I started this skills exchange project back in 2008 with a simple premise. To give everyone, anywhere, the opportunity to join a co – operative of people who believe that by sharing their skills and resources they can make, create, experiment, play and fail at no cost whatsoever.
So how does it work?
- You register
- Put your skills into our bank
- Whenever you need a creative, production, management, marketing skill to realise your arts project or event you go into the bank and take what you need.
There is no swapping, bartering or anything else involved. You give what you can and take what you want. Everybody co – operates, everybody helps each other, everybody keeps the door open to endless possibility.
So, I hear you say, this sounds great in theory but how do I know it works?
Well I wondered about the same thing when I kicked this whole project off. It had to work in real time, with real people in a real space otherwise it would be pointless. So in answer to my own question I started a DIY arts festival. The festival, called The Trash Culture Revue, is held twice a year in Cork City, Ireland and is produced entirely through our skills exchange. All members are asked to get involved, participate, help out. And they always do. Whether it be performing, reading, cooking, playing, facilitating, volunteering, documenting, marketing, designing, etc. Since we kicked off the first festival in 2009 we’ve produced well over 100 events. What’s best about this festival is that it’s autonomous, it belongs to the members of this exchange. It answers to nobody. And it works. Above all it’s alot of fun.
As you’ve probably noticed I also run an arts blog in which I post up articles on art, literature, performance, design, film, animation, food, politics, members work and small thoughts that flitter across my mind. The blog is one of the most read arts blogs in the World and is a great platform for members to promote their projects.
As for me, I’ve been working in the arts for over 20 years. I studied sculpture, founded a street theatre company, designed and built large carnival puppets, floats and props for 10 years, have designed and produced theatre shows and now run an events company and music venue in Cork City.