Fix In Art Volunteering
Music Technology student Matt Woollons shares some of his experiences having recently returned from volunteering in Greece.
Through the months July and August of 2019, I travelled to the city of Thessaloniki in mainland Greece, to help a small (but growing), non-profit organisation called Fix in Art. The organisation is based inside an abandoned brewery factory and works as a hub for artists and creatives from all over the world. Its main aim is to explore new ways to lead sustainable lives, communities, households and businesses, through creativity in arts and entertainment.
Having been sent a small brief about this beforehand, I thought that this was an opportunity too good to be missed as I am a magician and musician, keen to help others, so I applied and within a few weeks I was on a plane to Greece! As soon as I got there it exceeded all of my expectations and sent my creative mind on a flow with endless ideas. The founders of the organisation, Dionisis and Evita were very welcoming and open to anything and everything. The two months flew by and I experienced and did so much that I couldn’t possibly write it all down here, but I will explain some of the highlights that stuck out for me.
During the volunteering we had to part take in daily activities, these involved things such as cleaning, feeding the cats, recycling, picking up fruit from the fruit market and helping with shows and workshops. As I had a keen interest in music and some experience with audio engineering, I mainly helped with setting up and mixing the shows they had in the theatre on site. I loved this and was able to gain so much more experience from it. In the second month, I got given the opportunity to work with some incredible jazz musicians, who were there on a residency within the organisation. I was also able to travel to a nearby cancer hospital to show the patients some of my magic tricks, which brightened their day and I found it very rewarding.
Between these daily tasks, we also had time to plan our own personal projects on whatever we wanted. For mine, I set up an internet radio station in a trailer that wasn’t being used for anything (this can be seen in the attached video). I also planned my first 1-hour magic show, accompanied by the jazz band, which I performed at the end of my trip to a full house in the theatre.
Overall my volunteering experience was one of the best things I have ever done and the things I have learned and taken away from it will last me a lifetime. To anyone thinking about doing it, just do it, I couldn’t recommend it enough.