Jenny Hibberd aka Hibword

"I love entertaining, helping people and making things accessible. My aim is to connect others with knowledge, inspiration, each other and themselves"

Image credit: Matt Coles

What do you do?

I am a freelance workshop facilitator, artist and performer. I currently deliver workshops in music, poetry/lyric writing and arts/crafts with various organisations across the Midlands.

I am an installation artist working on a project called Silent Orchestra where we have been developing a multi-sensory music therapy tool to assist with communication in care homes for residents who have dementia and hearing loss. I’m working on Maths Meets Arts, a collaborative project between mathematicians, scientists and artists to explore multi-disciplinary means of communication. I am also a part time lecturer at DMU teaching first years of the BA(Hons) Communication Arts course.

As well as delivering intriguing projects, I am a performer who loves to explore musicality through live looping, ukulele, hand percussion and voice. One of my current performance projects is called Whistle Drop Tour (was Mr Swing & The Beat Rangers), this is an offbeat, fast-paced rhythm show journeying through genres; we are beatbox, drum kit, dance and hand percussion/vox.

How did you get to where you are?

After doing an art foundation at college, I had no idea which direction to go in. I visited De Montfort University (after they’d spammed my doormat) with the idea of picking the most random course on the menu. Footwear Design, though super intriguing and technical, led me to realise my future was not in fashion and I stumbled across a friend’s sketchbook in Graphic Design & Illustration. I switched to this course and during the summer just before the course started I was surprised, through meditation and reflection, to realise that I’m full of words and started writing spoken word poetry.

During first year, I got it in my head I couldn’t do illustration and dropped it, took an ERASMUS year after second year to study at ESAD (an art school) in Orleans, France, fell in love with illustration, explored a multitude of realms of creativity including typography, editorial, service design and printmaking, came back to complete my third year in BA (Hons) Graphic Design.

As part of my final project, I picked up ideas, from that momentous summer where I became a poet, for an interactive poetry exhibition called House of Verse. After staging the first one, feedback led me to realise people loved the live aspect as well as the installation art pieces. With support from the Crucible project at DMU Innovation Centre, I was able to work on House of Verse as a business. House of Verse has since snowballed and I ran it for 5 years as a creative events business staging heaps of shows and projects in venues and festivals across the UK.

In the middle of that, I started delivering workshops in all sorts of fields including music, writing, arts/crafts, career development, business and more. Networking throughout Leicestershire gained me countless contacts in many awesome charities and organisations across the Midlands who I am honoured to have worked/currently work with and for.

Why do you love what you do?

I love entertaining, helping people and making things accessible. My aim is to connect others with knowledge, inspiration, each other and themselves. I believe that the space for freedom of expression and communication should be a right for everyone so my mission is to find ways to facilitate this for as many people as possible.

Why are you based in Leicester?

The people and the cultural diversity make Leicester a hive of creativity, hubbub and stories. I was based in Leicester for 8 years and worked with many incredible organisations, people and venues. Now based in Nottingham, most of my work is still in Leicester. I keep getting drawn back to the creative epicentre!

What next?

Silent Orchestra is currently in initial stages and we are aiming to continue to develop this novel multi-sensory music therapy tool. Follow it on Instagram @silent.orchestra and Facebook @SilentOrchestra19.

Maths Meets Arts is still in the developmental stages. Upcoming projects are exploring virtual reality, new instruments and sensor technologies in sound, light and movement. Follow it on Facebook @mathsmeetsarts.

Whistle Drop Tour will be back on the road soon!

For everything, stay tuned!

Social media accounts to follow:

Facebook: @hibword

Twitter: @hibword

Instagram: @hibword