Q&A with our new Engagement Officer

Georgia Bate talks about her role.

1) What does your role at IBT involve?

My role is about collaboration and communication, bringing people to the work that IBT produces and getting them involved. This includes exploring how to welcome individuals who might not usually engage with art, to support and encourage them collaborate, experience and create work.

Practically, my job involves working with different members of the team across Artistic, Marketing, Communications, Production and Administration as well as with our partners Up Our Street, Knowle West Media Centre and Ambition Lawrence Weston.

We are soon to announce more information about We Are Bristol, a major new three year programme which forms a central strand of my work. I will be working on the first part of this project, in collaboration with our partners which builds on the work they do to support people to create change where they live.

2) Why were you interested in the role and what do you hope to learn?

I’m interested in how the arts can be used to engage and work with groups of people and offer a space for care alongside risk-taking. Although I didn’t realise it until recently, I’ve always sought out spaces that offer this balance – where you are seen and held whilst also given the space to exercise agency and step outside of your comfort zone.  Volunteering at Stepney City Farm and chasing chickens around so I could cover them (and myself) in mite powder might not seem like a key part of how I came to apply for this role, but finding small, attentive communities to be part of has guided the kind of projects I want to work on and the kind of places I want to work.

The art that IBT produces is grounded in broadening the narratives we encounter, the bodies we see and the ways that we make meaning so I felt it was an ideal place to explore how the arts can be authentically inclusive.

I want to explore the practicalities of engaging the public in more depth –

How do we ensure that participating in a project is a positive and activating experience for all those involved?

How do we make sure all participants feel welcome rather than out of place, cared for and able to care for one another?

How do we create and hold spaces where conversations can happen between people who wouldn’t usually be in the same room?

How do we produce projects where participants take ownership of the work?

3) Have you seen anything recently that has had an impact?

I saw Kulunka Teatro’s Andre y Dorine at Circomedia. The piece tells the story of an elderly couple’s relationship as one of them is becoming increasingly affected by dementia. I found it completely captivating, very funny and devastating.

The piece is performed by three actors wearing masks, there are no words spoken and nothing in the piece was superfluous – every action was carefully crafted to communicate the relationships between the characters. Although everyone who has spent time with someone who is going through the symptoms of dementia will have a different experience, I think Kulunka’s portrayal of the situation will feel familiar to many. Andre Y Dorine communicated a reality which I had not seen represented onstage before – one which is heart-breaking, incomprehensible, strange and sometimes funny, where sometimes there is nothing to do but hold someone’s hand or brush their hair.


Georgia’s role at In Between Time is supported by Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries.