Research, collaborations…and tireless fundraising…

Feelings of exhilaration generated by the rapidly growing interest in Tokaido Road – collaborators, partners, festivals, poets, academics, musicians – are somewhat dampened by the relentless task of fundraising. I love this project – it fascinates me on every level to see it growing, maturing, changing shape… so much so, that I have constructed a research proposal around the ‘layers’ of ekphrasis in the work.

Ekphrasis(for those, like me, who didn’t know…) is a device capable of rendering something clearly and evocatively. In antiquity the phrase was used as a rhetorical exercise, not as a genre. In late antiquity the term expanded to refer to the literary practice of verbally representing sculptures and paintings. Today, Ekphrastic art is usually understood as a form in which one artistic medium relates to another medium by defining, describing or ‘commenting’ on the art form before it and in doing so, relates more directly to the audience through consequent illuminations.

I am really curious to see how all these mixed genres (art, poetry, music, drama and back to art again) can ‘comment’ on each other and ‘illustrate’ with a view to creating a wholly unified and integrated work and avoiding extraneous material.

Meanwhile, in the real world, I had a meeting with the Japanese Embassy who were extremely generous with their help and ideas. I must thank and acknowledge Simon Wright whose deeply perceptive comments about the ‘Japanese-ness’ of Tokaido Road caused me to reflect so immediately on what we were – and were not -creating and this fed directly into my research ideas.

Our colleagues in Kent continue to be a constant source of motivation: we are unbelievably fortunate to have found collaborators such as these people  – more as things develop…..its all still a little floaty for now, but very exciting…..

I’m slightly obsessed with audience development right now. I’ve joined national debate group ‘What Next?’ which meets later this month in Cambridge. Looking forward to that. I’m also going to be taking advantage of advice, surgery sessions, workshops from the marvelous Sound & Music team. I need fresh ideas…..

Everyone’s favourite poet (and of course librettist!) Nancy Gaffield is off to Ledbury Festival this week for a Tokaido Road reading – good luck Nancy! Nicola is off to Australia…and I’m back to the funding applications…. Never has a project been worth so much hard work!