Alice Bravery is a local arts enthusiast who normally spends her days producing masterpiece productions for the Jersey Arts Trust.
However, today she tells Express what five things she'd change about Jersey if she could...
One of the things I’ve missed since moving back from the UK is access to independent and art-house film screenings. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a blockbuster movie as much as the next person and there are some fantastic initiatives in the Island such as the Jersey Film Society organising showings of independent cinema post-release, but it would be great to be able to watch more of the latest indie films on the big screen as they are released in the UK.
Pictured: Alice recently collecting her tickets for the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Picturehouse and Curzon cinemas are fantastic models for making independent films accessible to a wider audience, and I love that they also invest in a great programme of other live events - such as Q&As, stand-up and open-mic nights, and an excellent educational scheme - to ensure that each venue is a cultural cornerstone for the community. They also tend to have trendy bars inside for people to enjoy whilst mulling over the film they just watched; perfect for grown-up date nights! It would be great if Jersey could make room for both types of venue and experience.
Rising commercial rents are threatening independent businesses the world round. We can always strive to do more to champion and support our talented local independent producers and businesses, to ensure that they survive and flourish here.
Pictured: Boxpark in Shoreditch, London, a hub for London start-ups and a popular tourist destination.
Implementing a preferential system, involving reduced leasing rates; prioritizing space in publicly owned buildings or creating zones specifically for this purpose, would help to make things more sustainable for local business owners. There are plenty of inspirational models all around the world to take heed of – including Borough Market and Boxpark in London, La Boqueria in Barcelona, Chelsea Market in New York and Torvehallerne in Copenhagen – all cultural landmarks that put independents up front and centre.
To make sure that such events survive and thrive here, we can all do our bit to support event organisers in doing simple things like offering our help, our spaces, and our resources to facilitate a culture that embraces events.
Pictured: Audiences turn out at Weighbridge Place to view the Jersey Projection Gallery in 2015, as part of the JAT’s Skipton Art Series, celebrating the wealth of Jersey’s visual arts culture. (Photo: Holly Smith)
I’ve always thought that with a few tweaks Jersey has enormous potential to follow in the footsteps of places like Edinburgh, a city that annually gives itself over to 5 major festivals alone in the month of August, attracting over 4.5 million attendances. In Edinburgh every inch of the city becomes a venue for some kind of event – be it a coffee shop, bar, museum, bus station or street corner. For a Festival like that to legitimately take place the whole community has to get behind it. I’m sure Jersey has it within us to realise our full potential as a destination for cultural events.
We tend to put a lot of pressure on young people in Jersey to pursue STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) subjects, both in school and later at industry level. Whilst it’s incredibly important that we continue to produce the Doctors, Scientists and Engineers of the future, I believe it is of equal importance to encourage and recognize those who choose to grow their knowledge in the arts, humanities, social sciences and other fields, as they are just as integral to the lives, health and vitality of our communities and our infrastructure.
Pictured: Jersey musician and Producer Jack Chown Rehearsing for the JAT’s 2015 Original Works Showcase, a Professional Development Initiative, at the Opera House. (Photo: Holly Smith)
If we could also offer more opportunities for kids to develop key life-skills from a young age – such as gardening, cooking and social skills – and imbue a sense of care for the natural environment, we will raise generations who are much more aware and considerate of their actions. I think many would benefit from learning more in school about every day tasks like navigating tax returns, managing bills or jump-starting cars (I’ll admit to still being a little too nervous to properly attempt that last one!) that prepare you for the world beyond the classroom.
When I go to the airport I’m always a tad dismayed by the amount of advertising space that is apportioned to offshore financing and business.
Pictured: Alice thinks that Jersey has a lot that we can shout about to visitors, including our unique landscape, people, and culture. (Photo: Alice Bravery)
There’s no denying that the finance industry is a principal element of our infrastructure, but as the principal first impression that we’re making there is so much more that is interesting and valuable about Jersey – such as our people, our history, our landscape and our culture – and are worth shouting about to visitors. That said I do enjoy the 2016 addition of Tamba Park’s roaring animatronic dinosaur in the Airport’s baggage claim area – it definitely brings a smile to the face of people arriving and quickly establishes what a great place Jersey is to bring kids on holiday!
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