The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

ArtBox: The Student Run Collective’s Silent Charity Auction

We talk to one of the curators of ArtBox, Sophie Billington about her upcoming project in aid of Manchester Mind charity

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We had the chance to talk to Funraising’s Sophie Billington about setting up student platforms, utilising creative processes, and their first upcoming art auction — ArtBox:

So, first of all, can you explain ArtBox to us?

ArtBox is a silent charity art auction that is being run by Funraising which will hopefully raise some money for Manchester Mind!

We’ve also got an after party called PostBox which happening down the road at Indigo, and we’ve got DJs and jazz band(s) involved – so it’s a bit of music too! Postbox has 3 DJs and they’re all are experienced in the experimental, and know how to sway your emotions in a positive direction.

Who have you got involved? Is it important that this is student-led?

In terms of artists, we’ve got a whole range of people involved, art students, professionals and hobbyists so that’s quite exciting.
But in terms of who’s running it, that’s Funraising which is basically our student collective which aims to promote chilled out, interesting and creative charitable activity. We’ve just started so this is all new territory for us!

The fact that it’s student-run provides a platform; a lot of young people and students have a lot of care for real issues, and this gives them a creative out let for those who don’t know how to pursue it. To be honest we don’t really know what we’re doing, the project is evolving as it comes, but at least we’re giving it a go — I think that’s what I think is important about being a student — and maybe even life in general – taking all the opportunities that you can.

Where do you see Funraising progressing?

Funraising, as I mentioned earlier is a collective aiming to promote charitable activity, but it’s pretty sprawling. It’s primarily a journalistic platform at funraising.org.uk where we publicise interesting charity events and conduct interviews — like this one — with people who are involved in anything charitable or even anyone with interesting things to say about important issues as well as our own opinion pieces.

But we want to make sure we’re a bit different ya know, Funraising is well, meant to be fun, so our content isn’t confined to any style, all our content is meant to be like you’re communicating with a mate.

We also really want to make this a creative project, so like I’m always on the lookout for artists, poets, musicians, DJs, anyone to see if we can collaborate and do some wonderful things to raise awareness about important stuff. Any interpretation of ‘important stuff’ stands by the way, that’s something I don’t want to confine to my own standards. I have a bunch of ideas in the back of my head about collaboration – it’s all about getting everyone together to do something special.

We’re hoping to make a ‘creative space’ section on the Funraising website for any contributors’ poems, music, art etc. Toby Ralph, has written a couple of poems about homelessness already — there are all sorts you can do with that kind of powerful medium.

And why your chosen charity — Manchester Mind?

We settled on Mind after a big discussion — we just thought that mental health is a prominent issue within the student community and in general 21st Century life. Also, Manchester Mind has revealed that they don’t have enough funding to provide counselling, which came as a big shock!

Sophie stressed that if you wanted to get involved, it’s the more the merrier, so get in touch through their Funraising website and Facebook page, and make sure to show support at the ArtBox event on the 14th December at Solomons 5:30pm-10:00pm, and then head to Indigo for the after party, PostBox, which will then be running from 10:00pm — 2:00am!

To help the fund their event they’ve also set up a Crowdfunding page, which is welcoming donations to cover the costs of the event.