Event Report: Creative Approaches to Local Issues.
On 30th March 2004, artists
from across Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire
showcased a wide range of different art forms & creative activities in the King's Hall, Stoke-on-Trent.
Funded by Advantage West Midlands, the city-wide project Creative Approaches to Local Issues
was designed to develop ways that local artists & local groups
can creatively address local issues.
The free day-long event enabled the public to view work-in-progress,
see documentary photography, to meet the artists & groups, and to try taster arts workshops.
The Mayor sees interactive-media art from
the Townsend project.
In the background, video-screens play part of the Bradeley
With funding from Advantage West Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent's
Community Facilitation Team have been developing this
project with the support of The Public,
the City Council's Community Arts team, and Creative Stoke.
In each of 10 community forum areas, a pilot arts project
has allowed a community to work with an artist to express
an issue or theme, and then develop
it through creative collaboration over several months.
Top: The Blurton & Longton South project,
by artists Glassball
and users of the Queensbury Centre, showcased a single large video-projection.
Bottom: Emily Clay demonstrating the interactive-media CD
Teen Time made with Townsend Community House.
Each group & artist had an illuminated table in the King's Hall.
Some showcased project work & outcomes. Some showed mainly photographs,
others video-projections. Some featured interactive
computer-based media they had made, while others offered workbooks,
research & sketches. The ten projects were:
Bentilee & Townsend/Berryhill & Hanley East:
Emily Clay worked with a group of teenagers from Townsend
Community House & Mitchell High
School using digital media to create an interactive CD
- Teen Time - exploring their views of local
issues & profiling the activities within the
Trentham & Hanford:
Cultural Sisters worked on a lighting and lantern project
to involve the whole community in a celebratory
activity focused around Hanford Park. Workshops
were undertaken with Priory Primary School, Trentham
High School and Jigsaw.
Burslem North & Tunstall:
Torben Franck and Si Waites (Planet Sound)
developed a series of workshops with local
youth which culminated in a creative intervention
in a local park - a temporary sculpture and
sound installation which explores the attitudes
of users to the park space.
Julia Foster shows a visitor the project CD.
Fenton & Longton North:
Julia Foster has explored intergenerational
issues with local participants, including a
group of Hindu & Sikh elders - the Om group in Fenton -
and young people from Longton's CHAD Centre,
offering a creative exchange of views.
Burslem South/Northwood & Birches Head:
Andy Biggs used photographic portraiture and text
as part of creative consultation activities to raise
the profile of Northwood Park and to generate public
interest in establishing a Friends of Northwood Park
group. Creative workshops took place at Northwood
Visitors look at how Andy Biggs used free 'Portraits in the Park' portraiture
as part of creative consultation activity to
raise the profile of Northwood Park.
Blurton & Longton South:
Glassball have been working with users at
Queensbury Centre in Longton on a video
highlighting the centre's community activities
and their impressions of the area.
Chell & Packmoor/Norton & Bradeley:
Mark Wood worked with children from Smallthorne
Primary School and residents of Bradeley Village
to create a series of night-time projections. The projections
addressed the stereotypes that hinder the ability of old
& young to work together for the good of the area.
East Valley and Abbey Green:
Emily Clay has worked on a mapping project to
profile community activities with a number
of local groups; including Blackfriars College,
Holden Lane High School, Milton Youth and
Adults Centre, Stoke North Live-at-Home project
and Sutton Trust Community group. The result of
this is an interactive CD to help raise aspirations,
educate, inform and promote the area.
Mark Wood (centre) shows his portfolio of Hartshill Park
research, maps & drawings.
Hanley West & Shelton/Hartshill & Penkhull:
Mark Wood worked with the Friends of Hartshill Park
and local residents to explore and formulate ideas
and visualisations for creative environmental improvements within the park.
Meir Park and Sandon/Weston & Meir North:
Cultural Sisters worked with local schools - The
Grange & Weston Coyney Primary & Sandon High - the
Community Network Group and local agencies, to
hold a pre-Christmas lantern-procession and
celebration that brought the various communities together,
and for the first time gave "a sense of place" to
one of the main road approaches to the Meir.
During the King's Hall day we were joined by
four junior school classes, groups of people from several day-care
centres, and members of a youth
club. Workshops were led by Planet Sound (drumming), Cultural Sisters
(willow & paper work), Grega Greaves (collage) & Chris Oldham.
Planet Sound drumming workshop for older children, upstairs.
Girls working at a Cultural Sisters workshop, making stars from woven willow, tissue paper & glitter.
Many Council officers and councillors visited, along with the public and community-groups.
The city's elected Mayor, Mike Wolfe, dropped in at lunchtime.
Janet Gittins from the city's Community Facilitation Service
said; "The event has been organised to bring together communities
from across the city, to celebrate creative projects that
have been happening over the past few months. Community Groups associated with
each of the ten Community Networks across the city
have had the opportunity to be creative in the way they address
Brendan Jackson, Project Director from The Public,
said; "The project has been a great opportunity to share how creative approaches
can help bring together local community groups and develop local
Elected Mayor Mike Wolfe dropped in at lunchtime - seen here admiring
the detail in a Cultural Sisters "glittering frost" hat, with artist Emily Clay (right).
Project partners were:
Stoke-on-Trent's Community Arts Service
Stoke-on-Trent's Community Facilitation Service
The Participation & Voluntary Practice Unit, Staffordshire University.