Jasmine Butt

Jasmine Butt

About Jasmine Butt

After graduating from a Fine Art BA at Falmouth last summer, I stumbled on the magnificent Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed, and am now working as Studio Assistant there. At art school, I developed a bit of an obsession with 'the unbuilt' and the Paper Architects and wrote my dissertation on the topic. When I'm not working at the Studio, I like to draw, make things and attempt to learn to code. I'm also a vocalist, working several members of Bristol's Young Echo. I have always dreamt about putting on unusual and unforgettable nights in Bristol, and taking part in Future Producers (and meeting the amazing cohort of people involved in it) is helping me to understand how I might go about doing that.

Jasmine Butt's blog

A Runaway Train

We have come to quite a monumental decision in the run up to the Fun Palaces weekend. At the start of this whole process, we were told ‘you can’t programme for everyone’. This was difficult to swallow, as part of the Fun Palaces brief is to get everyone together and let old mingle with young. It’s a tricky thing to take into account when you’re working in an organisation like Watershed, where different audiences come in ebbs and flows, and which can contain a wholly different atmosphere from one day to the next, depending on what is screening.

That being said, we have decided to split Fun Palaces into two sort of separate events – an evening of music, games and a live screening, and a more family focused day of activities.

We recently held an open meeting at Watershed, where we invited members of the public to come and chat to us about what they might want from the event. A lot of the people who turned up had ideas about how they themselves could contribute. We had some brilliant discussions and confirmed some interesting workshops, games and performances.

It is quite terrifying how quickly a programme can become packed (especially on such a wide brief as this) with things that don’t seem to relate to each other. It was difficult to reign back our enthusiasm and make sure we all had a chance to chat to each other about what we were confirming. This has continued to be an issue throughout the programming process, and one that has taught us a lot of lessons already. I’m worried our programme has become a bit of a runway train… We have had a few discussions within our team about whether our slightly ramshackle, miscellaneous programme is exactly how we should be approaching the Fun Palace brief. We all agree that it is far too late to change our line-up now. We will try our hardest to make it work, and see how it turns out on the night!

Despite these worries, it’s really exciting to be at a point where we know exactly what we are programming. On Saturday, we are having a free screening, live performances from the Cube Cinema Orchestra and Memotone, and UV ping pong, and a debate station, where people can come to muse on the future. We are also having Richard Sewell‘s Giant Staring Eye (inflatable, luminous, motion sensing, swivelling robot) in the bar, which we have managed to poach from Bristol Hackspace for the occasion. On Sunday, we are having a huge making station for kids, and some brilliant projects from Hackspace, including Tune on a Stick, Sketchy and John Honnibal‘s Pisano wheels. Tangible Networks will be setting up an installation, and PM Studio resident, Silas Adekunle is bringing in some of his latest Mechamonster prototypes. Bristol Con are holding a Sci-Fi writing workshop, we will have UV ping-pong and Alex Latham of Bristol Urban Games has conjured up a special sci-fi game called ‘Gorb the Cyborg’. It all feels jam-packed and quite daunting, and we hope we can pull it all together… And now to crack on with trying to fit all this into straightforward copy!…

It has been two and a half weeks, and I feel so much more confident with public speaking, we’ve been given some priceless advice by some really inspiring producers, and we’re starting to whittle our MASSIVE theme into something more tangible, quickly getting an idea for how our Fun Palaces weekend might pan out.

The weekend before last, we had a public speaking workshop which really helped me out in terms of structuring a presentation, enabling me to put the paper down and speak as though I were having a conversation. I’ve really struggled with this before, as my writing style is so different from the way I speak, so if I’m reading from a sheet I feel very nervous and unnatural and start to panic (resulting in nonsensical gibbering and a shaky face). Bearing everything I’d learnt in mind when pitching to a panel of producers at the end of the second weekend, I felt – for the first time in my life – like I was actually handling a public speaking scenario with a certain degree of confidence! I never thought that would happen…

The presentations and post-talk chats we have had with various amazing producers have been consoling, inspiring, and full of useful words of warning, which will no doubt be incredibly useful to us as our projects take shape. One of the most important pieces of advice we were given, which seems obvious, but looks to be easily forgettable when you’re right in the middle of an intense project, is to never forget your audience, and to consider the ‘user journey’ at all times. I really love this… No one told us about this shit at art school! Fun Palaces is going to be such a massive learning curve in terms of audience consideration, and encouraging people to get into the spirit of sci-fi even if they’re not a massive fan.

It’s so brilliant to be learning so much alongside such an amazing cohort of people. Our team’s enthusiasm for Fun Palaces, sci-fi and everything we’re looking into is growing by the session. After our first Wednesday evening meet up, I think we’ve realised what a huge subject we’re dealing with. As it stands, our themes to help with idea generation and curating events are: The Future (everything in the future) Space (everything in the universe) and fiction (anything and everything)… It’s like trying to curate infinity! It’ll be really interesting to see how we narrow things down and start to come to some more concrete decisions.