FOREIGNER IN BATH
At the beginning of the academic year I did not have a clear idea of what I could do for Creative Enterprise Project. Everything was new for me so I was still settling down. I was impressed with the landscapes they were truly amazing. So my first idea was a photography website. However, it was not enough for this module I needed to think of something else. Time was running and I still did not have a clear idea so I even regretted taking CEP.
It was not until mid November when I had a tutorial with my lecturer Mimi Thebo. I think she noticed I was a bit desperate so she gave me a hand suggesting some ideas.
She knew I loved the outdoors and the British landscapes so she suggested creating some kind of walk blog. I agreed entirely but I was still trying to figure out in my head the kind of approach I would use in this upcoming walk blog. So I left the tutorial I grabbed my Canon and I started my CEP. I did my first walk to Newton St. Loe, which I posted on 23rd of November and it went great I just needed to find a catchy name for the project and immerse myself in it.
In terms of the name of the project I started with different ideas. I wanted to name it ‘The Walking Dude’ playing with the name of the famous TV series The Walking Dead. I think it was a cool name but I needed something that just by the name could tell roughly what was the project about. After a few days of brainstorming I decided the project name and consequently the premise of the project. The name ‘Foreigner in Bath’ described my project and myself as well.
I wanted to show Bath through my own eyes, the eyes of a foreigner. So my end users would be foreigners that visit Bath, foreigners that live in Bath and the strongest one ended up being native people of Bath and the surroundings that enjoyed their land through the eyes of a foreigner.
Just a couple of days after my first walk I went to Royal Crescent. I posted this walk on 28th of November. I launched my Twitter account on 4th of December. This is when my project was actually born and when I started connecting with people. For instance I got my first RT’s when I posted a picture of Bath on Ice and mentioned them on Twitter.
My last walk before Christmas holidays was in early December. I went to the hills of BSU.
I needed an effective logo for the project. So I made a stick man with a rucksack, a camera and a flag of my country. I guess it was simple but effective. In my opinion the combination of the logo plus the name Foreigner in Bath show quite precisely the aim of the project.
I took advantage of the holidays to interact with more people and start winning some followers. The week I created the Twitter I was just followed by my girlfriend and few friends. During Christmas I also created a business card template in Vistaprint website and I ordered 250 cards. The cards would be great for promoting my project during walks and also to give my contact to people that would help me during the process.
At this stage I think I had something like 300 followers on Twitter. I came back to Bath really motivated for the project and with illusions of conquering “the world”.
Therefore I resumed my project on 14th of January with a powerful walk such as Bath Skyline. While I was walking along this gorgeous walk I was mentioned in a tweet, which would be key to my project although it did not seem big deal. Jimmy Moore invited me to his gig in Bath. Probably, he came across with me because of the RT’s of @BathCoUk or other accounts I interacted with.
I stepped the posts of my project up during January. The more I would post and the more I would interact with people the more followers I would win. So after Skyline I posted about Sidney Gardens & Henrietta Park and Pulteney Bridge.
The 30th of January arrived and I went to Flan O’Briens to meet Jimmy and we got on well quickly. I took a lot of photographs of him playing and he loved them.
Jimmy was the first income in kind of my project so I launched the section ‘Income in Kind’ in my blog and I posted about the gig on this section. He just kept tweeting about me and I won many followers. Jimmy was a total boost to my project and he also became a friend.
February was definitely the peak of my project. I am confident that I could even improve this peak if I stayed more time in Bath but February was unbelievable. The tweet on the left came directly from heaven (I could not have said it better myself). I would have been foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity so I went there as soon as I could.
Nick Field, another key soul for my project, invited me. He is a 2nd year Music student in BSU. I was really happy to go on the top of Bath Abbey but I was not still aware how beneficial that visit would be for my project. I could listen to Bath Abbey Ringers performing live and I could see the bells ringing before my eyes.
In addition, I had access to the rooftop of Bath Abbey. We spent 5 minutes there with Nick and I was impressed with the views I was sure I could make a great photograph from there. So I asked Nick if I could go back to the rooftop in order to spend half an hour there taking photographs.
It was freezing and I was shivering so I could not manage to get a steady picture. I focused on Thermae Spa, which looked amazing from there. Finally, I got several steady shots and I joked with Nick saying “I hope I can go to Thermae Spa for free after these pictures” and both of us laughed.
As the sentence says, “There’s a grain of truth in every joke”, because not only me but my girlfriend as well could go to Thermae Spa for free. I posted the picture mentioning them and they contacted me to use it in their social networks so they posted me two 2-hour passes, which have been so far the biggest income for my project (about £70).
Apart from this fabulous achievement the post of Bath Abbey Ringers was a total success. I got really good feedback and people were interested about my project because of this post so I won many views and followers.
On the 14th of February I posted about Prior Park (I did the walk on 8th February). I managed to get in for free after some haggling with the National Trust officer. I took great pictures and I promoted the park for free so I think it was worth for them.
Around these dates I was contacted by @BathCoUk Twitter account. This Twitter account is the one that has always believed in my posts and always have been re-tweeting and mentioning me.
The manager, Tony, contacted me to offer me a great opportunity. He wanted me to be a guest writer in their guest section in BathCoUk website (BathCoUk -> Best of Bath -> Guest posts) and they have published me three posts so far: Post1, Post2, Post3.
Another great opportunity from Twitter that I could take advantage of was fruit of the exchange of several tweets between @ChippenhamNow and me. This opportunity was achieved in late January but I actually went to Chippenham by late February. Austen and his lovely Collie guided me through this town I had a nice time there as the post tells.
After the Easter break I came here with much more confidence in myself in comparison to when I launched Foreigner in Bath. Jimmy invited me again to a gig. He was supporting The Leylines in Sant Jame Wine Vaults so I went there without hesitation and my views raised again because of the event and our friendship become more solid.
Due to university work I could only make another walk post to Alexandra Park. This post shows quite well the evolution of my photography skills. I hope to make a few more posts before leaving Bath.
This project has been an amazing complement to live my Erasmus experience to the fullest. I think I have evolved a lot in different fields through the process of Foreigner in Bath’s project.
I have improved hugely my photography skills. The way you learn the most is by practicing and that is what I did with this project. I have taken photographs in totally different situations (raining, freezing, with strong wind, in a sunny day, in a cloudy afternoon, in a pub with flash, in a pub without flash, with tripod and without it, lately with GoPro; countless situations and moments).
In terms of social interaction I have also learnt enormously. I connected with many people and I have had the opportunity to even meet some of them and establish relationships beyond the social networks. So I have improved a lot my social media skills with Foreigner in Bath and now I feel ready to face even bigger challenges that I might undertake soon.
APPENDIX (Google Drive)
·Twitter Feedback Screenshots
·Twitter Direct Messages
·Emails with BathCoUK
·Investment of Time