I am extremely happy to report that the response to the social engagement elements of my project has been nothing more than overwhelming. On February 28th I met with the 5th year students of the Sacret Heart Girls School in Westport about a series of short animated vignettes I needed help with creating for some of the moving image elements of the brief. I was pretty overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by the students. This will involve working with this group of approximately 20 young women to create an optical illusion or two on the Westport to Mulranney line. I am terribly excited about the prospects of collaborating with a group of young women, given some of the content that I am working with, both historically and anecdotally it means for very interesting dialogues and I hope artistic input and debate. The workshops with this school are scheduled to begin this coming month of March and on into April and I hope to report via the blog on the output of this engagement.
Image Below: Meeting my collaborators at Sacret Heart Girls Secondary School in Westport, Facilitated by Gaynor Seville, & teachers Joanne O Hora and Pat Gillivan.
While the meeting with my first collaborators in Ireland has been successful, I have to say I am overwhelmed and a little bit daunted by the scale of my collaborators in Olot in Catalonia.Following my first lecture in a 3rd level college in Olot School of Art ( which has an extremely interesting history http://uk.ask.com/wiki/Olot_school) and following the support of Transeveral and Museum Curator Xevi Roura I gave a lecture about my project following my second visit to the city.
The plan is to make a large cardboard recreation of the trains that used to operate the Girona to Olot line. I am particularly interested in the beautiful steam engines which were part of the first phase of the train lines history. Below shows a graph of the various transitions of trains from the beginning of its line right through to it termination. Most of my own research about the types of trains that were on all the lines are from the Irish Rail Record Society in Dublin, but I must take this opportunity to thank the wonderful Ignasi Riera who shared the most fascinating information with me about the history of the Catalonia route. Ignasi represents his organisation http://www.trenolot.cat/. Which is a fantastic resource run by yet again a group of dedicated volunteers. It is becoming increasingly important to me and to my project to acknowledge the contribution of volunteers. It is quite evident that but for the volunteers and railway enthusiasts the history of all these lines would possibly have disappeared forever.
Below are some images of the types of trains that I am hoping to recreate in scale, in cardboard. I have also taken a visit on my second trip to the site to look at two of the only remaining carriages left that date back to the time of the trains. Currently volunteers are renovating the carriages in the hope to convert them for heritage displays in the old railway station in Olot.
Below are some images of my first introduction to the project to students of the Olot School of Art who I will be running animation workshops and potentially shooting with on location along the lines. The students were extremely enthusiastic about the project and it is likely to have between 30 and 40 students working on this leg of the project. I must also at this point thank Agatha my translator who helped throughout the lecture and in the Q & A session afterwards.
The workshops and on location shoots take place in April on my third visit to Olot, and details of the project will also be documented by secondary school pupils of one of the Olot High Schools. In addition I will have students from 2 high schools developing an animation shoot in both the school and on location sites along the former train route. Further details about the workshops and content will be uploaded to the blog in the month of April.