A volunteer’s perspective – Interview with Abayomi Dawodu

1. How did you hear about Tees Valley Festivals Volunteering? 

I discovered Tees Valley Festivals Volunteering through an email alert I received from my university, which caught my attention due to my passion for cultural events and community involvement. The prospect of contributing to these vibrant celebrations while making a positive impact on the community deeply resonated with me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of these incredible festivals.  

2. What made you want to get involved? 

I was motivated to get involved with Tees Valley Festivals Volunteering by a combination of factors that truly resonated with my values and interests. Firstly, the opportunity to be a part of vibrant cultural festivals, which play a pivotal role in bringing communities together with respect, passion and possibilities excited me immensely.  

Secondly, I was drawn to the organization’s commitment to encourage diverse community engagement and the positive impact it has on the Tees Valley region. Being an advocate for community building and cultural enrichment, I saw volunteering with Tees Valley Festivals as a means to channel my enthusiasm and gain industry exposure and networking. 

Lastly, the warm and inclusive atmosphere that I sensed from my initial interactions with Lindsay the Volunteer Coordinator, was a significant factor. Overall, I felt a welcoming atmosphere where I could offer my skills and also grow personally and professionally. 

3. Tell us a little bit about your background in film-making and your creative practice? 

My film-making background is rooted in a deep passion for storytelling through visual media. I have a basic foundation experience in film production, and I further opted to acquire academic knowledge and development and I am on the verge of completing my Masters in film and television production at Teesside University. 

I have practiced various aspects of the craft, including directing, cinematography, and editing. My creative practice is guided by a desire to capture and convey compelling narratives, emotions, and perspectives through the lens. I’ve worked on a variety of projects, from short films to cooperate video’s and I’m dedicated to continuously learning, practicing and honing my new techniques and skills to create impactful and thought-provoking cinematic experiences.  

4. What did you do when you volunteered – which festivals did you volunteer for? 

As a creative, my strength lies in creating film/video and still content, networking  and building bridges through good communication and collaboration, thereby volunteering with the organisers of the following teams to produce short films to support the development and aim of the festivals. 

Festival of Thrift 

Taste of Africa  

I created a short film for both festivals including the Buntathon for the Festival of Thrift.  You can watch the Buntathon here… 

5. What did you get out of the experience?  

I gained a deeper understanding of teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving, all of which are vital in the field of film-making. Working on diverse projects expanded my creative horizons and allowed me to collaborate with talented individuals, fostering new perspectives and ideas. 

6.What are your next steps for volunteering and your career? 

My next steps for volunteering involve continuing my engagement with organisations that align with my passions, particularly in the areas of community development, work professionally with cooperate organisations and the Arts. I’m eager to take on more leadership and professional roles within these groups to make a greater impact. 

In terms of my career, I’m focused on furthering my skills in film-making and storytelling. I plan to pursue opportunities that allow me to work on larger, more impactful projects and collaborate with industry professionals.