Thank you for supporting the successful Echo@Eastbourne event on Friday 25 May 2018 at the Starting Gate. The event successfully brought together students with community and business partners thus building stronger university-community partnerships. External representatives included East Sussex County Council, RVS, Applause Rural Touring, Towner Art Gallery, and Eastbourne Education Business Partnership.
The aims of the event were met in the following ways:
- To provide networking opportunities between students, staff, and community groups and partners: 47 people attended from a mixture of students, staff, and community organisations. Initially it was thought the event would attract L4 & L5 Event Management students but in fact L6 students also came and actively participated. This is considered a strength of the event as there are few orchestrated opportunities for crossover from each year group. Added refreshment breaks and bar food enabled networking beyond the planned discussion. On the day event management was supported by the SU Events Society with students taking roles to meet and greet guests, assist artists to set up/take down, and capture evaluation.
- To gather feedback from this year’s pilot partners (the Towner Gallery, Devonshire Collective, Devonshire West Big Local, Inn Crowd, etc) on their experiences of working with students and to identify and grow opportunities for collaboration for next academic year and beyond.
Feedback forms were received from 21 attendees (44%). Of these 19% were male responses and 81% female. The ages of participants range between 19-56 years.
All feedback scored as Very Good/Good with no neutral or negative scores received. The feedback analysed three areas: ‘Quality of performances’; ‘The venue and surroundings’; and ‘The whole experience’.
The event held a discussion in between the showcase performances that was in the form of a panel discussion chaired by Dr Dan Burdsey (UoB). Invited participants to lead the discussion included Sally Lampitt (Applause Rural Touring), Steven Goss Turner (Eastbourne Education Business Partnership), Jessica Boelema (RVS), Professor Marina Novelli (UoB), and Fiona Smith (UoB) who collectively focussed on three areas: A positive example of working in community partnership; a challenge to working in community partnership; and emerging strategic opportunities going forward.
Some themes to emerge from the discussion included a passion and energy for working in partnership is often underpinned by a lack of experience or expertise. The recommendation was to enable future working together through clear understanding of expectations and ‘mission match’ to ensure the partnerships can work. Going forward it was suggested that to succeed such partnerships require bravery, ‘don’t be frightened to ask’, and identify the skills each partner brings to the project. Jessica outlined new opportunities for young people to engage with her organisation.
- To showcase event programming ideas by inviting performers from Applause Rural Touring Menu (a registered charity that takes live performance into the heart of local communities). Of particular interest is a current scheme they are running called ‘Inn Crowd’, e.g. Luke Wright “Down the Pub”, and, from their Spring Menu, Long Nose Puppets: “Penguin” to develop new audiences and bring arts to those that may not normally come across performances like these. The programme began with the full 45 minute show of Penguin by Long Nose Puppet Theatre. This was co-funded by Applause to showcase one of the professional performances students could aspire to book working with Applause and aimed at family audiences. After the discussion panel Luke Wright ended the event with his performance from ‘Down the Pub’. This performance was enabled through The Inn Crowd (c/o Applause). Both programmes were selected from ‘menus’ of artists students may wish to work with in future if running community focused events. Feedback comments following performances included: ‘Very enjoyable” ‘Interesting and different’
- ‘Lovely puppets’
- ‘Very diverse and good quality performance/ good venue/ very good experience. ‘
Overall the ECHO grant has provided an opportunity to network the students with professional and community organisations that can lead to partnership delivery of community events in Eastbourne.