Friday, 30 May 2008

Update on the Artist residency programme at Groundwork South West

We are now in the position of one residency coming to an end, and of one in its early stages. Part of the first callout for artists ran thus:

‘We wish to develop an ongoing programme of contemporary art commissioning, and are keen to work with a wide range of practices including; performance/live art, sound art, video/film, installation, media, sculpture, and everything in-between and beyond. We are looking for artists who reflect our own organisation’s ethos and ideals and who therefore have a critical engagement with some or all of the following; public space (both urban and rural), environmental regeneration and sustainability, individual/community empowerment and participation.’

So we feel we are on track with attempting to use contemporary art in diverse contexts, focusing at present on regeneration, sustainability, empowerment and participation. Other projects are being developed in the areas of youth and also our environmental business team, Envision.

Clare Thornton’s project with Purist, a social enterprise in Paignton, is nearly complete. More on that, and details of the launch event follow.

Our second residency was intended to be a collaboration between ourselves and ZEST at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. As such, Trystan Hawkins at ZEST compiled a shortlist and the artist Francesca Steele was selected by him and staff working on the Horticultural Healing project in Royal William Yard in Plymouth. However, ZEST’s expected outcomes have shifted, with the result that the collaboration will no longer proceed as planned. Instead, the residency will focus solely on the Horticultural Healing project, although the resultant work will very likely be shown on Derriford Hospital’s many flat-screens.

Horticultural healing works with individuals with mental health issues and acquired brain injury, taking the form of ecotherapy.

Francesca Steele is an emerging artist with high profile exhibitions in her portfolio, including performances at the National Review of Live Art for the last 3 years. Two large public exhibitions - the Belsay Fellowship for Picture House at Belsay House in Northumberland and for Nexus in Newcastle, both in 2007, had audience figures in excess of 200,000 And 140,000 respectively. Steele’s collaborative work with Manuel Vason has been exhibited at Arnolfini, Bristol and in the book Encounters – performance photography collaboration, again produced by Arnolfini 2007. She is represented by Waygood Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.

I will attempt to keep individuals up to date with developments on launch dates and other events on an ongoing basis. More anon.

Ray White

Strategic Arts Coordinator

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