Helix Arts Off the Beat is a digital music-making programme with young people in South East Northumberland.
Off the Beat offers an exciting opportunity for young people to connect with other young creatives in the North East and further afield. Featuring online jamming and live streaming of music gigs; it showcases their talent and inspires others to make music. Working with talented artists keen to share their skills and expertise, young people co-create work and safely reach out way beyond their immediate locality.
The project is funded by Youth Music. It is a partnership between Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project, Northumberland County Council and Helix Arts.
"By doing my Gold Arts Award I have learned to embrace different opportunities and explore the wider arts world. I have also learnt a lot about leadership which I will continue to apply to my job as a youth worker." Read more about Katie's experience of Arts Award and Off the Beat on the Arts Award Website.
After running their debut session in 2016, Helix Arts successfully applied to run two sessions at MozFest 2017 – the world's leading festival for the open internet movement. As part of my Gold Arts Award, I was given the opportunity to produce both sessions, in collaboration with Helix Arts youth music project, Off the Beat.
Whilst a lot of thought, work and time was put into the content of our session, we had to remain flexible in its delivery. This posed some challenges for me as producer and meant I had to think on my feet. I enjoyed the challenge and I am pleased I was able to keep the sessions meaningful, whilst also providing space for openness, flexibility and creativity.
It has been wonderful to work with, and learn from, Katie and Sheryl, who both brought their own expertise to the task. Similarly, it has been interesting to see the backstage workings of a festival of this scale, and learn about the ways in which Mozilla use principles of open working in both the planning, and ethos of the festival. Finally, I learnt lots from attending a variety of other sessions on topics such as safety online, digital colonialism and feminist coders.
This project as provided me with more experience, knowledge and confidence in project planning and session facilitation, which I hope to use in future projects.
Sofie Scholten, Creative Production Assistant, Helix Arts
"This was my first experience of MozFest. I was hugely impressed to see and hear so many young people take the lead in discussions and creative sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed being in a space oozing with enthusiasm and commitment. We are already making plans for Helix Arts to be at MozFest next year to extend the debate on participatory digital arts and the open web. I was particularly pleased to see a shift in Sofie's confidence as a session facilitator: she shows real promise as a creative production assistant - and in time I think she will be a talented Creative Producer. MozFest offers all kinds of people the opportunity to build their skills, confidence and motivation and I want Helix Arts to be part of that ." Catherine Hearne, Chief Executive, Helix Arts
“Sofie, Sheryl and Katie are a credit to Helix Arts. They had a large and committed intake of participants in both their sessions, which is unusual at MozFest. Well done.” Emrys Green, Business and Projects Manager, Upstart Projects
"With its bright atmosphere, MozFest promoted great thinking and it was brilliant to try new workshops and develop new skills. In regards to our workshop we met our aims and learned how different people may express themselves through animation. Loved the experience and it couldn't have been a better weekend." Katie Jayne Appleyard,Youth Worker, CVYP
“I enjoyed learning about current thinking and research within the tech and digital industries, and the ways that people of all ages are using technology, being creative with it, experimenting and collaborating." Sheryl Jenkins, Animator and Educator