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the what I see project

(viewed 1810 times)
near the end of my time studying in london for my BA, I did some work through an events agency. the work itself wasn't glamorous or well paid, as it mainly involved serving champagne and canapes to glamorous and well paid people in prestigious london venues. being a person of low glamour, I of course was never invited as a guest to any of these fancy events. that was, until last tuesday. I'd been invited to the london science museum to attend a promotional event held by the what I see project.

the champagne was out in force, the service of which was highly professional, and my respect for the events staff couldn't have been any greater. hosting the event was the founder of the not-for-profit project, the powerful businesswoman edwina dunn. the what I see project is (states its website) 'a global online platform that recognises and amplifies women's voices.' it is a project that celebrates women, and pushes for women's voices to be heard clearly in all areas of society and industry. their website features hundreds of video submissions from women all over the world answering the question, 'what do you see when you look in the mirror?'

after the event's drinks reception, the guests were ushered up into a huge IMAX cinema at the top of the museum. there was an introduction from edwina, and then a film was screened that featured the ambassadors of the project, which we watched while chomping away on complimentary popcorn. next there was a panel discussion and q+a from the ambassadors themselves - six esteemed and influential women who have had huge success in their respective careers. I thought this part of the event could have gone on much longer, as I felt the surface of the topic of women's rights and representation had only just been scratched.

then at the end of the evening there was one final thing to clear up. a competition to create a film on the subject of women's identity had been set over the summer, and the winner, I'd only found out a few hours earlier, was me. when my name was called out I stepped slightly nervously onto the stage, not entirely sure if I was expected to make some kind of speech (mercifully I didn't) and accepted the prize from the smiling edwina to the sound of a big audience clapping. the moment was brief, but it was a magic brief moment for sure.

some people have reacted with perplexity over why I, as a non-woman, would want to make a film about women. the answer is that it seemed entirely natural, but also I thought it would be a bit of a challenge to get right. the result hopefully comes across not at all as a male perspective on women, but rather a film that allows women to speak for themselves and express their own identities, which is after all the aim of the what I see project.

check out the what I see project:

and check out my film:

ida bonanomi

(viewed 1569 times)
it's funny what you can find when wandering around a cemetery just for a few minutes. this gravestone in edinburgh's rosebank cemetery reads:

'Sacred to the memory of Miss Ida Bonanomi, the faithful and highly esteemed dresser of Queen Victoria, who departed this life Oct 15th 1854, in the 37th year of her age, beloved and respected by all who knew her. This stone has been placed by Queen Victoria as a mark of her regard.'

I checked queen victoria's diaries online. an entry from october 15th 1854 reads:

'Saw Sir James Clark, who brought me a telegram with the sad news that my excellent maid Ida Bonanomi, whom I had had to leave at Holyrood as she had became so ill, not having been well at Balmoral before, — had died last night. It was a great shock to me, & I was thoroughly upset, for no one, including Sir James had apprehended any immediate danger. She was the kindest, gentlest, best being possible, & such a pleasant servant, so intelligent, so trustworthy & her calm, quiet manner had such a soothing effect, on my often over wrought nerves. To lose her thus, & so far away, surrounded only by strangers is too grievous. Everyone was shocked & grieved, for she was quite adored.'

maxwell's diabolo

james clerk maxwell was one of the greatest scientists the world has ever known. his understanding of the electromagnetic field united electricity and magnetism into one single, comprehensive theory. his insights into mathematics, astronomy, colour theory and engineering laid the groundwork for inventions and processes that nowadays we take for granted. great physicists, from einstein to feynman, have heaped praise on this edinburgh-born polymath for his brilliant, groundbreaking discoveries.

but that’s not why james clerk maxwell was awesome.

his awesomeness, in my opinion, lies in the fact that he was a diabolo performer, at a time when few people would have known what a diabolo is. his simple wooden diabolo was given to him as a gift when he was a child, and by the time he was ready to head off to university, he was something of a professional. I think I can relate to this quirky nineteenth century gent. he would pack his diabolo when he went on holidays, (as I like to do) he practiced for hours on end to improve his tricks, (as I do) and he loved to perform in front of crowds of people if the occasion arose (yup, I like that as well).

and who knows? perhaps maxwell’s fascination with the diabolo led him to think about the forces of physics operating when it spins, which fuelled his curiosity from a young age and led him to be the great scientist that he ultimately became. I’d love that to be true. in any case, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate maxwell’s 182nd birthday (it was a couple of weeks ago) by performing a bit of diabolo in front of his statue at the foot of george street in edinburgh. hopefully he would appreciate it.

further complications part one

2nd Mar 2013, 21:27   | tags:comments (1)

further complications part two

2nd Mar 2013, 21:20   | tags:comments (0)

free books!

(viewed 1347 times)
yup, that's right - they're absolutely free. it's an interesting project they've got going in one of the premises at richmond gardens shopping centre, bournemouth. you turn up, look around, and if you like you can take up to three books for free. you can give them some of your old books or make a donation if you like, but it's not compulsory. I discovered this place yesterday by accident - think I'll be back there again soon...

obligatory feline/compulsory cat

(viewed 1369 times)
every moblog needs a picture of a cat, right?

*photos by mjz
3rd Feb 2013, 15:38   | tags:,comments (3)


(viewed 1327 times)
9th Jan 2013, 17:55   | tags:comments (1)