July 2018 Update: Unfortunately I was not successful on this occasion and on reflection I do see that I was probably competing against much more experienced artists and that I have little experience in Community Engagement. However the organisers of the Artist Residency will be contacting me directly when the next round of applications opens.
June 2018: I was really keen to apply for the ELAN Valley Artist Residency in 2018, particularly given my recent work on Tryweryn and my desire to continue the theme.
My Application Statement is outlined below along with the supporting images:
Weaving traditional with contemporary, historical with current, I am interested in the integrative nature of digital technology as a way of extending the media used as part of my visual art practice. Particular processes of interest are Printmaking, Sculpture, installation and digital art practices, film and photography. Possessing a keen sense of attention to detail and a strong research ethic. I have recently focussed my artwork around social and/or cultural issues reflecting on historical events that continue to be of relevance in today’s society. In particular, there are two projects that are relevant to this application.
The first body of work relating to the Elan Valley Project comprises artwork that was completed in Spring 2017 for a student exhibition about Caernarfon at Galeri, Caernarfon. This piece, inspired by Hannah Hoch, explores the historical events associated with the evacuation of children from British inner cities during the Second World War.
Many children were evacuated from Liverpool to towns and villages across the North Wales Coast, including Caernarfon. This story, although historical has relevance today, given the issues of migration and displacement that continue to dominate the media. Historical artefacts were gathered from the time period of World War 2 that related to the theme of the evacuation of children. Primarily a suitcase, a gas mask and a child’s jacket, leaflets and photographs.
To provide some clarity to the research, I decided to assemble a mood board. This provided the impetus to produce an assemblage of historical artefacts, photographs and leaflets from the time. This was all stitched together in the form of a map of the UK, with the stitching closely resembling train tracks. I also produced an accompanying book and video that reflected on an unaccompanied child’s journey from Liverpool to Caernarfon. After reading many personal accounts of these events. I devised a collection on bi-lingual statements that appear to reflect the general sentiment felt by the evacuees, their families and their prospective foster communities. These were subsequently used in both the video and the book.
Determining a theme that linked the historical events of the Second World War with current situations piqued a new found research interest. Honouring our heritage by remembering historical events that continue to be of relevance today. These events often determine the future, however progression is sometimes slow and similar situations or events continue to arise.
The next body of work of pertinence to the Elan Valley Residency comprises the artwork I completed during the Spring of 2018. A site-specific piece about the construction of the reservoir Llyn Celyn, flooding the Tryweryn Valley and demolishing the village of Capel Celyn in the process. This piece represents a continuation of an ongoing theme relating to displacement. In this case, the passing of the Tryweryn Bill that lead to the displacement of the village residents to provide water to Liverpool. Approximately 70 years earlier an Act of Parliament had been passed to provide water to Birmingham from the Elan Valley.
Initial focus for this project was on the effects of this controversial scheme on the local community. Of particular interest were the protests and rallies that took place against the Tryweryn Dam project that ultimately led to calls for devolution in Wales.
Inspired by the artist Tim Davis, who uses film, photography and installation to respond to and represent specific sites of interest. Davis also produced a piece called Capel Celyn. He cast 5000 wax nails based on a rusty nail found on the bed of Llyn Celyn during a period of drought.
Many visits to Llyn Celyn were undertaken so that the current aspect of this piece of work was a response to the site itself. Found Objects of note were taken to the site and photographed to create a record of site-specific intervention and response. This is a line of research that I intend to continue.
Two Visual Boards were created using original media photographs to describe the sense of emotion that the project had provoked in the local community. These mood boards were then photographed, and the photographs used in a 5-metre Digital Collage that seeks to remember the protests that took place at the time. Additional Banners were also printed as an accompaniment.
The essence of the work I have created for the Tryweryn work has formed the basis for the ideas presented for the proposed community engagement for the Elan Valley Project. The proposed programme of events I would create for the Elan Valley Project could become a template that can be used in the future for other site specific works with community engagement.
I first became aware the Elan Valley Project when researching the construction of the dams in the Elan Valley and was immediately interested. The Elan Valley Project would give me the opportunity and experience of working external agencies in an artistic capacity.
Having recently been awarded a First Class BA (Hons) Fine Art, I am eager to develop my skills and a practising Fine Artist and the experience of being an Artist in Residence for the Elan Valley Project will help me to achieve this. I am really excited at the thought that I might be able work as an Artist in Residence for this project, achieving a personal goal in the process.
I anticipate that it presents many opportunities for personal growth, development and collaboration particularly with my desire to work further with site specific art and the creation of temporary interventions for the purposes of photography, video and printmaking – extending the media beyond traditional artistic processes.
In my Technical career of some 20 plus years I have worked as a Software Trainer providing training and workshops. I also trained as a Yoga Teacher during this time and taught Yoga for a period of 10 years delivering classes and workshops. Moving forward, I am keen to begin developing workshops and events as an Artist in my local area, improving my Community Engagement Skills and Curatorial Skills.
I was also asked to “outline ideas of how you may engage with local communities and the legacy of your time in the Elan Valley”
Below are my initial thoughts on a programme of community involvement in my proposed residency at the Elan Valley Project.
I anticipate that over the six months I would stay in the area on approximately 10 occasions to develop art work and run interaction with the local schools and community centres in the form of a community project that culminates in an exhibition of digital fabric banners. The artistic purpose of the project would be to create a greater awareness of the integration of digital technology with more traditional artistic processes.
A programme of events and workshops would be developed to run in the local school community and the local adult community consecutively. The intention of the workshops would be to develop a collection of community artwork that could be included in the digital fabric banners.
A series of workshops where people can create vision boards reflecting the Elan Links goals and the intention of the Elan Valley Project a given theme throughout the programme of workshops. The overall intention of this programme is to create an exhibition of banners that reflect the community response to the given theme. The community will be encouraged to take photographs and create drawings and paintings of the area in between sessions that they can use as part of the visual boards.
Once the workshops come to an end, I envisage photographing each of the boards individually to create the digital imagery to be displayed as banners.
I can provide peer to peer mentoring at the community centre for those interested in improving their digital skills or those who need help and assistance with their digital technology. This is an important way that I can share my digital knowledge on to fellow artists, members of the local community and visitors to the area.
Ongoing throughout the project, I would hope to have access to a wall in the community centre that could be the focus of the project where ongoing work could be displayed.
To bring the project to a culmination, I would create a collection of digital collages that can then be printed on fabric.
A competition would be run for the best three visual boards for both the schools and the local community groups; these would then be printed as individual fabric banners and included in the exhibition.
A Social Media campaign will also be run throughout the project with regular posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with a weekly blog post.