*regenerate 2006 - 2009
*DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE ARTIST CONNECTING WITH COMMUNITIES?... *regenerate was an initiative to address a wide range of social and community issues at a local level, by encouraging creative community dialogue, addressing regeneration issues and connecting artists with local communities. Artists worked on short & medium term projects, as well as year-long residencies in local communities across five local authority areas: Armagh City & District Council, Banbridge District Council, Cookstown District Council, Craigavon Borough Council and Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council. *regenerate used a range of art forms and worked with diverse groups of people, delivering unusual, provocative and challenging artistic projects. The project was funded through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Art of Regeneration programme.
*ARTISTS Average Inc Paddy Bloomer Carbon Design Ian Charlesworth Shane Cullen Ann Donnelly Factotum Mike Hogg Robert Jarvis Stephen Mackey Brian Maguire Julie McGowan LID Architecture Philip Napier Aisling O'Beirn Mick O'Kelly Eleanor Phillips Peter Richards Duncan Ross Helen Sharp Gwen Stevenson Tatter Dandelion Lesley Yendell
*PROJECTS BY AREA Armagh Armagh Gaol Armagh O'Clock Or So I'm Told (p.36) Take A Walk Down Memory Lane (p.26) Banbridge Council Bikes Infusion (p.28) Masts (p.44) Cookstown Daintifyt Revisited (p.22) Cookstown People (p.10) Craigavon Constellations Midsummer's Festival (p.40) Soft Estate T42 (p.24) Team Bench (p.48) You Can't Placebo A Dog Fox Inards Sold Dungannon Ballygawley Road Housing Estate / Annaghshee (p.32) Cross-Council Barn Raising (p.16) Durer and the Gallowglass, Antwerp 1521 (p.6) Or So We've Heard Portable Arts Space
*JUST GET TO THE POINT! *regenerate aimed to: Enrich the quality of life for local communities through participative & creative experiences
Raise the profile of arts in communities & the expectations of what this involves
Create opportunities for new, up & coming and established artists
Provide ephemeral, temporary & permanent works of art and arts project legacies in both in public and community spaces
Challenge the notion of what arts in communities is, who it involves & what happens Contribute to regeneration in its widest sense the regeneration of people, places & ideas Facilitate the sharing of best practice, creative processes through a major inter-council arts project
Celebrate the arts as a tool to explore themes, ideas, issues, conversations, challenges, behaviour & identity
*JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER The evaluation of *regenerate could happily be described as left-field. Green Hat (a community-based consultancy with oodles of evaluation & arts project experience) were appointed as project evaluators in 2008. Early discussions with the lead council, Craigavon Borough Council, led to an exciting proposal for an evaluation 'report' like no other.
This book showcases a selection of case studies from *regenerate, sampling different art forms, different artists and projects being delivered in different places. The book is actually one of the *regenerate projects as it contains a number of specially-commissioned illustrations by Duncan Ross. Duncan's illustrations make quirky and wry comments on *regenerate projects.
Everyone agreed that the evaluation should reflect the innovative, highly creative and challenging nature of *regenerate. The concept of a 'precious book' filled with images and short sections of text was developed. We agreed that the evaluation book would not present analysis of the project or tell the world 'this is how to do an arts in the community project', but rather 'this is what we did and this is what happened - over to you!'
Green Hat worked very closely with Design Ink, the graphic designers, to produce this book, ensuring that the design reflected the themes, ethos and spirit of the *regenerate case studies. The evaluation team had the tough task of trying to summarise complex arts projects in just a few words. We hope justice has been done. Go - enjoy! *05
Shane Cullen Durer and the Gallowglass, Antwerp 1521
This project was inspired by an Albert Durer drawing made in Antwerp in 1521, of five figures who were migrant mercenary soldiers from Ireland known as Gallowglass. Artist Shane Cullen felt that *regenerate would give him the opportunity to explore an idea he had been nurturing of a proposed landmark piece of sculpture.
“It is incredibly valuable to engage with the people about public art so that it is grounded Shane Cullen, Artist in their reality” The aim was to engage with the public and stimulate discussion around themes of immigration, war and peace, language, new communities, and cultural traditions, while asking the public 'would you like to see this as a piece of monumental sculpture in your landscape?’ This would be achieved through the touring of an exhibition and a symposium. 10,596 people visited the exhibition over 5 venues in Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Dungannon and Craigavon.
Translation of exhibition material was undertaken into Polish, Irish, Ulster Scots, Lithuanian, East Timorese and Portugese, to reflect Northern Ireland’s increased cultural diversity and immigrant population.
At the Millennium Court Arts Centre in Portadown, the Gallowglass exhibition was accompanied by an educational programme and outreach projects. Through this the artwork became a vehicle for dialogue and discussion on the broader issues and themes, and an exploration about the motivation and significance of public art.
Inspired bae thon drawin, wi' hit's social, politicial an' historical resonances fer the day's altherin Airlan an' fer an audience o' modairn fowk, the airtist, Shane Cullen, hes brocht thegither this shew. Ulster Scots
Artysta Shane Cullen przygotował tę wystawę zainspirowany tymźe rysunkiem oraz jego społecznym, politycznym i historycznym oddźwiękiem dla dzisiejszej, zmieniającej się Irlandii oraz współczesnej widowni. Polish
â€œCultural activities should be based on dialogue and not imposedâ€? Megan Johnston, Millenium Court Arts Centre
Cookstown People Peter Richards & Ian Charlesworth
The original idea for the photography project in Cookstown was to capture aspects of the lives of migrant workers as they settled into their new surroundings, and the Portuguese community were the first to be photographed by Peter Richards and Ian Charlesworth.
Through time the project grew into one that would encompass all of Cookstown society. Individuals were identified, meetings set up, venues decided upon and the photographers were ready to capture the faces of Cookstown.
Peter and Ian took images of migrant workers, nurses, doctors, meat factory workers, street traders, teachers, dinner ladies, men of religion, office staff, cleaners, managers, shop workers, girls with attitude, sports people, people in pubs, people by water, people sitting on walls - confident and comical, serious and smiling, shy and awkward - people from all sorts of professions and backgrounds. 180 Cookstown people have been captured through the lens of a camera.
There have been many ideas about what to do with the photographs from this project. Ideas included collectable stickers albums, mini exhibitions at different venues and the projection of the images on screen and buildings. It was finally agreed that the photographs will be framed, and displayed on a rotating basis in a semi-permanent exhibition - The Changing Faces of Cookstown - in the Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre. The exhibition will ensure a long legacy for this *regenerate project.
How to Make a Portable Barn (6 metres x 9 metres)
A Definition of Barn-Raising “A social event, prevalent in 18th and 19th Century rural North America during which a community comes together to assemble a barn for one or more of its households. The tradition of ‘barn raising’ continues, more or less unchanged, in some Amish and old order Mennonite communities”
Ingredients 1. Working drawings of a barn design (based on a typical Northern Irish barn structure located outside Lurgan) 2. 200ft of steel scaffolding 3. 4 x 20 foot long Belfast roof trusses 4. 3 tonnes of recycled timber 5. 8 stone of nuts and bolts 6. 8 wooden posts 7. 3 giant sheets of PVC printed with a photographic image of the exterior texture of an old barn 8. Nails galore 9. A hammer, saw, welder, drill and grinder 10. 1 Structural Engineer 11. The hands of two gifted artists - Paddy Bloomer & Stephen Mackey - to craft & create, then dissect for transportation to a wide range of community events & private functions
How to Raise a Barn 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
1 trailer to transport Eight people equipped with 16 willing hands 8 hours of free time Wind speeds of less than 35 miles per hour 100 people to fill!
â€œProbably the only nomadic agricultural outhouse in the worldâ€? Paddy Bloomer, Artist
“Part art, part spectacle, part venue” Emma Wilson, Arts Development Officer
Daintifyt Revisited Lesley Yendell
Daintifyt, a brassiere factory in Cookstown â€Ś. Who worked there, what did they produce, when did it open and why did it close? These are questions that ran through artist Lesley Yendell's mind when she discovered the existence of the Daintifyt Factory while researching for a *regenerate project. Stimulated by the idea that older people are containers of history, Lesley set out to find and interview a diverse mixture of people who had worked at Daintifyt. People were drawn in because it gave them the opportunity to meet up with old colleagues, tell their stories and share memories, and people were pleased that someone was interested in 'their' factory as there are few people in Cookstown who do not know someone who worked in 'The Daintifyt'. Through the conversations and reminiscing, over many tea parties and a special reunion lunch, along with the collection of memorabilia, photographs and artefacts that grew, the artists were able to create a picture in their imagination of the factory and the industrial processes involved. The results are a number of sculptural works and large scale drawings influenced by the underwear garments produced at Daintifyt. The Daintifyt Reunion Lunch table was recreated and two films by Kristian Borysevicz, one, 'Dainty Dream', a video collage and another 'Dainty Flow' using memorabilia and imagery from the interviews, together with a sound collage, were part of the installation within the old Daintifyt Factory. This project created an overwhelming feeling of a factory community coming back together again for a ceilidh, a celebration of Daintifyt and a tribute to the people who worked there.
T42 Lesley Yendell
The use of natural materials and change of scale in the realisation of everyday objects led Lesley Yendell to create two oversized tea cups and a tea spoon in the project T42. The ideas were developed through a number of Chinese ink drawings portraying cups and a spoon integrally related to the environment, coming from or going back to the earth.
The cups are familiar objects that people can relate to and feel comfortable around and represent our relationship to tea drinking, it being a sociable activity and a way of communicating with each other - the spoon needing to be shared. However, changing the scale and materials of a familiar object makes us look at it in a different way.
Conservation Volunteers were working in the parkland around Oxford Island and a link to the local environment is made through the use of the pruned branches of hazel, sycamore and alder trees as the materials to create the cups. Geordie Sewell, a committed volunteer, and a group of flower arrangers participated in the process by helping to wire the branches into the framework of the cups and spoon, an otherwise lonely activity when working on such a large scale. The size of the cups meant that each had to be constructed in two halves in order to fit them out through the doors of the space at Oxford Island where they were created. The cups were displayed in local parks as well as Rushmere Shopping Centre (Craigavon), Edenvilla Park (Portadown), Dungannon Council Offices and Palace Stables(Armagh). Jonny Kerr recorded the whole journey of the cups on film from their initial concept through to their installation.
Take a Walk Down Memory Lane Lesley Yendell Research revealed that Armagh had a shoe factory, Armagh Shoes, and twenty-one shoemakers during the 19th and 20th centuries. Inspired by this and the importance of our feet, carrying us on our journey through life and connecting us to the earth, Lesley Yendell's *regenerate project in Armagh focused on shoes. Lesley visited shoe shops in Armagh looking for customers with a passion for shoes, advertised in the local press and talked to people until she built up a collection of shoes for the project. Each pair of shoes has a story attached to it. There are the fake Christian Dior shoes worn on the last holiday before the baby was born, the well-worn pair of runners of a road bowls champion, the daughter's shoes worn to her mother's funeral, and the favourite pair worn by a retired school teacher. There are also antique baby shoes, sports shoes, comfortable slippers, a well-polished pair of gent's shoes, dancing shoes, and an unworn pair of high-heeled pink sandals with a diamond on the sole. While researching Lesley also found historical artefacts and heard many shoe-related stories and superstitions, such as 'don't put your shoes on the table as it will cause an argument,' and 'bold horses have hard shoes'. The exhibition at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh will include the historical artefacts, stories and sayings through wall projections, the shoes, and various scale drawings of the shoes. Most interestingly, thousands of people could see the drawings of shoes, as they will be made into large stickers and journey around Armagh on the sides of bin lorries.
Infusion Lesley Yendell Infusion was inspired by Northern Irish hospitality, and the love of tea drinking that the artist Lesley Yendell encountered when embarking on this project. The 19th century postal history of Banbridge as an important stop on the Belfast to Dublin stagecoach route provided a more local perspective.
For three months, members of several local arts groups came together with members of the Polish community to work with Lesley Yendell to create two giant sculptural pieces. Firstly, a teapot created out of beech branches, and secondly a tea cosy made out of fabric panels stitched together, decorated with post boxes, post marks and post cards in commemoration of the town's postal history and written correspondence that was once so important as a way for people to communicate.
The monumental representation of a teapot constitutes an unlinking of scale and context. The use of natural materials in the realisation of the piece allows the object to relinquish itself of the stereotype to which it is related and it acquires another dimension. The object distanced from reality, introduces itself into a poetic universe of dreams, fairy tales and histories - everyday objects in different scales, different materials viewed in different contexts, reminiscent of scenes from Alice in Wonderland. The oversized teapot and tea cosy were displayed at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio and the Old Town Hall in Banbridge.
To celebrate the project and local industry Lesley worked with Ferguson's Irish Linen, established in 1854, to design and make table runners embroidered with Infusion images.
BALLYGAWLEY ROAD Annaghshee, formerly known as Ballygawley Road Estate (Dungannon) has been alive with arts activities in the *regenerate projects. The aim of the project was to restore pride in the area and build confidence among local people. This was done by connecting artists with communities so that creativity would drive social exchange, regeneration and change over a sustained period. The project was community-driven with the local Residents Association at the core of the decision making process, which was led by artist Brian Maguire and supported by the Dungannon arts team. Activities centered around the Loughview Community House which was given a makeover to include a new gallery space. The refurbishment was funded by the Department for Social Development, and aimed to create a safe community space for all. During the lifetime of the project, a whole range of arts and creative activities took place in and around the estate including children's art exhibition, photography & pottery workshops for children, professional art exhibition, drawing classes for adults and jewellery workshops. A community table was also commissioned from the artist Johnny Hamill, and a short film about the *regenerate project and positive developments in Ballygawley Road estate was made. After hearing about the project from Brian Maguire, Christy Moore performed a special benefit concert with all proceeds going to the residents development fund. The film was shown at the concert. *regenerate activities in the Ballygawley Road estate were part of wider major regeneration and renewal of the area. A sculpture of a fairy was unveiled to officially launch the new name of the estate, which was chosen by local people. Previously dubbed the 'Ponderosa', the estate was re-named Annaghshee, â€˜the marsh of the fairiesâ€™, on which it is reputed to be built.
The Residents Association are still driven by enthusiasm and are working with the Dungannon arts team to take the legacy of *regenerate to new levels. They continue to organise creative activities and events that will benefit the community in the long-term, and contribute towards the ongoing regeneration and renewal of Annaghshee.
Mother and toddler art classes, jewellery making for adults, postcards for residents to send to friends & family abroad, a Christmas drama production, a community garden with allotments and a multi-purpose sports area are all in the pipeline...
Or So I'm Told is a *regenerate project based in Armagh whereby vernacular information was gathered from local people to build up a database of nicknames and stories. The resident artist for the duration of the project was Aisling O'Beirn. Research meetings were held and postcards left at different places in the city to gather information from as many different sources as possible. The project depended largely on word of mouth to spread the message and get local people involved. This was backed up by posters and post cards which were placed at locations around the city. People were able to put information on the post cards and return them to the Market Place Theatre.
The information gathered from this word of mouth network manifested in several ways: A May Day event involving local schools and the Armagh Rhymers was held. Pupils in three local schools participated in mask making, writing and dance workshops in the lead-up to the event. They then took part in a parade through Armagh City and performed their own songs and dances at locations around the city. A pub quiz with a local theme and using some of the information gathered was held. A large banner and rolling video listing locations and their associated nicknames were placed at the Market Place Theatre for viewing by the general public. These events along with the banner and video rendered the stories gathered during the research stage visible to the public in an entertaining and informative way.
Quiz questions Who can 'split the sop'? A good road bowler Who is Ard Macha?
Ard Macha is translated as the Height of Macha or
Macha's height. It refers to Drumsalliagh or the Sally Ridge which is the hill on which the Old Church of Ireland cathedral stands. So the height is topographical not personal.
What is the principle variety of apple grown in Armagh? The Bramley Apple
What grows well on executed prisoners graves? Rhubarb
Where did they seal the green lady?
In a green bottle in a wall in a house half way up Vicar's Hill
When were boats last seen on The Mall?
1958 during a flood that flooded The Mall
Selection of poetry written by school children which was put to music and performed during the Mayday celebrations... the green lady the green lady in castle street saw a bottle and thought it was a treat when she died everyone let out a huge sigh of relief but one little boy did not care because he didn't believe in her
the little boy found the bottle that the green lady saw the thing that came out you could have sworn it was a claw
armagh's so unique it is such a pretty city it is so pretty we have enough to keep us off our feet for the rest of the week
i was walking up vicar's hill when i met an old man he was carrying a builder's plan so i gave him a shout and he said i am building up a wall so that the green lady can not get out
red ned's one day i went away with my da i ended up in a street in Armagh i thought we were going to look at beds but instead we went to red ned's
the milfield, the milfield having fun, having fun, meeting friends, meeting friends, always having a great time
the armstrong ps, the armstrong ps, learning, learning, where i go to school, where i go to school, after school clubs,
the mall, the mall, big and green, big and green, lots of trees, lots of trees, in the middle of town
Filling Spaces with unexpected things The prep... We've got just a three month lead-in to encourage participation in the festival by imparting new creative skills and creating art to exhibit over the weekend. Our participants are aged 2 to 88 years and come from a range of groups including cross community projects such as the Donaghcloney / Sarsfields dance group, visual arts work with UBIFHE's Link groups (which cater for young adults with learning disabilities), mother and toddler groups, 50+ groups and youth groups.
Friday 20th June The marquees are up and the park is awash with colour, even the trees are dressed for the occasion! The art installations in and around the trees are the first signs that local people have been very busy over the past three months. Not far from the entrance gate a wildflower meadow has been created. This display creates a backdrop for the Copper Beech tree, which itself proudly displays giant flowers fluttering in the breeze. Other trees around the park are looking snug and warm in the tree cosies crafted by local ladies. The cosies started out as individual knitted squares which were sewn together to dress the trees in this novel way. The flowers are already attracting curious spectators making their way back from the Big Read event and the snug trees are proving to be very huggable for children and adults alike. Some of the tree cosies will be dismantled after the festival to be sent to make blankets for disaster relief charities and the rest are to be kept for display at future events. Participants of the workshops are surprised and delighted to see how their individual pieces have culminated in a wonderful exhibition. Tomorrow's arrival of fairies and pixies should truly set the sceneâ€Ś
Saturday 21st June - The main event Last nightâ€™s Midsummerâ€™s Ball was fantastic! Recent graduates from Belfast Met staged an after-dinner performance and set the scene for an evening of dancing to a live swing band and great entertainment. Many of those who attended the ball decided to return today and even though the weather forecast was not good. It did not hamper the enthusiasm of festival-goers, artists and participants. The South Ulster Concert Band brought cheer to the day with lively music and stilt-walkers accompanied by fairies on patrol helped to further build the atmosphere. Despite the weather, attendance was high at the free art workshops where children got an opportunity to expand the wildflower meadow with their own creations or make their own fairy and pixie costumes. The main event for younger attendees and their parents was the baby rave in the marquee giving a chance for toddlers to get a taste of the arts. Spectators enjoyed the trapeze artists and the chaotic tug o' war competition. The Master McGrath willow sculpture commissioned by the project was installed during the week and this tribute to Lurgan's famous greyhound has generated much interest amongst the general public.
Sunday 22nd June Drumming and musical workshops have been well attended throughout the day and the terrible weather hasn't prevented crowds of people from turning out. The tours of Brownlow House were a good opportunity for local people to get a look inside the castle and people enjoyed music and entertainment throughout the afternoon. Over the weekend the displays of fine art have been well received by the public and people who wouldn't normally visit gallery exhibitions had an opportunity to experience a wide range of fine art practice. But the hard work isn't over yetâ€Ś... Everything has to be dismantled and the park left as it was found, marking the end of months of preparation and final completion of this *regenerate project. By filling spaces with unexpected things, people were encouraged to view Lurgan Park in a different light. The surprise and delight aspect of the festival was designed to allow local people to experience the park in new ways and raise expectations by enhancing the environment.
THE MASTS PROJECT
Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier was born in Banbridge in 1796. He was Sir John Franklin's second in command when they set sail in 1845 with some 130 men on board the HMS Terror and the HMS Erebus to discover the Northwest Passage - the sea route that joins the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. After Franklin's death, Crozier led the expedition. By then, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror had been crushed by the ice and it was Crozier who inherited the hopeless task of leading around 100 starving survivors in a forlorn retreat across the ice. Men fell dead in their tracks and some apparently resorted to the last taboo of cannibalism in the desperate struggle to survive.
Nobody ever returned from the ill-fated expedition, and it is believed Captain Crozier was the 'last man standing' and died some time in 1848 - three years after they set sail. The fate of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus and their crews was the subject of huge speculation at the time, and still to this day the events of the expedition remain of global interest. Today, Captain Crozier talks to us about his life's highs and lows and how the *regenerate Masts Project led by Phil Napier is hoping to raise the profile of one of the world's greatest, yet largely unrecognised polar explorers.
Tell us a bit about your early years in Banbridge I was born at Avonmore House Banbridge in 1796. The house which was built in 1792 and still stands today opposite a large memorial to me which was erected in Church Square in 1862. I was the eleventh of thirteen children and just before my fourteenth birthday, I left Banbridge to enlist in the British Navy. What are your greatest strengths? Modesty, cool-headedness, meticulous planning skills and no fear of the unknown! What are your greatest weaknesses? An obsession with exploring some of the earth's most isolated, lonely and treacherous regions, at times spending up to four years on polar expeditions. Who has had the most influence on your life? Probably Captain William Edward Parry with whom I sailed on expeditions to find the North West Passage in 1821 and 1824.
What is your biggest regret? Not having the opportunity to marry Sophy Cracroft, the niece of my fellow explorer Sir John Franklin. Lovelorn and bent on impressing her, I sailed with grave doubts about my final venture with Sir John Franklin and his ability as commander on my last expedition, and paid for it with my life. What makes you angry? Being stranded in compacted ice for years (as was the case with HMS Terror and HMS Erebus). What was the happiest day of your life? Receiving recognition among the scientific society with my election as a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society in 1843. Among my sponsors was Sir John Herschel, the greatest astronomer of the age. What is your biggest achievement? There are many - including sailing on six great journeys of Arctic and Antarctic discovery and exploration and becoming one of Britain's leading authorities on magnetism. Also reputedly being the first explorer to discover the North West Passage!
Tell us about one of your most memorable experiences at sea? When I first joined the British Navy I was immediately thrown into the Napoleonic wars. On one of my earliest voyages, I met the last surviving mutineer from the Bounty, who was living in idyllic exile on the tiny Pacific island of Pitcairn.
What do you think of the *regenerate Project? Despite my illustrious career, I received scant recognition for my efforts and the memory of my work has, to a large extent, been allowed to fade. I think my devotion to polar exploration deserves a better understanding and a place among the men who shaped the history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration. This *regenerate project, with its awareness raising events including a 'Talk on the Terror' (by world-renowned marine archaeologist Robert Grenier), innovative arts events, and Phil Napier's work with young people in Banbridge, including the development of a single museum piece, will be the start of a major arts initiative linked to my name which will be of great interest and benefit to the area. Describe yourself in six words Lost and frozen in Arctic ice.
“What secrets may be hidden within those wrecked or stranded ships, we know not… What may be buried in the graves of our unhappy countrymen or in caches not yet discovered we may yet have to learn”
Lady Franklin, Sir John Franklin's widow
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QUOTES FROM CONSULTATIONS WITH PARK USERS (These are engraved in the Bench) The wind can cut you in two People know each other by their dogs His ma walked it at night Victoria Park If they pulled one out I put in three Heaters on, showers working Lord Lurgan Memorial Park And his English is much better than his dad's After the ceasefire the were two patrols at opposite ends the emerald city because of all the broken green grass Alan Hill Park the new park litter lifted, grass cut, pitches marked built with Goodyear money Kevins Park He told me it was a champion in the 1800s although wee hugh saidâ€Ś We had a group of park people
WEAPONS OF RESEARCH: Cunning verbal exchange using a variety of unconventional methods of engagement including getting users to buck about on a bronco table. Another means involved approaching unsuspecting park users and asking them to show the contents of their pockets. The 'interrogation' takes a
course, and does or doesn't move to the acceptances
and production of a photograph, while extracting the
suspects views on the park
WHAT INFORMATION WAS EXTR ACTED?: Many park users expressed the need for more seating in the park that might enable conversation and relaxation, and which would reflect the rich history of the park including its link with sports (particularly football), sporting characters and personalities *50
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Bloomer's tractor research (drawing on the legacy of Harry Ferguson's tractors) and the barn raising project.
Whilst *regenerate raised a multitude of ideas, reflections and concepts, the evaluation identified five key themes that ran through much of the work.
Carbon Design's Titanic Table was based on a famous table destined for the drawing room on the Titanic that missed the shipâ€™s first sailing and was then used in Harland & Wolff's shipyard.
Recovery & Discovery The notion of recovery and discovery is found in a number of *regenerate projects. Through the barn raising and bikes projects, Paddy Bloomer recycled lots of material thus both recovering it from redundancy and discovering a new use for it. The barn raising also involved the re-discovery of old crafts, expertise and skills. In the Ballygawley Road Estate (now Annaghshee), there was a sense of rediscovering community, particularly through its children and young people. Likewise, in Daintifyt Revisited, artist Lesley Yendell collaborated with former lingerie factory workers to recover factory samples and artefacts, culminating in an installation piece in the Daintifyt factory, thus rediscovering its space. Phil Napier's Masts projects drew on the inspirational story of Captain Crozier and of how he and his men were found frozen to death in their ship on the way to try to discover the North West Passage. The use of everyday, often domestic, objects was used by Lesley Yendell in her T42 project. T42 produced giant willow tea cups, which were installed temporarily in unusual places (shopping centre, park) for people to discover. Local heritage & industry Many of the *regenerate artists were inspired and influenced by local heritage and industry in the areas in which they worked. Northern Ireland's agricultural heritage was a major feature in Paddy
Lesley Yendell's Daintifyt Revisited focussed on the lingerie industry in Cookstown, whilst Take a Walk Down Memory Lane drew inspiration from the once prolific shoe factories in Armagh. Infusion sought inspiration from the Irish love of tea-drinking and local postal history, so featured tea pots, cosies and post boxes. Journeys Whilst the whole of *regenerate to be described as a journey - for the artists, councils and individuals involved, there were several projects which had this theme running through them very strongly. Shane Cullen's Gallowglass was an epic journey of the Irish mercenaries travelling to Antwerp in the 16th century. A similarly epic journey was made by Captain Crozier, a source of inspiration for Phil Napier's Masts project. A more personal journey was made by the women formerly employed by the Daintifyt factory in Cookstown as they first held a reunion, then reminisced about their work and then collaborated with artist Lesley Yendell to produce an installation telling the story of Daintifyt. In the Ballygawley Road Estate, the whole community went on a developmental journey, beginning a regeneration process part of which resulted in a 'proper' name for their community - Annaghshee. For Or So We've Heard, artists Helen Sharp & Aisling O'Beirn travelled around Northern Ireland collecting recipes and remedies so encountered both a literal
journey as well as through personal stories and reminiscences. LID architecture carried out research across the councils and proposed a mobile multifunctional arts space that will leave a travelling legacy of artists in communities in years to come. Drawing on Global Culture Several of the *regenerate projects took inspiration from global cultures, heritage and traditions. The 50 foot long Team Bench drew on the concept of the apartheid bench in South Africa, with a twist having 22 legs representing a football team. The Barn Raising drew heavily on a long-established tradition where a community comes together to assemble a barn for one or more of its households. The tradition remains practically unchanged in many Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities in the US, particularly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and and Indiana.
spaces where perhaps none existed before. *regenerate enabled those involved to both look at familiar places or space with a different perspective but also to fill spaces with unexpected things. The Ballygawley Road (Annaghshee) project was full of a sense of place. At first this was the negative external and self-identified reputation of the estate, but later became positive as the community travelled through its regeneration and gathered a sense of pride in the estate culminating in its renaming to Annaghshee. The Team Bench and Midsummers Dream Festival both contributed towards raising the profile of Lurgan Park both within the town and further afield. With a strong sense of place, both projects also explored the uses of parks as a public space and encouraged people to do 'something different' in it.
Gallowglass concerns itself with migrant communities, new communities, war & peace and different cultural traditions. A link is made between Ireland and what is now Belgium, and so considers the context of European migration and movement.
The collection of recipes and remedies in Or So We've Heard drew heavily on local and Northern Irish / Irish traditions, hearsays, old wives tales and adages, whilst Or So I'm Told collected place names, nicknames, terms and other vernacular of Armagh City.
In Masts, the international arctic community becomes involved, from a historical perspective drawing on the exploits and courage of the North West passage explorers on HMS Terror, and the contemporary local polar community in Northern Ireland.
The design of the barn in the Barn Raising was taken from a very traditional structure commonly found in Northern Ireland, and modelled on one just outside of Lurgan. So although drawing on Amish and other international agricultural traditions, there was also a strong link with Co Armagh.
A Sense of Place There was an incredibly strong sense of place running throughout all the *regenerate projects, drawing on local vernacular, stories, industry, places, people and characters (living & historical), landmarks, history and heritage.
Daintifyt Revisited brought together women from in and around Cookstown, who had dedicated their working lives to the production of lingerie in the factory. The physical space of the factory and its location had therefore been a significant part of their lives, and their installation art work demonstrated an immensely strong sense of 'their place', Daintifyt.
This sense of place also extended to the reclaiming of spaces for new or different uses and of creating
Relationships Local authorities are known for their own way of doing things, so when you put five councils together there are always going to be challenges around agreeing processes, approaches and the sharing & understanding of ideas. The relationship between artists and arts officers was at times also a challenge, with both groups trying to find the balance between maintaining artistic integrity and council processes, between the freedom of artistic expression & uncertainty with formal & political systems, and the occasional struggle to find a shared language about the expression of creative ideas. Practicalities A major four-year project involving dozens of artists, hundreds of ideas and participants, three counties, five councils and public funding creates a range of practical issues. There was uncertainty about the artistic outputs (e.g public art, installation, exhibition) from the projects, and whilst this was a natural part of the process for some, the lack of concrete ideas &/or processes was a genuine concern for others.
*NO, OF COURSE IT WASN'T ALL PLAIN SAILING... No-one would ever reflect on a complex large-scale arts project like this and say that there hadn't been challenges! It has been a learning curve for the arts officers, the councils, the lead artists, the communities, the artists, the partners, the individuals involved and the evaluation team.
The nature of the outputs themselves was at time challenging - â€œIs this really art???â€? The necessity of accountability that the arts officers work under sometimes does not sit comfortably with artistic integrity. Everyone involved with *regenerate has been on a huge learning curve, and as we all learn at different speeds and in different ways, this has not always been a shared journey. The timescale of this project has also been a practical challenge, with a longer lead-in time needed for some projects, a two-part research & development followed by delivery for others, and sometimes working with an undefined or open-ended timescale.
Community engagement Whilst the engagement with individuals, communities, artists, partners and others for most projects was hugely successful, there were a few projects that *regenerate struggled to create effective engagement opportunities for. Gallowglass and Cookstown People were examples of projects where engagement was not perceived to be as meaningful as planned. Sometimes this was because aspects of the project did not seem to connect as well with the public; sometimes the engagement opportunities were not as well designed as they might have been; and sometimes it was just the wrong time of year that hindered the engagement. Artists in community settings Artists may be many things to many people but they cannot be all things to all people. There were times throughout *regenerate when artists through their interaction with communities became involved in issues that had a wider context. Whilst the artists often integrated the ideas and conversations around these issues into their art, they didn't necessarily always have the appropriate skills or background to deal with or communicate these. These issues included anti-social behaviour, community relations, racism and serious / violent crime. The need for a multi-disciplinary team and approach for this type of project has been a real point of learning.
*PROJECT SUCCESS: READ ALL ABOUT IT! The evaluation team from Green Hat declare this project a roaring success! There isnâ€™t space in this fabulous book to tell you all about the amazing impacts and benefits that *regenerate has brought to the artists, communities, individuals, places and people involved, but here's a taster... Shared Experiences & Making Connections All the projects connected artists with local communities, individuals with a new or different part of their local community, councils with artists, places with peopleâ€Ś Each project created a sense of shared experience for those taking part and gave participating communities access to creative and artistic ideas, skills, practitioners, experiences and processes. Use of Non-Arts Venues *regenerate boldly took arts to new, different, unexpected and unusual places. These places included factories, public parks, housing estates, fields, places of work, streets, car parks, churches & chapels, kitchens, islands and markets. Legacies This was a four-year project and whilst many of the artistic outputs were not intended to last for a long period of time, *regenerate has left a number of legacies including:
Physical objects Art work Creative & artistic skills Books Shared experiences Relationships Equipment & resources Capacity Building (for artists, communities & arts officers)
The Challenge of 'What is Art?' *regenerate has challenged the notion of 'what is art?' It has contributed to the wider debate about society's value, expectation and interpretation of public and community-based art. Is the portable barn a piece of art? When is a bench not a bench? Can you cook a recipe or remedy into an arts project? These questions have challenged the communities and individuals involved, the artists, the councils & arts officers and the public who experience them second hand. *regenerate has been a risk-taking project. Many projects began through a research & development phase and simply never made it to fruition. Others continued organically with all involved uncertain as to what might come out of it. So yes, it's often been an uncomfortable process with some of us dealing better than other with the uncertainty. But no, it's never been boring! Process of Engagement The process of engagement with individuals, groups, communities and organisations has been a great strength of *regenerate. The challenging of people's perceptions of 'what is art?' has also helped widen participation and engagement to people who didn't see the arts as being 'for me'. To engage with people, *regenerate artists did all the 'usual' things like workshops, informal talks and meetings, but more interestingly and challenging, they wanted to do more than scratch the surface of engagement. Our artists went undercover - they camped out in parks to gently mug dog walkers & teenage party-goers to find out why they came to the park; they asked people to empty their pockets and show them the contents, to see what it said about them; they held tea parties to get the conversation flowing & the reminiscences rocking; they persuaded local people to help raise a barn (as you
do); they rode around car parks with polar bears on their heads and fake snow on the ground. Catalyst for Development *regenerate is not claiming to have changed the world. Well, maybe just a little bit. The evaluation team found a number of examples of how the project has contributed to wider regeneration, community development and ongoing initiatives. It has played a pivotal role in wider regeneration projects such as the economic and community development of the Ballygawley Road estate. The regeneration journey of the estate went from graffiti proclaiming 'Welcome to Hell' to the estate being renamed Annaghshee - meaning 'fairy of the marshes', which reflects the legend of the local area on which the estate was built. The ongoing development and revitalising of Lord Lurgan Park has also benefitted from the input of *regenerate, and the use of the park continues to diversify. A number of projects which took place through *regenerate have resulted in bigger, more long-term or larger scale initiatives, such as the proposal to develop a landmark sculpture to reflect the Gallowglass ideas; a piece of public art celebrating journeys big and small from Banbridge, from the new A1 to the North West Passage; and the ongoing use of the barn for festivals, community and corporate events across Northern Ireland. *regenerate was never intended to be a means to an end, but rather a springboard...... a catalyst.....a leverâ€Śâ€Ś to a range of creative initiatives, projects, ideas, programmes, workshops and processes.
*REGENERATE THE FUTURE
So, when the artists move on to creative pastures new, the arts officers to exciting new development initiatives, and the participants to other aspects of their lives, what's left? There are a number of important legacies from *regenerate: The barn will become a social enterprise business Lots of learning to be documented, shared, implemented & embedded for future high profile arts in communities projects Installation of public art in Banbridge, Lurgan & Portadown Raised profile for artists involved Development of a tourism link focussing on Crozier & his ship, HMS Terror Ongoing partnerships between artists, arts projects, local communities & statutory agencies Stronger network of artists & range of collaborative opportunities Portable arts space will be used across the councils to continue the link between artist & place Inter-council relationships strengthened as we move towards the conclusion of the Review of Public Administration Is this a new model for engagement for arts in community settings?