November 15, 2016, by Matt Davies
Introducing DHC Leonardo fellow Amber Forrest and the Conversation Dinner.
Amber Forrest is the DHC’s new Leonardo Fellow and artist in residence and this Thursday evening she will be co-hosting Conversation Dinner at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Nottingham, as part of the Being Human Festival. DHC student volunteers will be providing support and this year’s DHC volunteer blog co-ordinator, Ranait Flanagan was tasked with finding out more. Read the resulting interview below and find out more about Amber and this intriguing event.
What’s your background?
I am an Australian that came to Nottingham via China, I am an actress that later moved into Directing, working in comedy, movement and art installations. I have always translated stories, emotions and experiences. Be it from one social class, sub sector, culture, environment, era in history or simply just one moment or one person to another.
What do you do?
Now I am Directing in the very different environment of the Nottingham Muse, where we are running the Nottingham-Portrait of a city project. Together with the DHC we are opening the Being Human festival in Nottingham with our project; Conversation Dinner on November 17th 7pm – Book now if you want to come along or make contact through the web site if you wish to get extra tickets or volunteer.
This is a project to help as many people as we can to create their own self portrait, reflecting on what is most important in their lives and what they have learnt from their experience that could help others. We are holding conversation events throughout the year to put people together who would not normally meet to discover how other cultures and professions solve the same problems and what answers we could share. For further information, please see www.nottinghammuse.com
Why do you do what you do?
I have a great fascination for human beings. I am particularly fascinated in the many different languages we speak between friends, lovers, family, strangers, subcultures and professions be they physical, artistic, linguistic or otherwise. I began working with the wonderful Theodore Zeldin on this project essentially because I had to. So many people are afraid of asking stupid questions of very wise people. I feel that the stakes are too high in the world at the moment not to ask questions of everybody. I want to encourage people to seek mentors and to be muses to each other as I feel that is where we will find the stories and the mythologies to live by and enrich the future. By sharing stories and questions, empathising with and borrowing the lessons from other people’s history we can re-imagine our futures together in exciting ways.
I have an amazing husband and two very interesting daughters that inspire and help me. I have always liked the saying: leave something for tomorrow. Our pasts are rich, let’s hope that the archaeologists and artists of the future find things in the work that we all leave, to inspire them.
What are you looking forward to most about working with the DHC/What about the DHC interests you?
The DHC is very exciting and I was quite taken by DHC Director Dr Katharina Lorenz’s energy and vision. When I came to the exhibition by the DHC showing the collaborative work you were all doing across faculties in the University and city, I realised that the DHC is a Muse for all of the University and Nottingham to connect with. It really hit a chord with what I love. I think that Katharina’s vision is one driven by a deep seated knowledge of Human need, accomplishment and ability, enriched by a confidence and generosity of spirit that genuinely wants to help people realise their potential. No doubt driven by a history in Art and Archaeology, her knowledge of symbolism and human portraiture is an inspiration and when mixed with people such as Horizon Digital Economy‘s Dr Ben Bedwell and the Digital humanities team creates an alchemy whose creative potential seems to be just beginning.
I am very interested in putting people and faculties together that at first glance may appear to have nothing to offer each other – the DHC does that in very practical and creative ways. I am looking forward to being a part of that and hopefully adding to the energy and creative outcomes. I haven’t met everyone yet but going by -along with Katharina and Ben- DHC manager Matt Davies, Research Associate Paul Grossman and their team of volunteers– I am in for an interesting year!
Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities, is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 17–25 November. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.