Welcome to Brainchild, our weekend festival with collaboration and experimentation at its heart. We are dedicated to sharing ideas and developing creativity, with a love of art and thinking from all disciplines. We want to bring your ideas and stories to life within the boundless and imaginative space of our festival.
We started this with a belief that an enormous amount of good can come out of a weekend full of performing arts, talking, dancing and meeting new friends.
Run entirely by volunteers, everybody mucks in dedicating long, hard hours to build an intimate community space including four stages, installations, camping area and bar, all beautifully decorated by resident artists.
Our work aims to:
- Develop creativity through participation and collaboration.
- Engage with progressive ideas from any discipline.
- Share visions for a more sustainable and compassionate society.
- Explore the creative process, not just the finished product.
- Build a useful network for artists and individuals to work together beyond the festival.
We see Brainchild as a fantastic opportunity for people to try out new things, find inspiration and connect with others. Everyone camps together, and we try to blur the divisions between audiences and performers as far as possible.
We are now building momentum for our third festival; we're excited for our best event yet. Whether it’s through jamming at the Steez Cafe, taking part in open-mics, making installations or volunteering as part of the build/break team, our events are full of opportunities and we can’t wait to meet everyone who’ll be part of it.
Brainchild is run by a team of passionate volunteers. Over the last two festivals, both artists and organisers have been incredibly generous and enthusiastic about sharing their work and time. Whether it’s driving vans, making zines, assembling fencing, lending kit, spending endless hours on photoshop, flyering or spreading the love - it's an almighty team effort.
The management and festival production is mainly undertaken by Marina Blake, Jerome Toole, Joey Valiunas, Rosie Skan, Isabel Adomakoh-Young, Zoe Hunter Gordon and Sarah Wilson. The bulk of the programming is led by Luke Newman + Ben Skerrit (music), Bridget Minamore (poetry), Zoe + Rosie (theatre), Lily Bonesso (installations), Louise Colgan (dance music), Georgia Spencer-Davison (films) and Jerome + Marina (music, talks, workshops and other projects).
Great bundles of thanks and credit must also go out to a whole host of individuals who’ve contributed in a big, unquantifiable way over time. Thank you Ellen Spence, Sanjay Poyzer, Ed Ive, Erica McKoy, Phoebe Douglas, Rachel Hannah, Rachel Tookey, Robbie Wojciechowski, Tom Benn, Joel Chima (Crack In The Road), Andrew Hulme (Werdna), Josie Tucker and Joe Melhuish for their support in marketing, programming, film production, artwork and more.
Brainchild set out to connect people in a way that larger festivals can't, nurturing collaboration on a personal level. We started planning the first festival in December 2011, when, amidst endless arts cuts, we wanted to show each other that realising our creative ambitions was still possible. Within six months we managed it, pulling together a fantastic program of talks, workshops, music and poetry on an incredibly shoe-string budget. What made it so special was not only the intimacy but the openness of the festival process, both online and over the weekend itself. Most of us were still teenagers at the shallow end of a learning curve, but the support we received from our artists and audience turned the event into something far bigger than ourselves.
For our second festival, we constructed a temporary world in a sunny field where for 700 people, enthusiasm, creativity and conversation seemed to reverberate everywhere. The event was strengthened by working with some other groups who shared our aims. We worked closely with Steez, the (then) open mic-night in Honor Oak which led to a new space in the bar for improvised and spontaneous collaboration. It was an unforgettable, incredibly sun-burnt weekend, and we could all sense that a tangible community was taking shape around this project.
Brainchild continues to thrive because of the love and investment of all who attend. It's been exciting to see the legacy of many collaborations and projects that have taken root there. Having had to miss a year to finish our various degrees, we are now working on Brainchild Festival #3, in July 2015, and cannot wait to meet all the exciting people who will be part of it.