Michelle Stubbs gives an overview of events happening in the DaDaFest young peoples’ programme at The Bluecoat and the Central Library, Liverpool from 29th – 30th November, including an account of her involvement with the making of a film about the City
There’s a lot to get excited about in this year’s DaDaFest International festival programme, particularly during the Young People’s Weekend – two days of events programmed by young people for everyone to enjoy.
One of the highlights will surely be the screenings of Young DaDa’s film A Recipe for Scouse, the culmination of a year-long project with the Walker Art Gallery. The heritage film explores what it means to be a young person growing up in Liverpool; how cultural and historical elements of the city inform our identity.
During the process, we brushed up on our camera skills, investigated Liverpool’s past and present and came up with the themes, plot and script – with a recipe for the local stew, Scouse, serving as the narrative thread through the film and discussion points being represented by its ingredients.
After sampling a bowl of Scouse at the Museum of Liverpool, we started to think about ingredients and how they would feature in our film. This caused some friction as, depending on which area of Liverpool you are from, you may deviate from the recipe to include different things; handed down through generations. We heard a lot of “My Mum does it that way”, “My Gran put 'such and such' in and so we do, too” and “that’s just how you make it”. The ingredients were as hotly debated as the qualities represented by a ‘Scouse’ person.
In the end, we used the main elements of the standard recipe: meat, carrots, potato, onion and so on, alongside the popular accompaniment of pickled beetroot; leaving off dumplings and other, similarly off-kilter, regional suggestions.
Fitting the themes we wanted to cover to the ingredients was also a lengthy process, but we were chuffed to have linked beetroot, which is purple in colour, to the importance of football in Liverpool; by mixing the colours of our two teams – Liverpool (red) and Everton (blue). To see more inspired moments like that, you’ll just have to watch it!
As a member of Young DaDa on the project, I can say that it has been a fantastic experience; learning much more about this wonderful city we call home, working closely with local cultural organisations, filming in great locations and hearing from fellow Liverpudlians too. In amongst everything, we found out that Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community in Europe and that St George’s Hall was accidentally built back-to-front and has prison cells underneath.
We also didn’t count on the animated nature of our interviewees. We had our fair shame of reluctant stars but, once some of them got going, that local charm came out and it was just as difficult to get them to stop! So, we braved the Great British weather to catch their brilliance on camera and bring you the city both through their eyes and our own. See it throughout Saturday, 29th November and then at the Walker Art Gallery from 8th December – 18th January.
If you’re not one for sitting on the side-lines and want to ‘do’ rather than observe, there’s plenty to get stuck into during the weekend. Drop by for a workshop. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at songwriting, beatboxing, DJing or rapping; DaDaFest favourites, Krip-Hop Nation, are giving you the opportunity to learn more prior to taking the stage at the Bluecoat on Saturday for the final leg of their UK tour. Their performance at the last festival was a favourite for a lot of people… so, my advice? Catch them while you can!
Not to be outdone, Oska Bright follow the screening of their short films with a VJing (video DJing) workshop; something that many of our members wanted in the programme. You can also bring your secret interior design dreams to life, by covering the walls of the Bluecoat in light graffiti. That’s definitely something I’m looking forward to - I can’t wait to see what everyone does, given blank walls and that level of creative freedom!
After all that, you can spend a leisurely Sunday expressing yourself with paint with Rachel Gadsden. If you prefer using words, you can come along to our other workshops, where you can explore the art of storytelling or venture outside of our festival hub at the Bluecoat to Central Library, to create poems, songs and stories under the guidance of local writer Roger Cliffe-Thompson. Then, back at the Bluecoat, the weekend will be rounded off by showcasing the work of a new collective of young disabled and deaf musicians.
Throughout the weekend, there’s such a variety of events happening that there will be something to interest everyone - so come and join us!