Student prize winner Simon Froud reflects on IBT17

Written by Simon Froud

Simon Froud winner of the IBT17 Student Prize from the University of Chichester 

There has been moments in this IBT17 festival where I have returned to the question at the opening symposium, “How can Live Art Un-f**k the World?”. Fragments that I can point to with absolute precision. 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s The Record, incredibly demonstrated the unique collaboration between artists and the community at large, to gather 45 members of the city the performance will take place in, and for 1 hour display generosity and unity towards each other. A profound echo back to answering the question with a “yes…it can”. In opposition, there were moments where I thought Live Art can’t Un-f**k the World. Selina Thompson’s Race Cards, an overwhelming image of 1000 white cards with questions about race dominating the space in which they hang. The durational work that is overwhelmingly stunning, challenging and (in places) beautifully raw; morbidly fills me with dread that someone had to do this, that they were brought to this explosion of reaction, initially leaving with the feeling “no…it can’t”; a justified and much needed project.

But there is one overriding thought that sits on top of everything, that Live Art MUST un-f**d the World. Andy Field said during the symposium that Chris Goode told him, “theatre is the place people go to have an entire building wrap their arms around them”, and this resonates when at IBT, IBT not only wraps buildings around people but an event, an experience, an entire city, an entire community and the entire country; particularly when you dance with Yodite Melku, Abdul Rehman, Johnoy Miller, Addisu Tariku, through Rita Marcalo; or spend an hour with Stacy Makishi or have Forced Entertainment continue to ask the question “Is it money?”.

What the experience of IBT has done, surely not just for me, is display with incredible grace, that we as artists must provide. We must supply hope. We must question fear. We must stand up and stand out. And. We must unf**d the World. If IBT has done anything for me and my development, its show me this, I’m sure in the coming weeks and months, IBT will return into my present and inform decisions I will make as an artist and a member of this (hopefully increasing) global community.

Race Cards, Selina Thompson © [email protected]