Posts Tagged ‘young people’

Hello from our new CEO Zoë Carassik-Lord

Posted on: May 8th, 2023 by Steph Dickinson No Comments

We are delighted to introduce Pie Factory Music’s new CEO Zoë Carassik-Lord.

Zoë brings a wide knowledge base and experience in the Youth Arts sector and has been part of the amazing team at Pie for the last 6 years, as Programme Manager for Music & Creative Arts. It’s an exciting time for Pie as we implement the next phase of our 2022-2025 Strategy Plan, with a particular focus on long-term premises and financial security. As we welcome Zoë, she would like to say a warm hello to our supporters and followers.

Zoë Programme Manager at Pie Factory Music. Woman with short close shaved hair, with a black zig zag earring and wearing a black top. Yellow background

My first few weeks as CEO of Pie Factory Music have been a whirlwind of sessions, good funding news, and putting exciting plans in place for our young people and our team. All confirmation that I officially have the best job in the world leading a charity making a real difference to young people’s lives, and having fun whilst doing it.

I joined our Open Arms session with young refugees and asylum-seekers and we celebrated Eid together. It was so wonderful eating delicious Eritrean food cooked by the young people, and incredibly moving to see the young people listening with kindness to each other’s stories of making Thanet their home, and all that comes with the enormous upheaval of displacement due to war, poverty and civil unrest. It was truly inspiring, and I feel so proud that the Open Arms team have created such a safe, welcoming and special place for these young people.

I also sat down with Steph – our previous Managing Director – and some of our Emerging Artists to reflect on her time leading Pie, and to imagine what my time at the helm will incorporate. It feels like Steph has passed the baton, and it was brilliant to do this being interviewed by some of our longest-standing participants as part of a recording session for our Slice of Pie Podcast.

We received wonderful news from Barnardo’s that we have been successful in a funding bid to grow our pastoral care offer for young people in East Kent by offering more free counselling sessions with professional counsellors and psychotherapists, and funded one-to-ones with our talented Creative Practitioners and Youth Work team. I couldn’t be prouder to lean into my new role with a strong focus on care and support for our young people.

Our core team will soon be growing with two new positions to be filled – I’m so excited to welcome new people into the Pie team, to take our Music & Creative Arts programme and our organisation’s operations to their next level. We love to hear from people who want to contribute and advocate for our work; without their support and encouragement we wouldn’t be where we are today – looking at a bright future for Pie and the young people and team members who make us the family we are.

Thank you for all your support.

Discover more about our work and how you can support us.

Piece of the Pie – Sirens Journey

Posted on: August 17th, 2021 by Steph Dickinson No Comments

In autumn 2020, we brought together a group of female and genderqueer 13–18-year-olds for a new programme, where we support their musical growth, as listeners and burgeoning musicians,

“Sirens” was born. Sirens are: Annabel, Betsy, Bunni, Demi, Ellie, Harmony, Katie, Laura and Zoe.

In a year where the world faced a global pandemic and living life online, Sirens have achieved extraordinary things, independently and together. This is their journey…

A love of music

Programme producer Rachel Connelly wanted the programme to be “a foundation music course for young people – they’re already into listening to music, but I wanted to really get them into questioning what music is, listening to different types of music together, critiquing what they hear and developing their own musicianship as independent artists in a safe, open, supportive space”.

Every week over the past year, they’ve come together at dedicated musical sessions.

Drawing on their shared passion for listening to music, the group started the programme by taking part in listening sessions, where they could hear and discover each other’s tastes as well as being introduced to new musical genres, new artists, particularly female and genderqueer musicians. After an inspirational visit from Amy Redmond, Director of POW!, there was a listening session where songs all related to protest, inspired by the theme of that year’s POW! Thanet Festival. From sound came thought-provoking conversations about feminism, what it means to be female and genderqueer in the music industry, in the past and now, and much more.

Performing live – online, at home!

In late 2020, Sirens were practising and preparing to perform for their first live gig – a collaboration with POW! entitled, Play at Home’. The pandemic halted all in-person opportunities to perform, but that didn’t dissuade this passionate and energetic group, who rose to the occasion by performing live online.

Sirens perform their ‘Play at Home’ live online gig for POW! Festival

Supported by musician and vocal coach Daisy Beau, Sirens learnt how to prepare for a livestream gig, from singing to creating their own backgrounds and outfits. They, and POW!’s audience, had a blast as each member wowed with their individual performances and compering skills (watch the gig, below). So much confidence, skill and delight to play was evident and astonishing given they’d only been able to meet online so far.

Inspirational introductions

Throughout 2021, the group met inspirational local and London based female and genderqueer musicians and industry experts through a series of online conversations and workshops. They chatted to Carli Jefferson from Lunatraktors, Ray Predergast from Pink Suits, DJ Hannah Holland, Black Gold Buffalo, as well as Maxie Gedge from the PRS Foundation.

Songwriting skills

After a Klezmer workshop with cellist Francesca Ter-Berg, a summer song writing course followed, where Sirens worked for 8 weeks towards creating independent work, but also wrote a song together as a group for another gig, which this time would be in person.

Sirens worked with Francesca Ter-Berg on an 8 week songwriting course

A real-life gig!

The Art 31 BounceBack festival took place on Saturday 26 June 2021 at the Gulbenkian in Canterbury. Harmony from Sirens had a chance to perform some of her own songs, plus the group showcased their brand-new track, which was sung, composed and produced collectively

Sirens perform at the Art31 BounceBack Festival
Sirens at the Art31 BounceBack Festival

The event was programmed and planned by ART31 Generate, a group of young people from Kent aged 13-25 years. BounceBack was a digital festival, but 100 of the young creatives participating in the festival attended, giving Sirens networking opportunities with their peers.

“I have loved every second of the events that we have taken part in, which includes performing live on stage at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury. We were invited by ART31 to take part in their online festival. This is such a great thing, because I would have never have had the chance to perform the song that we wrote as a group to the whole world if they wanted to watch it, and I would never have had the chance to meet other inspiring groups.”

Laura, Sirens member

Recording a song together

After the gig, the group have wasted no time in creating their next venture – recording their track, Chocolate Box Full of Swordfish, at Palm Bay Music (listen below). Working with Kimberly Anne – Gold selling writer and platinum-selling artist – they were guided in studio recording, editing and production, gaining on-hand experience of what it’s like to record as a musician, in a world-renowned local studio.

“To be in an actual studio with Kim has been amazing. She has shared skills with us that we can use in the future and is very positive to us about our capabilities and how we can develop and use them”

Laura, Sirens member
Listen to Sirens song – Chocolate Box Full of Swordfish

Summer solo gigs

During summer 2021, Harmony performed for our very own ACT social action group’s Family Fun Day, and Zoe was sponsored by Morag and Chris at Rosslyn Court in Margate, to take part in a workshop with vocal coach Hughie Gavin, leading to performing a solo gig.

Creating soundwaves

As the year-long programme itself ends, Sirens continues – the group will be leading Pie’s weekly drop-in studio sessions in the autumn, working with our team member Matt to inspire and guide fellow young people and watch this space for more releases from these amazing upcoming artists.

“The group have been incredible. I really wanted to create a diverse programme that offered different ways for the group to engage with their musicality. With so many challenges presented by the pandemic, it’s even more staggering what they have achieved, individually and together. I’m so proud of all of them, for their passion, commitment, how they’ve grown as musicians and in confidence. I’m so excited to see them continue on their musical journey and to what’s coming next.”

Rachel Connelly, Programme Lead

“We know that females and non-binary people are significantly underrepresented in the music industry, and we wanted to carve out a space at Pie Factory Music for female and non-binary young people to create, develop and be empowered in their own musical journeys. What Sirens as a group has achieved over the last year is truly special. We’re excited to see what the first cohort of our Sirens go on to do next, and we’re excited to open up the group to a new community of Sirens in autumn 2021!”

Zoe, Programme Manager at Pie