As a busy arts venue at the heart of Glasgow’s East End, Platform has worked creatively to sustain a programme of activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The team recognised it was important to continue to support regular audience attenders, some of whom come to sessions 50 weeks a year, as well as the freelance artists that we regularly work with.
Initially, Platform has taken a number of outreach sessions online, including;
Drama workshops for children and young people, Creation Station for 7–11 year olds and Lab Station for 12–16 year olds, take place on Monday evenings with a performance artist leading the group through a number of creative, fun activities, and on Tuesdays the Nu Gen visual art workshops for teenagers takes place.
Platform Singers is an open community choir session open to adults on a Friday afternoon, with the week closing with Platform’s Young Company, a performance collective for 16–25 year olds that meets on Saturdays.
These sessions are led by a team of six freelance artists with a further five freelancers working to support and assist the activity. At present there are just over fifty regular participants to these sessions and the groups show signs of growth and increased demand. As well as holding regular online meetings, each group is supported with weekly activities set by the freelance artists.
We continue our contact with the early years audiences that would usually meet at Platform at 11am on Wednesday mornings for Play Café by posting links to performances, music, activities and events at that time each week. Saturday Art Club participants are also sent a weekly activity sheet for them to respond to at home with their families.
Many of those that regularly use the building and engage with our programme do not have reliable and effective access to the internet and so alongside our online activity we are also making phone calls and sending letters containing activity sheets, art materials, knitting patterns and stamped addressed envelopes for people to use and exchange what they have made. We hope to increase our capacity so that we can send out more creative materials and printed activity packs to communities across North East Glasgow.
Although we usually commission work to be experienced through gigs, exhibitions and events we have been working with Glasgow artist Joey Simons, a social historian who we’ve supported to research the life and work of Freddy Anderson, the Irish poet and playwright that called Easterhouse home for over thirty years. We are delighted that Joey’s publication will be online before the end of May.
And, in preparation for what feels as though it could be a long time before anything like normal service can be resumed, we continue to work with artists to explore ways to widen our reach and continue to support members of the public from across North East Glasgow to access art and culture.
(Update provided by Platform)