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Meet fairandfunky and friends! (blog #4)

‘Meet fairandfunky and friends’ is our new blog series to get to know the people behind fairandfunky, the people we work with, and how, together, we take little steps to change the world. Today we welcome fairandfunky director Rose Condo to the blog as she answers our questions…..

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do? I am Rose Condo.  I’m originally from Canada and I currently live in Manchester – though I did live five wonderful years in Huddersfield where I loved being part of the Yorkshire community. I wear several hats (though not literally … I’ve never been a hat person!).  I am an award winning spoken word poet.  I have written and toured three solo shows, I’ve won multiple poetry slams, and I have performed at events and festivals around the UK and internationally.  I programme and host a monthly spoken word event called Attic Stories at the Lawrence Batley Theatre.  I lead creative writing workshops with loads of different groups, and I love to incorporate wellbeing strategies into my poetry work.

I am also the National Project Lead with Arts Emergency, which is a national network and mentoring charity.  I oversee Arts Emergency’s 10-week coaching programme for young people ages 18-25, and I support the planning and strategic development of projects in new locations, including talking to local volunteers, organisations and schools. 

What makes you a fairandfunky friend? I’ve had the privilege of being on the fairandfunky board since 2018.  Prior to that, I knew of fairandfunky’s work through various creative networks in Kirklees.  I’m a huge fan of their ethos, and I applaud the brilliant strands of work that they do in communities.  They aim high with a range of projects, and they connect with communities and participants in meaningful and impactful ways.  Time and again – through creative workshops, school sessions, and community events – they deliver on their mission statement of empowering people to take little steps to change the world.  It is an honour to contribute in my own small ways to support the work that they do!

What little steps do you take to change the world? The work I do with Arts Emergency supports marginalised young people to pursue careers in the creative and cultural industries.  Young people from underrepresented backgrounds have the odds stacked against them when it comes to being part of the cultural workforce, and I work with a team that is dedicated to levelling the playing field through long term support (e.g. mentorship, coaching, networking, etc). I make small efforts to support bigger causes.  I donate monthly to the Salford Foodbank.  I recycle and compost, I try to buy products that are ethically made / sourced, and I absolutely love shopping at charity shops!

Who influences or inspires you? And why? I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from books I read as a child.  Writers like Robert Munsch (The Paper Bag Princess), Shel Silverstein (A Light in the Attic) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) wove ideas into me about the importance of imagination and silliness.  As an adult, I grab any chance I get to listen to Canadian author Margaret Atwood speak on podcast interviews.  She is a formidable woman who uses her immense gifts as an author to reflect the world back to itself and inspire consideration and change. My family also inspires me.  They are big-hearted and thoughtful people, and they continually teach me so much.

How do you inspire others to take little steps to change the world? As a performance poet, I like to inspire audiences through creative interaction and relatable performances.  For example, my show How to Starve an Artist explores how audiences can nourish their everyday creativity. As a human in the world, I try to move through my days with kindness and compassion.  Sometimes a smile or a moment of conversation can brighten someone’s day in ways I might never even know.

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