Lousie Jeffreys

Lousie Jeffreys, directora artística del Barbican Centre de Londres en Circulo Fusion

El Barbican Centre, una de las instituciones artísticas más destacadas y reconocidas de Londres, alberga una gran variedad de conciertos, desde música clásica hasta géneros populares como el jazz. En esta entrevista hablamos con Lousie Jeffreys sobre sus experiencias trabajando en un lugar tan increíble.

Louise Jeffreys es la directora artística de uno de los espacios culturales más importantes de Londres. También tiene un papel destacado en la educación, ya que se siente a gusto tanto con las exposiciones de arte como con los programas que implican algo más que medios visuales.

La sala de conciertos ha servido como sede de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Londres y de la Orquesta Sinfónica de la BBC durante décadas. La entrevista cubre cómo gestionan los espacios culturales, incluyendo las dificultades causadas por el Brexit antes de su implementación recientemente -¡incluyendo lo que se puede hacer ahora que existe esta nueva situación política!

Interviewer: Louise Jeffreyss, bienvenida a la radio del Círculo de Bellas Artes, gracias por compartir con nosotros unos minutos y si te parece para poder entender un poco todo lo que sucede en Barbican Centre, ¿cuál es tu papel en la institución?

Interviewee: I’m the artistic director at the Barbican Centre. I’ve been in this role since 2010. My responsibility is to set the direction of the artistic strategy, have the overview of the artistic strategy, I’m the manager of our artistic team, that’s the music team, the same in dance team, cinema team and the visual arts team and I’m also the person who manages the marketing team and the media com team, communications team under the small internal strategic planning unit.

Interviewer: ¿Qué nos puedes contar de la historia del Barbican Centre y de cómo su inauguración transformó el área?

Interviewee: I’ve been working at the centre since 1999, when i joined i was head of theatre and I’ve been in this role since 2010 so the Barbican actually was opened in 1982.

Interviewer: ¿Cuál es el principal reto al que te has enfrentado?

Interviewee: So those were times since it was built in 1982, it was built primarily to host two resident companies The World Shake Spare company and the London Symphony Orchestra. But since 1982 the Barbican has become more and more in control of it’s home program across those four areas i describe to you and the World Shake Spare company left the Barbican as a permanent resident and now come back and do a season with us but they are not a resident company in the same way as they were. The London Symphony Orchestra remains as well but we have our own promoted program, our own curated program across all the art forms as well. so the main challenge is now in the U.K. for the Barbican as any arts organization reduce funding and increased reliance own generated funding which is either through box office or ground or development income or commercial income and we’ve been very successful in increasing box office income and commercial income. the other major challenge in the U.K. is Brexit primarily because we don’t know what’s going to happen and there is a great deal of uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty around what might happen with Brunswick the things that we’re concerned about freedom of movement of people which will affect our own staff because we have many staff who are European who are allowed to work here who might not be in the future so the other issue around can access is barriers for artists coming here because we are an international organization and we work with a lot of different European countries and at the moment there are no costs or barriers, or terrorists or unnecessary bureaucracy and around the way that artists travel to the U.K. as we’re part of the European Union and when we are, if hopefully we are not, but when we are not apart of the European Union that will be of great concern to us how those issues are resolved and whether that might require more time, more money to bring artists and make it more difficult to bring artists to the Barbican. So I would say those are the two main challenges really.

Interviewer: Además Barbican Centre engloba diferentes áreas artísticas, desde el centro de música, galería de arte, escuela, gastronomía, una librería, qué no puedes contar de esto, ¿hay algo que una todas estas áreas?

Interviewee: I’m not the curator or programmer for all of those areas each area has a head of the team who is the expert in that particular area, so the aspects of the programming that rely on that expertise and stand alone but there are aspects of the programming that where we come together and make the most of the fact that all of us exist in the same building and from different art forms can speak to each other. Vision is art without boundaries and we think that means that there are no boundaries in terms of physically where we can present our. But also metaphorically there are less and less fewer and fewer boundaries between art forms so this year for example we’re working on an annual fee which is called the answer to change where we’re looking across all the different art forms about the subject of change just social change and political change has experience and expressed by artists. so every art form is different and we recognize that but we all come together under the banner of art without boundaries and we all come together in trying to unite work of art with learning as well and there are three basic principles which we all subscribe to which across the whole organization which is about inspiring more people to discover and to love the arts of building our audiences about creating an ambitious international program so right across a program we work internationally with internationally renowned artist and the other very important thing is that we invest in the artists of today and tomorrow which means that we want to present and work with the very best artists in the world at the moment here but we also want to develop new artists and help the development of artists.

Interviewer: Hay una conexión entre las diferentes áreas ¿Hay algo que conecte la oferta gastronómica con galería de arte, las cola de música a la librería? ¿Un línea que conecta a las diferentes áreas?

Interviewee: If there are a connection is not in my department obviously what we try to do we have strong values and we try to make sure that the food and drink offer is consistent with the brand of the Barbican to make it high quality, to make it international, to make it in certain aspects as affordable as possible so that’s important and the library is not managed by the Barbican center but we do work with the library so our visual arts team they do a little exhibitions in the libraries and we support them to create exhibitions when they have a synergy with our Barbican program so the library is a specialist music library so if they do any exhibitions which relate to music we will promote those and support them in presenting those in the library so there’s a relationship but we don’t manage the library.

Interviewer: qué criterios o pautas sigues para poder valorar la participación de un nuevo artista o una actividad artística nueva en Barbicar?

Interviewee: I suppose at the assessment of what is a quality product I mean in the exhibitions most of our exhibitions are created by our own team so we are sure quality in that respect in the theater we create, occasionally create our own productions but more often we invite productions and that same is true of the music team and the cinema team but we employ expert programmers and curators in each in of those teams teams. So the quality control is through the expertise of those programmers and curators and through alignment with the objectives which I just described to you so that’s where we assure quality.

Interviewer: ¿Cómo podrías contarnos el criterio que sigues para poder seleccionar a un nuevo artista?

Interviewee: There’s no written criteria and we do three thousand eight hundred events a year so we do evaluate some events, some of the major events where perhaps it’s a change of direction or we have a specific objective where we’re trying to evaluate or achieve like reaching a new audience or something but I wouldn’t say that there’s a set of list where you have to tick a box and say this artist is better than that artist’s you know the gallery for example we work with a long list of suggestions that then they will you know reduce and reduce rather like I suppose if you have a prize for a novel you would have a group of people who are assessing those novels and then eventually one would win so hopefully the artist we choose reflects the brand that we’re trying to project into the world but there’s not a list whereby an artist can say if I did this, this and this the Barbican will Program me luckily enough there are more artists that we could program than we can possibly accommodate we’re not short of the people who would be possible to program here so it’s a matter of not having to exactly the same side by side looking at the ho seeing how things work with our teams, making sure we’ve got appeal to a wide variety of different audiences. but there isn’t a sort of simple way in, and one of the problems we have is our gallery spaces for example are quite big so a very new artist would not really be experience enough to have a solo exhibition in those spaces. Likewise our council hall two thousand seats so we do have some use of the milk or council who is smaller where we can introduce new artists more easily and our theater is over one thousand seats so new and emerging artists would be a unlikely to fill that space but we do have a studio space where we can encourage younger artists and support young artists to develop new work.

Interviewer: en la gestión de la creatividad hay alguna manera de conocer, de estudiar, de poder gestionar la creatividad?

Interviewee: We work very much we have a weekly programming meeting where we all come together to discuss ideas and to share their experiences across a team so in an art center I think that it’s about creating a space where all the different art forms can speak together and learn from each other I think it’s about me creating a space where we can talk about new trends current ideas seems to get people thinking in the most creative way possible so I think the thing is not to be too prescriptive to provide guidelines but not to make them too narrow so that we ensure that there is a character to the Barbican, that character can contain many different aspects and isn’t a restriction to presenting new and different work.

Interviewer: cual ya ha trabajado con nuevas áreas, conceptos, ideas como asesor/ a intentar para poder realizar esta selección de nuevas áreas?

Interviewee: For example our really were very empty and most of the activity that took place here took place in the venue. so we’ve worked over the last two or three years to bring more art onto our foyer and make them more expressive of what we want to be as an organization over the last few years we’ve also work more off site in the local communities that are around us so that we’re not only expecting audiences to come to us but we take work out to audiences. a lot of artists are working inside specific spaces so we have on occasion worked side specifically or in participative project we are we have an educational learning department which is not run by me is run by the director of learning that introduces new and different audiences to artists as well. I think managing Creativity is about holding a space where interesting ideas can be debated and then trusting the skills and the expertise of the curators and the programmers that you employ to find the very best artists and talk to the very best artist.

Interviewer: Barbican Center tiene un papel muy importante la educación, ya que también es una escuela, crees que arte puede ayudar a mejorar la educación tradicional?

Interviewee: Well our creative learning team works with people of all ages and all backgrounds and help some to discover their creative voice and so we work with people because we think that young people can gain skills by engaging in the arts that might help them pay if they want to have career in the creative industries but also helps them if they want to have a career in other areas because it helps build self- confident, it helps them to be articulate, it helps them work in a team so there are artistic benefits to a cultural education and there are non-artistic benefits as well. And last year we work with over eighty thousand people we also work very closely with the Go To School of Music and Drama which is a conservatoire That is next door to us and so we do help develop practicing artists as well and we also have a young membership that’s got over sixty thousand members where young people between the age of i think it’s sixteen to twenty six can access cheaper tickets and come and see what’s at the Barbican.

Interviewer: Barbican Centre también tiene un papel importante en el trabajo social ¿qué nos puedes contar de esto?

Interviwee: The social, us having a social impact Yes as well that we believe that if people engage in artistic activity that it helps build communities it helps them be more articulate provide, support well being and health, yes we believe all that as well.

Interviewer: ¿Cuál es el futuro de Barbican Centre?

Interviewee: I hope that we just remain, I’ve explained, I think the big issues around funding and a break set that I think it’s very important that we remain responsive to artists that we keep ourselves abreast changes are happening in the creative world at a very very difficult to look into the future in that way but there’s one thing that I do know is that unless we’re open to change the artistic organizations that are open to change are the ones that survive if you’re not open to change that’s a very dangerous case to be. So I can’t predict what that change will be but all I know is that we need to be aware that we will have to change and respond to changes in order to remain relevant. the other things there are developing in the future is that we’re working now initiatives co-coach a mile which is about half the London Symphony Orchestra of the guild School of Music and Drama the city of London which is our main founder and the Museum of London to animate and develop the area to be a more creative cultural quarter in London so that’s important .there are plans to develop a new center the music which will be build some time in the mid twenty twenties. We it will be a new council hall for London and we’re hoping to develop the space that we have close to us to be more artist studios, artist experimental space into data space so that we support young artists developing new practice, so that’s important as well.

Interviewer: Además, para terminar la entrevista un detalle curioso es que hay un instagrammer en Barbican Centre como residente, ¿qué nos puedes contar de esta posición?

Interviewee: social media statistics are very good and social media is really important reaching particularly younger new audiences. so the Instagram and residents are not quite sure how long they’re in residence for but we give them access to parts of the building that the public can’t usually go to, they have access to performances and then we have a wall in our Foyer where the Instagram and residents images are shown so that the Instagram and residents get their work shown to a wider audience as well so we both benefit.

Interviewer: Louise Jeffreys, muchas gracias por habernos atendido en Círculo Fusión en el Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid.