In September 2022 Lara Ratnaraja and Helga Henry hosted an online Masterclass in association with OPUS (Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces) Birmingham’s female led multi-disciplinary Arts and Events Producing House as part of the EmPOWer programme. We are delighted to share the video of the second Masterclass which closed the EmPOWer programme with a flourish.
For this session we welcomed Jane Hytch, founder and Chief Executive of Imagineer. Founded in 2005, they make extraordinary outdoor and site-specific work at the intersection of art and engineering, environmental and social change.
Helga describes the power of the company: “What’s fantastic about Imagineer’s approach is essentially discovery through play – can this hold me? can I do that? – it starts off as one little thing and a juggernaut opens up – it blossoms… Access and inclusion permeate every angle of their work”.
Imagineer Sanctuary Project Photo credit: https://sanctuary-event.com/
Jane talks about how the name and vison came about:
“The name Imagineer came out of the belief and the power of the imagination. If you have imagination, you can solve the problems of the world. The vision is about collaboration across sectors – if you collaborate you can innovate and the work is all about people.”
“The reason why we managed to create so much this summer is because we collaborated - we wanted to create a really good partnership and one that is enabling us to talk about what the future could be”
At the end of the masterclass Jane summarises her tips to others interested in working in this field:
“Collaborations with industry are not about money – if you ask Arup about why they work with us they will say it’s about staff development. That becomes a rationale about talking to an engineering company – that openness to “let’s develop your staff and Imagineer will get something out of that”.
· Go with your instincts.
· Don’t be afraid to approach the people you really want to work with its about picking up the phone and saying I want to come and talk to you. Think about who you really want to work with - you can make things happen by talking to people.
· There’s always an answer - always think left field when things go wrong.
· Work within a context always – always look at the people and towns around you what make them special – work within their context don’t parachute in with your agenda.
· Listen to people – listen to what your colleague artists say and the communities you are in hear their voice. Believe that your work can be transformed. Believe in people and believe in artists.
· Be aware some relationships take years.
· Always say thank you.
Godiva: Photo credit Imagineer
Since the making of this masterclass Imagineer secured well deserved NPO funding so congratulations to that – we look forward to to seeing what exciting projects they continue to develop over the next three years. And Jane is moving on as CEO as Imagineer enters a brand new era. If you missed it catch this wonderful session here: