Introducing our fifth and final talented Trainee Producer, Tom Wijesinghe

I’m Tom, a 22 year old musician from Christchurch. I’m taking part in the trainee producers scheme for the Arts By The Sea festival. When I’ve performed freelance as a musician I’ve often found myself more interested in the behind the scenes work that goes into making a gig happen: booking the venue, curating the programme, liaising with performers, promotion, ticketing, the lot!. An aspiration of mine would be to put on my own events and to work on large scale festivals that really push the boundaries of what a festival can be. 

I’m especially interested in public art which breaks down artist/non-artist barriers by encouraging collaboration with local communities and invites audiences to interact with and alter the art around them. I am inspired, for instance, by Stuart Fowkes’ Cities and Memory Project which I came across while I was studying at Oxford. In this ongoing piece, Fowkes creates an interactive global sound map, made of location-specified recordings submitted by members of the public. For each location on the map, there are two audio files: the crowdsourced field recording and a creative remixed ‘reimagining’ of it. I am really impressed by the simplicity of this piece and the way that its content is ultimately determined by the public. For me, this is one of the great privileges of being a part of a scheme like this, where I hope to in some way help programme a festival which truly serves the people it places itself amongst. Already we are looking at commissioning works that are heavily informed by the public and we are drafting and sending out a survey as I type.  

I hope that the experience in programming, financing, and promoting these commissions will inform future events and public installations I hope to be a part of. I have so far enjoyed especially the chance to hear from and connect with guest speakers with experience across the industry which has been invaluable in getting a deeper understanding of what goes into making a project of this scale come to fruition.

Click here to view Tom’s LinkedIn Profile.

Stay tuned as we document all five Trainee Producers and their artistic journey throughout the scheme run by Arts by the Sea and Emergency Exit Arts.