stroke, Art' season in Manchester with the Stroke Association (thanks, Chris Larkin) was also a highlight this year - a panel of stroke medical professionals, survivors and carers watched our rough cut of 'The Closer We Get' and then Wellcome Engagement Fellow Dr Erinma Ochu lead a fantastic workshop discussing issues raised in the film and how to develop these into outreach ideas that will ensure the widest possible audience for the film.
It was an outdoorsy year for Somewhere too - Abbey Gardens (which we designed nearly 6 years ago now!) continues to flourish and The Friends Group is about to grow into a CIO (that's a charitable incorporated organisation for those not in the know!) through the hard work of the members, trustees and patient new administrator Vicki Lewis. Do pay a visit if you find yourself in east London in 2015 - it's so much more than a garden.
In 2014 we also made what is probably our most ambitious public art commission to date - Tomorrow, Today (working with InSite Arts and the Contemporary Art Society on the NW Cambridge development of Cambridge University). It's a large-scale outdoor cob (earth) megapolis which after a year or so will be buried under the new development, a gift for future archaeologists to uncover. The project attracted over 50 volunteer cobbers who learned to cob under guru Kate Edwards and worked in all weathers to help build this spectacular and unworldly piece with us. Unofficially you can still visit on foot, but keep it under your hat :-)
Not content with Tomorrow, Today as an 'output' from our residency with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (led by the inspiring and charmingly hirsute Chris Evans) we kicked off what aims to be a 25 year project in Cambridge too - Prospection (yep, in it for the long game - see you in 2040 for the retrospective). This is another archaeology-related project, this time surveying the inhabitation of NWC as it progresses from 'Year 0' (that was 2014 and 2 Portakabins) to 'Year 25' (apparently some 13,000 homes). We made a 'Year 0' prototype with a wonderful group of archaeologists, a sociologist and various others which we exhibited at Kettles Yard.
Summer also saw the return of the Floating Cinema to London's canals, which we work on with the brilliant Up Projects. This year our 'International' theme had us working closely with partners Jihlava and Ambulante Film Festivals and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art. We watched a helluva lot of screeners to select our programme of powerful feature films, and also enjoyed planning some left-field events with the likes of Robert Elms, the Esperanto Society and Kieron Tyler. We even squeezed a dumpling-making workshop in.
In 2015 we take the FC project outside of London for the first time, along the Kennet & Avon canal to Bristol so do watch this space for updates on that and get in touch if you have an idea for what we should think about doing along that route next summer. Recommendations for ice cream venues welcome obvs.
We had some awesome people working with us this year, and we'd especially like to flag up the talented Kirsten Lavers (cob coordinator on Tomorrow, Today), our Cambridge cooks Al and Cindy (keeping cobbers well fed), Kettles Yard show designer Koby Barhad, and Maria Duvidzon (intern) - the latter remained unphased by swathes of odd tasks from 'find us a native Amharic speaker' to 'check that this Scottish folk song is not in copyright'. On 'The Closer We Get' we've continued to reel in the face of the wonder that is editor Alice Powell (she cuts, she bakes - is there nothing she can't do?) and a delight to work with a sound designer for the first time - Doug Haywood - and to hear Malcolm Middleton's consistently inspired film score emerging. We know you'll love the result.
Our mini-retrospective at Cambridge's Kettles Yard 'Past, Present, Somewhere' attracted over 8300 visitors over 3 months, and we welcomed many old and new friends and collaborators to the latest in our once-every-six-years gallery career. Marie France Kittler of Kettles Yard deserves a special mention for her unwavering patience in the face of our films, pickles, old clothes and faux Tudor pottery.
The past few months of 2014 have seen a few very interesting speculative invites from Nice People We Might Work With in the Future. We always enjoy these escapades into the unknown. Visits have included the awe-inspiring World of Glass in St Helens (vast range of exhibits, very good ham sandwich in cafe), the high-Victorian wonder that is the Harris Museum (Preston) and a patch of land in the former Olympic Park.
Many of you are keeping in touch with us via social media too which we love to see - we've somehow gathered over 100 new Likers on Facebook this year and have just launched an occasional Instagram feed buoyed on by the encouragement of Andrew "I just do beauty on Instagram!" Nairne from Kettles Yard, who says it's mainly him and Bedwyr Willliams in there. So say hello if you are there too.
Lastly we were very sad to hear this year of the death of Joan James, a great friend to Somewhere and an amazingly vibrant and positive woman. Joan was one of the East Tilbury passengers very much at the heart of our first film 'Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future'.
Thank you all for your interest in us and what we do. It means more than we let on, really it does, so all the best to you and yours over the festive season, and see you in 2015 for more of this sort of thing,
Karen & Nina xx