Agincare in the community: Portland’s b-side festival
Published: Wednesday 8th September 2021
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Community is at the heart of Agincare. Our care ethos is putting people first, which means we treat everyone as individuals, provide human connection and facilitate the moments that matter.
With our head office situated on Portland, this extends to the local festivities always on our radar. b-side arts festival, the isle’s very own internationally-recognised organisation, just so happens to care for community in the same way.
b-side is committed to enriching and celebrating Portland; its history, its present and its future. With immersive festival experiences that welcome community and encourage hands-on learning and expression, the organisation wants to educate as well as entertain.
The festival dates are 9th-12th September, but in the run up Agincare team members local to Portland were invited to participate in b-side’s New Curators Portland Workshops, which were designed and run by the artists Promenade, spanning two days and many creative activities.
Head office’s Ellie and Abby were eager to take part, and rolled up their sleeves to join the b-side team’s workshop.
The workshop kicked off with discussions about the history of Portland, and the participants were encouraged to write a short piece about a prevailing memory, feeling, or idea about the isle.
Ellie was raised in Portland, and lives here today. She chose to draw inspiration from an ammonite, and recounted how her grandmother would take her fossil hunting in the quarries as a child. Abby, who moved to the isle in 2017, wrote about her experience so far, including “how easily you can feel like you’re on a holiday here, especially in summer.”
The group’s adventure took them to the Portland Museum, where imaginations were captured. Abby said: “I was talking to someone who walked past us in the street – it brought community in. A couple of holiday-makers even joined in!”
“We chatted about all the exciting hidden bits of the isle – remembering there are interesting things you just pass every day.”
Looking to the future
For day 2 participants were taken to 2031, into the future of Portland, and on a walk that took them to the scenic Church Ope where they were asked to imagine what the isle could look like ten years from now.
Abby said “I was on a hoverboard!”
Participants then worked on an interactive map of Portland, to pinpoint personal events and areas of significance, as well as highlight the areas they hope to see evolve in the future.
On the walk, minds turned to the passing of time, and local ghost stories were told; including one of a nearby street. As a result of the road being built up over the years, ghosts have apparently been sighted knee-deep in the concrete!
We’re always learning
Stories like this remind all of us of where we’ve come from, and what growth could, or should look like. We pride ourselves on Agincare’s sustainable growth of over three decades, the diligence with which we approach changes, and the awareness of our roots that we hold close.
We’re proud to be part of Portland’s rich community, and we join b-side festival, Ellie and Abby in looking forward to the future.
“Even though I’ve lived on Portland my whole life, it’s easy to forget about what’s all around you. This workshop was great for rediscovering it all, it was quite interesting! It makes you think ‘wow, I do live in an amazing place!’”
“I think the future would be great if we focused on Portland itself, and the people who call it home.”
How to get involved with b-side:
The artists Promenade have created a series of walks taking place from 11am everyday over the festival, so come along to see a new insight into the island we love. They have two challenging ones and two more accessible walks, check them out here if you’re interested.