July 2014 update

Ouseburn DIY Streets trial during Ouseburn Festival 2014.

Ouseburn DIY Streets trial during Ouseburn Festival 2014.

I realised that I have been so busy that I had not blogged about what I’m doing since 2013. What has been keeping me so busy?

Ouseburn Futures work has been occupying a lot more time than I had anticipated because it has been busy doing things.

Up till now, I have been doing updating of the website and managing the social media as part of my contribution to Ouseburn Futures, and became the Comms Lead in a small comms team. We have been working towards applying to Newcastle City Council to establish a Neighbourhood Area and Neighbourhood Forum under the Localism Act of 2011; and I have been contributing through things like drafting documents, minuting meetings, liaising with our consultant appointed by Locality to help us through this stage, being at stalls at events to raise awareness and seek people’s views on it.

Through being involved with the website and social media, I became involved this year in the Ouseburn DIY Streets project which Ouseburn Futures is leading, working with Sustrans, Newcastle City Council, xsite architecture, Roots and Wings, and supported by Carillion-Igloo. This has involved consultation and workshops, and we held a trial of some of the ideas at Ouseburn Festival on 5th and 6th July.

I was involved with Ouseburn Festival again this year.

The Hatton Gallery held adult art classes about once a fortnight and I enjoyed going to those until I lost track after Easter of when they were being held. They started me drawing again, in monochrome and then in colour. This soon led me to thinking by February that, after a gap of 5 years, I needed to get back into painting, and trying acrylics rather than my preferred medium of oils because they dry fast even in winter.

Decorated bricks from the Ouseburn Community Project.

Decorated bricks from the Ouseburn Community Project.

I was lucky enough to participate in the Ouseburn Community Project led by Theresa Easton. I hope that it will be the first of a series of such projects or a pilot of a larger project. We were based mostly at Ouseburn Farm, had 2-hour sessions for 10 weeks, and created some bricks decorated with Ouseburn things, prints and handmade books. Some of the stencils created were reused in the Ouseburn DIY Streets trial, and Theresa gave people the opportunity to print linocuts in the farmyard during The Late Shows and the Ouseburn Festival.

The printing we did with Theresa in the Ouseburn Community Project encouraged me to do a one-day course in photo-lithography at Northern Print. I’m a bit concerned that I won’t remember well enough how to do it but I would like to do more. I am currently considering what other printing techniques to learn (or refresh my memory). There have been ideas for prints floating around in my head for years, and it’s about time I got them out of there and printed onto paper.

I have also still been doing the Weekly Blog Club – though have found it hard to give it as much time as previously, and am wondering again if it is time to stop. I have also helped out at 2 or 3 Newcastle Social Media Surgery sessions so far this year.

For the rest of the year, I intend to do more printing and painting, and am considering how best I could provide advice and training on using social media for small businesses.