Settee of Stories: An Interview With Emily and Emma

Norwich. A city of mavericks and makers, creators and trail blazers. A big-hearted city beneath even bigger skies, and open air, open minds. In Norwich, everyone has a story to tell. And we’ll be sure to tell it. Every month, we’ll be sitting down with local writers, designers, makers, artists and influencers to discuss life in Norwich. This week we’re joined by two artists, Emily and Emma.

Emily and Emma

Emily and Emma are artists in Norwich, with their work currently featuring in Somewhere Unexpected: Norwich Castle Open Art Show. On display until September 12th, you can book tickets now to see this exhibition.

Emily grew up in London, but came to Norwich in 2009 to study American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and wanted to stay after graduating.

Emma moved to Norwich three years ago after living in London for ten years. Originally from Normandy, she loved how both France and Norwich have a touch of the Normand.

Here, we sit down with them both to find out why they love Norwich so much.

Emily and Emma

Emily, left, and Emma

How did you get into your careers, and why did you pursue them in Norwich?

Emily: Photography is a hobby I do in my spare time (I work full time for a local charity). It provides a meditative counterpoint to a rewarding but challenging day job. I first tried using a film camera about 5 years ago that had belonged to my grandad, but it wasn’t until Covid hit that I found myself with a lot more spare time and really started studying how to use it, focusing on how to take photographs beyond just pressing the shutter and hoping for the best. Although that still happens a lot and I am still learning so much!

Emma: I danced all my life. In 1992, I watched the Barcelona Olympics and I replicated all the
moves on my grandma’s lawn. I then started ballet and fast forward in my early twenties, I trained in Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. After ten years working in the industry and as a movement coach in London, I needed to be close to the countryside, the sea and a slower paced life. Dance has so much to offer to a place and even though most dancers are London based, there’s a great community in the region with important performance work being made.

An image captured by Emily, featuring Emma

An image captured by Emily, featuring Emma.

What do you love most about Norwich and Norfolk, and why?

Emily: I love that I can walk to so many great pubs, cafes and restaurants. It feels like living in a bustling city but the size allows for spontaneity. I also love that I can get out to green spaces easily because going for walks is one of my favourite things to do, particularly on Mousehold Heath.

Emma: The outdoor, the nature reserves and multiple places to wander, walk and be close to
nature. In Norwich, I appreciate the human sized city centre, the flint buildings, the cobbled streets and the music of buskers resonating through the lanes.

Favourite places to eat in Norwich & Norfolk?

Emily: I found this difficult. There are so many good places! For breakfast: The Street Cafe. Mid morning snack: And Eat It (at Norwich market). Lunch: Ruth’s Kitchen. Dinner: Shiki. There’s no replicating their powers at home!

Emma: As a french person, I get my croissants from Bread Source (they are best defrosted, in the oven for 15 minutes with butter and jam). Carrying on the french vibes, L’Hexagone in the lanes is perfect for lunch and dinner anytime of the week; Benedicts for special occasions and I can not wait to try Socius soon!

Delicious dessert from Benedicts

Delicious dessert from Benedicts

Favourite places for a beverage / coffee?

Emily: I’m a real ale fan so for a drink I like The King’s Head (quiet and friendly) or The Fat Cat Brewery Tap for a bit of a party.

Emma: ReSource is where I go for coffee, such a friendly and welcoming place! I don’t really drink alcohol but for a bottle I go to Substrata Wines in the market, they’ve got a great selection of natural wines!

Norwich Market

Norwich Market

What are you most looking forward to in 2021 and beyond?

Emily: I’m looking forward to taking some visiting friends out on the broads, getting back to Bowling House and maybe catching The Bootleg Boss at The Brickmakers.

Emma: Enjoy being a new mum, seeing my child grow, inviting people to eat at home again. Dance wise, I am looking forward to performing with Hayley Matthews and Daisy Black as part of the Sanctuary in the Faultlines.

And finally what does Norwich mean to you, or what’s your favourite memory of the city?

Emily: A bit of the quiet life and a bit of a buzz – best of both worlds!

Emma: Independence, good food, friends and coffee! I’ll always remember circus artist Chris Bullzini on a 230-metre-long journey from Jarrold, across Norwich Market to the Millenium Library at night for the opening of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in 2019!