This spring, students from Leeds Arts University travelled across the Channel to our partner city, Lille, to take part in the Video Mapping Festival. This blog is written by Mat Clark, senior lecturer from Leeds Arts University. We’ve also included a few accounts from students, Christopher Hoare and Chloe Broadbent.
The trip to Lille proved a great experience for all of the students as well as myself. From the first evening the atmosphere was friendly and over the course of the week friendships developed and creative partnerships flourished.
The first few days were spent in a creative hive, with students from around Europe and Asia being put into groups to develop and produce the content which would ultimately be projected onto the opera house in Lille. The work ethic, team spirit and focus demonstrated to get the animations turned around in such a short space of time was exemplary – workload was divided, roles were assigned, and shoulders were firmly set against the grindstone.
I was amazed by the level of communication between these global students. English was the most commonly spoken language despite there being only 3 English students in the group. One of the teams, a student from France and a student from China, had no common language between them but with a bit of assistance from Google Translate they were able to overcome any language barrier and realise their creative ideas, for me, these two students really epitomised the spirit of the week.
The workshop was followed by a video mapping conference on Thursday. This provided an interesting insight into video mapping as an artform, as industry professionals from around the world presented their different approaches. It was a good opportunity to network and meet the artists and practitioners and share experiences and develop potential opportunities for the future.
On Friday evening we travelled into the centre of Lille for the festival. It was lovely to see the student work projected onto the opera house, with thousands of spectators enjoying the show. All of the students should be very proud of the work that they have done.
I should also say that the organisers and the professionals who supported the workshops were brilliant, always available to answer questions and to offer support and feedback, so a big thanks to them!
Student, Christopher Hoare:
I was greatly looking forward to going to Lille again this year as I enjoyed it so much last year. Leeds being a twin city offers up such wonderful opportunities such as the video mapping festival and I’m incredibly fortunate to have been able to experience it twice. It allows me to meet people from completely different animation backgrounds to my own and experience the art form in an entirely new context. Everyone was incredibly communal and inviting, so I couldn’t recommend this outing highly enough.
After taking part in this festival twice, it’s clear to see the opportunities that arise from Leeds being twinned with Lille. A change of pace, the chance to see new art, meet new friends and feel connected with our European neighbours make this a really worthwhile trip. I’m really thankful to the course leaders, the chefs, the Arenberg Creative Mine, Leeds Arts University and the international relations team in Leeds and Lille for helping to set it up. It was awesome.
Student, Chloe Broadbent:
Participating in the video mapping workshop was such a rewarding experience. I had a great time collaborating with people who have different skills and working practices to me, and I found that it was an exciting opportunity for creative problem-solving. The biggest challenges our group faced were probably communication and planning, but we managed to overcome these and were very happy with our final work. I have developed my teamwork skills a lot through this workshop.
We had a really great space to work in and the food provided was excellent. The organisers of the event went to great efforts to make sure we were comfortable and that the experience was enjoyable for all. It was so great at the end of everything to see our work projected on the Opera. I met so many talented people who I will be keeping in contact with, and I would recommend this opportunity to anyone considering it in future.