Arts Commissioner Client Group Funder
Introduction_The Lifelines project is a 6 month experiment to link up six art
studios across the northeast region that have varying resources. Artists were
selected for their experience and sensibility, matched to particular studios -
exploring existing facilities and users’ desires to try new ways of working -
and visiting at least one of the other studios.
Hepworth event_featured work_w/curator Garry Hunter + artist Bee Taylor:
Artrium Art Studio_Hartlepool_open Tuesday - Friday from 9.30am - 4.30pm
Registered Charity offering choice of packages to people
who would like to join and members that don’t have a
package can pay a daily fee. Also run a retail outlet.
Lead artist_Bee Taylor’s work encapsulates ceramics, glass and ephemera.
She fired up a kiln to demonstrate glass-making techniques. Participants
looked at the maritime heritage of Hartlepool, and learned how to make their
own pieces. She is also advising on making ceramics to the studio users
Phoenix Art Group_Stockton-on-Tees_Saturdays only_10.00am to 3.00pm.
Formed 2002, volunteer led, constituted group, meets at
community centre. Members pay small attendance fee.
Lead artist_Matthew Kolakowski has taught in every sector from primary to
higher education and his Memento adult and community learning module
developed into a big European partnership. He shared his skills of making
waste cardboard into suitcase sculptures that represent an icon from the
golden age of travel and poignantly links to issues of forced and economic
migration. He also led workshops at Chilli Studios.
Bill Quay Arts Studio_Gateshead_Monday afternoons only_1pm to 4pm.
A recently established Community Interest Company,
volunteer run with current Awards for All grant.
Lead artist_‘Chewing Gum Man’ Ben Wilson made one detailed miniature
painting on gum discarded on pavements at each of the studios, leading at
Bill Quay where he expanded ‘upcycling’ to give participants the choice of
painting on other waste materials including squashed tin cans and bricks.
Hepworth event_other work and studios_incl Garry Hunter as artist_
Arts4Wellbeing_South Shields_open Monday - Friday from 9.30am - 3.30pm
Charity operating since 1994 as South Tyneside Art Studio,
access is free with a referral from a health professional.
Lead artist_Garry Hunter worked at Tynecolour photo lab in the 1980s, a
stone’s throw from Arts4Wellbeing, where he introduced large format film-
based practices and vintage Polaroid. Each member of the group chose an
exotic destination as a concept, using ‘hand colouring’ techniques on prints.
Chilli Studios_Newcastle_open Monday -Thursday from 10.00am - 5.00p
Registered charity, access via one of 3 types of membership.
Recently awarded Big Lottery funding and opened new
Lead artist_Cityzen Kane AKA David Evans develops his own recipes for
often complex sculptures and led workshops to pass on his skills of creating
‘ancient aliens’ in clay. He also assisted glassmaker Tom Chadwin at NTAS :
North Tyneside Art Studio_North Shields, open Monday - Friday, from
9.30am - 4.30pm + evenings / Saturday AM.
Registered charity. operating since 1991, access
is free with a referral from a health professional.
Lead artist_Tom Chadwin studied glassmaking at University of Sunderland.
For Lifelines he made a chandelier of layered fused glass sections designed
by studio users themselves, mounted onto bicycle tyre rims, powered by an
old mirrorball motor. He also assisted Cityzen Kane at Chilli Studios.
The benefits to service users in each of the studios is wide ranging and real.
Typical benefits reported include increased self worth and confidence,
improved quality of life, personal growth, skills development and reduced
symptoms of ill health. “The Art Studio turned my life around in such a way I
can hardly begin to describe. My world was so closed in that it even
frightened me. I was living in pyjamas…all of my curtains and blinds were
closed… On a few occasions I tried to take my own life. Now I have skirts and
jeans on my washing line instead of pyjamas and nightdresses. My curtains
opened last week for the first time in 2 years. The Art Studio has become my
saviour, a place of peace and tranquillity and an oasis of encouragement and
friendship.” Wanda NTAS service user. This impact is nationally recognised,
“The arts, creativity and the imagination are agents of wellness: they help
keep the individual resilient, aid recovery and foster a flourishing society.”
(Charter for Arts, National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing)
Prepared by lead artist_producer_curator_Garry Hunter_T_07860 435 693
Creative Director of Fitzrovia Noir Community Interest Company
Registered Office_Boiler House 1954_Trinity Buoy Wharf_E14 0JW
Project Space_The Egghouse_Hillhead Farm_Lizard Lane_SR6 7NN
Fitzrovia Noir was established as a Community Interest Company in 2011,
after producing over 30 site specific projects starting in 2008 with a major
documentation of the demise of the Middlesex Hospital in central London,
photographing during the demolition period former patients and staff
including Professor Sir Anthony Epstein, who started at the teaching hospital
there in 1946 and went on to co-discover the virus that causes M.E.
· A little general background on our area, how commissioning operates_
The studios under the North East Art Studios Partnership banner shortlisted
half a dozen applicantions from 26 received and awarded the commission to
Fitzrovia Noir CIC within 24 hours of the presentation. After visiting each
studio I then commissioned another five artists to work with me.
The Lifelines project started by giving a specially printed Logbook to each
participant, distributed to groups at each studio. The centrespread has a
blanked-out Metro and local rail map, with the locations of each studio
marked at the nearest station, encouraging participants to create their own
response, mapping their connections and personal interests. The second
publication a ‘work in progress document’ Workbook was launched at The
Bridge Gallery, at Tynemouth Metro station, reflecting the core concept of
journeys. Featured TV news link_https://vimeo.com/148330720
The North East Art Studios Partnership project is funded by Esmée Fairbairn
Foundation and is a partnership development activity. The aim is to develop
relationships, communication and sharing of best practice between the
studios, plus strengthen their visibility and voice in the region. The creative
element Lifelines is the heart of this development activity.
· What was happening with arts and cultural providers at the time? ·
How connected were they already with commissioners?
Other projects for discussion are #StreetArtHeroes (August-December 2014)
a major part of Cultural Spring a £ 2m ACE Creative People & Places initiative
managed by University of Sunderland and current Devise Dance Document a
pilot to research the Geordie vernacular through the work of three leading
creative practitioners who spent their formative years growing up in South
Shields – Eric Idle, Ridley Scott and Lindsay Kemp, the latter now being very
keen to develop a new work in the town, 65 years after last performing there.
Differences between sourcing/tendering v directly applying for funding.
· What budget was this work funded from ? An Esmée Fairbairn grant.
How much did it cost and is it cost effective in comparison to more
traditional interventions. What is the ‘added value’ (if there is any) ?
The Lifelines project had a budget of 1/5 of that we had for #StreetArtHeroes
but it was more effective working with the smaller organistion NEASP rather
than the university, as communication was much easier and more direct, so
we created just as much work with just as much real impact over a similar
time period but with less apparent resources and eg marketing/production
support. The larger commissioner was much less ‘hands on’ and did not
trust our experience and judgement enough – NEASP were more committed
to a transparent group effort and knew exactly what they wanted to achieve.
The university took 8 weeks to award the funding, NEASP less than a day.
The ‘added value’ is that Lifelines facilitated individuals working in groups
when they would just pursue their own ongoing work at the studios. One
studio compared a previous intervention where the project leader asked
people to monitor the effects that their medication had on their daily lives,
which they found too intrusive and rather depressing to dwell on, whereas
Lifelines introduced opportunities to process positive dreams into reality –art
objects created by the participants that reflect their hopes and aims.
· What steps are being taken to move this work from ‘under the radar’ into a
more structured approach?
There is a huge disparity of resources between the studios, two only meet
once a week in church halls, two are growing and two have a great deal of
facilities. We are continuing our work with the studios by introducing glass
artist Tom Chadwin to a group at Arts4Wellbeing ( pending further funding )
one of the mid size studios, with a logterm aim for each studio to collaborate
on a chandelier, resulting in 6 large works that can be exhibited together,
promoting greater cohesion across the studios with one aim of seconding
regular users to other studios.
· Role of evidence in getting this funded. How can advocates make this case
to their own commissioners ?
The proof is in the results and the feedback. The artists provided completely
new ways of thinking, developing new work and skills with the participants.
The Evaluation for Lifelines is currently in progress from a sociologist at the
University of Durham, due for completion next month. Cultural Spring /#SAH
Evaluation is ongoing, a sizable ‘Learning Communities’ project in itself with
the University of Newcastle. But in the end nothing speaks clearer than the
work produced, one reason it was key to get the results tangibly ‘in print.