Dundee: A Voyage of Discovery - Working with Young Programmers Laura Hegarty from Showroom Workstation reports back


Dundee: A Voyage of Discovery – Film Hub Scotland, Working with Young Programmers.

This was a trip full of hope, promise, inspiration and one which will stay with me for many years to come. I was also completely unprepared for the most beautiful train journey of my life and a terrifying, enraging glimpse into a possible future led by Donald Trump.

In short, two days of bold juxtapositions and of optimism and solidarity.

As Audience Development Coordinator at the Showroom in Sheffield, I manage the education programmes and activities for Young People. This includes programming a weekly family film and running ‘Interactive’ - our free membership scheme for 15-18 year olds - with a focus on audience diversity and communities. Through this project (and funded by Into Film) I recently helped to run a 6 month Young Programmers course, which provided me with a great experience of working directly with people of this age group on a repeat basis. However, this project has ended and I am keen to begin a far-reaching, permanent scheme to create more autonomy and regular personal interaction between our young members and the cinema.

This training course was invaluable in giving me practical ideas on how to achieve these aims with longevity as well as addressing pressing concerns, such as how we can make such projects sustainable and meaningful for present and future participants, our cinema and the wider region.

It was particularly apparent following this course that if venues want to survive they need to talk to young people, and that interconnecting audiences and a broad attitude of inclusivity and collaboration is especially crucial, both at community levels and more widely.

All the young programmers who spoke to us were incredibly impressive and inspiring.

As ever, meeting people from across the UK who are all working hard to achieve the same thing, facing the same pitfalls and successes was a wonderful opportunity not to be underestimated. I am very grateful to everyone involved and look forward to putting the ideas shared into practice in Sheffield.

The day was originally to end with a screening of Alena but not many people could stay overnight so we were offered the opportunity instead to attend a special Q & A screening of Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped Too. I think that this day in Dundee proved that we won’t be.

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