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  • Fernando Tunon Hernandez
  • Workshops given to the Sky Youth Project July-August 2010 in Charleville.

    Created 2010-06-10 by Fernando Tunon Hernandez

    Location: Charleville - Co. Cork

    Duration: 2010-06-10 to 2010-07-15

Project Outline

The context

re.Birth: is a collective exploration of short-term memory through multidisciplinary workshops, experiments, research and performances. What do we remember, how do we remember, why our memories tell who we are? The exploration starts after an event happened, when it stops to be and is being brought back to life by our recollection of it.

re.Birth: has been created and developed by Inma Moya Pavon and Fernando Tunon Hernandez, and was supported by Camden Palace Hotel, Cork, who provided studio and workshop space as well as technical and human support for the whole duration of the project.

In July 2010, Charleville Sky Youth Project asked us to give a serie of workshops. This was a perfect opportunity to expand the project to younger participants.

The workshops

The young people were really receptive at the idea of working around short-term memory in various ways (theatre, story-writing, movement and drawing). Not only did they remember vividly, but more important, they were really strong at creating something out of these memories.

66 of them (11-15 years old) went through the process through 5 workshops of two hours. 

The first hour was divided in warm-up and memory games, to get them in the right mindset. The games were pretty physical and kept short (around 10 minutes each). Their awareness was raised in the field of remembering words, music and movement. Half of the time they were given the leadership to create the media to be remembered, and they made good use of it, in funny and creative ways.

The second hour was entirely dedicated in working on their memory (of a postcard they selected among many) through story-writing, theatre performance and drawing. Because the whole process was based on a single media and because each activity was time limited (15 minutes), the focus of the kids was amazingly strong. 

They were dead seriously busy.

The whole workshop had them express themselves not only through different ways, but also through different configurations (alone, by pairs, group of four and group of eight). It led to an entertaining experience packed with different sensations, and created interest also for what the other groups had come up with.

A key element of the focus and fun of the workshop was that they didn’t know what would happen the next moment, and somehow we managed to turn this uncertainty into excitement. We also gave them the full potential to create from their memories, making it impossible to know in advance what the outcome (drawing, stories and drama) would be.

Every session ended with a performance in which all the elements were put together and presented to the other groups. 

The real beauty and strength of re.birth: appears when we fully loose control of the creation and become spectator of what’s happening.

The main lesson we’ve learned from our mistakes was to keep everything as simple as possible, because the concept of creating from short-term memory is powerful enough on its own. (FTH)


The Outcome


Here are some examples of the chosen postcards and the creations from memories.

Every drawing is 3x1.2 meter.


The feedback


Dear Fernando and Inma,

This is a short note to both thank you immensely for providing the Re. Birth workshops over the summer and to provide a little feedback from the sessions. So firstly thanks a million for participating in the SKY Project Summer Programme. Re.Birth was without doubt one of the highlights for both me and the young people participating; the fun, creative and friendly atmosphere you both brought to the workshops was a winner with all the age-groups and opened up new possibilities and concepts around art in a genuinely inclusive way without ever being high-brow or elitist, so for that thanks again!

It is difficult to isolate things that worked particularly well with the groups given the overall success and the way that the young people threw themselves wholeheartedly into the experience. A few surprises stick out for me, particularly a young Traveller boy who, presented with the opportunity to dress up and act up, spontaneously donned a skirt, hat and shoes and skipped around killing himself with laughter. (Perhaps it helps to have been there and to have known the young person and his family, but it was both hilarious and moving as a scene from ‘Billy Elliot’!). 

Another surprise for me was the way all the participants, even the older teenagers, invested themselves without reservation into even the most silly-seeming warm-up exercises. This was entirely due to the careful devising and skilful delivery of the workshops. 

The use of visual art, creative writing and theatre produced some astonishing results given the starting point was frequently the collective memory of an abstract image. One outstanding example was the spontaneous creation of a story and the rich description of a wealthy couple and their house based on an entirely non figurative image of Islamic art from the Alhambra in Spain.

The use of a traditional typewriter proved particularly effective in the creative writing sessions as the young people seemed to concentrate on trying to get to grips with the use of ‘ancient’ technology and let their innate creativity write the story almost effortlessly.

I have been wracking my poor brains to think of any areas that might be improved or things that did not work as well as others and I am at a loss. Even when some of the concepts or exercises were difficult for some groups to understand, both of you managed to seamlessly work around the difficulty or to simplify the exercise without ‘dumbing-down’ what was needed. You both managed to maintain a fun, stimulating and challenging atmosphere even with groups that other facilitators have found difficult due to short attention-spans, high levels of excitement or a high percentage of participants with learning disabilities. 

Your professionalism is exemplary and the painstaking preparation for each workshop was evident in how you tailored each session to the profile of the group and kept a genuinely friendly and inclusive flavour to the project and it was clear that you both enjoyed the programme as much as the young people. Thanks again for all your effort and the great buzz you generated and for the speedy updating of progress on the Re.Birth website. I have already recommended you both to my colleagues and would have no hesitation in providing a reference to other agencies. 

Good luck with the continuation of the project and thanks once again.

Eben Barnard

Project Details

  • Location: Charleville
  • From date: 2010-06-10
  • To date: 2010-07-15
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Participants in total: 66
  • Contact hours: 2 hours
  • Age range of participants:
    15-18, 12-14, 8-11
  • County(ies):
  • Related Organisation(s):
    Sky Youth Project
  • Other Related Artists:
    Inma Moya Pavon

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