Project 353 & Collaboration

ImageThroughout 2013 my Artist Facilitating and Tutoring work with the Leighton Project Students at Elfrida Rathbone, delivered as part of my work with Action Space, involved the students taking part in a partnership project with the London Transport Museum. This was Project 353 to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground.
For the project the students completed 3 exhibitions. Two of these were in Kentish Town. One was in the summer at Queens Crescent Surgery and another exhibition titled ‘Future Transport’ was in December at Elfrida Rathbone as part of the charity’s 30 years celebrations. The third exhibition was online and included a collaborative piece between students and a sound artist. This can be viewed here.

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It was a successful partnership and some of the work by students will be shown at the Project 353 exhibition ‘Carriage ImageThrough Time’ at the London Transport Museum from 31st January to 6th April 2014.
Images of the students work are shown on this page and images of the project and exhibition can be viewed here.

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It was an interesting and exciting collaboration to be involved with. I enjoyed the visit to the London Transport Depot in Acton and the Transport Museum in Covent Garden and seeing the students make artwork in response to their visit. Delivering the project has raised my awareness of my creative role as an artist facilitator. The project was a collaboration between the London Transport Museum, Action Space, myself, the students, the venues that they showed their work in and also the people that viewed the work. The project spec and some funding came from the London Transport Museum in liaison with Action Space. My role was to put the directives into practice, to encourage students to make work creatively in response to the theme of 150 years of London Transport within the deadlines set, to negotiate spaces for the exhibition of their work, to co-ordinate publicity of the shows and curate the shows.

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As an artist facilitator I frequently question and reflect on the blurred boundaries between myself as the artist and creative director and the participants’ creativity. It is a shared creative process between myself and the students: The students make the work in response to the themes and with the materials I can provide. I have conversations with the students, give practical demonstrations and show images and films to help them find inspiration for their work. To keep the project interesting and creative I also came up with the theme for the final term of ‘Future Transport’ to encourage students to imaginatively think of what transport could be like in 150 years time and to make work in response to their ideas. Although I did not physically make the work I did contribute artistic direction and curation – which is very much becoming an extension of my art practice.

Instead of manipulating materials to create a show I am encouraging people to create work, an event or a show? There are layers of creation – the work that the students make, the exhibitions that are put on, the sharing of practices between organisations and individuals and the ideas generated from this. I appreciate that I am not working in isolation in this creation. None of these events would have happened without the mutual cooperation between all parties involved. It is the collaborative process between individuals and agencies that is exciting and allows an output for the coming together of creative ideas. Without this collaboration and mutual support none of these events would have happened. Artists do not work in isolation and successful collaboration can produce interesting and unexpected results.

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