My experience with Northfield Arts Forum.

Northfield Arts Forum, also well known as NAF, is an artistic group based in Northfield where anyone is welcome to come along and help out with artistic events or simply take part and have fun.

You can work on your artistic skills no matter what those skills or interests may be, no matter how good you are with art. Everybody is welcome to come along and try whatever they are comfortable with. If you have a specific talent or interest, NAF can work into that and try figure out experience, for instance I had a friend who liked working with 3D art and NAF said they could come along and try some things out.

I am 18 years old and a beginner photographer, I study photography at Halesowen College and find a great amount of interest in the subject. I was helping out at NAF before I started work experience with them, with events such as The Northfield Beach. They have helped me gain experience by bringing in professional photographers from whom I am able to shadow and learn from. Anybody is welcome here at NAF, and I told a girl called Heather (another photographer on my course at college) about NAF and she is now also taking part with shadowing professional photographers and completing her work experience.

NAF aren’t only helping me with experience alone, I will also be working on an arts award with them which when is completed it is the equivalent to an A-level. Weekly I will come in to the Northfied Arts Forum building, and help them by writing articles as I also work with B31 Voices. With this I can learn about the journalistic side of photography and also work on my terrible grammar!

I had the chance to interview some of the main people at NAF who make it all happen.

I asked Olly Armstrong a few questions about NAF.

“Where did NAF begin?” was my first question, and Ollie replied with “Birmingham city council invested some money to each district to set up a local arts forum for each district and Northfield Arts Forum called there’s NAF as it sounds funny and it just happened to stick. NAF has existed for 8 years.”

I then went on to “Where is NAF now?” Olly replied “We have now got a base in Prices square Northfield High street, where we started to run some events such as pop up events, we don’t have paid staff so NAF pop up events kind of exists just when we get funding but other than events we still go on keeping things together and working behind the scenes.”

My final question was “Where do you see NAF going within the near and far future?” Olly replied Our short term plans are to do more work in and around prices square, it’s on the second floor so one of the things we are keen to do is work out disability access and better access to the floor. We hope to to go on with an arts trail in Kings Norton Park, we are also keen to do more art linked with gardening which will be linked up with the community.”

I plan on having a future with NAF, and I will eventually be entering the world of freelance photography, and NAF can teach me a lot to do this. Even when I start a photography business, I know they will still be there for help. They know what they’re doing within the arts industry and they are perfectly capable of making things happen.

By Albie Taylor.

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Vote NAF!

Here at Northfield Arts Forum we’ve recently been part of an incredible transformation. We’ve moved into the new Northfield Community Hub (Our Space, Our Place), and helped to construct a vibrant and lively space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come and be creative. We’ve already seen some fantastic work produced, whether it be model-making, arts & crafts, creative writing, or dancing.

Whatever your artistic preference, we’ll have had something for you – and will continue to do so.

However… those of you who have been involved with NAF before will know that we are extremely ambitious and have big plans for an exciting future for all. And we need your help!

To keep putting on such amazing projects for, by & with the community, we need funding. The Aviva Community Fund is a great way for community groups such as ourselves to receive a handsome injection of cash, and continue to provide workshops and projects – and you can help us receive it.

All it takes is 3 very simple steps:

1. Firstly, click here to head over to the NAF profile.

2. Register to vote in the competition. It takes just a couple of minutes and can even be done through a Facebook account for added speed!

3. Vote NAF! You can even give us all 10 votes – this would be amazing.

That’s all it takes!

But feel free to share the link on your Facebook or Twitter profiles, send it to family & friends, or even shout it from the rooftops. Any additional help you can offer to win precious votes for NAF will be massively appreciated.

“What will you spend the money on?” I hear you ask… Well, this is where it gets really exciting.

Some of our plans include:

• Creating a welcoming & safe, easy access space for the local community to use as their own arts hub

• Creating an outdoor workspace, where we’ll grow our own fruit & veg all year round.

• Paying professional artists to come in and lead regular sessions – ensuring the best creative experiences for everyone involved

So help us to help the community by voting for NAF in the Aviva Community Fund competition.

Once you’ve voted and shared, why not check out NAF on social media, and keep up to date with   the latest exciting projects and schemes:

 @NorthfieldArts1

  http://www.facebook.com/northfieldartsforum

 @nafarts

Thanks,

NAF Team

I am Daniel Blake

 

This Is Not A Party Political Broadcast

There is a one legged duck in northfield. It flits between the pond beyond Victoria common and the one at Manor Farm park. And it breaks my 6 years old heart every time. This week we went to feed the ducks (seeds not bread) and my son wanted to make sure the whole bag went to the duck with one leg. His compassion is a childs compassion, its naive in some ways, lacking complication and beautiful in its focus and delivery.

Growing up I had lovely parents, an extended family of grandparents, cousins and was part of a small community church that helped my little self thrive. I was also poor. But the only way i know i was poor, was because the local school bullies told me so. I was brutally mocked at times in my childhood despite not feeling like i wanted for anything(I despair for those in poverty who didn’t/dont have the network of family and friends we had ) but i was labelled, seen, marked, sorted and labelled by society as a “thing”, then treated according to this label.

Last week at NAFcaf we ran a free showing of I Daniel Blake. People wept, as expected, most through sympathy for the horrific situation of those in the film. But one woman was different. We spoke after, she wept because, in her words, “thats me”. She hadnt eaten for 3 days. The system has failed her. She talked of the humiliation of going to the foodbank, the desperation of poverty thrust on her by the brutality of our currently world view and system.

Finally, there are a number of things, places, groups, networks we as Local Arts Forums (us in northfield, and the other 9 across this great city) come in contact with regularly through the kind of work we do. Libraries. Early Years Education. Women’s Refuges. Social Care. Advocate groups for those with disabilities. And they are being smashed, ruined, stripped of money and stripped of dignity, a pincer of financial and rhetorical violence.

Yes, the arts are getting cut too, those of us who work in this arena are being squeezed hard by the current gov, but our focus is not this, its that; its the most vulnerable, its our children, our sick, our frail, our lost and lonely. And they are being demolished, decreased, belittled, dehumanised.

Its time for better. Whatever way you want to vote, get out and vote, but do it from a place of compassion. Do it with all your heart and all your head. I challenge you to find party policies that are based on comparison for the most vulnerable, and let that sway you at least a little. Because if we cant build something beautiful and true for our children, what are we even playing at?

With love and hope
Olly, Northfield Arts Forum Coordinator
Lets have a childs love for our most vulnerable, a beautiful  compassion for the lonely, lost and broken.

P.s.

We are meeting tomorrow (thursday 1st june)at prices square Northfield at 12pm to do some Arts Against Austerty, mainly some art work with chalk on the streets, but if you have other ideas, do come tell us!. What ever party you support,or if its none at all, you are welcome to join us tomorrow (or if you cant make tomorrow, but are still interested, do email and let us know and we will do more before the election. Peace.

By Oliver Armstrong