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  • Tom

Colossal thank yous.

Well this has been utterly amazing! What a Verve

Festival! Personally it has been very fulfilling to see the Overhear project take a big step forward, all thanks to the many many people who have supported it.

I’d like to thank Verve Poetry Festival for believing in the app in the first instance, lending their expertise and support with the arts council application and then putting up with me pestering them continually with website updates up until the festival! So huge shout out to Stuart Bartholemew, Fabio Thomas and Kibriya Mehrban (especially for her lovely blog.)

Secondly a huge thank you for Tiger Bam Comms for giving me my first flavour of what marketing looks like in the real world and helping me so much with that. Their encouragement at times was really valued too!

Tiger Bam also put me in touch with the amazing Ben Waddington of still walking festival who has surpassed all expectations as a tour guide in curating utterly fascinating tours of the city and incorporating the poets and use of the app so well, I’ve had amazing feedback from attendees and that weather was just perfect as well.

Thanks to everyone who booked onto the tours I was a little worried Thursday that no one would show up, but by Friday we had a real nice crowd for all the tours even the 9:30am start ones. Thanks for all the responses and ideas, also bearing with some of the android GPS glitches in the city centre, we will try to iron out.

And then there are the poets. Its been a real privilege to go round, recording and documenting these exceptionally talented folks, whether you’ve come to my home studio, or you’ve welcomed me into your house or met up in a quiet space in the city, just sitting as an audience of one and hearing your response to the cities locations has been so special, to capture that share it with our users is what this is all about and I hope others get as much pleasure from is as I have. Bethany Slinn, Roy McFarlane, Bohdan Piasecki, Sean Colletti, Matt Abbott, Jasmine Gardosi, Jack Crowe, Casey Bailey, Hannah Swingler, Rupinder Kaur, Kamil Mahmood, Nafeesa Hamid & Amera Saleh.

Of course the venues that have hosted our poems and welcomed us in from our walking tours have provided the infrastructure to tie it all together, you have put your lives into making these spaces unique with character and quality, filling Birmingham with distinction and style, long may you continue! I urge you all to use the app and get out into our wonderful city become patrons of its independent spaces and ears to our incredible poets. 1000 Trades, Waylands Yard, Birmingham Whisky Club, The Gunmakers Arms, Centrala, Clean Kilo, Kånteen, Impact Hub, Tilt, The Birmingham Hippodrome, Dig Brew Co & The Wolf

I am indebted to Andrew Graham who, when all I had was a crappy web version of the idea 2 years ago, said “yeah I’m trying to make some apps I’ll have a go” and did a sterling job of the iPhone app - thank you!

Extra shout outs to those who supported with advice and direction - Carl Sealeaf, Peter Stone, Naomi Reed, John Lewis and anyone else who was like “yeah thats a neat idea” and in my head (or perhaps out loud) I was like: ”yeah…it is…isn’t it..(?)”

We already have plans afoot for co-labs with more festivals both in Birmingham and in Central & Eastern Europe!

I’ve got so many ideas for iterations and extra features but I’d love to hear yours as well so do get in touch. I’m also keen on working with other curators from other cities, people who can source the poets, recording technology and link them to venues, my only stipulation is that the artists get paid a fair wage, this started in part as a push back against the pittance musicians get on Spotify, I’ve found venues are willing to chip in part or some of the cost in order to increase their footfall if we can harness that value, we’ve got a great creative economy on our hands!

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