From October 2018 – June 2019, I was lucky enough to take up one of the AA2A residency schemes, with University of Chester. The residencies are an opportunity to connect with students and staff within the arts and design departments, to share your practice with others, and to also to learn about other mediums you might not of been working with before.
I wanted to use the opportunity to explore a more recent relationship I’ve been developing, between with photography and textiles, in more depth. Being based in Chester, it was also a timely opportunity to continue my interest in responding to the British canals and waterways within my work. There is a certain therapeutic connection I feel when working beside water. I find a certain paradox between the calmness of nature in and around a canal side with the industrial man made history it connects to. From being a passage for transport and industry, it now finds itself a pathway for personal journeys and contemplation.
With many projects I often connect with local communities of interest, and so began to work with on-going community collaborators, FACT’s Digital Ambassadors Over60s group, on various photo and film walks of the canal side in Chester. We also began to gather stories and research about one particular site of the canal side, a recently redeveloped ‘pocket park’ sites. This involved both site visits, interviews with the redevelopment team and research sessions at Chester archives. So far the group and I have created a series of sound bites and video works in progress in response to the site.
For the textiles element of the project, I had the pleasure of working with the textiles department and collaborating with student Xiaoxue (Anita) Chen. Together we created a new costume based work, which weaved the history and changing visual imagery of a local historic site (researched with the Digital Ambassadors group), the canal side George Street Pocket Park. The work sought to celebrate the untold story of Victorian working women who would of kept the local industry & ecology at the time alive.
A huge thank you to Paula Johnson and the rest of the University of Chester team, Fiona Huyton and the rest of the Pocket Park redevelopment site team for supporting this project.
I hope for both collaborations to continue and develop into a bigger body of work over the following year, once we hit Spring, bringing the costume design on site to Pocket Park to create a new performative video work with the Digital Ambassadors. Watch this space!