Things gathering pace with partners and creative conversations happening all the time now, like with the brilliant Parvez Qadir. Rochdale to his boots, Parvez is doing some brilliant but also very challenging and thought provoking drama and video art with young people, developing his own practice, and broadening his skills and approach. Hearing his thoughts and responses to this project, knowing that he is with us fills me with hope that we can have a profound and transformative impact on the town and young people especially.
Likewise with Ellie Kelly, a young Rochdalian who is working with us on the project and learning a whole range of producing and development skills on the way. Her passion and pride in her hometown was something I felt first hand during the It’s In The Blood rugby league project where I first met her. In fact it was after that piece ended that Ellie spoke about Cotton Famine Road, said come and do a project on this! Well, it took a while but here we are.
And then just lately we went to meet Mary at the Rochdale Nigerian Community Association and also Nikki at Caring & Sharing, two amazing ladies who exemplify this rich and diverse town. The story of the road was complete news to both Mary and Nikki, so it was lovely to see them so inspired by it, and enthusiastic to be part of it. The conversations about how we can bring their creative forces and voices into the process is just one more revelatory uplifting beat on this journey, as step by step we lay the foundations for our own epic journey.
That everyone we speak to in the town sees the potential of this project, and is so fully behind it is really humbling. It is people such as these, whose town and heritage this is, that inspire me to make this project live up to it’s huge potential.