Your invitation to tonight’s Stoke 50 celebration!

Meadow: a performance by Daisy Thompson

 

Meadow the performance from Place, Space and Identity 3 on Vimeo.

Please watch this video to get a better idea of Daisy Thompson’s performance, Meadow,  that took place in August in the old Spode Factory Works.

Stoke 50 comes to a close on 31st October

You are invited to take part in the closing event for the Stoke 50 project which will end on Hallo’ween, 31st October. Come along to the party where a walking tour will take place of the area, with pumpkin soup and a special Stoke 50 cake.

To view the invitation, please click on this link: Stoke 50

Anoushka Athique’s Fabric Walk

Have a look at this video that shows Anoushka Athique’s Fabric Walk through Middleport in a little more detail:

Anoushka’s Fabric Walk from Place, Space and Identity 3 on Vimeo.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: Rich White

The lead project was completed by installation artist, Rich White. Rich worked within Winton Square for a number of weeks, asking passersby their opinions of the square and of Josiah Wedgwood, whose statue has stood in the centre of the square for 149 years. Realising that Wedgwood’s role in Stoke-on-Trent was a slightly contentious issue, Rich decided to put the public on the same level as the founding father of the industrialized pottery industry by creating a purpose built platform around the statue. The effect of the platform was to allow people to stand eye to eye with Wedgwood. Feedback also suggested that local residents wanted to be able to enjoy the square, so Rich covered the platform in fake turf and plants to create a new green space in the city.

When we spoke to Rich, he said the following:

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?

Always a pleasure.

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?

Watching the expressions on people’s faces as they walk out of the station and seeing people standing alongside Wedgwood.

Do you think the installation was successful?
Yes. I’m very happy with the responses I’ve had to the work – it has caused delight, laughter, pleasure, horror and confusion.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections while being in Stoke?
Yes. I already had connections with Stoke – with Airspace Gallery and Anna Francis – and I’m sure I’ll be working with them again soon.

Watching people’s reactions to Platform 4 has been a highlight for Rich, and he has recorded some of the quotes that he has heard while spending time in Winton Square.

‘What’s it for?’ Man, late 30s.
‘I love the concept, but it looks awful!’ Man, 40s.
‘It’s brilliant, people don’t spend enough time looking up.’ Woman, 70s.
‘You can climb on that!’ Girl, 8.
‘Is someone important coming?’ Man, 50s

To see more images of the work and of Rich, please visit the Facebook photo album here.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: Redhawk Logistica

Arts organisation, Redhawk Logistica, meanwhile was out and about knocking on doors in Lowther and Portland Street recruiting households to get involved in its Stoke 50 project. The inspiration behind Stoke 50 was to get more colour into the streets of Stoke-on-Trent, thus improving the neighbourhood. The completed project will see fifty households have their front doors painted in a unique shade; currently 30 front doors have been revamped.

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?
Starting as an outsider in a strange city and ending up feeling almost like part of the community.

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?
This has got to be the people of Stoke, they have lived up to their reputation for being friendly, open, helpful and trusting. It has been a privilege to be invited into people’s homes and to have had so many interesting and enlightening chats about anything and everything in their living rooms.

Do you think the installation was successful?
Yes! It is a quiet project and we’ve quietly made progress and hopefully left people feeling happy with their colour choices. Some look magnificent and stand out, others are smart and recede into the overall street scene, but people are aware of the project and have been really positive about it.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections while being in Stoke?
We are in the final stages now and have nearly the full quota of 50 households signed up to have their doors painted and the actual painting is not far behind, but we’ve got a couple more weeks left to go before the project finishes. We’ve made a really strong connection with Portland Street Community Centre, who have been very supportive of the project and we’ll be doing a final event for local people there when the last door is painted. Who knows what ideas might grow out of that, we really like Stoke-on-Trent and there is so much of it, with lots of interesting buildings and public spaces and we feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface, so we’d love to do more work here.

Click on this link for a bit more information:
Free door painting is right up their straight: http://bit.ly/pJmYYU

For more images of the Stoke 50 project, please check out the Facebook album here.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: Anoushka Athique

Anoushka Athique brought colour to the local landscape with her Fabric Walk in Middleport. The project started off with Anoushka holding ‘repair stations’, repairing broken or damaged textiles in exchange for stories and memories of the area allowing her to build up an image of Middleport and its residents. Using this as her inspiration, Anoushka then wrapped parts of the landscape in a vibrant, purple fabric that lead visitors from one area to another on a walk from the station and back.

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?
An inspiring, occasionaly difficult, but ultimately thought-provoking summer.

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?
Exploring the area by foot, walking along the streets and canals and talking to the people I met along the way.

Do you think the installation was successful?

In the end – yes – despite reccuring problems with vandalism, I am pleased with the contribution I have made to highlight the area and get people looking again at the place they live in.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections while being in Stoke?
I would very much like to, yes – and I think it is important to build on this first project and develop it further hopefully reaching out to wider sections of the community next time.

The project featured in the following links:
Artist designs fabric walk: http://bit.ly/ptO03w
Artist offers to repair people’s worn out clothes: http://bit.ly/mZCXLT
Fabric softens landscape in Middleport: http://bit.ly/qRSxht

For more pictures of Anoushka’s Fabric Walk please visit the Facebook page here.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: B-Arts

B-Arts, a local arts organisation, constructed an outdoor cinema in Meir and engaged with local children to create short animated films. The films were screened on the completed cinema during an evening, followed by a showing of feature film Despicable Me. The event, For One Night Only, gave the local community the chance to come together and celebrate the work that they had all done to make the outdoor cinema a reality.

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?
HOME: We are based here, so it’s working at home for us. There’s always something satisfying about that.

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?
Seeing the families turn out (150 people) to watch the film, and see the projection kick off (a really high quality picture and sound). Then, the handful of mums with babies in buggies who helped me litter pick the field, unasked, at 10.30 at night.

Do you think the installation was successful?
Yes, if the comments on the night were anything to go by; “more like this please” is pretty much what people said.
The root of the project was in my feeling that no-one felt they owned the “blank” green spaces on estates: amenity space. The project showed that if we give people a reason and a vehicle to engage with the space they will and they will take ownership but “blank” is not a form of engagement. That, and the fact that the animation and building workshops were really well attended.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections while being in Stoke?
Hope so! We have been delighted through PSI3 to be able to model a really well received and successful project that has relevance across the city. So we hope this has opened doors to a conversation with the City Council about repeating the workshops and outdoor cinema project next summer on more green spaces and potentially with partners further afield. It was great to work with the Residents Association in Meir and hope to follow that up too.

See the project in these links:
Outdoor cinema in Meir will give youngsters a chance to star in film: http://bit.ly/nvuVfi
Movie fans enjoy reel treat at park: http://bit.ly/peMq5X

For more pictures of the animation workshops and the final event, please have a look at the Facebook album here.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: Lucy Cork and Davina Drummond

Lucy Cork and Davina Drummond chose to work within City Centre Waterside, where they were able to engage and get involved with the local communities as they invited people to come along and smash unwanted ceramics. The process was designed to help people express their emotions about their neighbourhood in a new way. After the smashing, residents were able to put the broken pieces into jars which they labelled with their thoughts or feelings to take home.

We spoke to Lucy about the experience of working in Stoke-on-Trent and she had the following to say:

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?
Hard but very rewarding and a real eye opener.

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?
Getting to know the community and eating a lot of oakcakes!

Do you think the installation was successful?
It was very successful in terms of community cohesion.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections whilst being in Stoke?
Yes, we are developing a textiles project within City Centre Waterside as the community centre manager there is a costume maker and has great skills that we think can be shared with the commuity.

The project managed to engage with 100 local residents and there were some stories that really stood out for Lucy. For example, she tells of an older man who had a housebound wife, who came back twice to the installation and smashed some crockery to make a brooch to take home to her. He seemed to be the only older participant who actually tried to understand the point of the project and he tried to explain it to his friends who also came twice for the tea and cake, but wouldn’t take part in any of the activities.

Lucy also says, “We had one local resident who brought along a mug which had roses on it that had belonged to her parents who had recently died. Roses were their favourite flowers and she wanted to smash the cup in their memory – this idea of controlled loss and the mourning process was what the whole project was about. On the glass jar where she placed the shards she wrote ‘a memory of love’ – which was very moving.

“We also had a group of five teenage boys who came back everyday during the installation sometimes staying for up to three hours. Some of local residents had told us that these boys were trouble makers, one in particular I was told would steal anything and tried to burn down a factory. On the last day of the installation we ran out of biscuits and this lad, without saying anything, went to the shop and came back with five packs of biscuits for everyone to share, that he had bought with his own money. I found the lack of understanding between the older and younger generations quite shocking and this is an area I think creative projects can really help with.”

The Shards project featured in these following articles:

Residents invited to turn unwanted pots into art: http://bit.ly/pHoM6m
Art Scene: http://bit.ly/nuOU9d

To see more photos please visit the Facebook photo album here.

Place, Space and Identity 3 round-up: Daisy Thompson

The programme kicked off with a dance performance by artist Daisy Thompson. Daisy brought together a number of local residents to choreograph and perform a dance piece in the old Spode Factory Works in the city centre. The piece, entitled Meadow, saw local residents move around the now closed factory to the sound of cello music, bringing the area back to life.

How would you describe working in Stoke-on-Trent in one word or sentence?
The people of Stoke-On-Trent are very friendly and down to earth. An absolute pleasure!

What has been the highlight of your time working in the city?
Working with Alan Shenton the security guard at Spode. He cares so much for the place and this should not be ignored. Also the post show discussion that happened after the performance. It was so touching to hear people talk about how Spode was and how people support its creative potential for the future.


Do you think the installation was successful?

I think it was very successful. The participants loved it and the performance brought people back to Spode and gave them a reason to start talking about the future.

Are you likely to work in the city again? Have you made any connections while being in Stoke?
Definitely, I would love to come back and continue site-specific work in and around Stoke-On-Trent with the different communities. I did make connections there, but I have to say that I personally reconnected more with the city, which I am very thankful for.

Daisy also said about the experience:
The performance brought about 18 participants together from all over Stoke-On-Trent, and an audience of about 120. This has then extended further with people talking to other people about it. If it only affected one person who then told another and another and another, then this is success to me.

The performance featured in the following links:
Spode recalled through dance: http://bit.ly/prmFVA
Performance at Spode: http://bit.ly/p877bY

If you want to see some more images from the performance, please visit the Facebook album here.