Diary Of A Project Manager In Turkey Take 11

Dear Reader,

I think I think I may have seen the most beautiful thing eve this morning. We woke up super early to try and capture the sunrise. We decided as a team that we really wanted to see it happen in Uchisar by the castle over pigeon Valley. Luck was on our side as balloons were also flying. It was pure awesome.

As the sun began to rise over the beautiful valleys more and more balloons took to the sky. Not just one or tow but 30 or 40. The view was phenomenal. It almost made up for the fact I didn't get to go on a hot air balloon this trip. (Note to self bring more money next time). I forgot about he freezing cold numbing my fingers and toes,or the 3 dogs running around me in circles. I was just mesmerised by what was in front of me. The early bird team managed to get some time lapse footage which I can not wait to see. 

Right by our hotel is a beautiful mosque. We went to see and somehow places of worship just always give me a warm safe feeling. The chandlers and decoration was amazing. We went to see another mayor who told us about a mosque in a village that was once a mosque and a church combined where Christians and Muslims prayed next to each other.

The wifi has been acting crazy so the next post will probably be a round up of the rest of the trip since it is almost time to go home. I hope you have been enjoying reading about this trip.


Kitty <3

Diary Of A Project Manager In Turkey Take 10

When I first looked at the programme for today I rolled my eyes. More fairy chimney and another cave hotel. Isn't it kid of scary how quickly you can start to take things for granted? Like when I get home I will long to drink tea looking at beautiful landscapes when all I see from my window is a car park. I do think though in our hearts we know this and every day when I actually get to the sites I am so amazed by the beauty of the views. It truly is breathtaking and the team all talk about how it almost doesn't look real like a green screen. I wish I had been able to afford the balloon ride as I keep seeing them pop up from the valley. I was a little annoyed that today we were driving by some valleys and 3 balloons started to ever so slowly rise from them. We shouted for the driver to stop so we could try and capture it but the driver continued on and ignored us. I do think our Turkish team do not understand the work that goes into filming sometimes as they seem to get impatient with us and how long it can take to get the footage we want. Hopefully we will be able to teach them a little in return for learning about their culture.

We started the day back at the fairy chimneys where some of the guys got the chance to ride camels. One of our guides filled us in the in amazing history of the area. This is the only place where the chimney are made up of multiple bodies and one head or multiple heads and one body. According to history centuries ago a priest had carved a church inside one. In this time it had been forbidden to be a christian and so for people who wanted to follow the religion they had to hide and worship in secret.

One team decided to vox pops vendors and tourists about their experience. The other team wanted to do a presenter piece to the camera. A lot of the tourists didn't want to be interviewed but were curious about what we were doing. The team managed to track some down and ask them some questions about their experience.

The other team seemed to struggle a bit today as I had deliberately put a group of strong characters together. I wanted to give them the experience of learning to work with difficult people and making sure that this can be done in a smooth way. Some handled it better than others but in team meetings they all feel that it is a huge learning curve for them. A massive part of filming is learning to work with clashing personalities in the most stressful environments. They did manage to capture some great footage even squeezing in some preparation of the most amazing orange juice. The juice is made of 6 different oranges i am craving it now. So sweet and lovely. One of the girls who had been feeling a little run down said she felt like it brought her back to life.

The cave hotel we saw today had been my favourite. You do have to walk up a steep rocky almost dangerous path to get to fairyland hotel but when you do get to the top if the steps haven't taken your breath away the view will. In all the trip I think I learnt the most today. One of the owners gave me a real humble experience in sharing so much with me. He spent a lot of time showing me pictures, videos and telling me a lot about the history of the development of the village. He also showed me the ruins of an old church. The path was very dangerous but you could tell it was once a beautiful church. This guy really knows his history. He told me about how in 1965 due to the government not looking after the church some of the rocks fell onto the village below killing a mother and 2 children. The villagers not knowing the historical significance of the church took the rocks and used them to build in the village. Despite his complaints the local authorities continues to ignores his request for St Johns Baptist church to be restored and looked after.

I also learnt a lot about the reason why the people of Cappadocia respect and love pigeons so much. The farmers used to build them houses and then use their poop as fertiliser for the vineyards. So the pigeons literally helped them keep their livelihood long before tourists.I could have spent hours learning more. He also spoke to me about the current economy and that in the villages there is a real sense of community. Nobody is homeless as people make a point of looking after each other especially by providing work so that families can have a sense of worth instead of charity. I really wish more of the world could be like that. The team interviewed him about the history and his views.

Later in the evening we went to Urgup to visit a Turkish Folk Cafe. I expected acoustic music but we were greeted with electric drum powered rhythms. It was still interesting to listen and learn more about a new style of music.

Diary Of A Project Manager In Turkey ....Take 9

Over breakfast it started to rain heavily so the morning of trekking was called off. Although some of the more eager members of the group still wanted to go and had the guides hunting for waterproofs but after a vote the group decided to use the time to prepare for a meeting they were due to have with a travel writer who was originally from England and now lived in Cappadocia with her 12 cats I find one cat hard enough to look after so how she manages 12 I just do not know.

Before their interview the group had the chance to try a Turkish bath. I have had them before and due to trying to remain professional I didn't think it was a good idea to get half naked with my group. I did listen to the treatments though and it sounded amazing. The girls and boys were separated, given lockers and asked to change. They would then have a real clay face mask and venture into the sauna for 15 minutes. Followed by a shower and then Turkish bubble bath and massage. After they could even swim in the pool and drink apple tea.

While we left the group relaxing me and the lovely Sarah went shopping and had frappes. The coffee in Turkey is divine. The shops are so beautiful lots of little bizarres filled with sparkly fun things that are just screaming for me to buy them. I managed to get 10 postcards for just 1TL. I am so in love with the lanterns but the search for the perfect one continues.

We went to wait for the team at the meeting point a little Cafe called MY donods. Yes Tuncay tricked them into thinking they would be going to McDonald's as they had all been craving for big macs. To be honest you will never get a view like this in McDonald's. So beautiful a roof area where you can sit in big comfy chairs looking out onto the mountains and caves. This place is amazingly beautiful I can see how people live here When the team got back we all talked excitedly about who would like to live in a traditional cave. I would love to give it a try they stay warm all winter and cool all summer.

The writer arrived and the group chatted with her while they set up to film. She was very friendly and a natural for the camera. The interview skills were swift 3 cameras working in unity and no need for any retakes. #teamytv are blossoming in front of my eyes. They have got into a routine of allocating different team members to clear cards, charge batteries to make sure that everyone gets a chance to learn how to do a bit f everything. This also helps every member of the team realise the importance of getting these tasks done for a more productive day of filming the next day.

Tomorrow we have a really early start so night night readers xxx

Diary Of A Project Manager In Turkey Take 8

When you're filming free days are never free days which I have to say dear reader if you love film is no big issue. Although it can be crazy stressful and hard work if you genuinely love doing something it really doesn't feel like work.

All week I have been bugging the guys to really take advantage of at least one of their free days. Only a few of the group wanted to sleep and rest for the day the rest were ready for adventure. Having loved the horses so much they wanted to venture back to The Dalton Brothers .

The public transport in Turkey is really easy to use just like Birmingham really but way cheaper. It was 3TL to get all the way from our hotel to Goreme. That is just a quid. You jump on to the cozy coach which is more like a people carrier taxi just a bit bigger and a conductor comes round to collect the money. So if you are thinking of travelling to Turkey don't worry about being able to get around the buses are every half hour although the driving is very speedy and they can get full.

Goreme centre is so tiny but packed with things to do. There are lots of shops, Cafes, Turkish baths and even quad biking. The gang interviewed the owner of the quad bikes to get a feel of how they generate income if it is mostly from tourists or locals. For 60 TL 2 of the team deceived to take some quad bikes for a spin for 2 hours. They got to go all around the town and around the valleys with a guide who helped make sure they stayed safe while we went off to The Dalton Brothers ranch.

I have already raved about how much I loved the Dalton Brothers Ranch in an earlier post here. It really is like something stepped out of a cowboy film and I wish I could just move in like yesterday. One of the Dalton brothers took 5 of #TeamYTV out onto the valleys. They said they had the most amazing time riding through such beautiful surroundings and even bumped into the quad biking duo. The remaining of #TeamYTV stayed at the ranch to interview the horse whisper about his experience. He gave us some beautiful tea made of 6 different kinds of flowers. Even if you do not want to ride a horse I really suggest visiting the ranch to soak up the experience and enjoy this amazing tea.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 7- Turkey

Today I missed out on going on a hot air balloon. Half the participants went though and it was amazing just to see how happy they are. How often in youth work can you say you have had the chance to go on a hot air balloon? I know if I had contacted my manager I could have probably got the extra money I needed to go on the balloon but lucky I didn't as I was ill on the night and morning so I may have ended up missing out anyway. I guess it just wasn't my time to balloon! My time will come though besides this trip is not about me and to be honest hearing the stories from the young people was just as much fun as going on myself. They sounded like they had an amazing time read about it here.

Today was a free day so everyone caught up on some much needed rest. Well nearly everyone. Poor Sarah managed to scold her hand probably because she was in a daydream about how great hot air balloons were. so we called the host and got mission to get her some meds. Trying to translate to Turkish pharmacists is interesting. Two countries now who have looked at me blankly when I ask for ibuprofen. We got her creamed and bandaged up and headed to the mall.

Never has a burger king tasted so good. I NEVER go to burger king in the uk but man we just wanted to have something yum after a stressful day after both of us had been feeling icky and Sarah needed some serious cheering up and a proper Veggie meal in her belly. We unwrapped it all and took a minute to take it in before devouring it.

The rest of the day we chilled and had a bonding session with the other guys by doing some really fun and insightful psychology tests that one of the girls knew. If you want to play leave a comment.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 6-Turkey

Finally after lots of tea drama managed to have a cup of tea yay. Let me take you back a few days. We went and bought a kettle so we could make sure that everyone could have tea or at least a hot water bottle. Then we had the genius idea to go and buy some milk. So we bought what looked like milk and ventured back to my room for tea. Don't get me wrong I am embracing the culture and having lots of Turkish coffee and apple tea. It is just that in the evening it gets cold and sometimes all you want is a good cuppa. Well we got back to the room and realised we didn't have cups....we managed to get some...then we didn't have a spoon....how much goes into making a cup of tea seriously? Then the 'milk' curdled our hearts were broken. Turns out the 'milk' was out of date. We chalked it up to bad shopping and vowed to buy some and some bigger mugs the next day. We managed to find the Turkish Tesco and buy some mugs and sugar (They sell it in cubes here) and some more 'milk'. Back to the hotel I left Sarah making a cup of tea while I went to remind the group to prepare equipment for the next day. Half way  through a chat with one of the lads Sarah came in looking horrified. The milk had curdled again I dropped to the floor in horror :( Fast forward to today as i was eating my lovely local chicken Kebab that the guides had taken us to eat they gave me a milky drink that looked very familiar. The guides went on to explain that 'Aryan' is a milky drink with salt in that many enjoy in Turkey. The penny dropped. We had not even been buying milk.  No offence Turkey but the drink was grim and made one of the girls sick instantly but one of the boys who is originally from a close by country was scooping up everyone elses as he loved it. Later we went to the local shop and there it was glorious milk erm right next to the Aryan. So now you can see why I am so happy to have a cup of tea as I type this.

Today a different member of the crew was sick so we have now decided it must be a bug. Again loaded up with food, water and a number for the day we ventured out without her. This time it was Sarah my right hand girl. Just before we were about to go I started to feel kind of grimy myself. No choice though but to soldier on. So this time we went to Urgup  town. Again we climbed some steep hills to get to the top of what seemed like a mountain. Here we looked out across the town and had a very surreal moment when there was a broadcast that almost sounded like big brother. It was so strange as it was not the call to prayer and made some very strange noises. At the top of this hill we were told that if you climb it 7 times God will grant you your wishes. Once was enough for me but there was a stunning view. The king had been buried n  tomb on the top where locals come to pray. The king had been poisoned and when he did not die he had been strangled and then later buried in the tomb. Apparently the remains were no longer in the tomb but we managed to go inside.

Last night the team had shown some dedication. Instead of going out on the town they stayed in and helped each other by doing a workshop on the skills that others were weak in. A moment to be proud of them as the next day all the members of the group that had been shying away from the camera were now pulling focus and planning shots they wanted. This is what Global media placement is all about. Getting young people trained and using their new skills on the job in exciting places. Teams were working together a lot better and without any disputes because now everyone understood what they were doing. We went on to taste some wine which was made in a cave which was actually really nice.

A lagging team then plodded on to see some more fairy chimneys this a story of a young couple and a baby who fled from an army and pleaded God to protect them to be turned to stone. I just can't stop taking in the views it is just amazing.

As the group went to film the whirling dirvish show I hot bed as I was feeling a bit peaky so here i am in bed with a hot water bottle and a cuppa. Rock n Roll.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 5....Turkey

Time just flies by so fast I can't believe it is already Friday. Had the most amazing sleep last night even though I actually only got to sleep an extra half hour but mmmmm. I had negotiated a later start for the team as they had a super long day yesterday. One of the teams didn't get back until 11.40pm. It is good learning for the team though as they need to realise that if they want to be in media they will have to have long days. So far managing this project has been a lot of fun. I am really enjoying building partnerships and making connections with people to try and progress YTV. Like I said before I really believe in the work Ulfah and YTV do so it just makes it all that more rewarding.

We had the privilege of going to see another cave hotel. A lot different from the spa resort we saw but I really liked it much more. It was homey and cozy with all the warm cave features of the other resort. I would happily stay somewhere like that. The lady who runs it with her husband is originally from Norway and immigrated to Cappadocia 15 years ago when she met her husband. They were really lovely and offered us apple tea. I really do love apple tea I think today I have had like 3 cups of it.

The YTV crew are getting better at interviews and today the 2 teams are really coming together. It is actually really inspiring seeing them progress. As one of the teams leaders was still ill we had left her at the hotel with plenty of food and water and my phone number if she needs me. So we appointed a new team leader to the one team and the girl that took control was on the ball. I was really impressed with her leadership skills. She listened to everyone and made sure people looked after and shared equipment.

They got to put these new skills to the test in meeting another mayor this time of Gerome. We met him at the local mosque where they were giving out a local dish. It was bloody horrible. Not to be rude like I am up for trying most things but this was like warm fruit juice with nuts in just not my bag. Some of the team loved it though. We ventured to his office to interview him. The teams were a lot smoother in setting up and getting the interview done quickly and efficiently. Great results and we got presents too which was lovely. This mayor was really nice a whole bag full of treats as well as some more Turkish tea. I can handle this tea without milk with enough sugar...stay tuned to the blog to hear about my tea disasters.

I have never seen people almost cry with happiness over food as when we hit up an open buffet restaurant for lunch. Mash potato, chocolate cake, and dirty water jelly. The group were in heaven. There were even spices!

We started to make our way to open air museum but as time was running low and everyone wanted to go see some horses we stopped off at a horse farm owned by the Dalton Brothers. They had lots of lovely horses and some chickens. I have never seen a fluffy chicken like not just feather but fluffy like a chicken cat. We met an awesome man who was a horse whisperer, a real cowboy. He captures horses in the Valleys and then trains them for beginners to go riding out in the valleys. He let the team ride on the horses which they really loved. Being city kids some of them had never been on a horse before so it was a new experience for them. We are hoping to go back and interview him properly as we were running out of time. His home was amazing a really warm cave home. I could have moved in right then and there.

Finally we got some time off in the evening just to chill and we went and bought some awesome nuts....I say nuts they were covered in chocolate.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 4-Turkey

Sleepy eyed I am waiting for the team to come back from visiting Turkish Families. They all chipped together to buy their hosts for the night some lovely cake. I thought this was a really sweet gesture from the team which just shows we really do have a lovely group of young people on this trip. I stayed behind as one of the participants is feeling poorly so has been in bed. I wanted to be around to help her in case she needed a bit of extra help. I think she has food poisoning which is such a shame as she is one of the team leaders and has been really gaining a lot from this experience. Hopefully she will feel better in the morning and be able to eat something. She was put to bed with plenty of water and a hot water bottle. Who said the kettle wouldn't come in handy? It is 10.40pm and now I know how it feels to wonder and worry where people are. I know they are very responsible and in good hands but it is always good to know that they are safe and sound.

Today has been a long but productive day. Day 1 of actual shooting. Oh boy did they get thrown in at the deep end. Our host had arranged for us to meet with the mayor in which both teams would get a chance to interview him. When we arrived we soon found out that the team only had 10 minutes each with him. So in a mad rush of setting up equipment while the other team practiced questions outside team 1 launched into action. The team was well prepared and managed to hide their nerves well. The mayor doesn't speak any English so our tour guide promised to translate later to save us some time.

Group 2 did just as well with their presenter lead style. Emma the girl who is the presenter for this group is just amazing. She is just as good if not better than any TV presenter I have seen. She is very pretty, has a lot of character and most of all is a very sweet genuine person. After both the groups seemed a bit surprised at how fast they were expected to be but personally I think the best way to learn anything is to make the mistakes doing it. I someone lays it out on the table for you how are you ever truly going to learn. Filming is a practical skill and if you want to get better at it you need to be out there doing it. Make mistakes just learn how to fix them in the future. Sometimes you never know a mistake may turn out in your favour.

With a hunger we gobbled our cheese sandwiches which injured Sarahs Lip. Bread is dangerous out here it is everywhere I feel like Violet Blueberry and fear they will have to roll me onto the plane.

Climbing to the top of castles made of stone and caves is really hard work but so worth it, We all hiked to the top of Uchisar Castle after buying cool things from locals. There is a little man serving drinks at the top and I was amazed at how cheap he actually was as he could have charged me 234 TL and I would have paid it haha....ok maybe not but if that had been Dudley zoo they would have charged £3 for a can of coke. The team got some beautiful shots.

Having seen lots of empty caves we loved the experience of going to see an amazing spa resort built in the caves. CCR hotel has huge rooms with luxurious beds, they offer fancy spa treatments I had never even heard of and have the most amazing rain forest shower. I may have to put a strobe in my bathroom and stick a plant to the wall as at 1000 euros a night that is the closest I will get. The YTV team were treated to a tour and managed to do some filming as well as getting an interview. The night view of the hotel as we were driving away was stunning.

Now the team are off visiting Turkish Families and interviewing them. I am looking forward to seeing how they get on.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 3-Turkey

WOAH what a day! Today the team were taken on a tour of Cappodocia to take a look at the different areas we would be filming. I suggested the team take minimal equipment with them enjoy the area, make plans for filming and just have a general recce.

First stop was to take a breath taking look at pigeon valley. The landscape is just amazing here. Natural beauty of rocks and caves made famous by the likes of star wars it is no wonder film crews love to use Cappodocia. Our funny lively host Ramadan told us all about the history of the city and how it came to have so many caves. Keeping the team upbeat with lots of jokes and banter. We enjoyed some Turkish tea looking out at the beautiful mountains. The best thing was seeing the faces of the young people who just couldn't believe what they were seeing. Pictures can just not do the landscape justice. If you ever get the chance to visit do if not just for the amazing view.  With heavy hearts we dragged ourselves away from the amazing view but were promised with more adventures. Off to the open air museum we went.

The open air museum had amazing views also but more interesting were all the caves you can explore and within the caves are several churches with some beautiful art work in them. Real or not is for you to decide but I am a bit skeptical about the 'Last Supper' being held in Cappadocia. I am pretty sure Jesus chilled out in Jerusalem for that kind of thing. Although the caves were really cool to look at and imagine people living it I found it seemed to get a bit samey after a bit and I kind of lost interest so just stuck in to getting pictures of the team plotting new ideas for their documentaries.

You can't go to Turkey and not go see some hand made pottery. We enjoyed some apple tea and even got to have a go at making a pot. The pots are all hand painted in small tiny dots which must take hours to do but it is an amazing talent. Sadly they are way out of most of our price range and even though I thought they were amazingly talented and had beautiful work to look at I just couldn't see myself parting with 1000 TL for a plate. It was still a valuable experience to learn about the culture of pottery making in Turkey. The team managed to get some fotage and practice their hand held skills.

We ventured on our jam packed journey this time stopping to look at some Fair chimneys which I will tell you more about in a later post as we will be going back to these places a few times to get filming done. The team were more interested in the camel and they all had a go riding the camel for just 5TL. Personally I do not agree with riding camels for fun the poor thing looked fed up and worn out and just had to walk round in constant circles without water which just made me sad. The team really enjoyed the experience though. I am sure the camel is well looked after really it just makes me sad to see things like that.

There was a valley we stopped off in which is called imagination valley you look at the rocks and see what your imagination shows you such as the 2 kissing monkeys, the dancing couple and some others....I think they are all man made but even if they are it is still pretty impressive.

The next stop was one I had been dreading all day. The underground city. I know you are thinking. What is her problem? An underground city that sounds amazing. No! No! No! it was cool to find out that this city had been built underground by hand centuries ago to hide from enemies and as protection in the winter and I went in for a little but but the tunnels get tiny and cramped and a few of us just found it way too small down there and ran out as quick as possible. The Turkish guards seemed to think this was hilarious and just couldn't see why we would want to get out of the cave. I guess they are so used to going down them that it doesn't seem like a big deal to them but a wuss like me the impending doom of going deeper into a cave that gets smaller and smaller just does not float my boat. The one girl who went first into the tunnel and had to come back out described herself as feeling like a prawn....now when is that a good look? For the brave people who do not mind small spaces they carried on and came out with tales of tombs and skeletons....thanks guys I will just watch the footage and give it a pass.

Diary Of A Project Manager Take 2

First day in Turkey and we didn't have to meet with the host until 1pm. We so needed the rest too! Who knew travelling could be so tiring? We all got up for breakfast which is an open buffet with a chef that cooks omelettes and so much amazing food to choose from. I have been to Turkey before to Altinkum last year and so the Turkish Breakfast was no surprise to me. For those who don't know a traditional Turkish breakfast is boiled egg, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, cheese, meat, bread and honey. It is so filling though! This buffet had a lot more to offer but some of the participants didn't seem too happy which was a shame.

The teams got together and planned out their documentaries. Team leaders took charge and ideas were put together of different places they would like to go. One team have decided to focus on 'Life in Cappodocia' which will talk about the locals and how life is. The other team wanted to find out the impact tourism has had on the city. They are eager to find out about charities in the city and how their work differs from the work we have in the UK. All teams are eager to get started. I am really impressed with the groups ideas and how quickly and easily they work together.

Later in the afternoon we ate with our host we had some traditional Turkish food which was like a bread filled with cheese and egg. The host had bought us a whole plate each and it was so much that nobody could eat it all. Tummies full we plodded to the meeting room to see a presentation about the company. Our host company is..... they are an educational company who often deal with exchanges. Tuncay had even hosted a team of participants for a month on a boat. Now that sounds interesting I think I would get sea sick! After hearing about them me and my lead volunteer let them know all about the brilliant work Ulfah do and how we could connect as a company and build a strong partnership.

The team played some team building games and then to get to know the city better we had a list of things to find dotted around the city. I joined one of the teams and we went on the hunt for random things like a taxi driver with a moustache (everyone seems to have them here), a boy in a green shirt, women in Turkish clothes and various buildings. This was an awesome idea for getting to know the city as now everyone will know their way around and be able to wander to the shop without getting lost. My team lost but we really won because we got the most amazing cake. The cakes here are crazy they are like works of art.

We ate dinner in the hotel with the host and prepared for the next busy day ahead. So far the city is really exciting. The town centre looks small, there are lots of food shops and randomly I managed to buy a kettle. Everyone is shocked to see tourists as it isn't a place that is over run with them like some other places in Turkey. One lady was so sweet she went out of her way to help us find an exchange place. Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. We had a team meeting and everyone was given their expenses lets hope they hold onto them for the balloon ride.

Diary of A Project Manager take 1-Turkey

Recently I scored an awesome promotion at work (Ulfah Arts) and have had the opportunity to become part of some really inspiring projects.One of the projects is the Leonardo Project. Ulfah and YTV have been part this international skill building exchange for some time hosting young people from Germany and other EU countries and then being able to send the youth of the UK on trips of a lifetime to Norway, Spain and now guess who is in Turkey. .....Well go on guess then. Ha ok me and 10 young people. This is such an amazing opportunity not just for the young people but also for me to develop my own skills as a manager. I really love working with young people and am really passionate about the work Ulfah has to offer. Ulfah really believe in people and gives chances to those who may never have had them. Media is already such a hard industry to break into and those little extra chances can help a young person really boost their career, creativity and give them a education in life skills.

So here I am sitting in my hotel room after a hectic first few days and I don't even know where to start. I
guess rewind to first meeting the team. I joined the project a little late so the team had already started media training from a top professional brushing up on camera skills and editing armed with new knowledge they were handed over to me. I met the team of 10 young 18-28 year olds. They all seemed lovely and very focused on the work. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands. Although we had met a few times it wasn't until we were all standing in Digbeth coach station sleepy eyed that it suddenly dawned on me WOAH we were about to head to Turkey. What a journey too.

The journey was eventful to say the least. The team were great and even though everyone was tired they remained in high spirits and instantly formed as a unit. Everyone was surprised by the first Turkish airline flight. Snuggled down in our comfy seats we watched 'The Heat' on our personal screens. Is it just me or when the hell did economy get so good? The heat was really funny better towards the end but made journey super quick. My only grumble about this flight is the air staff were a bit rude at the fact that one of the team didn't eat meat. Come on airlines vegetarians have been around for ages lets not be so surprised. A misadventure with the airline sneakily messing with luggage but as a team we problem solved and got the whole team and the luggage safely to our destination. The second flight being domestic wasn't so luxurious but on the flipside the air staff were lovely and went out of their way to feed my veggie friend.

Met by our friendly host we mini bussed our way to the hotel where everyone settled into their rooms. The rooms are all really spacious and while they all settled in with their room mates it gave me a chance to meet with the partner and discuss the programme. The next two weeks were going to be rammed packed with exciting new adventures for all to film. Read all about how the participants found the journey here. My room is huge and super exciting.

Self Portrait/s hosted by HFWAS

If you were wondering through Birmingham city centre on October 15th you may have been lucky enough to witness some public performance art. Not enough performance art is available out there in the public for everyone to enjoy but the Birmingham based live art collective 'Home For Waifs and Strays' are working hard to make performance art more available for all. Founders Kate Spence (who I have raved about before) and Aleks Wojtulewicz are no strangers to the performance art scene and have been pushing it's boundaries for some time now. They work very hard to create links for artists and keep art going.  To check out their latest events keep an eye on the website. 

HFWAS teamed together with Thomas John Bacon to put on a production that invited audiences to interact with a performance that explores the use of body as a subject and an object. This was all done through a very simple action. An open call was made to the public artist or not to come and be a part. The beauty of such a simple but expressive piece is that anyone could be a part of 'Self Portrait/s'.

This is not the first time this has been performed but HFWAS wanted to support the artist to bring his work to the public on a bigger scale. Adapted a little from the original to make more inclusive for all. HFWAS managed to swing an awesome space at Birmingham Cathedral (that's pigeon park to the Brummys among us). A great place to really get seen as many commute through this area every day.

The interesting part about this piece for me is it was interactive on two levels. There were several people
who were not in the actual piece but knew exactly what would be going on. All there for different reasons be it to steward or film but we got to see a very different side to the work than the general public I was really excited about this when Kate told me about it leading up and managed to swing it so that I could be in town with the excuse of taking a German exchange student to the new library to do some filming. I deliberately didn't tell Jana much of what would be going on so I would be able to get an honest reaction from her also. So when the time came I eagerly waited with others to see how Birmingham City Centre would take to this.

Several participants slowly filtered into the area. I had been told to look out for people dressed in black and white carry some luggage. One by one they dotted themselves around the outside of the cathedral all a good distance from each other so they would first be spotted on their own. Once everyone was in position the first person a young man in Dr Martin boots started to open his luggage. What was inside? A huge spiel of ribbon. Carefully looking straight ahead in silence he began to wrap the ribbon around his face. In another part of the square a girl started to open her case and start mummifying her face with the never ending black ribbon.

For me one of the most interesting parts of the performance was the public's reactions to what was happening. Some people laughed and took photos, some out right refused to acknowledge that something was happening in front of them and one even ran over to the police to tell them that people had gone crazy. I found it insightful that the reactions towards the participants differed for some of the people. In all i think Birmingham took to it very well and I hope a few people went away interested in seeing what art Birmingham has to offer or even better getting involved!

These lovely pictures were provided by Ray Spence.

Pop Not Porn

Yesterday everywhere I turned it seemed netmums was on the TV or radio. Usually as I am not a parent this isn't something that would interest me but the subject they were plugging is something that isn't just about parents. 'Pop Not Porn' the representation of women in music.

I currently work for a not for profit record label and we feel very strongly about the way women are represented and the effects it can have on how people see women or even more importantly how women see themselves. I am aware that this is also a rising issue for men and that they constantly see abs and muscles all over the place, so are also faced with  body image issues but if a man takes off his clothes and dances provocatively it doesn't make the paper for weeks.

This is exactly the case with the recently Miley Cyrus events. Everyone seems to have an opinion on her behaviour at the awards. I read an article recently that I think I shared on my Facebook like page that made a very valid point. Everyone seems so bothered about Miley's over sexulisation but nobody blinked an eye about the older man that was grinding behind her and singing about 'blurred lines' and borderline rape. Instead society is too wrapped up in slut shaming and talking about how disgusting Miley is for trying to get attention by acting 'slutty'. I am first to admit I have a battle of opinions here I believe every woman has the right to wear what she likes and use her body as she wishes but I also think it is the duty of celebrities out there to act as a role model for women all over the world. I  think Miley is growing up and experimenting not wanted to be the clean cut Disney girl anymore and wanting the world to see her as a grown sexual being. It is a stage all women go through while they are exploring themselves and learning who they are but unfortunately for Miley she lives and breaths an industry that can lead her in the wrong direction.

The music industry is full of half naked women thrusting on men and gyrating to be pleasing to the males of the world that may buy their records. How much of that is the woman's choice? It is a debate that can go in all directions. If the woman in question wants to do that and she is actively making the choice then I am cool with that. We are human we come with all different kinds of motivation. Although I am sceptical how much of this is a record industry pushing them to be sexier, thinner and more desirable. We only have to turn on x factor and watch the wannabe stars preened and shedding weight to become more pleasing to the public. There is no question that sex sells but also I really think listeners and viewers out there are not being expose to enough choice and variety. Women can be amazing role models without having to shake their ass. Keep an eye on my A-Z of inspirational women to learn about some of the amazing women out there who are already making a difference.

If we keep presenting society with just one type of role model then we will keep living in a world where it is cool to tell a woman she should wear pants that stop her getting raped rather than teaching everyone not to rape. I honestly couldn't believe my eyes when I read this article about the invention  of anti rape underwear for women. Why should women have to wear anything to protect themselves from rape? In no way am I saying that rape is down to Rhianna being half naked but more down to the way the record industries are teaching men to look at and treat women. If you are going to be half naked then you really need to present yourself well in other areas so that the women who walk the streets the other day do not get treated like objects.

So the record company I am a part of wants to tackle this issue. Let me know what you think about how women are represented in music and how it can be improved to be more positive helping put an end to slut shaming we welcome your opinions :)

Post Comment Love

A to Z of inspirational women .....A is for

After writing about the strong female icons of cartoons that inspired me a few posts ago it got my mind ticking about women in general that I have been influenced by or really admire. There are so many I decided to make this into an A to Z regular post until we get to Z. I am going to do this by first names or if they are in a band the bands name especially if there is more than one inspiring woman.

A is for

How did I write about spoken word before and not mention the ever inspiring, strong and beautiful Ani di Franco? She is an amazing poet and has a beautiful way with words that are not only inspiring for women but everyone out there. She talks honestly and isn't consumed in a world of fashion. She inspires me to want to write and try my own hand at spoken word. I was introduced to Ani by an old friend when I was about 15 and have been listening to her ever since. If I am ever having a bad day her words lift me up and put a smile back on my face. She also created her own record label Righteous Babe in able to allow creative freedom.  This is one of my favourite tracks but she has so many amazing songs/poems so really explore her work and lets all hope she comes to the UK soon!

Amanda Palmer should be a name that is no stranger to you dear reader as she has been all over the news recently. If you missed the news about how she raised to fame through kickstarter and taking her career into her own hands then you wouldn't have missed the nipple slip that made the daily mail. She made an awesome come back to the idiots that are the daily mail that you may still be able to find on you tube. I wish I had a chance to see her when she toured last so fingers crossed I will catch her next time. Did you go? I hate you a little bit right now ;) If you have a little time on your hands then watch this Ted talks and if she doesn't inspire you then you must be made of stone dear reader. She is very funny, witty, and talented. I keep raving on at her to my boss as justification for how we should run some of our projects.

The Color Purple still remains a firm favourite on my bookshelf. Alice walker is a very talented writer who paints a heart wrenching tale. If you have only seen the film take a moment to read the book as it will break your heart and inspire you twice as much as the film did. Alice's books and poetry sent my imagination so wild it really inspired me to want to write. Not only is Alice an amazing writer but she also practise what she preaches. She has been very active in the activist scene in particular around issues for women.

Adele may come as a surprise to some people. I think she is really under valued and it is funny how people
turn their back on musicians when they become popular. Like it is uncool to say you dig Adele because everyone and their mom seems to like her now. I don't care I love her. She is outspoken, beautiful, curvy and wooooi can she sing! She has had to put up with so much stick for being the 'big' girl in the charts and she has taken it so well. So many other stars like the girl from lil mix would have run off and dieted like crazy. I always look forward to seeing and reading her interviews. She is a Strong advocate against the over sexualisation of women in music which is something that I am currently researching for work and it is awesome to have a positive role model out there in the mainstream modern music industry voicing a disagreement with this!

Angelina Jolie makes my list. Not because of her acting. I appreciate she is beautiful and a great actress but what impresses me more is her humanitarian work. Angelina has done a lot of work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Donating millions to help with their work but not in a blind donation to feel like she is doing her part she actually has been to meet lots of refugees first hand and I loved when I heard her say that she wanted to achieve "Awareness of the plight of these people. I think they should be commended for what they have survived, not looked down upon". 

Have I missed any inspiring ladies beginning with A that you admire? Tell me about them in the comments

Bows Keep My Hair Looking Pretty

Since I have caved to the dark side and have been blogging about things I have bought then I would like to use this space to sometimes promote the independent retailers, crafter and downright talented also. I have been following this lady on instagram for some time but when she put up this picture my heart bounded with consumer envy and I knew I just had to have the Frankenstein hair clip RIGHT NOW!
Bride of Frankenstein - I love the cute lace detailing 

For those who do not know I am a massive horror frank and The bride of Frankenstein is an absolute classic. I blogged in my old blog about an amazing night I attended which was a unique experience and how everyone should get to see this movie. I may reblog this on here for you guys to read. Since I know you are just dying to hear all about it. Anyway I digress. So you really should check out this ladies ETSY right here.
I loved this Elvira bow so much I was lost for words

I squealed with excitement when I opened my package and found my bows were packaged in a super cute horror style bag. This lady is one of the sweetest people I have ever bought from. She had not really sent goods to the UK before but didn't stop me from buying from her as many do and then I have to miss out on awesome goods. She left me a super cute note with the bows.
True horror legend

Some bows I have seen that have been hand crafted are made lazily and fall apart quickly. Not these ones they are really good quality, very skilled work and wicked awesome ideas. She has a great and varied collection and they are really affordable and reasonably priced. You even get a bow free when you buy 3! How can you go wrong with that bargain my only problem was trying to choose which ones I wanted to buy. I will definitely be buying more soon!

Elvira and Cry baby <3