On the 14th of November 2012 we invited a group of our peers to a conversation lunch. We shared the work that we have been doing over the six weeks during the residency and asked them to share their own experiences of working in a local context, exploring issues similar to the concerns of Anchor & Magnet.
The things we discussed included;
Duration of the project and what can be gained in a longer more engaged way of working
Sustainability- of the project through the working process, length of time working on the project and also project funding
Ideas of community; what is community? Is it a useful word? Is it something to interrogate? Is it arranged by interests, race, religion, class, place or is it a construction of local imagination, is there just one community or are there several? Do these several communities come together in their connection to a place? Are communities aligned by wealth/poverty? Is what’s happening here (in Brixton) happening elsewhere and how are other communities responding?
Does art have a role to play in society? If so what is the artists role in relation to society/ community? Is community art a set of dirty words? Do we present this work as community art?
We discussed whether our hospitality and convivial approach would allow space for people to voice difficult things or opinions. Did this allow any space for dissent? Was it too safe? Where was the risk? Was the strategy/ process of exchange, although it seems fair as we give artworks or hospitality in return, could it in essence be hierarchical?
We were asked some interesting questions about what we were doing, what makes it different from other projects that have taken place in the area and what are our long term hopes for the project.
THE PEOPLE WHO CAME AND SHARED THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND CRITIQUE WITH US WERE:
Albert Potrony- Artist
Sally Labern & Bobby Lloyd- Artists Drawing Shed
Aysha De Lanerolle – The Conversation Agency
Dr Claire Dwyer- Co Director of the Migration Research Unit, UCL
Dominque Le Gendre- Composer
Ella Gibbs- Artist
Katie Orr- Participation Programme Coordinator, Gasworks
Oliver Sumner- Co Director, Delta Arts
Sarah Mossop- Freelance Arts Consultant
Sarah Tuck- PHD Researcher, Belfast Exposed
Jessica Hansray- MSc Modernity Space and Place, A&M Volunteer