LOOKOUT Alumni: Honor Dodd

Enrichment day at BHASVIC was coming hauntingly near. I had already changed my first A-Level before I started, already changed what I had decided I wanted to do in life and was already behind in deciding what to do for enrichment. The signup sheet loomed on the entrance to the drama studio. First aid was instantly a no go, too much fake blood. Creative writing was too close to drama but too far from chemistry. Huh? A talk from a BBC journalist, ok, now you have my interest. What about a talk from a lady called Louise? From LOOKOUT? I’ve never heard of that but given it was hosted in my secondary home of the drama studio, I thought why not.

Fast forward through the summer holidays and an email pops up in my inbox from a LOOKOUT insider called James Barton. Fast forward another 3 weeks and I was exchanging messages with the most bubbly and enthusiastic person I had met in my life, Fern Berreen, who became my mentor with LOOKOUT for the year. Later that month and I was haphazardly trying to find my way up to where I had set up a rather limited portfolio in the college house.

I was in the process of finalising my designs for my drama set as well as brainstorming how to make my art book more interesting. Fern came up with the genius idea of sticking cardboard, fabric and plastics in my book; much like I had in my drama work. She noticed the overlap in my art and drama before I had even noticed it myself and from that moment my set design had leapfrogged into something larger than I thought I was capable of doing, or even what I thought was required of me.

We met up a few times after that as well, once in her work space. It was a horrifically wet November day and the trek from BHASVIC to Hove station felt longer than the 5 minutes promised by Google Maps. I arrived at the front door and trudged through to her desk where I saw the most fabulous array of glittered headdresses, painted juice cartons and all manner of abstract shapes from various materials. We dove straight in with the heat gun and began forming thermoplastics into fancy shapes and, as before, stuck this all into my sketchbook. My art teacher was most impressed by the annotations around the Worbla shapes and asked if I was going to use this in my final piece. Unfortunately, Corona quickly put a stop to that; but the malleable plastic always held a place in my portfolio (and my heart) from then on.

Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown quickly and tragically cut short my time with LOOKOUT, but as ever the determination of the arts pushed through and as a result of quick drop offs from Charlotte and immaculately planned zoom rehearsals from Louise, the live show was on. I was asked to be a live host and my need to interact in real time with real people overrode my innate stage fright, so before long I was stood in front of my laptop, which was perched on my chest of draws, drawing an anime character and trying to remember to look at the camera, not my prompt sheet. The hour and a half flew by in a bizarre display of manga characters, beat boxing, stop motion animation, and me trying not to dance and laugh (otherwise Bruce would beam my embarrassed face to everyone watching). Thank you to LOOKOUT for making a strange situation less scary for a while.

Honor studied at BHASVIC and was a LOOKOUT mentee in 19/20.

Originally posted 4th November 2020.