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11/9/18

Artist Liaison Nokia Phone – Looking back as the Artist Liaison Intern by Elise Fairbairn

There’s something surreal about walking into an office after a humongous arts festival. The office that only three days before, was full of different faces, old and new. It contained loud keyboards and a printer that was being used nonstop. An office that had phones ringing every five minutes, full of chatter and full of anticipation for what was about to happen to the city. Hull was about to change.

On Thursday, I move base to Hull College. This will be my home for the next few days, managed by my line manager, Hanna. We begin to put up signs saying ‘Artist Liaison’ (this makes it official, you see). There is a theatre company rehearsing on the side of Hull College. We have a little nokia phone – aptly named, Artist Liaison Phone – with a classic ring tone. I remember how difficult it is to hear on a little nokia.

There is art all around us.

On Friday, the artists arrive. I am putting faces to the names I have been reading for weeks, and it’s an unusual experience as I know them, and they know me, yet we are only meeting for the first time. Having witnessed the dancers abseiling across Hull College, I leave base camp to watch Substratum by Full Tilt Aerial. What I see is 30 minutes of wonder and I am sat in amazement. I am now inspired to run across buildings.

It is still difficult to hear through the nokia.

Saturday comes in style, and the city is singing with happiness. Both from the sunshine, and the programme of events that are on their way! I manage to get a seat to watch All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Middle Child. This is a show I’ve wanted to see for about a year, and to finally watch it was satisfying and emotional. I greet more artists and more phone calls are made through the nokia. I experience having two phone calls at once whilst having someone speak to me.

My ears are beginning to tune to the nokia.

The final day of the festival weekend, Sunday. It seems really quiet and as artists say their goodbyes we begin to pack down the dressing rooms and put everything back to normal. It’s sad to be packing everything away, but I don’t even have time to properly reflect on everything that’s happened. I am lucky to watch The Dyr Sister perform, and love every moment of it.

My friends asked me what I was up to during the weekend, and when I opened my mouth to tell them I froze, because I experienced so much, it was really difficult to know where to start. I met so many people, some for just five minutes and others for a few hours. But to explain what I saw, and what I experienced, is so hard. No matter how hard I try to convey the atmosphere and the sounds and visions throughout Freedom, it will never get passed across because you had to be there. You had to see everything for yourself and experience the magic that is created by such a small and passionate team. I felt, and still feel, honored and special to be a part of it.

I have learnt and experienced so much, that even now, I am struggling to write it all down. My sentences are short and non-descriptive, and I wish I was wearing a go-pro the entire time to re-watch the chaos and magic happen all over again.

Freedom Festival. Thank you for everything and until next year, I bid you adieu.

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