An OutdoorArtsUK Member’s Take on Spoffin 2019 back to listing

By Jessica Pinson | @JessPinson

Of course a weekend (a hot sunny one at that) away in a beautiful town in the Netherlands sounds like it will get a good review regardless, but I promise my love for Spoffin and gratitude to Outdoor Arts UK are genuine and not biased by the lovely circumstances!

The Outdoors Arts UK bursary to attend Spoffin Festival was more than an offer of funds to enable travel. The bursary came along with a lovely confidence boost (ooh somebody investing in my potential!?!) plus the benefit of personal introductions and insights tailored to my interests. After a very long period of ploughing along working non-stop, it was a real shock to look up and realise that I’d not boosted my creativity or expanded my networks in a long time. Nor had I considered my focus, or lack thereof.

Spoffin’s Pro programme was incredibly welcoming offering platforms for discussion and sharing. Others taking part included artists, producers, programmers and representatives from Outdoor Arts UK, Xtrax, ISACS and more. Again, they created a welcoming and considerate space where there was no sense of being an outsider or other just because I was new within the groups, some of whom were clearly on a circuit and with each other regularly.

In the mornings there were opportunities to meet with others from the sector. After lunch the serious business of getting around to as many shows as possible. It’s a small town and you’d bump into familiar faces and have chats with a bit more networking and sharing. The programme was great, everything you’d expect in terms of fun or spectacle or poignant messaging. The venues were lovely. Everything was beautifully managed, looking effortless.

Image: Icarus, by Southpaw, at Spoffin Festival 2019


It was such a joy to watch the audiences also, different learning from when you are delivering or watching a show with a purpose in mind. Spoffin has great audiences, they know the routine and are all-in for the experience, well trained over the years.
I went with some questions in mind about how and where I wanted to work next. Big stuff. I came back recharged with enthusiasm and confidence about my approach with a new plan to investigate. But it doesn’t stop here, I’m planning in next year’s adventures sorry let me rephrase that – next year’s learning opportunities.

Massive thanks to OutoorArtsUK for the opportunity to clarify my commitment to the sector and start making exciting new plans. Thanks to everybody who took part in Spoffin Pro for your fab insights. Thanks to the Spoffin team for making the weekend so easy and enjoyable. Lastly thanks to my travelling companions for being brilliant friends and colleagues.

You may well already realise this but I didn’t. These new member opportunities that OutoorArtsUK offers are real and very well thought through bringing benefits to individuals and the sector as a whole. I can’t recommend them highly enough.