The Momentum Wheel. Photo by Constanze Flamme. A Community Producer in an International Context Fanni Nánay from Artopolis Association in Budapest, and Vicky Holliday from Creative Scene in Dewsbury, have focused their Tandem Europe collaboration on Making Our Place, a project seeking to develop a positive identity of space working with local communities. Vicky and Fanni have invited Simon, one of the local community members involved in their project to the Tandem Europe final meeting in Athens, back in January 2017. "Making Our Place" has been about placing the ownership of what cultural activity happens in a town in the hands of a community, therefore the interesting people to hear from are those from the community who have made it happen. Vicky Holliday at the Tandem Europe Final Meeting. Photo by Constanze Flamme Fanni Nánay at the Tandem Europe Final Meeting. Photo by Constanze Flamme Simon owns a cafe in Heckmondwike in the UK. He’s interested in history and loves his town, he was keen to see something happen there so over the past few years he has worked with Creative Scene to build a festival based on the local custom of lighting up the town. He has been key to our project, helping us identify the cycle that takes someone from “something needs to happen in this town” to “we’ve made new cultural activity relevant to our town”. This year that cultural activity included his first ever original commission: “The Momentum Wheel”, a large sculptural and digital work that captured the town’s illumination tradition. It was therefore only right that we invite him to the final Tandem Europe meeting in Athens to share his experiences but he also learnt a huge amount too. Here are his reflections… Simon in his home town of Heckmondwik. Photo by Len Grant Well I’m back in the UK reflecting on my recent visit to Athens. Putting aside the beautiful scenery (thank you Athens) amazing hospitality (thank you Tandem) and a wonderful host (thank you Vicky) what did I learn? I learnt that as a community producer I have grown immeasurably through the conversations, sharing and exchange of ideas that took place in Athens, I now feel a valued place in the scheme of things and a very important role and responsibility to share and shape ideas within my community and to involve others in that process. Sharing information and ideas is vital in progressing community-based and -led projects, the opportunity to tell people about what we do, and more importantly, for me, why we do them, was an enlightening and liberating experience. As a volunteer community producer/commissioner, the opportunity to put phrases and ideas into context, and not be afraid to ask: “what does that mean?” or “how does that work?”, is invaluable. Having the opportunity to be in the middle of these debates and discussion is vital in encouraging others to become involved in producing and commissioning within a community. Simon in Elefsina, Greece. Photo by Vicky Holliday I have learnt that ‘to ask’ is easy, there are so many gifted people who will help. I have come to the understanding through my conversations in Greece that giving people high quality professional experiences through art and ideas can, and will raise people’s expectations and aspirations, and help to bind communities together. The experience of being with such an amazing group of people and projects, will stay with me for a very long time, even now little words, parts of conversations and images keep popping in and out of my head encouraging me to move forward with the thing that we do, with a new understanding of why and how we can do them. Heckmondwike takes it's place on the Eurpoean map. Photo by Len Grant You can read more about the work Simon has been doing in Heckmondwike on the Making a Scene website. Also follow Creative Scene on Facebook and Twitter.