Interview with Mina Heydari-Waite
Although our celebration event to mark the end of our pandemic project At a Distance Together has been postponed, we speak to Mina Heydari Waite, AMP Engagement Coordinator, about her experiences of working on the project for the last 2 years.
Tell us a bit about you
Hi, I’m Mina, a British-Iranian artist and facilitator. I live in Glasgow and work freelance in collaboration with artists – delivering workshops, creating resources, working on projects in galleries and in sound, video and coordination. I’ve worked with A Moment’s Peace since the beginning of the pandemic. Catrin (previous Artistic Director) was insanely magnetic and brought me in when not a lot of in-person stuff was happening. It’s the first time I’ve had a purely coordinating role and it’s been nice working as part of a team.
How do you feel A Moment’s Peace reacted creatively to the pandemic?
It felt like AMP was light on its feet to adapt to the situation. Other projects seemed slower, took longer. AMP had deep, established relationships with their group members (Women’s Creative Company and Shared Space) so could quickly get in touch with them all and find out how they wanted to go forwards.
Working during this period, you had to be really flexible, reacting to what people needed and wanted. There were some mental days, working all hours but we were willing to do it as there was a sense of emergency behind it all, making sure people felt looked after and connected.
What were the main challenges?
Our project was mainly devising, putting together and delivering creative packs to our members. For the first time, I was operating something like a factory line, which was very physical and repetitive, putting together 50 packs again and again. It took ages to do, as we wanted it all to be good quality, for the things we sent people to last a long time, not just for one-off use, and for the packaging to be beautiful so that it was exciting to receive. One task was a cooking task and we had 8 different spices to weigh and bag – it took 5 hours just to do this! We promised members we would send things by a certain date and so we worked all hours to make sure we fulfilled that promise.
Mina's studio space during the project!
What did you enjoy most?
We had lovely feedback about the packs. People didn’t want to do more things on zoom and they loved us going to deliver the packs by hand. I hardly saw anyone face to face during that time so it was overwhelming to be in contact with 30 people each delivery date – it made me feel part of a network and that we were looking out for many people.
Other organisations did packs too, but I know that we spent the most per head on materials. The ambition and quality was very high. A bad set of paints would dry up. A lot of people didn’t have their own arts resources so we sent them absolutely everything they would need, even scissors and glue. We understood that to be accessible, we had to send everything. On occasion, people used the resources for their own artwork beyond the tasks and parents enjoyed using them with their children.
Our At a Distance Together celebration event will be rescheduled for later in the year.
Insta @minaheydariwaite Twitter @MinaWaite