As we enter a new year, I am long over due this first blog post. Back to writing again, in the wake of a whirl wind 2018, it dawned on me three months of the AA2A residency is already behind me. But here is what I have been up to and what I hope there is to come.
Since beginning the residency I have felt the guilt of not meeting with enough of the University community, but in the very nature of a practitioner researching through archives and photography, more often than not you find yourself on a insular endeavour of documentation and investigation. Before giving myself too hard a time I have had to accept this sometime this is simply the nature of research but ideas and collaboration with others can now finally develop and just before Christmas I was able to meet a number of students and other AA2A artists, as well as give an introductory talk about my practice and residency. I also got to meet with the textiles team, and work with the fabric printing equipment. As my photographic work is developing more into objects and textiles this was a great opportunity, and I am looking forward catching up with staff, students and other artists over the following months.
Project ideas to date:
For the AA2A residency I had shown an initial interest in the Chester local waterways, specifically the canal which runs throughout the city, acting as an envelop of its historic walls. This interest has developed from a number of previous projects, which connect personal stories, environment and social memory to an northern industrial past.
This decision to focus on the Canals and waterways came as a timely one, with Chester and Cheshire west dedicating a larger cultural strategy towards the re-development of the Canal and waterways area. There are specific plans to create a new community space, George Street Pocket Park, which over looks not only the canal but the historical walls and St. George's tower.
I have been able to meet with the development and landscape architect team with a few intial site visits and plan to continue documenting the space through photography and enivornment samples as the area develops into a dedicated public park. After speaking to the wondeful Fiona Huyton (landscape and design officer) and Carmel Clapson (Cultural officer) I began to see the importance of the space for bringing the current local community together, whilst celebrating the areas past.
With that in mind I have also been delving into the local Chester archives and hope to continue to work with the archive centre as the project develops. I am interested in how the untold stories of previous local residents can be re-animated and share within the context of this new community space. I will be collaborating with an existing group, the FACT Digital Ambassadors over60s group to develop ideas over the next few months as well as reaching out to local residents and students.
I am currently focusing on ideas of 'dressing the space'; working with photography as textiles and creating items of clothing/ costumes which connect to stories found within the chester archives in relation to the space. With a few key weeks ahead let's see the project takes me...