With over 25 years of experience as a community arts specialist and composer, Ornette has led and project managed many projects across the community spectrum. Starting with his groundbreaking work with adults with learning disAbilities that formed part of Glasgow’s 1991 Celebration of Cultures, to helping to establish the Education Outreach Department of the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh to being Artistic Director for the Divali Festival in Edinburgh, Ornette has been in the forefront of engagement with communities and managing projects, as part of his community and public engagement activities. More recently, as a Visiting Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, Ornette has brought his substantial community and research experience to the MEaP team as their lead for research and project coordination for the consortium’s extra curricula activities.
Here are some notable highlights from his portfolio of projects:
IntoUniversity Project, 2016
Young people from the MEaP consortium of supplementary schools visited MMU for a taster of the university experience. Ornette and the MEaP team organised this in partnership with IntoUniversity and MMU’s Widening Participation Team.
More photos, here.
Keeping it Real? BBC music and video project, as part of the AHRC Being Human and BPS Community Psychology Festivals, 2015
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in partnership with BBC Outreach hosted Keeping it Real? an event in Being Human 2015, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. This involved working with young people from the community organisations CLR James Community Trust and Making Education a Priority (MEaP), members from the BBC Philharmonic and wider staff from the BBC. Young people were mentored by BBC staff and members from the CLR James Community Action Trust to compose a musical track (grime/hip hop/drum’n’bass fusion) with members of the BBC Philharmonic that explored their perceptions of BAME youth cultural representation (themes taken from Ornette’s book Urban Dialectics, the Market and Youth Engagement: The ‘Black’ Face of Eurocentrism?) The young people were also mentored in filming and photography to make a documentary of the project to be shown alongside the performance at the final event. The project consisted of creative sessions that were held on campus at MMU on October 27th , November 5th and November 11th and a performance at the BBC, Media City on November 20th . The event was selected to be part of Being Human by the festival organisers, the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the British Academy (BA) with support from the Wellcome Trust.
‘Manchester Museum Comes To You’ Project, 2014
Ornette invited the Manchester Museum to one of our school venues at Highway Hope to introduce themselves the wider community in Levenshulme. After this introductory evening, the Museum brought some of its collection back to Highway Hope for the young people and our teachers to look at more closely. These were called object handling sessions, where the young people were introduced to the stories of the objects.
The project then used these stories to generate wider discussions around social history, which touched upon topics that were relevant to the young people. Topics included enthusiastic debate around the Civil Rights Movement, The History of Female Representation and Gender Stereotypes.
The participants at Highway Hope then visited the Museum to put the collections that they had handled into a wider context of the larger collections. After this, the young people reflected on how they could use the Museum as a resource to help with their homework assignments.
More photos, here.
Only You 2.0 Axis Arts Centre/Arts Council England residency, 2013
This was an Arts Council funded residency at the Axis Arts Centre (Cheshire) where Ornette wrote a dubstep gamelan track for members of the Halle Orchestra, Frances Lynch and members of Electric Voice Theatre, Live electronics (Guillaume DuJat des Allimes), MC Hypes and of course Dr Rachel Swindells and her amazing gamelan orchestra. The piece was premiered as part of the Halle’s Focus on Gamelan Festival which celebrated their move into their new Halle St Peter’s venue.
Schools worked with: Manchester Academy
Young Musicians for Heritage Project, 2012- 2013
This was a Department of Contemporary Arts (DCA, MMU) lottery-funded music and music technology project that Ornette ran, which artistically and physically linked urban communities in Crewe and Manchester in a common appreciation of their local rail inspired heritages. This project laid the foundations for DCA’s award winning partnership with one of their Manchester based community enterprises The Youth Village.
Schools worked with: Monks Coppenhall Primary School and Wistaston Green Primary School. Read our report, here.
Reson8r Music Research Project, 2009
Reson8r was the name of the cross university research team comprising researchers from Oxford Brookes University and University of Staffordshire, led by Ornette. Reson8r was commissioned by Make Some Noise, in partnership with the Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing Unit and Staffordshire Children’s Services, to conduct some research into finding out whether music workshops could change young people’s attitudes towards offending behaviour. Here is some of the music that the young people wrote.
Hope Valley College Composer in Residence, 2009
Ornette was commissioned to write work for choir and big band for an entry to the National Schools’ Competition and he was also the lead practitioner delivering workshops and workshop training to staff and young music leaders. Funded by PRS and Youth Music
School worked with: Hope Valley College
Abbey Hulton, North Stoke CAMHS Residency, 2007
This was a mental health residency that Ornette led at the Abbey Hulton Clinic, North Stoke CAMHS. The young people wrote songs that explored different aspects of their mental health and wellbeing. The project also measured their attitudes towards their self image (SIP) before and after the residency.
HMPYOI Werrington Music Technology Project, 2007
This was a music technology project that Ornette led, which was part of the award winning Sonic [db] Music Technology in Prisons project, initiative. Using music and creative writing, this project looked at the inmates’ attitudes towards their offending behaviour, which included examining issues such as homophobia, misogyny, drugs and gun crime.
Longstone Masterpieces: Longstone Resource Centre Residency, 2000
This Lottery-funded residency with Ornette’s community education enterprise, Revelation Community Arts, involved adults with learning difficulties writing their own tracks and directing and filming their own music videos. This film was premiered at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema.
For a fuller archive of Ornette’s projects including his extensive work with schools, see here.