Beyond The Wall Exhibition
Saturday 26th January – Sunday 3rd February
11.00am – 4.00pm (closed Mon & Tues)
Associated workshop: ‘The Art of Collection’ with Helen Garbett – Sunday 27th January. Please see: The Art of Collection for more details.
‘To make a collection is to find, acquire, organise and store items, whether in a room, a house, a library, a museum or a warehouse. It is also, inevitably, a way of thinking about the world – the connections and principles that produce a collection contain assumptions, juxtapositions, findings, experimental possibilities and associations. Collection-making, you could say, is a method of producing knowledge’ Hans Ulrich Obrist 2014
What is Beyond the Wall ?
‘Beyond the Wall’ is a collaborative project between lead artists Helen Garbett and Karen Wicks, Riverside House Community Interest Company, the Artists Workhouse in Studley, Kristi Tait and students at Shetland College and 3 other artists, Bill Laybourne, Jo Walton and Dawn Harris.
The Riverside group of young people with learning disabilities and autism and their volunteer assistants were supported to initiate and curate the project, selecting and circulating objects they found at Bradley Old Iron Works, a derelict but historically significant 19th century iron manufactory located in Stourbridge, West Midlands, exhibiting the artefacts and artwork at the end of the project.
Some background Information
‘Beyond the wall’ is the third in a series of inclusive art projects between Helen and Riverside House, a social regeneration venture based in Stourbridge, West Midlands.
‘Conversations with an Old Wall’
In 2017 Helen, together with Lloyd Stacey and the Riverside group completed a four month art project, exploring local heritage by examining the boundary wall between the Stourbridge Canal and Bradley Old Iron Works and associated Iron Masters dwelling. Together the group gained new knowledge about the local area and produced prints, textiles and traditional hand-made bricks which were exhibited at the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge and at the Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust ‘Portal’ buildings.
‘Sound Escape: Portrait of a Place’
In the winter of 2017/18 Helen and the Riverside group teamed up with sound artist Bill Laybourne.
At this stage the Riverside group had started work on the iron works side of the wall, clearing the site in readiness for its regeneration into a heritage centre.
This project was designed to explore how ‘deep listening’ might enable the group to explore the place further, learn new skills and feel empowered to share their voice and often overlooked strengths and abilities with others.
Bill, Helen and the Riverside group produced a piece of sound art which was presented to an audience at The Ruskin Glass Centre and then at the ‘Ideas of Noise’ festival in Birmingham on August 4th 2018.
Beyond the Wall
The aims of this project were to:
* Enable the Riverside group to initiate the project by selecting objects found at the old iron works site and generating associated, descriptive words
* Produce a body of work in response to the idea of dis-location and objects sent to participating artists by post over a period of five months
* Invite learning disabled students studying at Shetland College together with their tutor to produce a body of work in response to a parcel of objects sent to them
* Introduce the Riverside group to a gallery setting and explore how artists present their work and the role of the curator
* Support the Riverside group to try out various curatorial methods and contribute to the final exhibition of the found objects and resultant artworks
* To exhibit the body of work produced over the duration of the project at Artists Workhouse in Studley, sharing the outcomes of the project with a wide audience.
* To demonstrate to a wide audience that people with learning disabilities and autism can, with support overcome many of the barriers that they face in everyday life and feel empowered to collaborate on an equal basis as part of a complex social art project
The Riverside group assemble a range of found objects and through a discursive process generate three descriptive words for each artefact. The group decide which ones they will send to artists and Shetland College.
A parcel of objects is sent to Kristi and students at Shetland College. Each participating artist receives their first object by post.
May to September 2018
Artists respond to one object and the previous participants artwork each month, passing these on in the chain until all objects have been circulated to all artists.
Bill Laybourne convenes the Riverside group to contribute to a piece of his sound art. The group visit Artists Workhouse to learn a little of the venues history and to discuss art display and curation with Director, Dawn Harris.
All objects and responses are returned to Helen at her studio in Stourbridge. Helen and Karen meet to review the project so far and agree next steps. Helen meets with Dawn at Artists Workhouse to agree exhibition dates and how the Riverside group can be further involved in the process of curation.
Helen and Kristi at Shetland college discuss how her students can be involved in the final exhibition via a live video conference.
Dawn and all other participants promote the exhibition and associated workshops.
January to February 2019
The Riverside group visit Artists Workhouse for a curation workshop with Dawn.