by Jez Bond

This afternoon I headed to the town hall for Creative Islington’s conference on the Islington Young People’s Festival. Whilst by no means its only aim, the festival (2011) seeks to promote and celebrate the conversion of Hornsey Road Baths into ‘Platform’; an exciting new arts centre run predominantly by and for young people. As such, a number of events are hoped to be scheduled in the new space, which is due to be completed in March of next year.

Following an ‘information giving’ section in which a number of people both from inside and outside the council spoke, the young advisors (a group of 16-21year olds who have been leading the conversion) took over – and I must say this resulted in the most fun, fascinating and communicative element to the day.

I hadn’t expected to enter into drama games this afternoon but the activities they planned for us served to break the ice, draw us out of our professional shells and, ultimately, share our dreams and ambitions with each other with a view to forging creative links.

One of the most interesting exercises we did was to place a box representing our organisation (different sizes and colours dependent on the field) on a giant mark up of the borough on the floor. We added flags and post-its supplying information about who we were and what we did. Inevitably we ended up with a huge visual representation of all the many arts organisations in the area – a powerful and useful image!

Many business card exchanges later I left for FP with a couple of errands to do on my way home. One of them led me to the new Nisa supermarket across the road, where I met the owner of the franchise. It’s highly important to develop relationships in the local area. There are always ways people can work together for mutual benefit and, almost needless to say, he was extremely pleased and supportive of our plans.

Dinner with friends now. Been out all day. Am sure Melli’s cooked up a feast!

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