iCreative - a chance for something more.

iCreative - A chance for something more

or how do I keep learning about what it means to be privileged. 

I really wanted to portray myself as a victim. I really did.
It's almost seemed like the choice between the narrow and the wider gate, which road would be easier to take. An Eastern-European looking for a chance, what an excellent story to pitch for a scholarship opportunity. 

How did I get here?

Looking back I never actually been a participant in an EU-funded project (knowingly at least, but I did sit on a chair and watch screens bought with EU financial funding) - I always worked for them.

During university, I was lucky to get my first job at an advertising agency, and after 3 months of really impressive coffee making, I even received some actual problems to solve. My head was buzzing, the opportunities seemed great but my heart took me down on a different road. I've started to work for various non-governmental projects, first teaching in Istanbul, then social entrepreneurship with Ashoka in the CEE region, human rights films in Budapest and even communication in  Kenya, (when I've had absolutely no idea whatsoever on what to think about the migration flow reaching Europe's borders). And now, moving back to the UK, I'm here learning about video making, and how could it be used for raising awareness and shining the light on important issues. 

So there lies our first challenge. 

I could build, construct... not ideas this time, but do some actual work. How do they call it nowadays? Something impactful. Oh yes, that's the #instaready buzzword I was looking for. 

Why are we doing this?

Seeing the inequality of Oxford through the eyes of the other half

Oxford doesn't necessarily come to mind when one mentions inequality but the disparity is there, the only difference is that we moved bit up on the scale. Social exclusion flourishes between the winding alleys, and it really shows it's true face on weekends when 'the town and gown' and the tourists have their joyful dance on the ever crowded High Street. Oxford has a long history when it comes to a divided, uneasy community.

'There are different realities in Oxford.’ – says Geron Swan, Centre Director at Film Oxford, host to the iCreative Programme, coordinator of the centre Shadowlight Artists Programme.

'On the borders of the county we have lots of young adults and kids who are completely disengaged with the education system... but I believe we can harness the talent in a non-traditional even non-academic ways, eventually building a bridge with the commitment to engage the area's creative communities. We are trying every day to build up those connections.'

‘Town and gown’ teachers, tutors and professors meet the other side every now and then, with friction between the groups even resulting in riots in the 17th century. The University has been publicly criticised feeding elitism, privilege and exclusivity, some even claiming they select students by wealth.

'People who usually don't get these chances greater life and more opportunities to make the most out of their abilities and help local communities.'

So here is another challenge for us:
What realities are we going to show? Are we building bridges or digging the ditches further? (Yes, feel free to understand this as part of a bigger issue.)

#EUmyRegion or should I ask 'What are you doing here?'

What do I consider as my region? 

I’ve been asked before – What part do we have to play as EU citizens in the UK’s and I believe Europe's creative economy? How will the effects of skilled migration change the face of Britain's media landscape?

One of the big questions is, what will happen with the project after Brexit? (Bold writing from Great Britain, sitting in house built in the '60 as council housing). Some might argue that no film is going to change your opinion but it sure is able to raise questions, spark a debate and can make a difference on a personal level. (I often tell to this to my friends who are not from the old continent, that the real divide is between generations, and is much stronger in a group than an individual level.)

Don’t get me wrong I do like to save things, I really do. For a long time I though I might just save the environment on my own if I simply continue to give my best despised look to everyone who makes the dreadful mistake of recycling in the wrong bin. I’m tried hard to be a good (global) citizen you see. Nowadays I much more I'm going for a more low-key, deliberate approach.

What's next?

Most of the participants are younger than me I'm a late bloomer as some might call it. Here they are, working hard, and giving me a run for my money every day. But we all know, that not every EU-funded project is going to end successfully I might never end up working for NGO’s and I’ll end up in an average paying office job making sure those returns end up in the pockets of the shareholders.

But who would we be if we wouldn’t try?

(This article was written as a submission to the Europe in My Region Blog Contest.)


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