Come and join Artmongers and Bold Vision at the Hill Station (SE14 5TY) 7-9pm on Jun 25th to discuss our next two projects – the Refugee Experience Evening and Refugee Radio. More info available on request (email@example.com). Lots of opportunities to get involved and make an enjoyable contribution to these ideas.
We are gathering people who can help with
Recording / producing
Is it you? Join the conversation, help shape these projects Jun 25th 7-9pm
Electric Pedals is about communication. It’s about connecting people together, whether through outdoor entertainment or classroom education, the focus is on community. Electric Pedals’ on-going collaboration with organisations such as the Free Film Festival (www.freefilmfestivals.org) has enabled people to join together to watch, enjoy and power their cinema experience by becoming the batteries that generate the electricity to run their entertainment – bicycle-powered cinema.
Electric Pedals (www.electricpedals.com) was founded by Colin Tonks over seven years ago as a way of harnessing human power to generate energy from cycling. Since then, the possibilities of where bicycle power can lead us have radically grown and Electric Pedals has become the forefront of bicycle power innovation.
As Jacqui Shimidzu, Community Volunteer and Founder of NXDFFF explains, ‘we could have just had a generator powering this outdoor performance, but Electric Pedals brings added value. People don’t quite believe that cinema can be completely powered by themselves; it’s a spectacle.’ Dynamic and communal, active participation transforms cinema into an curious and unpredictable performance where escapism becomes a team-effort – a shared experience – rather than the solitariness of a dark auditorium.
Relying solely on constant, real-time pedal power throughout the screening means that when the human batteries stop pedalling, the films stop reeling. But all it takes is the audience’s encouragement and some cheers of appreciation for the cyclists, to bring the screen and sound back into action.
This series of photographs by Tonks, documents the spirit of Electric Pedals and the energy of the people it has gathered. A world away from their home in South East London, Electric Pedals has travelled to Africa, South America and all over Europe using bicycle-powered cinema to bring communities together in just the same way.
Film brings every community together to have fun and be inspired. Whether here in the UK or in the depths of rural Africa, where technology is minimal, Electric Pedals is pedalling the dynamic future of community cinema and beyond.
Some other screenings by Electric Pedals:
Partner: Nunhead and Peckham Free Film Festival
Screening Date: 7th September 2013
Film: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Horniman Museum and Gardens
Partner: Mash Cinema
Screening Date: 21st August 2014
Film: The Journeys of George Méliès (1902)
Partner: Efecto Cine
Screening Date: 6th December 2014
Film: Aftershock (2012)
Partner: Newcross and Deptford Free Film Festival
Screening Date: 2nd May 2015
Film: Wizard of Oz (1939)
Kabami Primary School, Kisoro, Uganda
Partner: Great Ape Film Initiative (GAFI)
Screening Date: 8th December 2010
Film: BBC Cousins, Apes (2000)
Back in 2009, in association with The Great Apes Film Initiative (www.gafi4apes.org), Tonks engineered a basic pedal-powered cinema for a hilltop village on the edge of Mgahinga National Park, Uganda. Consisting of just two mountain bikes that wheeled into bicycle generators and powered a projector and guitar amp sound system. This conservation project needed to bring greater awareness to the local communities of the endangered mountain gorillas that lived alongside them. Through Electric Pedals’ sustainable, lightweight and eco-friendly innovation, even the most remote villages could be educated and entertained through film. Isolated from mainstream communication, the bikes brought knowledge to them and for most, bicycle-powered cinema was their first experience of film.
Partners: Purple Field Productions / TEMWA
Screening Date: 6th June 2013
Film: Trees and Stoves, Farming Our Wealth (2012)
Electric Pedals developed a pedal-powered cinema backpack kit trialled in Malawi. Malawi is 80% rural, and so while film is recognised as a powerful social tool, it is only applicable if it can reach (be carried to) the inaccessible communities. Being able to cross rivers and walk long distances through dense undergrowth, Electric Pedals provided a portable answer with their 20kg backpack cinema. Simple, the effect cannot be understated. The backpack kit brought the outside world to some of the most far-removed places, installing aspirations, stirring debates and igniting ideas through the luxury of film.
First Artmongers made them in the Syrian refugee camp and now we are making them here as part of the Bold Vision Refugee Twinning project. These are free events.
Show your support for the refugees and make a little peace right here. Maybe you will give your Peace Rock to a friend you fell out with. Maybe a neighbour you haven’t said hello to yet. Or someone who is new to your street.
Artmongers are running workshops all over the place for the next week with the help of Bold Vision. Come along and share the joy. It only takes a few minutes. We want to see Peace Rocks strewn all over the Hill and New Cross.
Wear old clothes. Bring along a small rock from your garden or your bathroom shelf. Rocks also provided for the hard up.
Maybe you have a few old pots of half used paint (preferably gloss paint) that you know you will probably never use. Why not bring those along too and share your colours.
Workshops will take place at the following Bold Vision venues:
Common Growth Garden: Sun Feb 28, 1-3pm
Hill Station Cafe: Tue Mar 1, 3-5pm
New Cross Learning: Thu Mar 3, 4-5pm
John Stainer School (tbc)
Let us know if you would like to run a workshop at your place of worship, club or neighbourhood.
As some of you already know, Bold Vision team member Catherine went back to the refugee camp in January to try to pilot some of our twinning projects. Here are some of the outcomes she could report on.
IMPACT EVALUATION of first projects: This was the primary reason for the visit. If we can’t show what we did made any difference then it will be hard to raise funds for future projects. We were delighted to see the data confirmed our hypothesis based on all of the work Artmongers and Bold Vision have done – that empowering refugees to change their environment builds connections and increases well being. We looked at a village on the camp where Artmongers did not do any work (control group), and one where they did (affected group), and gathered wellbeing data both before and after the intervention.
As you can see from the chart, the affected group showed a significantly better change in wellbeing over the last six months, especially the women. Staff on the camp confirmed there had been no other interventions that could account for this.
A couple more houses had been painted in the vicinity of Hope Square.They were keen to show me what they had done for themselves. And I saw Peace Rocks in the office. It is unfortunate that the increased security in place since activity increased in Syria greatly restricted the time I could spend in the camp, but I still had many heartening interactions with refugees, staff and volunteers.
Going back was an important step in developing our relationship with the camp. Some staff and some children were the same and remembered me from the July visit. They were surprised and reassured that we were back and much more confident when I said that we would be back again. They see a lot of visitors – there were 3 delegations while I was there this time – but they don’t often see people twice. They saw that we mean it. That we want to be with them.
SEWING CIRCLES: There are many traditions of women gathering to makethings together. Creating bonds and community strength as they do. Quilting circles among American pioneers, arpillera groups in Peru – even our own knitting group in Telegraph Hill. We gathered materials from local residentsand friends, from a sympathetic shop owner in Brick Lane, from materials donated to new Cross Learning. Because of police restrictions in the camp it wasn’t possible to run the sessions in among the shelters, but the staff helped gather a group of women and girls to meet at the communitycentre where about 20 of us experimented with sequins and designs and embroidery thread. One or two of the girls knew some things and I loved seeing their pride as they showed their friends how to thread a needle. Others had no idea and required my (fairly rubbish!) sewing tuition. By the end, they all knew how to thread a needle with the right length of thread, tie a knot in the end, and do chain stitch. It’s a start. I hope they experiment some more with the left over scraps and start to imagine. Maybe if they take their sewing home their grandmothers will remember and show them more
BOOK DONATIONS: thanks to book donations from around the hill, andsome helpful rule bending by the British Airways check in desk, I managed to take about 40 children’s books to the camps. They were all English which isn’t ideal but I read some of them to groups of children – with enough sign language, the pictures and the odd bit of English vocabulary, we collaborated some understanding of the stories. They liked the idea of a mobile library and we evolved that into a mobile story telling unit. On our next visit we will organise that so that stories can go to the children, maybe with some activities and a few stools or cushions to create pop up story telling circles. When they build the library on the camp later this year this will work well together. Since my visit \I have also made contact with an Arabic book publisher and an organisation creating the first spoken book materials in Arabic to help those people with low literacy also access learning and entertainment.
SONG EXCHANGE: Before going to the camp, Catherine met with Byron, the music coordinator at Edmund Waller and he invited some of the children to perform some traditional English songs. While she was there, Catherine explained Incey Wincey spider (!!) and gave the children’s activities leader the words and actions. He will teach the children in the camp the song and send a film back to Edmund Waller. He will also film them singing a traditional Syrian song so children here can learn it. We hope one day they can sing together over live streaming. Note that in both locations this is being treated as a regular song exchange. The children don’t share information about their stories / circumstances and the videos will not be published anywhere.
They agreed that they would like more squares like Hope Square to be made so we are looking for ways of funding the £15k it will cost to do 4 more.
We will make a shorter version of the video with a voiceover which they will then get agreement for so we can publish it online
I will write a report based on the impact evaluation with a view to getting more funding
With more staff connections on the camp, we will make sure the next visit is a step forward for these other projects and maybe the next ones
We will send them photos of Peace Rocks in the Telegraph Hill Festival