Image description: An image of Kobi sitting on a stool and playing an acoustic guitar.


By Jordan Soresi


This year, Propel Youth Arts adapted to the changing circumstances born of COVID-19, and have created the fully-online KickstART Festival, which includes free workshops, talks and hangouts.


Jordan Soresi interviewed Creative Coordinator Kobi Morrison to find out more about the Festival.


Jordan Soresi: Tell me what the KickstART Festival is all about.

Kobi Morrison: The KickstART Festival is a week-long event that celebrates the talent of upcoming artists between the ages of twelve and twenty-six through workshops, concerts and other activities.


J.S: What part of KickstART excites you the most both generally, and specifically about this year’s program?

K.M: I’m especially excited to see such an extensive amount of support from the Propel community, the level of initiative that comes from our young artists is so inspiring, I’m looking forward to the evening Hangouts that are being hosted by young artists.


J.S: KickstART is a part of Youth Week WA 2020. What do you see as the relationship between the arts and young people today?

K.M: The perspective of the young person is an important one, one which needs a platform that provides the voice and room for expression. Through the arts, young people are able to present their understandings through the mediums that they’re most comfortable with.


J.S: KickstART has been going for some years now. Do you think there is a growing need for, or community desire to see, more arts events like this?  

K.M: I do see a growing need of more artistic events, most of the time these needs are consistently met, however there are particular instances where this becomes much more difficult to achieve. When this happens, the collective need for art events serves as a major motivator to follow through with contingencies. For instance, our unfortunate cancellation of the KickstART Festival has given rise to KickstART Virtual.


J.S: Perth has just seen a wave of arts and cultural celebrations like the FRINGE WORLD Festival and Perth Festival. Do you consider KickstART a natural extension of these, or separate entirely? If separate, in what ways does it distinguish itself from and/or complement these festivals?

K.M: KickstART complements these festivals as it covers more ground in the Perth arts. The way I see it, we are lucky to have so many instances of arts celebration events. One can live a fulfilling life within the arts, we have Awesome Arts [Festival] that accommodates for children up to twelve years old, from there Propel Youth Arts WA will accommodate artists from twelve to twenty-six, by the time they’re adults, they can experience Perth Festival and Fringe World [sic]. I see each artistic entity as one piece of the puzzle, each just as important as each other.


J.S: One of this year’s Youth Week WA ambassadors, Zahra Al Hilaly, said that KickstART “intertwines all the different identities within Western Australia and provides different minorities the platforms that aren’t given”. How is it able to achieve this?

K.M: We at Propel understand the multiculturalism in Australia, we take steps to ensure people that we are welcoming of those who come from all contexts and walks of life. I’ve noticed that there are some of us who find uncertainty in getting involved due to a wide range of reasons. We take the time to talk things through with each individual and assure them that they are most definitely welcome in the Propel community.


J.S: It seems that arts organisations are generally finding it harder to receive funding. What more can participants and lovers of the arts do to ensure KickstART and other similar festivals continue to inspire people?

K.M: We trust that anyone involved with the WA arts are understanding of the ever-changing conditions of our communities. During my time at Propel, I’ve noticed consistent effort that the team upholds when it comes to accommodating the artists, having an immensely supportive community makes all the difference as it shows understanding and reasonability among all parties.


J.S: How have you found the transition from in-person festival to virtual? Can you explain the process and major challenges you had to overcome?

K.M: While at first it was rather jarring to change methods of working, I believed that we would be able to translate approximately one third of the KickstART Festival into a virtual medium. We as a team brainstormed the event that we had planned and selected those that we thought would be just as great when hosted online. We then approached each artist and ask if they we still willing to take part, most of which were very enthusiastic.


PYA’s KickstART Festival runs until Friday, the 29th of May. You can find out more about the events happening in the next few days here.


Jordan Soresi is just trying his best at the whole houseplant thing.


Image courtesy of Kobi Morrison


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