Artists Make Change: “Artists need to be more involved in policy decisions”

a-n Artists Council has initiated a 12-month research and development project that will explore the role of the artist in society and advocate for how artists and art organisers can effectively work for change. Glen Stoker, a visual artist and Director of Stoke-on-Trent-based artist-led project AirSpace Gallery, and Rachel Dobbs, an artist and educator based in Plymouth speak to Jack Hutchinson about the project and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their plans – via a-n.

https://www.acava.org/news/planning-permission-granted-more-studios-stoke-spode-works

ACAVA has announced that planning permission has been granted for the further development of studios and workspaces in the historic former Spode Pottery factory in Stoke – Spode Works.

Middleport Pottery

Six museums and heritage organisations across the Midlands have been selected to take part in Meeting Point, an Arts Council England funded programme that partners museums and artists, resulting in the creation of new artworks, each inspired by an individual venue and its collections.

The programme, led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage, aims to attract new audiences to the venues by placing contemporary artwork in unexpected spaces, and also helps museum staff to gain skills in commissioning and working with artists. The six participating venues are Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent; Cromford Mills in Matlock; Ilam Park in Ashbourne; The Naseby Battlefield Project in Welford; The National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Laxton; and Warwickshire Archives in Warwick.

Carolyn Ewing, Archivist at Heritage & Culture Warwickshire (HCW), said:

“The team at Heritage & Culture Warwickshire are delighted to have been selected for Meeting Point. We are really excited by the prospect of working with a contemporary artist to help us deliver a fresh and innovative approach to exploring the many narratives, however challenging, to be found within our superb collections and site of our County Record Office. The project will underpin one of our key objectives to widen and enhance our appeal to new and existing audiences. Importantly, by enhancing our skills base within Heritage & Culture Warwickshire, it will provide a solid foundation for developing our community engagement work in future.”

The museums will participate in a series of workshops and visits to artists’ studios, before working with Arts&Heritage to commission an artist to work with them on the creation of a new piece of artwork. The artists will be selected by the museum teams from a range of submissions put forward by interested artists and nominators.

This is the fourth Meeting Point programme, building on the success of previous and current programmes, which have seen 25 museums working with more than 50 museum professionals to create 25 new artworks and over 100 workshops. Arts&Heritage is funded by Arts Council England.

 

Six museums and heritage organisations across the Midlands have been selected to take part in Meeting Point, an Arts Council England funded programme that partners museums and artists, resulting in the creation of new artworks, each inspired by an individual venue and its collections.

Fresh exhibition in the China Hall of the original Spode factory site featuring Eusebio Sanchez ‘Antropomórfico’, 2017 and Patricia Mato-Mora ‘Hydroanthropozoa’, 2017 Photography: Joel Fildes.

The British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) returns to Stoke-on-Trent from 7 September to 13 October 2019, bringing together more than 300 contemporary artists and makers in a programme of exhibitions, installations and events over six cultural venues across the city.

The festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with an expanded programme that begins in the BCB hub, the China Hall in the original Spode factory site, extending to AirSpace Gallery, and with special site specific commissions and interventions at Middleport Pottery, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Spode Works and World of Wedgwood, each a champion of Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic identity and history.

At the centre of the biennial are BCB’s two flagship exhibitions, AWARD and Fresh. AWARD brings together new work created by 10 innovating ceramic artists competing for the prize, which has been increased to £10,000 to mark BCB’s 10th anniversary. Alongside this, Fresh returns with a showcase of work by 20 of the UK’s most talented recent ceramics graduates.

Sam Lucas
‘Strange stranger’ group, ceramics and textiles, 2018. AWARD exhibition at Spode China Hall, original Spode factory site.

Highlights include:

AirSpace Gallery in the cultural quarter of Hanley will present Terms and Conditions: propositions in clay, a performative residency and exhibition of new works by artists Dunhill and O’Brien exploring the physical qualities of clay as a material.

Drawing on Middleport Pottery’s profile as a heritage and manufacturing site, Resonating Spaces brings together a series of interventions based around the mass production of ceramic bell-like forms to build on ideas of individual and collective commemoration and celebration. A multi-disciplinary team of artists, including Helen Felcey, Joe Hartley with Standard Practice with a film-maker and sound artist, are leading in the creation of clay and production installations, experimental sound works, community engaged practice and co-produced artwork with local residents, Burselm Jubilee Project, giving audiences opportunity for spectacle, scale, making and reflection.

Mould store at Spode Works. Spode Works and Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre.
Photography: Jenny Harper
Externalising the Archive at Spode Works

Spode Works was one of the few ceramic manufacturers in Britain to have operated continuously for over 230 years on the original site. In Externalising the Archive, artist Neil Brownsword brings the former function of the site back into the public realm. Working with other artists and artisans from industry, his large-scale installations will use some of the 64,000 plaster moulds from the Spode site stores with new castings, film, digital projections, sound and performance.

In the 1970s the artist Glenys Barton was Wedgwood artist-in-residence, creating figurative and sculptural pieces that were intended to compliment general factory production with their pure artistry. Using this as a starting point, ceramic artists Duncan Hooson and Stephanie Buttle collaborating with performance and sound artists will present 22 Hands, large-scale clay installations expanding Barton’s vision through the creation of three theatrical sets that will be animated throughout the festival. The title refers to the number of hands that handle a pot during its factory production process.

A free weekend festival bus will run between the different venues, enabling visitors to get round the city to experience the full programme and enjoy the the cultural assets of the city.

The full Biennial programme can be found here.

 

The British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) returns to Stoke-on-Trent from 7 September to 13 October 2019, bringing together more than 300 contemporary artists and makers in a programme of exhibitions, installations and events taking place in six cultural venues across the city.

Hyacinth Stone by Sam Ivin

We speak to photographer Sam Ivin about Settling: Exploring Human Migration, a new exhibition with individuals and communities of Stoke-on-Trent. The exhibition is now open at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

Noor-al-ain Waheed, Maryam Waheed and Amara Waheed, Libya early 1987 by Sam Ivin

Can you tell us more about the origins of your project ‘Settling’ and your interest in working with migrants and asylum seekers?

The project began in 2017 when I was selected for a residency with Appetite, a local arts organisation in Stoke-on-Trent and GRAIN Projects, a Midlands organisation that commissions and curates photography. A local resident Val ‘Nicky’ Basnal had approached Appetite with an idea to create a collection of images focusing on the Sikh community in Stoke. This inspired Appetite and GRAIN to launch a national call-out for artists and photographers to create work on migration to Stoke, which would be shown at Appetite’s Big Feast Festival 2017.

When I applied for the opportunity I had finished my Lingering Ghosts work the year before, that project explored how long periods of waiting effected those applying for asylum in the UK. The work began after visiting a refugee centre in Cardiff in my second year at University. I was shocked to learn how long some people were waiting whilst seeking asylum in the UK, without the right to work or travel: 4 years, 7 years, 12 years. I’ve recently met someone who’s been waiting 18 years. The injustice of this is what got me interested in human migration and refugee rights.

The residency seemed like a very organic and fitting progression for Lingering Ghosts, from a more positive standpoint. The stories and images I came across were so fascinating and poignant I decided to expand the work with an Arts Council England grant in 2018.

Walerian Val Tyminski by Sam Ivin

How have you identified and worked with the individuals and communities in the development of the project? Has this been targeted or more organic?

Appetite were very helpful at linking me with community groups in the initial residency. There’s a group called the Burslem Jubilee Group for example, (who meet once a week to socialise with and assist asylum seekers and refugees) they’ve been great and really involved right from the beginning.

I contacted local groups and try to visit them as much as I can. Sometimes you may be at a community group and someone says they’re interested on the spot or knows someone who might be appropriate to contact. Other times people email you to say they’re willing to help. It’s targeted but I allow room for the organic individual meet-ups to happen too.

Can you tell me more about the works themselves? Hyacinth Stone, for instance, looks to be overlaid with painted marks?

The pieces are designed for exhibiting and are made up of two frames. One on the left is a manipulated portrait, on the right is a large square frame filled with each person’s own photographs, filled with their own images at different sizes. Reflecting on their story of migration and finding home in Stoke-on-Trent.

The 12 photographic portraits are manipulated using paint to emphasise a person’s story, situation or feelings. Hyacinth loves gardening for example, so I decided to create a wall of foliage that almost envelops her.

Hyacinth Stone by Sam Ivin

What can visitors expect from the exhibition?

A place to discover fascinating stories and photographs of human migration. There’s the series of 12 works, a projection, a wall of Polaroids and display cabinets with original photographs and test artwork. Visitors are also encouraged to share their own story of migration.

What are your ambitions and hopes for the project?

I hope that someone can read the stories, look at the pictures and understand more about why people make these journeys to live in foreign places. I believe it’s important to record these images and stories for future generations too. I’d also love to show the exhibition in other places around the UK.

We speak to photographer Sam Ivin about Settling: Exploring Human Migration, an exhibition at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in partnership with Appetite and Grain Projects.

EPSON MFP image

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/boarded-up-pub-being-given-1922192

Artists have revealed their vision to transform a rundown city centre pub into a vibrant community hub – complete with a dedicated space for producing pottery. The Portland Inn, in Hanley, is to be given a new lease of life as a social space and ceramics workshop with an area for artists and designers – via The Stoke Sentinel.