Intro: Sarah-Jane Mason

Hi everyone I’m Sarah-Jane Mason and I am a mixed media artist with a particular interest in participatory projects that tackle local social issues.  I am passionate about the positive impact that creativity can have in everyone’s lives and am driven to get as many people engaged in creativity and the arts as possible. I am involved in many projects at any one time but an ongoing project of interest is ‘Everyday Stories’ a twelve week participatory arts project based at a community centre in North Leeds.

Everyday Stories is a project that brings together a group of vulnerable young adults (all >25y/old) once a week over a period of four months to create artwork both together as a group and also independently. The project takes the participant’s everyday stories as the theme for creating artworks and so the whole project is very much participant led and has a strong voice that is very much the participant’s own.

The project also provides the group with many different ways to engage with the arts including; taking part in workshops led by four professional artists who are specialists in their respective fields (photography, creative writing, transcycling and mixed media); visiting local arts performances and exhibitions; completing an ArtsAward qualification; sharing their Arts skills with others; developing work to be entered into a published book about the project and creating artworks for public exhibition.

The project has been funded by Leeds Inspired and is ran by myself in partnership with Archway, a Re’New project.

Intro: Sylvie Fourcin, Artlink West Yorkshire

Hi my name is Sylvie Fourcin and I’m Director of an small participatory arts organisation specialised in working with people who do not have much opportunity to access the arts. We work with a whole range of different artists who all have a broad range of artistic practices, including; multi media, movement, animation, sculpture and printing to name a few.  Our work is very much focused on bring about change through engaging in arts practice; whether it is change in confidence and wellbeing, change within the institution or change on a personal level.

This is a snapshot of some of the work we do. You can view much more on the website artlinkwestyorks.org and the blog and audio/visual tabs.

Intro: Cauê Ueda

Hi all!
Happy New Year!

My name is Ueda and I’m an audiovisual artist based in São Paulo, Brasil, and had a great time with all brazilian and mexican activists, Anni, Vic, Lou and Hillary, during our residency last year. Heard a lot from the UK based artists and I’m eager to know more about your activities and projects.

I’m part of many different projects, but there’s two I’m most active right now. Both projects aims to discuss the right of people to the city, by enjoying or making art as a form of expression.

Coletivo Metanol is a group of music and visual producers that make independent street parties (I believe Lou and Hillary attended to a big street festival we’re part of called SP na Rua).

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The other project is Movimento BaixoCentro, that produced three art festivals in the streets of São Paulo’s downtown, with support only from people.

Also, during the carnival in this year, we will be presenting Bloco do Tucanistão, which discusses the actions from the right-wing São Paulo’s government, the “tucanos”.

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On all these projects, my focus is towards being a producer, and not only working as an artist.

My solo audiovisual works can be found here, which deals with noise aesthetics on natural environment footage and sound.

Nice to meet you all!

Intro: Jean McEwan

Hi again all, I am a visual artist and organiser who has been working with people, mostly in the Bradford area for a decade. A lot of this work has been  grassroots/diy/artist led activity – events, collectives, projects, in temporary spaces around Bradford, a city where there is a great history and practice of DIY arts and political activity – fellow P and P member Lou Sumray can tell you more about this culture, she has been involved for a long time.

Prior to becoming an artist in my early 30′s, I worked in the community/voluntary sector in Glasgow for a number of years. I believe art should be an everyday practice open to all, and I believe in the power of art to change lives and situations (it has saved me personally countless times). As I get older I feel a greater and greater responsibility to try to use art to make change – this need in these brutal times of national and global austerity and injustice, feels more and more urgent.

 

When I’m doing art with people I try to do it in an equitable, democratic way. I’m always looking for ways to learn more. Over the last couple of years I have tried to expand my networks (so I’m not just in a little art bubble with other art people) and have gotten to know a group of community activists in Bradford from whom I have learned a lot, both about different ways of working with people and about issues affecting Bradford. I am very interested in the intersections between art and activism – and in bringing artists and activists together in Bradford.

The work which is probably most relevant to Potency and Potential is a project I am running in a stall in Bradford’s Kirkgate Market, called ‘WUR BRADFORD’. Wur where I am from in Scotland, means ‘our’ and/or ‘we are’. It is a collective, participatory art and social space which aims to explore how we can make our city better through imagination and collective action. Wur Bradford is an open space for people to come and chat, get creative, share stories and ideas, and connect with others. Everyone is welcome to visit, get involved and suggest things that could happen. The project, which began in May last year, involves people in Bradford in diverse creative and collective activities, which to date has included creative workshops (eg Human Rights Utopian Map), themed events ( eg a DIY publishing event) as well as social campaigns (eg ‘Stand Up For Your Rights’ ,exploring the role of unions and collective action) Documentation of these and other activities can be found on the project blog here https://wurbradford.wordpress.com/. During the time the project has been running, a community of people of diverse backgrounds have come together and are growing as a group.
Wur Bradford is now at a transitional time – it is becoming a more collective endeavour – and now with other artists and participants, together we are looking at ways we can look at how the project has, and can, make social change through our activities.

Here is a short film recently made about the project.. Looking forward to hearing about other peoples’ work and connecting with and learning from you all X

www.jeanmcewan.com

Intro: Hilary Ramsden

Hi, I’m Hilary Ramsden and one of the group of three researchers based in the UK.  I call myself an artivist as well as clown, researcher and lecturer, because I like to think I make work that activates our minds and bodies around contemporary issues of concern to us as humans and our lives on this planet.

So I recently participated in the Climate Actions in Paris wearing a red nose and playing a wonderful foghorn made by a UK artist. This gave me a great feeling of solidarity and inspiration for future artwork which I have missed during the last couple of years of wrestling with a new academic career.

Much of my past work has been as a performer in theatres of one kind or another, but living and working in Detroit, Michigan inspired a passion for walking, wandering and performing in outside urban spaces.  My work these days is usually collaborative and participatory and appears anywhere but in theatres. (Although I am working on a clown show that is likely to be performed inside a building.)

I’ll start to upload some photos of past work plus a few of the Sao Paulo residential some of us went on.

Intro: Bryony Pritchard

Happy new year everyone. Here’s a little introduction and hopefully something to add to the discussion here.

I am an interdisciplinary artist, working somewhere between and amongst participation, interactivity, play, performance, dance and installation. As a creative practitioner, I am passionate about working with a variety of community groups, exploring the power of the arts as a healing and connective tool for social change.

Some examples of my community projects can be seen on my website, working with families, adults with additional needs, elderly, early years in various public and private spaces (galleries, hospitals, libraries, fields, squash courts, shopping centres, parks to name a few…):
www.artfever.org.uk/community

I have co-developed projects in the guise of Playbods with developmental movement specialist Kim Glassby- which involves researching movement with members of public to explore embodiment in the library environment through interactive games based around play and stories – children and adults.

Our blog has a write up of our recent residency at Leeds Central Library:
playbods.wordpress.com

As an example of my interests into the re/use of space, here is a link to a short film of a public performance, which was the culmination of a residency at an old textile mill working together with mill workers, local inhabitants and creatives using weaving patterns as inspiration for movement patterns.

Mill Dancing Sunny Bank Mills from Bryony Artfever on Vimeo.

It would be great to hear your thoughts and look forward to meeting you on here.

Intro: Lou Sumray

Hi, I’m Lou, I try and understand the world a little better through drawing and think maybe other people can too, everybody can use this language and one of my aims in schools, on the streets, in places of community, gatherings is to speak using this language and allow others to do so too, easily. I was lucky enough to visit São Paulo on this project and an awful lot was said, as you can imagine. I shall try and post some of those visuals and see if anyone else can gather or see or comprehend or interpret something from what might have been said.

This was a planning meeting we had in São Paulo before the residential 
I’m just learning how to post things so it may come out quite random, I have a few stop motion videos I made but they have massive memories ( digital I mean rather than cerebral although they have those too!!) and I need help working out how to post them!

I jumped ahead earlier in my excitement about posting something without a better introduction of the kind of work I do.Anything to do with encouraging drawing and looking, not necessarily in the “traditional drawing classroom”.

Intro: Anni Raw

I’m one of the group of 3 researchers based in the UK who have started this exciting conversation – this project for sharing understandings and perceptions of how spaces of creativity and collaborative arts can catalyse change: creative spaces of transformation.

The project is based at the University of Leeds, in my department: the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. I myself have had a nomadic work life, underpinned by creativity, music and arts, change, people and groups, humanitarianism, and concern for social justice. My practice is now as a researcher exploring ways to understand and communicate about complex arts practices within social contexts; as well as developing ways of supporting reflective practice within arts organisations. I spent 10 years as a singer and a community musician; my motivation was to challenge perceptions, inequalities and injustice through song, have a fantastic time making music, and encourage ‘communities’ of optimistic, powerful voice, for change (political, social, personal, community…) – and activism.

I will post some of the ideas behind the questions this project has raised – and invite everyone on this blog to contribute thoughts, experiences, practical examples, in whatever language is most comfortable… the questions we start with will develop with everyone’s input… can’t wait for that to happen!

And we will begin to share some of our experiences from the meeting in São Paulo in September, attended by 20 of us from Brazil, the UK and Mexico…

Intro: Eleanor Barrett and Rosie Freeman, Brick Box

Hi everyone, excited to be a part of these discussions! My colleague Eleanor and I are artists and co-directors of The Brick Box. We’re an arts organisation and social enterprise based in London but working across the UK, particularly in Bradford (where we collaborate with people like Chemaine and Lou who are also part of this group). Our work is always live and aims to empower people to take part in arts and cultural activity in underused spaces. We’re interested in the journey people go on when they engage imaginatively. We often work in places which are considered to be undesirable in some way and have produced work in loading bays, markets, services lifts and many other places…I could go on forever but I’m going to share some images and maybe a video or two to give a sense of Us!

A gathering during our recent Electric Fireside project in County Durham. We were working with different groups in the district, formed around suicide prevention. This group was mainly ex-miners and the event was in the garden of their social centre. During the course of the evening we shared food, stories and company.

Some photos from our recent Little Light Nights project which comprised of 4 site responsive events in Bradford and London, all with interactive light-related artwork, music and dancing. The events were all in public realm spaces which we consider to be underused community assets.

One of the Little Light Night events: