From March to September 2016, ArtReach had the pleasure of supporting the development of Hannah Pillai in the Young Producer role. Hannah looks back on her time with us, and talks about her exciting future ahead.

I joined ArtReach as a Young producer in March 2016. I was immediately drawn to ArtReach after working as a Volunteer the year before at Journeys Festival International. I admire the commitment ArtReach has to producing accessible and thought provoking arts festivals. As a practising artist and art educator I hold the firm belief that the arts should be accessible to all. I wanted to be part of a company which championed and voiced this ethos.

In my 6 month Young Producer role with ArtReach I was given the opportunity to work on a range of projects which challenged me, added to existing skills inspired my own artistic practice. Most importantly, my experience with ArtReach built my confidence and offered direction for future projects.

My focus mainly lay in the production of Journeys Festival International. The festival not only taught me relevant skill to production, but also opened my eyes to issues and stories I hadn’t encountered before. It was a pleasure getting to know the local refugee and asylum seeker community, and often an emotional experience hearing their stories. Working closely with Executive Producer Nicola Middler, I successfully led a variety of projects in the promotional lead up to the festival, and during the Leicester festival event 05 – 28 August. These include:

–       VOICED: In partnership with the arts and refugees network Platforma, I programmed an evening of spoken word and music for Refugee Week, including regionally based talent.

–       The Graffiti Project: As part of the wider Container Project, in which a shipping container is transformed into an innovative project space, I sourced and commissioned local graffiti artist, N4T4 to create a celebratory mural to kick start the festival.

–       At the Core Journeys Festival International weekend (20 – 21 August) I produced ‘The Floating Library,’ a collection of literature donated by authors and publishers were suspended at varying heights to suit the relevant ages. I also produced a moving image projection for the interlude sections on the Music Stage. Carefully curated, the pieces used animation and documentary film to tell the stories of the refuge experience.

It was so interesting to delve into all aspects of producing a festival. I gained new skills and learnt a lot about my own abilities and how to take what I learnt forwards. In all ArtReach does, it partners with fantastic organisations. It was fantastic to learn about the importance of building positive and long lasting partnerships, and how these relationships strengthen the opportunities you can offer to the community.

My time with ArtReach has strengthened my passion and drive to produce and strive for inclusive access to all art forms – to support, engage and raise awareness for marginalised communities. So what’s next? I just got back from Vienna where I presented my work ‘Untitled Play’ with fellow ArtReach employee and co-producer Gina Mollett, at the InSea regional conference ‘Art in Education in Times of Change.’ ‘Untitled Play’ is an ongoing participatory arts research project and this was a really incredible experience that presented so many new ideas that I’m still taking time to process. At the moment I continue to pursue producing my own artwork in my Leicester based studio, workshops and projects such as ‘Untitled Play’ with lots of enthusiasm for the future.


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