Many & Varied was founded by Nikki Pugh in response to questions that she found were repeatedly being asked.
- How can I make this $CURIOUS_THING?
- Who should I speak to about the $AMAZING_EVENT I want to do?
- Where are the $AWESOME_PEOPLE in the region I can collaborate with?
- What’s the best way to learn $NEW_SKILLS?
- Where is the $WEIRD_STUFF happening? I want to go and have some fun!
As an artist with an interdisciplinary practice, often it was Nikki asking these questions. As someone who had co-founded the Birmingham hackspace fizzPOP; run events and workshops for several years; and worked in various related contexts, it was just as often Nikki who was expected to be able to answer them for other people.
Many & Varied’s programme of pilot events at The Public in 2013 was an opportunity to test some hypotheses and get a wider conversation going.
Nikki is now running Many & Varied with Katie Day.
Katie is Artistic Director of Birmingham-based theatre company The Other Way Works. She creates highly interactive performance experiences, frequently for small groups of audiences and also worked as Associate Producer of Watershed’s Theatre Sandbox supporting other theatre companies in exploring pioneering ideas that use new technologies.
Nikki and Katie are in turn supported by a wider collective of individuals working across a range of different disciplines. The common factor is that more often than not they are linking across the edges of established disciplines or working in the spaces between them.
Many & Varied recognises that creative folk get a heck of a lot of value from being able to meet other creative folk. A critical mass of people working on interesting projects becomes much more than just the sum of the parts. A critical mass of people with different ideas, skills and approaches is gold dust.
Here in the Midlands we seem to be lacking focal points for serendipity, inspiration, criticism, brokering, instigating, collaboration and fabrication.
Time to do something about it.