To help celebrate 150 years of St Helens, Heart of Glass is seeking applications from artist/s, living or working in the St Helens borough. You should work in a socially responsive and collaborative way and be interested in developing a new commission that explores local heritage with St Helens communities.
We would like the commission to be part of the national Heritage Open Days programme that will take place between 6-9 September 2018. Heritage is an important part of St Helens culture. We are looking for proposals from any art form that explore history through contemporary art practice.
As part of the project, we are working closely with the Deafness Resource Centre (a charity for St Helens and Halton with the aim to provide specialist services for D/deaf people) and its community. We’re keen to capture the unique heritage of St Helens and its people and to mark the 90th year of St Helens & District Society for Deaf People that was founded in 1928.
Download the Artist Brief
How to apply
Please send a:
- Short proposal (full details outlined in the Artist brief)
- Completed equality and diversity monitoring form
Deadline for applications
Friday 25 May 2018 (new extended date)
[Image courtesy of Deafness Resource Centre, ‘D/deaf members enjoying their Annual Tea Party’, 1930s, from their archives and featured in their publication ‘Deaf History 1928-2008’, 2016]
HEART OF GLASS, AN AGENCY FOR SOCIAL AND COLLABORATIVE ARTS PRACTICE, ANNOUNCES NEW INTERNATIONAL TRIENNIAL FOR ST HELENS
Today (2 March 2018), Heart of Glass has announced the launch of FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS: The First International Triennial of Social and Collaborative Arts Practice, taking place in Autumn 2021 In St Helens, Merseyside.
FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS will be a convening of work, debate, resources and publications for those who make, watch, research, study, teach, produce, present, write about and archive collaborative and social arts practice. This Triennial will consider how to present dialogical and relational work, create opportunities for the debate of the fierce and urgent questions of the day and move beyond rhetoric to create opportunities for action.
Heart of Glass, founded through the Creative People and Places programme in 2014 and an Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation from 1 April 2018, has established itself as an agency for collaborative and social arts practice. It is the first organisation in England dedicated to the development and support of this practice across all art forms and leads on this with St Helens Council to support the Borough in its wider cultural ambitions to be a centre of excellence in this area.
This April 2018, Heart of Glass hosts its annual WITH FOR ABOUT conference to discuss and reflect on the questions facing collaborative and social art today, and more broadly reflect on the role of art and artists in society, and the nature and potential of collaborative art with and within community and social contexts. The conference will be the first in a series of action research tasks over the coming years with the aim of shaping and developing the Triennial.
For more information about WITH FOR ABOUT 2018, click HERE
Heart of Glass’ programme of events and commissions has brought International artists such as Mark Storor, Studio Morison, ANU Productions, Scottee and idle women to work with communities across the Borough, creating ambitious, radical and exciting art, whilst also nurturing and supporting local talent. With an internationally significant artistic programme, and a soon be launched criticality programme, Heart of Glass is acknowledged as a leader in this field – a potent catalyst for positive collaboration, a pro-active innovator and a pioneer in brokering the reciprocal relationship between contemporary arts and modern society, a champion for interdisciplinary, cross art-form and cross-sector collaborative practice, and a powerful and provocative conduit for new ideas.
Over the past four years, Heart of Glass, its partners and the people of St Helens have collectively accomplished a transformative step-change in the depth and quality of art and opportunities for artistic and cultural involvement across the borough of St Helens. This has led to a dramatic re-engagement of arts and culture in the civic life of St Helens, in its self-definition and its identity, as well as in its public realm and physical fabric, such that the civic leadership has publicly acknowledged – and is currently working with Heart of Glass to realise – the re-positioning of arts and culture as front and centre to its vision for the borough, to its regeneration and investment strategy, and to its plans for future growth.
For FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS Heart of Glass are partnering with Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts in Ireland. Both organisations recognise that while collaborative ways of working are not new, it is the depth of relationship and connection which frames the new practice. The recent proliferation in this type of work has been influenced by the impact of globalisation, digitalisation, the economic crisis, austerity, increased pressure on local budgets and services, and the groundswell of grassroots movements and local activism.
FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS sets out to present and critically examine how arts and cultural practice operating across multiple fields of knowledge and experience can influence and help shape our collective futures.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England: “Heart of Glass has done amazing work in attracting artists, communities and audiences to St Helens as one of our Creative People and Places projects and I’m delighted that it is joining our national portfolio in April. And it is great to see the Triennial being launched in St Helens – I’m sure it will attract artists and collaborations which will continue the excellent artistic and cultural offer in the region.”
Patrick Fox, Heart of Glass Director: “We’re delighted to be announcing this initiative, and as with all our projects, this will be artist, producer and community led, and will resonate across art form. Partners such as Create Ireland, Axisweb, idle women, Liverpool Biennial, Super Slow Way, Arnolfini, Open Eye Gallery and In Situ and colleagues across the Creative People and Places Network nationally and the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme internationally (an EU funded initiative of which Heart of Glass is a member) will be critical to shaping this project. This is a collaborative undertaking, the door is open and we are keen to hear from other interested parties. As well as the partners listed, we will be widening this network and building momentum over the coming months and years to ensure we are diverse, representative and well placed to have fierce and urgent conversations. We believe some of the most exciting work in contemporary art exists within this field of practice, creating people and place driven work that is uniquely positioned to respond to the politics of our times. We look forward to the collaborative process in crafting an essential and vital platform within the International collaborative and social arts practice landscape, and cementing St Helens as a destination at the forefront of critical practice and thinking.”
Ailbhe Murphy, Director of Create: “As Ireland’s development agency for collaborative arts, we are delighted to partner with Heart of Glass to realise this exciting and timely initiative. FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS will generate necessary debate about the contemporary field of collaborative arts practice and will begin by asking, “what could a Triennial for collaborative and socially engaged arts practice look like?” As artists and arts and civil society organisations working in this field, how can we create the conditions to engage with multiple forms of cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and embodied local and regional knowledge? How can we best consider, animate and legitimise those knowledge’s through meaningful exchange and practice? We look forward to working with Heart of Glass and additional partners including the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme network on FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS, which will act as a barometer for the compelling questions that animate our contemporary socio-political and cultural antagonisms.”
Heather Peak from Studio Morison (Artist): “I am delighted to be part of the Heart of Glass team and their future-plans. Something extraordinary is happening in St Helens, art and creativity is central, urgent and important to the health and well-being of this place and its people. It is becoming not only about what we make, but how we behave and ultimately how we can survive, process our increasingly difficult lives and ultimately prosper. Art is the most powerful action we can make, it speaks directly to us of our lives, our anxieties, our joy and our potential power. Artist’s know that the best way to solve a problem is just to begin, and here in St Helens we have begun a journey that will touch our personal, civic, work and home life, and ultimately allow us be in control of our futures.”
Councillor Gill Neal, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health & Wellbeing: “Artistic and social collaboration on this scale is certainly something we have been interested in supporting especially with Heart of Glass’ continuing ambition to create exciting and unique art with, of and for our local communities in St Helens. This announcement cements St Helens’ position as a national centre for collaborative and social arts practice.”
Claire McColgan, Director of Culture Liverpool: “We are delighted to support Heart of Glass and St Helens in this exciting new development. Our work together across the City-Region over the coming years will further re-inforce the vital role that art and culture can play across our communities, and the work by Heart of Glass in St Helens over the past number of years has shown real leadership and vision, offering something unique to the region. This is a welcome and ambitious development and we look forward to working together to make it a huge success for the region.”
Rachel Anderson and Cis O’Boyle, Caretakers, idle women: “For years now socially engaged practitioners have spoken of the need to consolidate our knowledge and expertise, to articulate our practice from the ground where we work and to challenge the mis-understanding and mis-representation that leads to instrumentalisation by the Institution. Heart of Glass has been established to listen and activate these discussions here in the UK. What better place to create a new centre of practice than the North West and what better town than St Helens. FIERCE & URGENT CONVERSATIONS is the critical emergence of body of practitioners who create with passion, skill and rigour, we have been talking for many years, now is the time for our action. These are exciting times.”
Claire Doherty, Director, Arnolfini and former Director, Situations: “This new initiative represents a significant moment for contemporary culture in the UK which demonstrates that it’s time for a new generation of socially progressive and civically-dedicated arts organisations and initiatives to take the lead. Grown out of a complex and rich history of social practice, community arts, gallery education and place-based producing, such initiatives are offering an alternative to the cathedrals of culture. To say that we are working with Heart of Glass and Situations on the development of “Fierce and Urgent Questions” feels like exactly what an arts organisation should be committing its time to. That St. Helens presents such an exemplary mode of posing those questions – through locally impactful and internationally resonant new work is all the more thrilling. We can’t wait to get started.”
Sarah Fisher, Director of Open Eye Gallery: “Partnering Heart Of Glass in this significant and timely programme is a natural fit for Open Eye Gallery. Photography has become the most pervasive medium through which individuals and communities share their lives on a daily basis through social media. Open Eye Gallery is developing a national network on Socially Engaged Photography practice, building upon it’s recent 2 year Culture Shifts programme – which Heart of Glass partnered – which saw 10 photographers working with communities to co-author new cultural programmes across the city region. We will shortly announce a new MA Socially Engaged Photography Practice with University of Salford starting September 2018 and look forward to exploring our shared agenda through the ambitions of the Triennial programme.”
Dr. Alastair Roy and Professor Lynn Froggett, Psychosocial Research Unit, University of Central Lancashire: “Globally, collaborative social arts is a practice whose time has come – but one with an emergent knowledge base. In St Helens, the 10 year vision set out by Heart of Glass makes it ideally placed to lead research in this area and as a key academic partner, the University of Central Lancashire is working with them to build an open research platform that aims to build on the experience of the programme itself and an international network of practitioners and researchers. It addresses the pressing questions raised by art that engages with an expansive canvas of questions that have both local and international significance: on cultural citizenship, social justice, civic space and sustainability as well as the finer grained issues of well-being, relationship and intimacy. Heart of Glass is a thinking organisation ‘without walls’, strongly located in place. This paradox shapes its curiosity and its promise.”
Chrissie Tiller – Thinker, writer and teacher on social arts practice and Heart of Glass Associate: “In the four years I have worked with Heart of Glass I have been immeasurably impressed by their commitment to a more collaborative and social arts practice and its potential to ‘shift our sense of what is possible, unleash imaginations and model and experiment with new ways of being in the world.’ They have done this, not only by commissioning leading artists in the field to make exciting, challenging and brave work with the people of St Helens but also by creating important spaces for critical reflection. Spaces that embrace difficult conversations, share new and different knowledges and welcome dissent in the struggle for greater social justice and cultural democracy. I am delighted to be working with them on FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS and can think of no better arts organisation than Heart of Glass or town than St Helens to be leading this exciting and timely initiative.”
Heart of Glass is an agency for collaborative and social arts practice based in St Helens, Merseyside. Made possible by an initial investment of £1.5 million from Arts Council England through the Creative People and Places programme, it is supported by a consortium of partners and collaborators.
Heart of Glass is made with, of and for St Helens. Its programme is rooted in collaborative practice and embodies the principle of partnership. Its core values, philosophy and approach as a project are founded on co- production with the community and the active participation of the collaborator, non-artist, audience and viewer in the creation of great art. People, both individually and within communities of place or interest, are central to both their thinking and practice.
FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS: The First International Triennial of Social and Collaborative Arts Practice will take place in St Helens in Autumn 2021. While collaborative ways of working are not new, it is the depth of relationship and connection which frames a new practice. In collaborative arts, non-arts participants can become both co-creator and new audience in an exciting area of practice that cuts across art-form and cuts across context, a practice with infinite potential. The recent proliferation in this type of work has been influenced by the impact of globalisation, digitalisation, the economic crisis, austerity, increased pressure on local budgets and services, and the groundswell of grassroots movements and local activism. Increasingly, artists are routinely working in a variety of settings, including health, education, regeneration, prison, science and tech contexts, with people of all age ranges, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and presented in increasingly innovative public realm and ‘non-arts’ civic spaces, such as hospitals, prisons, schools and older people’s homes.
For further press information please contact Catharine Braithwaite on +44 (0)7947 644 110 or email@example.com
Following on from workshops and performances in the borough in 2015, Eggs Collective are back in town as our Party Political Artists in Residence.
Their mission is to help celebrate St Helens 150th birthday in style and they will be working with Heart of Glass on some of the key events in 2018.
Eggs Collective are a trio making sharp, fun, culturally-observational performance that falls somewhere in the cracks between theatre and cabaret. St Heleners may well have crossed their paths in The Hunt & Darton Café, at workshops or at The Citadel Theatre where they led the sold out ‘Right St Helens Knees Up’ show.
They have been working across Britain, including showcasing an adapted stage show ‘Get A Round’ live on BBC2.
Sara Cocker and Léonie Higgins will be performing live at a series of events to mark #StHelens150, they kick off with ad-hoc performances to guests at Thursday’s (January 25th) launch.
They explained: “We love St Helens. It’s a place with a whip-smart sense of humour and glint in its eye – and we’ve always felt welcomed in. That’s why we’re so delighted to have been invited to be Party Political Artists in Residence and plan some celebratory events this year as St Helens marks its 150th year.”
“We take the business of partying very seriously. So, shine up your dancing shoes, St Helens, and, in the immortal words of Kool and the Gang, let’s celebrate!”
Keep updated on twitter by following @eggscollective and @theheartofglass
We are recruiting check out the latest amazing opportunity for an artist in residence:
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
FULL-TIME (35 hours per week)
ONE YEAR FIXED TERM CONTRACT
£27,000 – £30,000 Dependant upon qualification and experience.
This role will be a residency truly embedded within Heart of Glass. You will be part of the Programme Team, leading on the Schools and Colleges Programme, creating a series of projects to deliver with key partners.
Aimed at an artist who has significant experience working with schools and colleges, this is an opportunity to develop your own practice and creatively lead on projects from seed to fruition. As well as creating your own projects with key schools, you will create a series of online resources that will complement the Heart of Glass programme. All this while working with your own budget, allowing you to shape projects and collaborate with other artists.
In this role you will also support schools to progress their Artsmark status and support pupils involved with projects to achieve Arts Award and will represent Heart of Glass within local education networks, offering a creative voice and finding opportunities to develop project ideas and new partnerships.
This is a fantastic opportunity for an artist to develop their practice in this area, at an appropriate pace with continued support from Heart of Glass over a substantial period. We are also open to this opportunity being fulfilled by a small collective or a job share.
Closing date for receipt of applications is 9am on Monday 19th February 2018, and interviews will be held in St Helens on Monday 26th February 2018.
POSITIVE ACTION STATEMENT:
It is important to us that Heart of Glass staff are representative of our community and we take diversity very seriously. Whoever you are, whatever your background, we encourage you to apply. We guarantee that if you have a disability and meet the minimum essential criteria for this role you will be guaranteed an interview.
We are recruiting a group of 7 women artists or producers in performing or visual arts who will support each other’s professional development for a period of 18 months. Are you a woman at a critical point in your working life? Is collaboration and co-production central to your practice? We want to hear from you.
Over the next two years Heart of Glass, idle women and Anu Productions are working together on a programme entitled ‘Helen’. Helen will create immersive and explosive art experiences focused on women. You can find more information about the programme here: http://www.heartofglass.org.uk/project/helen/.
‘Helen’ is influenced by the work of historian feminist Silvia Federici whose extensive research into the mechanisms of the historical European witch-hunts provides analysis on today’s systematic violence against women. Prior to the end of 17th century, the word ‘gossip’ meant ‘women-friends’, and did not carry the derogatory meaning it has today. At this time women shared much of their lives and work with other women. Women co-operated with each other.
‘Helen’s Gossips’, our talent development programme, will seek to recapture this way of working. We want women from different stages of their careers to come together and collaborate as the basis for progression. There will be no hierarchies, and expertise will be shared by an array of voices, with the aim of creating new, collective solutions which can move us all forward. We are committed to improving diversity in the sector and bringing together different women’s experiences.
As a result, we want to ensure that this opportunity works for women of colour and/or those who are D/deaf or disabled. 4 out of 7 of places will be allocated to women who are not currently represented properly in the arts sector.
We want to recruit 7 women to join our council, ‘The Gossips’. Women will commit to approximately 6 development days between March 2018 and June 2019, these development days will be in St Helens. We will agree dates collectively. At the beginning of the programme, we will design the content of our approach collaboratively. The sessions will be supported by Mojisola Adebayo and Sarah Bailey, both women with extensive experience of learning in the arts. We will make bursaries available to those who cannot undertake this as part of of their existing employment. This will be between £600 and £1000 and will be agreed following selection.
To express your interest, please send us a copy of your CV and a brief proposal (1-side of A4) telling us about your career to date, how you approach collaboration within your work, and why this opportunity would be helpful to you now. Any women who are unsuccessful will be informed at a later date about opportunities for involvement in other parts of the programme.
Applications and any questions should be sent to Sarah Bailey on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for applications is Monday 5th February 2018. We are grateful for support from Arts Council England, St Helens Council and Liverpool City Council.
People in St Helens will get the chance to see a world class performer showcase her skills on a truly unique musical instrument – as Lydia Kavina plucks notes from thin air.
The launch event of Where Things Are Different at The World of Glass on Thursday, January 25th, includes a unique performance on the Theremin.
Kavina plays the instrument and also composes work. The Theremin is an electronic musical instrument invented in the 1920s by Russian musician and engineer Leon Theremin. It is controlled without physical contact the performer.
The instruments controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand and amplitude with the other. The electric signals from the Theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.
Kavina, who was born in Moscow and currently lives in Oxfordshire, plays the instrument and also composes work.
Tickets for the launch are available online now
A new public art installation opens in St Helens later this month (January).
Where Things Are Different is a project that attempts to place equal credence between the logic of fiction and the logic of fact within the context of community.
Photographer Stephen King has met and worked closely with members and groups of St Helens post-industrial communities to unearth the shared experience that resides within these displaced workforces.
King attempts to illustrate overlapping anecdotal fragments from close-knit St Helens communities and the tall-tales that emanate from the shop-floor. Focusing upon the experiences that aren’t documented in the form of books or curated in museums, but ones that only exist upon the lips of the people.
The project’s launch is at the World of Glass on Thursday, January 25 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Tickets are available here
We spoke to Stephen about the project and how a nice cup of tea and a sit down has led to some magical story telling and a set of unique images.
Where did the idea behind the project come from?
It came about quite naturally really, I wanted to undertake a collaborative project in St Helens and obviously there are many issues that I could look at in the borough, but the more I thought about what was the one thing that draws together differing communities. That was the towns workforces
How have you enjoyed meeting people and hearing their tales?
It’s been great, it’s been hilarious, it’s been disturbing, it’s been sad and it’s been uplifting.
The groups and individuals I have met and chatted with have just been so open and supportive of the project and have shared everything from workplace banter to sensitive family experiences. There was a lot of tea and biscuits put away!
I’ve had great support throughout the project from people just giving me a little time to talk, to people donating props. People have been coming back time after time to help with the shoots and taking part in performing in some of the representations.
How does the process work, from meeting people for the first time to the final artwork?
The whole bedrock of the process is the initial chat. Generally, in groups of 5-10 we sit around drinking tea and begin a conversation.
From there it usually just runs by itself and the stories and memories begin to get fired around. The conversations are recorded and then transcribed into a text. In this form, it’s quite simple to get a birds-eye-view of reoccurring themes and issues to focus upon.
It was always the idea that the text can be edited into a collection of anecdotes that the participants could have at a later date.
Is the work based on historical fact?
I’m sure that some are historically factual, but I’m also sure that the foundations of some are built on sand.
That is the nature of an anecdote, its usually passed on. These tales from the shop-floor, or of childhood are generally remembered and retold through a filter dependant on where or who its being told to.
The fact that a story is being told and shared is enough for me, it has already created a new space of its own.
How will the work be presented to the public?
The photographs will be large scale lightboxes situated behind The World of Glass Museum, they will be lit 3-9pm each day until April 22nd.
It was important that we secured this location, it’s historical and industrial relevance. It is a location steeped in folklore in the form of tropical fish!
Who will the work be for?
The work is for everyone who has any connection in any way to St Helens or anyone who enjoys storytelling, the images are not direct depictions of events or happenings but hopefully just constructed spaces where you can reflect and maybe expand upon threads of fact and fiction and it doesn’t matter.
Heart of Glass commissioned artist Shelia Ghelani to work with the older residents at Parr Mount Court (96 flats) and Heald Farm Court (172 flats and bungalows), housing schemes managed by Helena Partnerships in the borough of St Helens in Merseyside.
Participants were invited to take part in singing, craft and conversation, and were asked to put forward their own ideas on how to reach out to other residents in their communities. The number of people involved grew weekly as neighbours began to get know each other a little better as they explored the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.
Ghelani has since developed a project focusing on out-of-the-ordinary gestures. The opening workshops saw participants create individual floral invitations, which were hand delivered to each of the properties within the scheme.
The cryptic hand printed note dropped through letterboxes offering everyone in the scheme the chance to ‘Join Us’ – on a specific date, but no location was offered. This created a talking point, whereby participants and staff were able to share more detail about the forthcoming event. Newcomers to the project came out to join early participants and see a cellist and violinist perform.
As well as creating gestures for their neighbours, the two schemes also exchanged gifts with each other. Cards, letters and gifts were delivered between the schemes, introducing the participants to one another ahead of a gathering of both groups at a final celebration event. 268 teacups, designed by residents and Sheila Ghelani will be hand delivered to every household in the schemes – as a gift from the project and its participants.
There have also been photography workshops were residents have featured on images telling their neighbours something about themselves. Ghelani said: “The project has been surprising. I certainly didn’t expect to be making designs for teacups with the participants and I’m sure they weren’t either. “There was a real highlight when we were able to bring both the schemes together for a cup of tea and also to take the art to residents when they weren’t able to attend weekly sessions in the main common rooms.”
Residents at two St Helens housing schemes have been sharing gestures and getting to know each other.
This summer artist Sheila Ghelani has worked with the residents of Helena Partnership scheme, Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court.
Participants were invited to take part and with a bit of singing, craft and inspiration numbers grew weekly. Neighbours explored the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.
Ghelani is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, participatory event and moving image. She has been helping the participants create out-of-the-ordinary gestures, creating a stir that reaches out to their community and invites others to step over the thresholds within the scheme.
There has been bunch of flowers, bracelets, photographs and finally 260 tea cups.
Shelia Ghelani, explained: “The project is nearly at an end. The final artistic outcomes are both in production and all that remains is for me to deliver them to participants when they’re ready, in a kind of mass gifting event. I say mass gifting as one of the outcomes will hopefully be a fine bone china teacup which every resident in each housing scheme will receive.”
“The project has been surprising. But all projects are I certainly didn’t expect to be making designs for teacups and I’m sure the residents didn’t either.”
“There have been lots of highlights throughout the project. A particularly enjoyable moment was conducting some home visits – so taking the art to residents in their own homes, those who weren’t able to attend the weekly sessions in the main common room of each scheme.”
“Another highlight was bringing some of the residents of the two housing schemes together in a final mid-morning party. They really enjoyed meeting each other! I’m also hoping the final artworks will be a highlight too.”
“I also loved the assembling and delivering of flowers in the very first session. It caused an exciting stir in both scheme. I also had a great research visit to the St Helens archives, let’s just say there were lots of highlights.
“The final artistic outcomes of the project are a teacup with a pattern on it designed by myself/residents and a set of 3 posters featuring photos of the residents revealing a small piece of info about themselves in front of what can only be described as a kitsch backdrop.
“Each scheme will get a framed set of the images to hang somewhere. Of course, there were lots of other outcomes from week to week – deep conversation over different types of making, gestures of good will and invites sent out to those not present, music, cake, gifts etc.”