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Meet our Carnival Artist Interns

Last summer we started working with the University of Southampton to give students the opportunity to work with the local community on projects for the Hat Fair Carnival.

In the lead-up to Hat Fair 2022 Jasmine Guo became our first Carnival Artist Intern and this year it was Manjira Mazumdar’s turn. The community groups they worked with included St John’s Almshouses in Winchester, Brendoncare care homes (Otterbourne and Weeke), Winchester GoLD, Winchester City of Sanctuary and James’ Place (Eastleigh and Andover).

Jasmine was studying design management as part of her post-graduate course when she joined us; and helped prepare and co-lead workshops, each with a theme – including Not all Superheroes Wear Capes, Feast of Cultures, Climate Change and Marine Life. She made templates and prepared materials for the groups to use to make banners and headpieces ready for the Carnival.

She said: ‘I was nervous before each workshop that I wouldn’t be happy with the final result, but I was pleasantly surprised each time. Everyone was able to do everything and they were very creative and often surprised me with their ideas. Everyone really enjoyed the workshops. I was moved and happy to see the work we did together and it was a privilege to help and work with everyone.’

Jasmine and Manjira learned about the chance to become an intern on their school’s recruitment websites and the internship was Jasmine’s first in the UK.

She said: ‘I’m not a local, I’m from China and it was also my first experience of working in a different cultural working environment. It was very valuable.'

After the summer Jasmine returned home and hopes to become a teacher or work in a museum.

"During the internship everyone was kind and friendly. I sometimes had language barriers and
everyone was very patient. I am very grateful for the people I worked with, it was a great time."

Jasmine Guo, Carnival Artist Intern

Onto Manjira, who has been studying for an MA in Fine Art and, this summer, helped to prepare and co-lead workshops on the theme, ‘Shout About It’. She assisted community groups with making placards, mini puppets and instruments out of junk to showcase and play during the Carnival.

Prior to becoming our Carnival Intern, she worked within the community on a project with the homeless charity, Trinity Winchester’s art group called ‘Making Space’. The workshops focused on making costumes out of cardboard and showcasing them at the Southampton City Art Gallery.

She said: ‘Art is extremely important to me. My creations are an outcome of the influence and inspiration of local surroundings, the natural environment and culture.'

She described her experience as our new intern as ‘wholesome’ and added: ‘The Playmakers team is always there to support the intern and I wish to use this supportive environment to build more confidence to deliver workshops and develop more clarity in terms of designing a workshop. I wish to find more opportunities using this experience as a stepping stone.’

Since Hat Fair, Manjira hopes to keep working in visual arts and also with as many arts organisations as possible, lead sessions, and build a stronger vocational portfolio.