Young people are continuing to do amazing things and Ellie Ragdale is one of them. Read about her experience of working with somewhereto_ and her amazing work as a stop motion animator.
My name is Ellie Ragdale and I am a stop motion animator and prop maker living in Sheffield. I have made several short films which have been lucky enough to be shown at festivals across the country, including London Short Film Festival, and I have worked in the art department on music videos and the CBeebies’s show Justin’s House.
I stumbled across somewhereto_ by chance, and I am so glad I did! Aspiring to work in a creative, competitive industry I knew it was going to be tough to find work, but in this current economic climate it feels particularly impossible. I graduated University with a good degree and quickly realised it was experience that I needed to be noticed. After a year of unpaid internships and work experience I was exhausted and barely a step closer to being considered for actual paid roles. Desperate to take a new approach and start something by myself, something in which I could offer other young people experience, I decided to start my own animation club.
I met the fantastic Luisa, my regional somewhereto_ co-ordinator, in a cafe and was amazed by what the company did; not only did they offer spaces and assistance in marketing your event, but they also offered advice and opportunities for young people in my position. Walking away from the meeting I felt as though it was all too good to be true. I remember asking Luisa in disbelief “This is all for free, right?!”
Luisa suggested I apply for the O2 Think Big Fund which is a grant of £300, this would allow me to buy equipment and materials. She also put me in touch with my venue, Parsons Cross Library, a wonderful new purpose built space entitled The Learning Zone which had good sized workshop rooms with wifi, and a projector, which would be perfect for screening animations. I decided to work in this area of Sheffield because I wanted my workshops to be accessible to people who were likely to be unfamiliar with animation and its techniques, who had not experienced making their own films before. I also wanted my workshops to be open to those who perhaps had fewer opportunities to attend free clubs such as this, children or families could really benefit from having these kind of activities.
My bid to O2 was successful and I soon began preparing for my classes. Luisa invited me to a one on one Photoshop lesson with a member of her Art in the Park team and there I created an bold and colourful poster to distribute around the area. Being a bit of a computer illiterate person the chance to learn to use a programme such as this was invaluable, as it is something I imagine I will come across again in my line of creative work.
The workshops began and after a slow start a (very!) small group of us created a short animation you can see below. Although the turnout was not quite as good as I had hoped, I was happy with how the workshops went, one attendee in particular, a man from the local area, was very interesting. Each week he recounted fascinating tales from his life and about the work he does in environmental health awareness. He also suggested potential collaborative animation projects for the future which is promising and would be fantastic to be involved in.
somewhereto_ helped me realise my vision, and achieve it. Despite the small turnout I feel I have regained my confidence; I now know I have ability to create and organise an event successfully. I am so thankful I was able to get out of my work experience/internship rut and work creatively with a community, doing something I am both passionate and proud of. In a society which at the moment seems be turning young people away somewhereto_ offers opportunities, support and guidance. It is so refreshing and reassuring it has been to have someone tell you, a young person, that they believe in you, that you can do it and they will help you.
Thank you somewhereto_ for all of your help and for simply existing, you have inspired me and I cannot wait to get started with you on a new, bigger adventure soon!
Watch a video of Ellie’s work below and contact us here if you need space to do the things you love. And remember, the best thing about it… it’s FREE!