Hey guys!! In last week’s post, I talked about the amazing freedom festival 2018 and all the events I was lucky enough to see because of it. I also mentioned about the opportunity I received to work as a young reporter for the global magazine Pigzine which I’m going to describe in more detail in today’s post. Pigzine is a global magazine which travels to different locations around the world and follows the art work ‘Pig’ by Seth Honor. Pigzine’s editor in chief Natasha Batorijs recruits young reporters in every area that ‘Pig’ journeys to who report on ‘Pig’ and their content is uploaded to Pigzine. ‘Pig’ is a large, transparent pig, conceived by Seth Honor who is the artistic director at Kaleider studio. It was located in Festival Gardens (Queens Gardens) at the Freedom Festival. Inside ‘Pig’, there is a sign which reads “This is a community fund. You can contribute to it if you like and when you’ve agreed how to spend it, you can open me and spend it”. But it’s important to know that this can mean any community and so there are bolts on the side of ‘Pig’ that can easily be opened, meaning any person can open ‘Pig’ no matter what community they are taking the money for. I was absolutely honoured to be chosen to be one of the two Pigzine reporters while ‘Pig’ was in Hull for the Freedom Festival 2018. It was an amazing weekend where I learnt loads and really enjoyed working with Natasha Batorijs, Josie Spencer (a producer at Kaleider) and the other Pigzine reporter. In today’s post, I’m going to outline the events of my Pigzine reporting and how I found the experience overall.
SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER
From about 10:30 until lunchtime, Natasha ran a workshop for me and the other Pigzine reporter to prepare us for actually becoming Pigzine reporters in the afternoon and on Sunday. We discussed the concept of ‘Pig’, the qualities a good reporter should have such as curiosity, confident and being a good listener for example and what questions to ask people when we interviewed members of the public about Pig. Before me and the other reporter had started working on Pigzine that weekend, ‘Pig’ had already been opened 5 times in Hull!! Josie received a call from one of her colleagues at Kaleider to tell us that ‘Pig’ was being opened and we needed to hurry over to avoid missing the action. We all scurried across and caught the tail end of it as there were several people in deep discussion over the fact ‘Pig’ had been opened and money had been taken out but the people who’d taken the money had gone. We surveyed the crowds and Natasha suggested we talk to this certain women so we approached her and asked if she wanted to be interviewed. She gladly accepted the opportunity but not to express emotions that were happy like we thought. She described having seen members of the street community taking money out and ‘going downtown to spend the money on drugs’. She thought it was ‘absolutely disgusting’ and wouldn’t be donating to ‘Pig’ if people like that could get their hands on the money. She was very passionate and spoke with a lot of anger and clearly stated that she’d rather have the money from ‘Pig’ go to a good cause ‘like a charity or company I know and believe’. It was a pretty intense interview to start but it was interesting to hear the women’s viewpoint on it. We interviewed a couple more people before heading off for a lunch break.
We returned from our lunch break just in time to see somebody else opening ‘Pig’. A man had opened it with his family and had taken about £5 out. When questioned about what he was going to spend the money on, he replied that he and his nephew would be donating it to a cancer charity. He stated that he was showing his nephew you didn’t have to fit into society by always following the rules. His opinion differed from the previous lady’s in that he didn’t mind members of the street community taking money as they were just as much part of the community as anyone else and he saw ‘Pig’ as challenging so many different social concepts and ideas. After interviewing a few more different people, we headed back to our base which was at Hull College and set about uploading content onto Pigzine’s social media accounts.
SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER
Most of our day was spent interviewing different members of the public about ‘Pig’. The other reporter was running an experiment to see if more adults or kids were dropping money into ‘Pig’. The result was kids seemed to generally drop the money in instead of their parents or carers. About 30 mins into our shift, two members of the street community approached ‘Pig’ and begun unscrewing the bolts. Natasha and I interviewed them and although they were wary at first, they warmed up to us when they realised we weren’t going to prevent them from taking money out of ‘Pig’. They seemed to not like the fact that everyone assumed they were taking money for drugs when in fact they needed it for food and a sleeping bag. They identified themselves as being the people who’d brought a receipt as proof of their earlier purchases with the money they collected from ‘Pig’ the first time. One older women was stood nearby and I began to interview her while Natasha was still speaking with members of the street community. She was trying to be polite but I could tell that she wasn’t pleased that homeless people were taking money out of ‘Pig’ and she also thought they would spend the money on drugs. We talked with a few more people about ‘Pig’ before retiring for a much deserved lunch break.
After returning from our lunch break, we talked to a few more people before a big argument broke out. It started when the two members of the street community returned to extract more money from ‘Pig’. A crowd was surrounding them with some people voicing their angry emotions and shouting at them. One man was filming the openers and accused them of being thieves for taking from ‘Pig’. Another women protectively guarded her children and said ‘You should be ashamed doing that in front of children. I hope you overdose!’ The man filming began to get physical with one of the openers by invading his personal space, shoving the camera right in his face after he’d asked on multiple occasions to not have his photo captured. All the while, he was shouting at and threatening the opener so the opener pushed him back. The police had to split the pair up and they said to the man with the camera ‘You have invaded his personal space. It looked like you were getting in his face and you can’t do that. That’s why he pushed you.’ Some people publicly defended the openers, saying ‘If they are in need, then I don’t mind if they take that money. I mean, who are any of us to say?’ It was a lot to take in all at once and after such an intense altercation, me and Natasha sat down on a bench nearby to review the events of the day and to upload to Pigzine’s social media.
Of all the people we interviewed, there were some common themes. Almost all the people considered themselves to be a part of the Hull community and their main reasons were because they contributed to the community in different ways or because they’d lived in Hull for a long time. A lot of the people had donated to ‘Pig’ or were planning on donating. However, there were two main topics that divided the public: what ‘Pig’ is about and whether or not the street community should be allowed to take money out of ‘Pig’. It was really interesting to hear a vast range of different opinions and no two people’s answers to the questions were the exact same. You could feel that there was a really strong sense of community in Hull as a lot of the people were proud to state that they were part of the community and they really cared about where the money from ‘Pig’ went. Click here to read all about ‘Pig’s adventures in Hull on the Pigzine website.
I absolutely loved being a Pigzine reporter and I was very honoured to have been offered the opportunity in the first place. Thank you so much to Laura, Josie and Natasha for giving me the opportunity!!
Thanks for reading this post!! What do you think of ‘Pig’? Would you donate to it? Let me know in the comments section!! There’ll be another post out soon but until then bye for now!!
Amelia Grace a.k.a Amelia in Hull