The Monthly interviews Scottish Spoken Word Poet and The Loudcast Presenter, Kevin Mclean – Part 3

Part two of this interview is here

Any last thoughts?

I think there is a romanticised view of the arts that needs to be challenged. During Lockdown I saw a poll that had people suggesting that the Arts was the least important job, the least essential job, and yet this information was presented on a beautifully designed infographic.

That people were turning to the arts in so many ways during Lockdown tells you something about the gap between how people view the arts and how essential the arts are in people’s lives.

To do what I do, I have had to learn all about finances, about how a company has to be run, I have had to learn about GDPR and how we can store and use information.

But I have also had to learn how to edit, record sound, do YouTube podcasts, and I am also the presenter as well as a writer and a performer. All of those skills takes years of learning and mostly you do it yourself. And it is work; hard work, and it needs to be seen as that. Being a full-time artist is extremely hard work.

I am Loud Productions has three strands which constitute the company’s work?

We break it down as Spoken Word Poetry, Comedy and Film.  We have live events, Loud Poetry, we do music videos for bands, Loud Film, and we run Comedy Nights although of course that has been shut down during the Lockdown.

Just to elaborate on what I said before, Mark Gallie is the operations director, Dr Katy Ailes is a poetry academic and writer, and she does all our research, our workshops, she does research for the Loudcast, the poetry podcast. Bex Sherwood is also a brilliant writer and she heads up our production and management side of things. That means that people fit their skills into their jobs, but we come together as a team to discuss projects and how we move the company in the direction we want it to go.

We have a new podcast called Happy Hour where the four of us will discuss poetry, Katy will set challenges for us as writers, and we discuss technique and development of skills.

We have another podcast called Return to Form which I think I mentioned elsewhere where we ask Spoken Word Poets to write using literary forms.

You are all working full time for the company?

Mostly, yes, there are some people who work part time.

We are now looking to our work coming out of Lockdown. We are hoping to get back to live events, and we intend to maintain our online work, our digital projects, for those people who, for whatever reason, might not want to go to live events.

And we are also aiming to increase our workshop output at some point. I said earlier that it is an issue for me that working class people in particular need access to the arts. We have organised some workshops with a youth theatre group and they went really well, and the kids really got into what we were offering.

We do workshops with community colleges and we also aim to platform poets from a wide array of backgrounds so we work to promote diversity but sometimes people forget that class is important as a signifier, so we keep our eye on that aspect as well.

We also talk to funders about the limitations working class people come up against when trying to access funding, especially trying to navigate their way around complicated funding applications where specific language has to be used.

Creative Scotland has been making the right noises regarding funding applications and we are hoping to have people from that organisation on the Loudcast to explain to people how to apply correctly.

The one thing I will finish on is that Spoken Word Poetry is the most accessible form of art in that you don’t need anything, just imagination. You don’t need equipment, you don’t even need a pen and paper; you can work on a poem in your head.

Our company starts with encouraging people to participate in this genre and from there we work on all of the elements which can allow that to happen successfully.

I am Loud’s website can be found at the link below.

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.