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Spring 2019: What’s been happening in the Sputnik Hubs?

I like the internet. Seriously, I’m a big fan. Questions like ‘what sitcom was that actress in?’ or ‘can I reheat this 3 day old rice without dying’ are no longer a problem. And now I can literally watch Yo! Mtv Raps all day long.

Yes, I like the internet, but I like people more. People are better.

This term, at Sputnik HQ, we’ve been simply too busy to deal with both so we’ve had to make a call on this one. So you may have noticed we’ve been quiet online since January; however, when it comes to people we’ve been hard at work.

We’ve already put on 4 meet ups, connecting together over 100 artists for potential camaraderie, critique and collaboration. And the London Faith and Arts Day, and Benjamin Harris’ exibition launch in Newcastle are still to come. We’ll report on those (and also the cracking day Luke Tonge and I spent down in Falmouth a couple of weeks ago) shortly, but for the time being, we just wanted to give you a flavour of our three Sputnik hub gatherings this term.


Benjamin Harris:

Saturday 9th of March saw around 20 of us gathered in Joel and Danielle Wilson’s spacious front room to encourage one another in serving Christ through serious engagement with art. We kicked off with lowkey poetry and musical performances from local artists David Benjamin Blower, Jessica Wood, Pythagoras the Praying Mantis, Bernard Davis and Tim Riordan of Atlas Rhoads. Following this, we were blessed to learn from the wisdom and work of Edinburgh based artist Stephanie Mann.

Stephanie shared her playful artistic practice through the lens of process, sharing about the artist’s journey from conception through to completion, and exploring the tricky act of balancing the frustration of theory with the merriment of making. Stephanie’s work provoked much chin stroking, head scratching and thought provoking conversation culminating in a back and forth about Freud, Jung and whether Jesus had a subconscious!

Following a short tea break we rejoined to share about what is happening in our lives as individuals and artists before praying for one another. I personally find this to be an enriching part of the Sputnik Hub. Yes, we make art. Yes, most of us enjoy musing about the deeper things in life. Yes, we feel called to create. But more fundamentally, we are all God’s children in need of prayer.


Joanna Spreadsbury:

What an evening! We had 25 people arrive for dinner and discussion at our latest Edinburgh Sputnik Hub, with 9 different churches across Edinburgh represented, all coming together to discuss our creative artistic endeavours and our Christian faith.

Starting off the evening with some presentations by our hub co-ordinators, we had writer Hannah Kelly, illustrator Liam Rotherham, PR assistant Hannah Knox and dressmaking tutor and maker Joanna Spreadbury talking about their everyday work within the creative industry. From such a range of arts backgrounds, we were able to hear about the highs and lows of being a Christian in their work, about opportunities to share the gospel, and continuing to work for the glory of God, whether that is in marketing meetings, writing in a coffee shop or teaching classes.

Breaking down into smaller discipline groups (writers/musicians, visual artists and performing arts/production/misc.) we then talked about how we meet with Jesus in our everyday lives, the difficulties found in workplace environments versus freelancing and praying for each other to go out with boldness in the Holy Spirit, to impact those we meet with the creativity we have been given and cultivated.

Milton Keynes

Sharon Clark :

If anyone mentions the movie Jaws, what immediately springs to mind? Chances are its iconic theme tune will immediately begin to play on your internal juke box. The creation of soundtracks is a vital part of the movie and TV industry, adding a rich layer of musical drama and emotion to the visual landscape.

At the recent Bedford/Milton Keynes Sputnik hub event, Matt Hawken provided a wonderful insight into the world of background music, and his career as a composer and musician. The first thing that amazed us was that his skills go far beyond musicality and creativity – composing background music involves a huge amount of technical knowledge. Matt loves to create unnatural sounds from the natural via sampling, and demonstrated this with music that featured a cello bow being drawn across a rubbish skip!

Matt also told us how his working day is not one of a few minutes of creativity, but very much a nine-to-five production job. The industry is a highly competitive one, and musicians are constantly pitching their wares to companies knowing that only a tiny proportion of their work will be selected (unless your name is Hans Zimmer!) In a world where digital music is freely available on-line, Matt observed that it is now businesses and companies that are shaping culture because they have become the new patrons of the arts – the ones who are still willing to pay for music, provided it is written for their needs.

As a Christian, Matt says his faith is important because he knows his identity and value is not dependent on the next sale. He also pointed out that there is constant creation in God’s world, and this encourages him as an artist because there is always more creativity to come.