Work that involves participation by way of contribution is there because it has been created collectively. When working with people who are in isolated or vulnerable situations the artwork becomes a catalyst for change. Its linage is of activisim and dialogical art practices.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Be Yourself

Once you put it down on paper it's a message that can be read by others or passed around in secret but it's out there now, expressed ink on paper whether you meant it or not.

I was in Bradford when the BNP had organised a demonstration. Just outside the city centre I was working at Toller Youth Cafe and we were talking about protest and human rights. On my way there I saw groups of men in balaclavas and police everywhere. It was rather unsettling and I wondered how I could have a conversation with these young people about respect for other cultures when the adults around them were behaving so badly.

Most of the young people had booked themselves on a coach to visit Old Trafford for the day so when I got there it was just a handful of them waiting around to get all the relevant paperwork signed off. While they were waiting I showed them some of Gillian Wearings "Signs that say what you want them to say and not signs that say what someone else wants you to say" and also some work by FREEE.

Inspired by this newly reconfirmed right to freedom of speech the young guys came up with some of their own signs. One of which was "Be Yourself, Cos no one else can". I was really impressed with this as often when I work with young people they just want to write their own name or the name of an Xbox game, but these guys said something. It doesn't fit into Wearings classification of signs, nor is it on the scale of FREEE's work but it's there, an honest and confident response to an otherwise appalling day for freedom of expression.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

BCEP (Bradford Community Envionment Project) Allotments Project

From September to November 2009 artist Larna Campbell and I worked with BCEP who were working with school children on an allotment near their school.

Larna and I ran visual arts workshops on the allotment to encourage a wider range of children to get involved in using the space. We focused on making hand made paper. We used weeds collected from the allotment to make paper pulp and berries to dye paper. We experimented with sheet forming and then began to use sculptural techniques to make the paper into vessels and forms.

The process of collecting, search for suitable materials was also part of the fun as you can see here the children made pictures of fruit and vegetables from coloured leaves found around the allotment space.

From more info on BCEP go to www.bcep.org.uk

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Mums group at Midland Road

I'm working with Larna Campbell for Artworks Creative Communities on a project with a group of parents at Midland Road Nursery. The aim is to make a mosaic to promote health including emotional well-being general health and a specific health issue identified by the group.

To get our creative muscles loosened up I've been running some taster sessions to get us all geared up for designing the mosaic. Here's how it's going so far:

We had a look through some health leaflets, divided them into those that were relevant and those that weren't. We took the relevant ones home to read and the others we made jewelry from.

The following week we did some creative mapping, drawing our movements for a day or in a week or all the places we go at present.

Here's one participants 'last Wednesday' she visits two schools, family, shopping, home, and attends classes then does the journey again to pick every one up again.

We know ho good fruit is for us, but last week we found out how good drawing is for us.

We had a little exhibition of our work at the end. It's just in the kitchen but it looks good. We have a break now for half term, when we go back we have to plan a day out and then we need to focus on designing and making the mosaic for the center.

Thursday 1 October 2009

YOT Session at St Peter's House

Today I worked with the YOT team. Two young people, three support staff and a volunteer form Kala Sangam. We had a two hour art session. I'd been to the Manchester Art Fair on Sunday with Louise and Inbal( Louise Atkinson, artist Leeds, and Inbal Druval, artist Israel). It was a good research trip. I spoke to some artist led space and curator led spaces. I noticed a contrast in the kind of work they promoted and how they promoted it. So I showed some of the post cards and magazines I'd picked up to the group.

After a brief discussion about the work. Then we put that aside for a bit and then we looked at Gillian Wearings signs. They went down well. Immediately a young person announced they had the prefect sign, but they were keeping it a secret until we started making.

I'd brought with me a collage I'd done when I was 16 or so. I wanted to make an image that joined the Gillian Wearings signs and my collage of a 2 Unlimited flyer. In other words join a professional practice onto that of a young persons.

So we started with some words I'd cut from the Youth Information website. We attempted to make sentences of our own. They were surreal to say the least. We then chose images from a 2009 calendar as a base and assembled them with these sentences.

Here's what we came up with:

The Law

Disabilies in different cultures.

I don't want your money I just want change.

Finding my niche.


Thursday 20 August 2009

Cottingley Cornerstone Center


This was a great project through Kala Sangam. It was a group of ladies who were doing art for fun. I showed them how to make paper and they totally loved it. One of the ladies was so good at it she showed the rest of the group who came on the second week. Over four weeks we did marbling, making paper jewelry, printing and based it all around making our own paper.

Monday 10 August 2009

3D graphic scores

At an event with Art in the Park Sheffield I facilitated a session on making sculptures that described the sounds we could hear in our environment.

Here's some images of what we made.

We started by listening carefully to the sounds around us.

Then we made marks to represent these shapes.

Then we used materials like pipe cleaners and paper to make these marks into forms.

We hung some outside as well.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Teddy Bear's Picnic

At Lister Park with Annie Berrington and Artworks such a fun day, playing with twigs and leaves. Andy Goldsworthy must have a great life!