As we have gone deeper into and now begin slowly emerging from lockdown, it seems that everything and little has changed.
As we drive fractionally greater distances from our homes and towns, we are seeing surroundings afresh and they seem to hold new promise. But world events and evident local needs remind us that many things also remain. As the world continues to move at a pace and we try to steady ourselves in our locked down stillness, we are making time to reflect, time to plan and time to act.
We approached the start of lockdown with a sense of bemused energy; was this really happening, how could we respond creatively and meaningfully in the face of social inequality and the prospect of imposed isolation, and with the intention to quickly adapt, connect and continue.
We questioned our embedded practice and felt alienated from the locale in which our work is based. As time went on, we discovered a whole new digital locale that has opened up our conversations and has also opened us up to each other as we found a new honesty, openness and empathy via Zoom, and have been struck by people's willingness to share and connect beyond levels we would encounter in the room.
We have at times seen audiences, staff, artists and board members open up about the challenges they are experiencing in lockdown, around health, wellbeing, anxiety, childcare, grief, and this has served as a powerful reminder of the experiences that connect us, and breaking down the perceived separation of organisation and audiences - a more integrated, embedded approach. But we remain very aware of continued and deepening inequalities and our privilege in working and speaking here.
We have been reminded recently that creativity must go hand in hand with uncovering if it is to bring about change. We find in our partnership work that the bridging of these elements is often challenging, always interesting and that it is important that we don't lose sight of this. As an arts origination working across sectors, community groups and disciplines, our impact is greatest when we bring creativity into a process of revealing, questioning and amplifying a diversity of voices and opinions.
So far in lockdown, our Testing Ground series of talking events has come to be the main activity and have shown us that providing a safe space for at times uncomfortable mass conversations lies at the heart of our practice.
Digital Talking Society, with, Building Bridges Pendle and The People Speak, is a weekly mass conversation on Zoom that gives a platform for dialogue and diverse viewpoints around themes relevant to Pendle communities. So far in lockdown, these have included exploring grief and dying, local provision and distribution during lockdown and nature and wellbeing, in which we have been joined by 89 diverse voices.
We will be continuing with these regular talking events and are planning series exploring Racism, health, ecology and landscape and businesses and the future of work, where we will also be sharing research by Associate Artist Andy Abbott on his Dreamworks project, and future economies.
Other events that we are currently planning and which will take us into early autumn are:
A Digital Gathering - a month of talking events and in-conversations 'on' Pendle Hill, with art, ecology, community and landscape in the mix. These events will ask questions about our relationship to the Pendle landscape and hear from artists about projects they are mid-way through about working in collaboration with ecologists, farmers, landowners and volunteers.
We are looking forward to hearing from Kerry Morrison about navigating her Pendle Peat Pie project in lockdown and being estranged from the hill where she and ecologist Sarah Robinson have lead the planting of sphagnum moss to enable peat restoration. And also Isabella Martin as she embarks upon a remote project looking at the traditional boundaries around Pendle Hill, and restoration of dry stone walls.
Lonely Arts Club - at the start of lockdown we set up an online community for mainly Lancashire artists to meet, and to offer support, information and talks from artists and funders. This has grown and evolved over the past few months and we are introducing a critical reading element to the programme going forward.
Pendle (Anti-) Social Cinema - The volunteer-run pop-up cinema has continued on a weekly basis during lockdown, popping up in living rooms via Mubi and Zoom for a shared screening every Thursday night at 7pm.
For more information and future events check here
Do keep in touch, we would love to hear from you.
Best wishes and stay safe,
Introducing Elena Jackson
We are happy to announce that Elena Jackson will be joining our Board Members as part of In-Situ.
Elena Jackson is a Curator and Producer. She is the Co-Founder of art and culture company, Deco Publique and Director of the National Festival of Making Community Interest Company. Through their work in the North, Deco Publique works towards creating cultural infrastructure that supports the development of place specific cultural ecology. Elena works with artists, industry and communities to create mass and intimate festival experiences and original art commissions that are rooted in people and place.
Through her work with the National Festival of Making, Elena curates the commissioning programme, Art in Manufacturing, placing 26 artists in residence with industry in Lancashire to date. In 2013 she co-founded Morecambe’s Vintage by the Sea Festival and recently co-produced five heritage landscape artworks around the Morecambe Bay coastline including two permanent sculptures, SHIP and Horizon Line Chamber. Elena is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Board Director of In-Situ.
She is based and lives by the sea in Morecambe.
Introducing Jane Lawson
We are happy to announce that Jane Lawson will be joining our Board Members as part of In-Situ.
Jane Lawson is an artist based in Manchester whose practice focusses on why things are the way they are and how they could be different. She is also Artist Development Co-ordinator at Castlefield Gallery, where she set up the Castlefield Gallery Associates programme in 2012, shortly after graduating from the Salford University Visual Arts BA. Previous to this Jane was a knitwear designer, a founder member of radical art and design collective UHC, a co-organiser of the first three UK Climate Camps and a researcher into corporate ethics for Ethical Consumer magazine.
Jane was an In-Situ In Residence artist in 2013, when she made the Brierfield Timeline, and also participated in 2016 In-Situ Crash residency. In 2018, as part of the exhibition The Ground Beneath Your Feet at Castlefield Gallery (Manchester), Jane initiated a UK branch of the Radical Mycology network. She has hosted two Radical Mycology Gatherings (Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester, 2018; and Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 2019, with Feral Practice, as part of Jade Montserrat’s exhibition Instituting Care).
Exhibitions and projects include This Land Is Our Land (Paper Gallery, Manchester); Mushlove (Mulino, Oregon, as part of the 2018 Radical Mycology Convergence); BiblioTEch (Portico Library, Manchester); Cultivate: 7500 Stories (198 Gallery, London); Start Where You Are: Second Degree Potentias (Bloc Projects, Sheffield); Emergency (Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth); Press Room (Creative Time Summit at the Venice Biennale); Show Me The Money (NGCA, Sunderland; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; People's History Museum); Small Change (AirSpace Gallery, Stoke). She has run workshops for NESTA, the Social Art Summit (Sheffield), the Incidental Unit (Manchester Art Gallery) and the People’s Bureau, and is an alumna of School of the Damned
Introducing Isabella Martin
We are delighted to now announce that artist Isabella Martin will be the next artist to work on a residency as part of The Gatherings.
Over the course of the next 12 months, with a flexible timescale allowing for the current situation, Isabella will be exploring the Pendle landscape and learning about the heritage of its drystone walls and hedges. These borders are also places, revealing the geology of what’s under our feet and giving homes to whole ecosystems. Traditional boundaries define and shape our image and experience of the countryside. Along the way she will be working with rurally based partners, practitioners and communities based around the footprint of Pendle Hill.
Isabella Martin is a visual artist who works with people and places, exploring how we fit in the world and relate to our surroundings. Her work moves between mediums and is context specific; driven by interdisciplinary collaboration, in-depth research and experimental play.
To find out more about Isabella and the project click here