It’s a long way to go, so why Brazil?
It is, so I was fortunate enough to go for 2 reasons.
Firstly, as Rio is where our Agency project originates it was a great opportunity to connect with Agência de Redes para Juventude (Agency of Youth Networks)– the Brazilian project – and continue to collaborate and build links with our projects discussing the similarities and differences in our communities and how we overcome similar issues.
Secondly, the trip was the culmination of *Relative Values an exciting research project we have been working on which is looking at how we can measure the impact of our participatory programmes. I attended a conference and spoke about Contact and the work we do in the community.
I’ve been fortunate enough that this is my 3rd time visiting the Agencia in Rio so I know the team really well and its always an inspiring and invigorating experience.
So was it all work, work, work, or did you manage to do some exploring?
We had most of our mornings free so I did manage to see some of the city and enjoy the amazing beaches Rio has to offer and of course managed to eat some amazing Feijoada.
Oo what is that (and how to we pronounce it)?
It’s a traditional Brazilian dish consisting on Pork, beef, sausage & black beans with rice and kale. It’s pronounced “Fesh wada”, I think, it’s really tasty, traditionally its eaten on a Saturday in Brazil so you can go for a sleep afterwards cause it’s pretty heavy.
So, apart from eating some tasty food, what was the most exciting part of your trip?
Our cultural visit to Maré which is one of the largest Favelas in Rio housing over 130,000 people, the area is a melting pot of culture, life and energy, a real world inside of a world. It has its own economy, schools, libraries, universities all run by the local community and of course Redes da Maré which is a theatre and dance school working out of 2 disused factories on the edge of the territory, it’s incredible and even more so when you consider the area is under complete control of the local drug gangs and is very much a no go area for police or military. We were extremely lucky to be able to walk around and engage with the community.
Do you have any top travel tips?
Erm…try to sleep and make sure you have plenty of books to read and listen to podcasts.
What podcast are you listening to at the mo?
I’m a film geek so the Kermode and Mayo show and Empire magazine podcasts are always on rotation but I also really enjoy Greg Proops “smartest man in the world” , The Joe Rogan Experience and The Doug Stanhope podcast.
Obviously we are really jealous, is there anything that you can tell us about your trip that might make us feel less bad about missing out?
Not really haha. It was only a 4 day trip so it was a lot of travel but it’s always a great opportunity to go away with work and even more so that it’s somewhere as incredible as Rio.
The Agency seems to be growing and growing, what’s next?
It does, so in September this year we will be launching the project in Belfast and Cardiff with our new partners Fablab and The National Theatre of Wales in addition to our London and Manchester projects. We also have some more exciting news that we’ll be sharing later in the year, so stay tuned!
We loved chatting to Steve about his exciting trip! Want to know more about The Agency? Yes you do! Click here.
*Relative Values is a research project in partnership with The Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council England, People’s Palace Projects, Queen Mary University of London, NECCULT, Contact Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Agency of Youth Networks and Networks of Maré, which is looking at how we can measure the impact of our participatory programmes in relation to GDP. Find out more here.