Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Your Words and Images

A big thankyou to all of you that made 'Around Here and Out there' such a fun and rewarding project. It would be wonderful if all those that came on the WOW trip could post their photos and comments on this blog.

Watch this space for news about future events!

Simon & Sue

Wise Words

New Art for Langport

“Clarity often comes from moving away from the object of focus and looking at it with new eyes.” (SLD in our initial proposal January 2011)

Langport Workshop 2

The artists had carefully selected and printed the text and had already placed some of the phrases up through the town in shop windows before the start of the session: Orchid Clothing, St Margaret’s Hospice Shop, The Bakery, Art Tea Zen Café and many of the Library windows. The group went on a trail to find these texts. We then taught the group how to place them, with the final texts being put up in the Library and in the public phone box – the focus of the young people working with such concentration to complete the work demonstrated their satisfaction with what we had made. Going as a group to the Town Garden in Langport, the second part of the workshop involved studying the recently installed pump as both a piece of industrial heritage and as a work of art, creating sculpture out of materials in response to the place, having ideas about the space and future use, and listing important features and opportunities.

Langport Workshop 1

In the first session, we reviewed our day out to Weston, and followed up an idea offered by one of the young people in relation to one of the artist’s work for WOW: to generate text to put up in windows of shops and in the library in Langport.


“Seeing this, it really makes me want to make things.” (young participant after seeing Tim Etchells work ‘Shelter Piece’)

Tim Etchells - Shelter Piece detail

Wonders of Western Trip

We spent the day in Weston looking at the public artworks, eating cockles, discussing the sea and what it meant to us, watching people, looking at the new developments and historic features of the town, and building sand models of Steep Holm. We sat in front of Tim Etchells piece on the Winter Gardens while the neon was turned on especially for our group, and used the text to trigger our own thoughts and ideas about ‘the things that we can’t forget’, and ‘the things that we can’t remember’. Some of the group travelled to see a number of the works along the seafront, including Etchell’s other work - engraved texts on a shelter documenting everyday events on the beach. Participants worked together in small group and also took their own walks, with most people recording images on cameras. By the time we got on the coach to come home, there was a confident and warm hearted feel to the whole group, and on the journey home, many people took out their art packs on their own initiative and began sketching and writing responses to the creative tasks. This was an especially inspiring and cohesive moment on the project, and the playful, thoughtful and productive time on the bus was testament to the interesting and unusual day we had spent together. The relaxed yet very focussed day out had generated a temporary ‘community’ that was genuinely engaged in considering place, public space, people and artistic production.

Art Pack

Simon and Sue created an ‘Art Pack’, one for each participant, with a collection of interesting materials and ideas: creative triggers for drawing and sketching and writing, a series of postcards to respond to (with first class stamp for posting one of them), chalk, pencil, a postcard by artist Francis Alys about border crossings, information and maps of WOW, and 50p to play with on the pier.

Why Weston?

We organised and invited participation in a day long coach trip to Weston Super Mare to see the ‘Wonders of Weston’ (WOW). WOW is a series of public art commissions along the seafront curated by Bristol-based Situations, and is part of a major redevelopment of an important seaside town in the UK including a new sea defence, the recent opening of the rebuilt pier. We chose Weston, an accessible Somerset destination, for this reason – one that would allow us to see new adventurous public artworks, and through our creative invitations, allow reflection together as a group and individually on public space back in Langport.

List of groups invited to partisipate

Alongside promotion in local press and through the SAW website and SPAEDA newsletter invitations were distributed through community groups and organisations, particularly focussing on people who hadn’t already been involved in a Making Matter project. We made personal visits to groups/representatives of groups to talk about our project

- Langport and Huish Episcopi Primary & Secondary Schools

- Somerset Young Arts Promoters

- Senior Citizens Club

- Satellite Group

- Langport Ladies Circle

- History Meeting Group

- Langport Pleasure Painters

- Sedgemoor Gardening Club

- Langport Flower Club

- Langport Community Choir

Flyers were also distributed via Orchid Clothing, Langport Information Centre and the Library.

Project Ideas - WOW trip and beyond

‘Around Here & Out There’ will focus on the exploration of Langport by taking a coach journey out of the town to another town in Somerset: Weston Super Mare. We have chosen Weston for a number of reasons:

- a traditional ‘outing’ or day trip destination

- the sea, the pier, the flood defence

- the public art installations ‘Wonders of Weston’ and accompanying guide provides a stimulating resource for our trip.

- accessible and practical within a day

We’ll be exploring sights and sounds on our day out, that will inspire participants to think about the place they live in, their friends and neighbours, their history and future.
We consider the journey to be as important as the destination and will develop a series of creative activities and games that will act as a catalyst for conversation, and laughs, between the participants. There’s nothing like the idea of a coach trip out to inspire memories of egg sandwiches and no leg room - but don’t worry! - this one is a coach trip with a difference - entertaining and interesting people, sights and sounds to behold, ice cream to be had!

Following the trip to Western-Super-Mare we will run two further ‘workshop’ sessions in Langport, inspired by Wonders of Western.


Building on the creative consultation undertaken in Langport throughout 2010 'Around Here & Out There' aims to deliver a series of creative intergenerational workshops that encourage participants to explore ways in which art can provide a new perspective on the way we understand and animate public space.