aAh! Magazine catches up with the creative team behind Manchester Met’s Art School Live ahead of Sunday’s premiere featuring Pop-Soul artist Mali Hayes – Live from Studio One
Photography: Evan Wilson
With no sign of the live music scene returning anytime soon, Art School Live offers the perfect antidote for music fans keen to get their hit. The popular series of live-streamed gigs returns on Sunday 20th December, featuring pop-soul artist Mali Hayes.
Art School Live began as a collaboration between staff and students at the Manchester School of Art and has since developed into a series of professional performances.
Previous acts have included the likes of Patty Hearst, K, Chew Manga, Raz Ullah, The Birthmarks, Bunny Hoova, Real Terms, Playacting, Elle Mary, and Tekla. There’s something for everyone and audiences may just discover their new favourite artist.
Established by technicians Sam Heitzman and Evan Wilson, the project was set up to support emerging artists, journalists, graphic designers, sound technicians, aspiring filmmakers, and producers studying at the university.
We speak to Manchester Met technicians Sam Heitzman and Evan Wilson ahead of the latest instalment of Art School Live.
How did you come up with the idea for Art School Live?
“We were tasked with setting up a new sound studio in the Chatham building. At the end of the setup, we needed a way to test out the studio so we decided to bring a band in to perform a live set. At the same time, we were building a live-streaming setup to broadcast rugby matches down at Platt Lane. We took the opportunity to bring these two projects together to create a live-stream of the band’s performance.”
“In order to effectively achieve this, we needed a crew. We approached a set of students who enthusiastically volunteered to get involved. From talking to the students we found there was a real hunger for this type of experience: hands-on work in a live environment, working to a brief.”
“After the success of the first stream, we drew up plans for the larger project, booked in a series of bands, and began to enlist more students.”
What do you hope to achieve with Art School Live?
“The overarching aim for the project is to provide students with an experience they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The project started with involvement mostly from filmmaking students. These students were aware of the growing prevalence of live-streaming and were eager to build up experience in this area before leaving university.”
“Beyond this, the scope has expanded, with students from other courses have been getting involved. As this has progressed, our aim has developed into the creation of a cross-discipline, cross-faculty community of students. All collaborating in a way that wouldn’t have been available without the project. Filmmaking students working side-by-side with photography, graphic design, and journalism students to create social media content to accompany the shows.”
What has it been like working with students on this project?
“It has been really fun to run these shows in collaboration with the students. We have been really pleased with how engaged the students have been with making a success out of the shows.”
Have there been any challenges?
“As the project moved on, we decided to move the shows from the studio into the Holden Gallery so that we could accommodate a physical audience in the room with the band. Doing this meant that we had to create a whole venue from scratch within the space before every show.”
“It was an enjoyable challenge to set up the PA, sound recording equipment, projections, lighting, and camera setup for each show. Again, student support in the setup process was invaluable.”
What has been the most rewarding aspect?
“The most rewarding aspect of the project has been reading back the testimonials from students who have been involved. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It has been great to hear from students, in their own words, what they have got out of the project.”
“Beyond this, we have heard back from students who have gone on to secure jobs in the live-streaming area by citing Art School Live on their CVs.”
Do you have any advice for any students trying to make it in the creative industries?
“Get as much experience on sets as possible. Try to get involved in projects during university so that you can leave with as much hands-on experience as you can. And, as part of this, start to build up a showreel/portfolio as soon as you can.”
What are your next plans for Art School Live?
“The next step for ASL is to turn the project into an official RISE project so that students are able to turn their experience into credits. Plans are underway for two shows per block in 2021 and the potential of a festival at the end of the academic year.”
Tune in to Mali Hayes’ Art School Live performance on Sunday 20th December, 6pm here.
Students interested in getting involved with Art School Live can visit the Art School Live RISE webpage to submit an expression of interest.