More readings

from Hilary Ramsden

Another great read and really useful for our work is called Everyday Utopias, the conceptual life of promising spaces by Davina Cooper.

And another crucial one (I’ve not read it yet) for this iteration of the network is  Ponto de Cultura – O Brasil de Baixo para Cima, by Celia Turino, recently translated into English: The Point of Culture: Brazil Turned Upside Down by Celio Turino, Paul Heritage & Rosie Hunter. A bit pricey for individuals but I’m going to see if my institution will buy it.

Collaborative wall hanging

from Sarah-Jane Mason

Hi everyone – thought you might be interested in seeing the finished collaborative piece that the Everyday Stories group created. The project has finished this week close to the residential but not running anymore so I’m afraid we can’t visit the project in action. But at least this gives an idea of the kind of artworks the group were working on and the types of artforms they were working with. This mixed media wall hanging uses fabric painting, printmaking, photography and photo transfer techniques. Apologies for the wonky photo!!!

Information on readings so far…

from Hilary Ramsden

the piece by Kim Charnley discusses and problematizes ethics and aesthetics of what some of us term socially engaged arts. Charnley explores the perspectives of Claire Bishop and Grant Kester who a few years ago stimulated the debate on the ‘art’ and ‘aesthetics’ of participatory art making by taking seemingly strongly opposing views….

Carol Becker explores the tensions of private and public spheres

Isa Fremeaux and I discuss rebel clowning in the context of creating the state of space for rebel clown within the individual, and the reclaiming of the body in this process….


from Anni Raw

…when I think of spaces, I’m thinking of all kinds of spaces that we create, inhabit, play and work in: so our bodies, the spaces immediately around us, the wider contexts and spaces we make, the spaces between and among us as we relate to each other, the spaces of our imaginations, virtual spaces such as this one….then there is public space and also private space and the differences each of us understands by those terms. I’m interested in how we delineate all these kids of spaces, why we delineate them, and what meanings we attach to those delineations.

Project visits: Roots & Wings

from Incy Wood

The Roots and Wings project is always happy to welcome visitors in to our shared space at Knowleswood Primary School in Bradford. You can find us on Twitter too user name @root2wing

However it is ½ term in Bradford schools the week of the residential. I am see the caretaker tomorrow to see if the school will be open. I don’t think it would necessarily worth the trip for our visitors if we have no pupils there no matter how good the space is!

Unfortunately our lantern project project starts the week after the residential too!!!
I shall bring lots of project books to the residential to share our story…

Intro: Peter Spafford

Hello, I’m Peter Spafford. I’m a writer based in Leeds. My work divides, but not very cleanly, into two areas which I call In Here writing, and Out There writing. In Here writing is me in my head, Out There is writing I do in participatory contexts: prisons, museums, schools, streets, hospitals etc. It’s all writing! But I do need a balance.

The actual space where I work on my own is not that important to me. I can write anywhere. When I’m working with groups – well, that’s different. But speaking in cultural terms, all the writing I do is around the edges of the mainstream. In other words, if I try to explain what I do to my very lovely but very conventional sister…

I went to Brazil years ago for three months and loved it. That’s one of the reasons I signed up to this. I am also interested in Ruth’s idea of Invitation. At the moment I’m working on a new performance piece combining text and music called Threshold, which explores the theme of trust: how far and on what terms do we let others, who may be strange to us in many senses, into our own spaces, houses, countries, lives? And as a stranger being offered such, how far do we trust that offer and how far do we come? In other words, what is your/my threshold?

I can’t make it this residential, sadly, but would like to stay involved as much as possible.

Intro: Ruth Ben-Tovin, Encounters Arts

Hello Im Ruth Ben-Tovim and I’m the creative director of Encounters we are a socially and ecologically engaged arts organisation based in Devon. For the last 12 years we have worked with different communities and agencies to create projects and processes that invite people to explore their relationships with themselves, each other, where they live and the wider natural world. I’ve realised when it boils down to it that I am passionate about THE ART OF INVITATION  how we invite, who is invited and who is doing the inviting

Our work falls into three overlapping strands; Food and Environment, Voice and Action, Life transitions. We tend to extend our Invitation to Join in in two main ways EITHER ; by creating liminal spaces where we invite diverse people across age, background, geography, to come together regularly over six months or longer to be and do together. In this case perhaps, we are creating or co- curating with participants,  micro communities, mini utopian spaces where every aspect of how we gather, share, eat, make,  enables us to explore who and how we want to be in the world at this moment of crisis and opportunity

OR ; we go to the street corners, social spaces, empty shops, community spaces, natural environments, and Invite people to join in as part of their everyday life, often as they  pass by or incidentally and people add themselves into co-authored evolving artworks

We survive through funding we get for our own artist led projects or through commissions where the outcomes are determined by others. Juggling these different routes so that we can make an Invitation is an ongoing challenge and we work with a lot of different stakeholders and partners ; community, health, local government, voluntary sector.

I’ve also been involved recently in the creation of a book called Playing For Time, making art as if the world mattered by Lucy Neal which I’d really recommend. It has contributions from over 60 artists all working locally ‘as if the world mattered’. In the book we have been exploring this practice and also the different roles we take on in this work as ; connectors, translators, conveners, hosts, catalysts, truth tellers, holders of space, enablers.

I’m really interested in how we HOLD the spaces we create and the art of this as opposed to the objects/results that might be created

I’ve not used Tmblr before so can’t see how I can add photos to this post …. So will do in another post… but on our website we have a museum section which shares all our projects

look forward to meeting you all


A selection of Encounters Arts Photos:

Project Visits?

from Sarah-Jane Mason

Hi everyone – just a quick message to see if anyone in the UK group has got any interesting projects running at the minute that the Brazilian participants could visit whilst they are over for the residential?

Ideally they would be running the Monday/Tuesday and be local to West Yorkshire?

Please reply direct on here if you think you may have something of interest.

Thanks! Sarah

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