January 2017 Newsletter – Oliver Armstrong
Well. It’s here 2017!
We kicked straight off with NAFcaf on Thursday 26th Jan at Northfield Baptist Church, 6pm to 9pm.
As well as the delicious pay-as-you-feel food, live music, and glorious company, we recognised Holocaust Memorial Day (which is on 27th jan) with some Jewish folktales from 2 wonderful storytellers, there will also be information from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on how we can be educated, informed, active and aware.
The wonderful Percy Pursglove from FORWARDS project will also be back at NAFcaf to mingle, throw some jazz shapes, and tickle you with tunes. Be prepared. We have also bought a load of tabletop board/card games to add to the cafe lushness, come play with us!
From February we are very very VERY excited to announce we will be starting up a Weoley NAFcaf too. It will run on the same day as the Northfield one (last Thursday of the month) at 10am to 1pm, in Weoley Community Church. If you want to get involved, we will need volunteers to set up, make food, pack down, do art, play music, chat, chill, and be lovely. Get in touch. There is a launch for all of the lovely upcoming Weoley work the community is doing (and that NAF is a little part of) on 2nd feb at Weoley Community Church. Maybe we’ll see you there.
A few people over the last month have commented on our NAF monthly emails, on both the weirdness and funniness of them, and how they “make their week” which is nice, although now I’ve been told that, ironically (my dad, I’m sure will point out this isn’t irony, I will then, in turn, call him Alanis) this one isn’t very funny at all. Mainly because, well, the spear-tip of fascism seems to be pointing through. The boots are marching and yet our “leaders” are playing silly buggers to try and win non existent popularity contests. And it’s depressing. Its lonely. Its crushing. And I’m a white middle class male, so I’m sitting in a metaphorically safe space built on the privilege of my patriarchal ancestors (and peers), so if I’m feeling it, well, shit.
I’ve said for some time, when explaining what we do at NAF, that Great Art Is Made On The Edge Of Chaos. I’ve never *really* known what I meant with that. Now I’m starting to feel a little like I do.
As the chaos comes, racism rising, fear carried in by political incompetence married to snake like neo-capitalism, from whatever point of privilege we have, what ever platform from which we cry out and others, any others, will listen, we must make beauty on the edges of this storm. We must use our art, where we can, to simultaneously scream YOU WILL NOT DIVIDE US in the face of (more real than we maybe know) the “alt right” populist, xenophobic, white supremacists (N*z*s), whilst building bridges (and then crossing them ourselves, leaving our own places of safety) to the most vulnerable, the lonely and lost, the blamed, the crushed and broken the *others*.
Lets paint, dance, sing, make, do, and draw together. Let’s make art that refuses to stay quiet, let’s cultivate culture that holds space that everyone is welcome in, but shitty prejudices are not. Come on then, let’s do this. And it’s got to be you, it can’t just be me, I’m somewhat of a cliche and I’m a bit sick of my own voice. We need you.
So let’s begin this new year with a get-together on Thursday at the NAFcaf, food, board games and company. All the wins in one. Then roll on out from there.
– Oliver Armstrong, Northfield Arts Forum Coordinator
Northfield Arts Forum provides/ facilitates /connects arts of all kinds.
We work in & with the communities of Northfield, Kings Norton, Weoley and Longbridge.
We’re a team of volunteers, we aim to recognise & inspire creativity where we live.