There are times when you have to challenge yourself and change the way you do your craft; either by improvising, starting from scratch, or by collaborating. Fergus Elliot, chair of the Photographic Society, and Anna Monnerau, chair of the Arts Society, are having their societies do a joint event: an event through which fine art and photography transcend and draw from each other. We invitied them for a joint interview here in the Seren Offices in order to learn more.
What made you choose your societies?
Anna: It’s a chill society. Because of university you don’t have a lot of time to do what you want, and being part of this society gives you the hours in which you don’t have an excuse not to do what’s right for you.
Fergus: I’ve been taking photos since I was 13, when I got my first camera. I’ve always quite liked it and have gotten into it seriously. About halfway through my first year I joined the Photographic society and I just really enjoyed it; the first meeting was hands on, everyone there is really helpful, they help you get started quickly so you know what you’re doing. It’s a nice, friendly environment, really; I think that’s what kept me going back.
What made you become chairs of your societies?
Fergus: I really wanted to get into it more. I spoke to the committee during my first year, and they told me it was a really different experience, because then you’re really involved in it. I became secretary last year. This year, I saw the chance to take the society into the direction I wanted to; I had some good ideas and I decided to put them down. It’s the most involved you can get, really. We were in a bit of a dip last year, so I’ve tried to get the society back on it’s feet which, so far, it’s been going well.
Anna: I really wanted to get into the decision aspect too. Last year I was really frustrated, because all of our sessions had a different theme and there were many opportunities that were missed. It was kind of a dead society, so I really wanted to take it up and have plenty of events and collaborations.
by Francesco Rota
Talk a bit about your event.
Anna: We haven’t planned everything yet. For now, there’s just a competition going next week. Our society pitched 3 themes to the Photographic Society, so that we paint and draw the pictures that will win, and then they have the results and will be able to exhibit both of them. We’ve decided we will do joint exhibitions and probably joint events and especially trips to places like Newborough Beach so that people can take pictures while we are drawing.
Fergus: At the moment, on our end, we do the photos based on the three themes and then we send them all onto Artsoc, and they will judge and choose.
How helpful will this event be for both of your societies?
Fergus: I think it’s good for exposure, and also just to keep everyone on their toes creatively. With photography, it can be easy to run out of ideas of what to take photos of, so having a theme to work towards really helps a lot of people.
Anna: Same for us! It motivates the members to know that other members in a different society took part in our projects, so it makes them want to get into it more.
Any plans for the future?
Anna: For the Arts Society, I would like to paint a part of Pontio. I’ve talked about it with James (previous VP for Societies & Volunteering) last year, he was really into it, but James is not here anymore , so I have to meet new SU people about it. Because Pontio is white, if you could just have a square and put mosaics on the wall or something, it could be great to leave a colourful print of Arts Society on the building.
Fergus: We’ve got a competition we hold every week. Each week we have a different topic we talk about, so we give people a week to try that out and then we pick a winner. We’re gonna try and do more collaborations with different societies. A lot of photography nowadays is centered on getting likes on Instagram, and I want to try and get people to see a different side of it. Things that push people creatively.
by Daphné Genatio
Tips and tricks for collaboration with other societies?
Anna: Find common interests.
Fergus: Yea! Because both our societies end up with something which you can display on a wall, it makes us similar enough. Find things in common you can do creatively. Society Networks are good for these kind of things, and for contacts.
Anna: It’s easy to collaborate. We’re all students, and we’re all from different backgrounds. It’s just that people don’t let themselves out of their comfort zone to ask someone for collaboration.