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Meet a Tutor: Why Wac Arts Matters

Meet a Tutor: Tommy Edwards
Meet a Tutor: Tommy Edwards
Tommy on stage supporting the young people at the Wac Arts Weekender.

Tommy Edwards, graduate from the prestigious Arts University of Bournemouth, is an experienced film-maker and facilitator, with close to 10 years of experience working both in the film industry and delivering innovative and engaging film projects for young people across the UK.

His directorial work has been distributed to festivals around the world and his several years working in the casting department has seen him work on array of multi-award winning projects.

As a facilitator, he places an emphasis on accessibility and process, delivering engaging and interactive sessions where the participants get hands on experience of film-making, using his broad knowledge base to pass on important technical skills as well as help improve visual literacy through having fun. Several of the projects that Tommy has facilitated have seen the films be distributed to young person festivals around the world.

Wac Arts Head of Marcomms, Hayley caught up with Tommy to find out more about his work at Wac Arts with the young people who are at the heart of the organisation.

H:  Hi Tommy, when did you first get involved with Wac Arts and what is your current role? 

I have worked at Wac Arts since April 2012.  My current role is Wac Arts Reach Officer (disabilities and inclusions outreach programme) and Senior Wac Arts Video Tutor (Sunday programme for 14-26 year olds)

T: What do like best about the Wac Arts building, the Old Town Hall? 

In terms of the aesthetic, the lovely balance of grandeur and modern design and the curiosity of the eminent history it stirs in young people. It exists as a great stimulus for young people and elevates their self esteem and ownership being in such a beautiful grand building.

But what I like best about the building is less tangible… it is the spirit and energy that is breaths from each corner, stemming from the diverse and broad range of young people who walk through our doors, bringing fun, creativity and curiosity that helps keep Wac Arts moving in an innovative and exciting direction.

H: Please share with me a favourite (hi)story or memory from your time at Wac Arts?

Watching the young people from the disability and inclusion programmes perform in the main hall for the first time as part of the first Wac Arts Weekender Festival. It elevated their visibility and gave them a unique and memorable experience, giving them a platform to share their remarkable talents and personalities.

T: Why does Wac Arts matter to you, to the young people who experience Wac Arts and to society?

I had been thinking about this, as you do, on my coach ride to Devon over the holidays. Words like a home, a safe place, a creative hub, family, all do come to mind. But I think there is something more in its worth that those things. I am fortunate to have family, safety, creativity in the other parts of my life and will be able to attach those values to future ventures as well I am sure. However, there is something in the make-up of Wac Arts that transcends that all. It is a space and environment that harnesses personality and character; nurturing the fun uninhibited within people, allowing them to feel that they can become the best versions of themselves.

We as people adapt to our surroundings. Whilst we always try and keep a sense of our own identity, you can become a product of what is around you. And becoming a product of the Wac Arts environment, I have become the best version of me… uninhibited, thoughtful, caring, inspired…. all the positive words you can think of. Wac Arts doesn’t conform; it stands on its own as a hub of freedom and spirit. This is why it matters… why it matters to me, why it matters to the young people who walk through our doors experiencing things that they can at school or any arts centre but here at Wac Arts, it is that bit different, that bit more fun and exciting, that bit more wild and edgy, that bit more wacky. Never has a branding been more apt that we are Wac Arts because to be part of the Wac Arts community is to be part of something so unique that its very name exists as an adjective, a meaning, an identity.

H: Thank you Tommy and a Happy New Year!

As part of the 40th Birthday Celebration Year the Marcomms team will be catching up with members of the Wac Arts community to find out why Wac Arts matters to them. Keep an eye on the website and on Wac Arts socials for more interviews, news and opportunities.