Claiming Creativity: Art Education in Cultural Transition
Columbia College Chicago
Art & The Environment: Is it Art or is it Branding?
Title of Paper
“Speculating for Gold”; Socio-Geographic Painting and the Artist as researcher working within Regeneration and Urban Renewal.’
Paul Haywood & Sam Ingleson
Referencing a number of projects undertaken over the past 10 years, this paper reviews the experience of arts in regeneration as a contest between creative intent, commodification and professional re-interpretation. Recently, artist/teachers at the University of Salford have been advising on a new Creative Community Engagement Strategy for the regeneration of the town of Bradley, in post-industrial Lancashire. The shared intention is for a consultation rich, community responsive regeneration, over a protracted period, emphatic of inclusion in the decision making process, highlighting solutions and sustainable community cohesion; what has evolved nevertheless verges on public relations as opposed to creative process.
Ambitious and elusive goals are becoming common place in the artists’ brief and yet the core motive of the practitioner remains the process and discovery of new creativity and artistic output. This paper will draw on the experience of a number of projects (case studies) initiated through a process of colour study and artist enquiry that highlight conflicts in defining the role of the artist as researcher and creativity broker in public and civic programmes.
Golden Mile: In response to the regeneration of Blackpool and the ‘Golden Mile’ (a declining tourist attraction that was once core to the economy of the town) artists have constructed their own interpretation of the brand colour, referred to in the cultural legacy given to the environment by its name. Their speculative experiment, was to discover gold as a colour in darkness (night) and replicate that colour in paint. The thesis was that genuine golden hues exist in the night landscape of Blackpool that are not discernable in daylight. The research experiment was to attempt toemulate those colours in a paint media that is only visible in direct sunlight; a futile exercise, the purpose of which was to embed alchemy in the public art process.
Peace Label: ‘Peace Label’ has involved working with campaign type activities, utilising visuals to unify protagonists and participants in an attempt to move visual messaging forward. As part of this campaign, young people from the Safer Schools partnership in Manchester, Moss Side were invited to create a range of clothing and accessories under the ‘Peace Label’ to be sold commercially to promote the ‘save a life not take a life’ message. It is envisaged that all the clothes/accessories will contain a small quantity of decommissioned gun metal or ballistics – as designer tags or fashion details, to reiorce themessage of every garment purchased will help to take another gun out of circulation. The long term aim is to establish a Community Interest Company with representatives from the local community, CARISMA and the University Project team on the board. This company would sell the clothing range and money made would be put back into the community to fund gun crime reduction initiatives.
Each of these two examples, maintain a privilege of the arts practitioner to work with the unknown despite the context of outcome driven economic goals and regeneration metrics.
Haywood, P & Ingleson, S eds. 2010, Conference on Art, Columbia College Chicago and The European League of Institiutes of the Arts (ELIA)., Chicago, USA.
'Claiming Creativity: Art Education in Cultural Transition' (21 - 24 April 2010), Columbia College, Chicago, U.S.A.