On Tuesday 3rd May, Rob Young & I had a meeting with Rachel Kerr, Project Coordinator (100 Objects That Made Kent) and the Education Officer, Jeremy Clarke at The Guildhall Museum,High Street, Rochester. We were looking to explore opportunities for us all to collaborate in some manner during the project, taking advantage of the Museum Collections cultural importance to Medway and its outreach work with the community – particularly in education and schools.
Rob is very keen to build this relationship into his commission and has already submitted a wonderful proposal for an engagement with St Michaels Roman Catholic Primary School,who are already working with the Museum on an arts award educational project, focussed on the Statue of Thomas Waghorn on Railway Street and a portrait of whom hangs in the Museum. The school is the most local to our project route. Rob is also keen to meet with The Friends of the Guildhall Museum to hear their thoughts about Chatham. Simon Lace, Medway’s Heritage Services Manager is also helping our cause by contributing a call out for stories by Friends of the Guildhall in their ‘about to be launched’ newsletter.
Jeremy Clarke, the Museum’s Education Officer – found this image for us of a young boy taken at the Photographic Studio of W. Kent, Photographic Artist at No 19 Military Road, Chatham – a great find for us right on our project route. I’m sure Rob will make some resonant response to this.
‘Heart of the Campus’ for Sheffield Hallam University has also been featured in ‘JOURNAL ARCHITEKTEN UND PLANER’with some great images. Again, this was sent over to me by Rockpanel, who have produced some pretty wonderful PR on the project – the sort of coverage I could never achieve on my own – so a big thank you to them !
My project collaboration with Rockpanel ‘Heart of the Campus’ for Sheffield Hallam UniversityCollegiate Campus has just won a CKE ‘Special Award’ at the RISE Awards – (Research, Innovation, Sustainability & Enterprise) – in Leeds on Friday 18th September. the award is for innovation, design and creativity.
Rockpanelsent over these images of the ‘Heart of the Campus’ project featured in the August edition of FASSADE Technik Und Architektura German architectural magazine. Apologies for the poor quality of the first image !
Works are progressing well on site – in fact the scheme is very much in it’s final phase of works to complete the landscape around the site.
Most of the interpretive public art elements are now installed throughout the site.
The content of many of these images you may be familiar with – but the installation is much nearer to completion with the soft landscape details really making an impact on the interpretation and public art elements. Area Landscape Architectsare responsible for the external landscape concept, design and strategy and have created a sensitive and wonderful scheme, which I have been fortunate to work within.
“Never will the nations of the earth be well governed until both sexes, as well as all parties, are fully represented and have an influence, a voice, and a hand in the enactment and administration of the law”.Anne Knight, 1847.
Monday 18th May 2015 – today I have to revise and update the contextual research document I made earlier in the schedule –
I want to submit this as supplementary research and development to illustrate how the artist (me) has worked with the project team in order to influence the design process. Not easy to reduce and re-define what has gone before, but so much more has happened over the last few weeks, that I have to bring this up to date. Am in my studio here in Ramsgate trying to figure out the best approach. I think it’s going to be a late night !
Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th May 2015 -On Tuesday I travelled up to Cardiff from Ramsgate, Kent for a design meeting with Capita, the project architects. I was accompanied by Simon Fenoulhet of Celfwaith, who developed and is overseeing the Public Art Strategy for Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council along with Mererid Velios. Great to have someone with his experience with whom to navigate the project !
We discussed the draft development of the building and landscape and how the creative contextual research and analysis of the site, which I have been doing in order ‘to influence the design process’ is becoming a part of the interpretive strategy for the building. Once this process becomes more involved and collaborative then I hope we will see some really interesting narratives and themes emerging. We are continually having to address the function of this site as a Bus Station and interchange and the demands it brings to the project. That notwithstanding, the interpretation and contextual needs and aspirations for this site have to be seriously considered.
I met with Jason Williams, Lecturer in Art & Design at The College Merthyr Tydfil, and co-ordinator of Level 3 Art. This is just one of a much wider portfolio of courses offered within the division of Creative Industries at the College, which is headed up by Chris Ford.
The Art & Design studios are on the top floor of the building affording the most amazing and creatively aspirational views in the region. Creativity is really significant here. I like to think of this place as a powerhouse of ideas and inspiration – innovation and energy – building a new legacy for Merthyr Tydfil via Education and the Arts.
We discussed the potential for some engagement by students – in this case within Art and Design, but could perhaps encompass the wider Creative Industries Division – to work within and or alongside the Bus Station and Link Bridge developments to take advantage of a live project against which to set and test skills and creativity.
The potential to build this engagement into the Academic year is a tangible one, but something that would have to be developed quickly during this month in order to build it into the next Academic Year.
The College Merthyr Tydfil also shares space at Redhouse, the former Town Hall on the High Street, where all Music, Media, Film, Dance, Technical Theatre and Drama students study in bespoke professional standard facilities.
29th April 2015 – Before taking the train up to Merthyr, I stopped off in Cardiff to take a look at this exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff. Well worth the diversion and a possible connection to our project for the new Bus Station.
Did you ever expect to visit a ceramics exhibition and be asked to bring your vinyl collection along with you? Or to be invited to walk over and destroy one of the exhibits?
Fragile? showcases the beauty and diversity of contemporary ceramics practice in its widest sense. It explores the artistic and expressive possibilities of ceramic as a material, including the contradiction between two of its inherent qualities – durability and fragility.
The exhibition includes key works from the collection of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, shown alongside major, exciting installations commissioned from Phoebe Cummings, Clare Twomey and Keith Harrison. Ambitious new works by four Wales-based artists – Claire Curneen, Walter Keeler, Lowri Davies and Adam Buick– will be shown together with specially-commissioned films that will delve into each maker’s creative process.
Fragile? is generously funded by The Colwinston Charitable Trust and supported by The Derek Williams Trust’.
National Museum Cardiff
I have been thinking about the possibility of commissioning contemporary applied arts, made by craftspeople based in Wales for the Bus Station project. How I go about this at this time is uncertain, as we probably have no budget for this, but I can clearly see a place for individual works within our proposal and concept for the Bus Station as a community space, referencing the locality and legacy in a personal and highly skilled manner. This reflects back to the skills and experience of former Ironworks employees and others from associated and parallel industries in the town. Adam Buickis an artist based in Pembrokeshire who references the varied landscapes of South Wales in his work.
Twenty four bricks from various 19th and 20th Century manufacturers in Wales are also on display in the exhibition.“Clays suitable for making bricks are commonly found above or beneath coal seams, so Wales has been home to many brickworks. Most brick clays are fired red but local variations can produce a wide range of colours and textures. Bricks are commonly inscribed with the maker’s name or the place of origin, adding to their local character”. ‘Fragile?’ Exhibition Notes. There were a number of brickworks active in Merthyr – amongst them were:
The historic ceramics collection is very impressive too. Wales had several important manufacturers of pottery and porcelain including Nantgarwand Cambrian.
“Founded in Swansea in 1764, the Cambrian Pottery found success by imitating the high-quality pottery made fashionable by Josiah Wedgwood in Staffordshire.
This included creamware, black basalt and pottery beautifully painted by artists like Thomas Pardoe. High standards were maintained after 1802, when Lewis Weston Dillwyn took over the pottery.
The porcelain made between 1813 and 1826 at Nantgarw near Cardiff and at the Cambrian Pottery in Swansea is some of the most beautiful ever produced.
The man behind it was William Billingsley, a porcelain painter by training. From 1814 to 1817 he helped Dillwyn make porcelain at Swansea, before returning to Nantgarw in 1818 to make it himself.
Some Swansea porcelain and most Nantgarw porcelain were sent to London for decoration and sale to the top end of the market. The rest were decorated locally, until 1826 in Swansea and until 1823 at Nantgarw.
Pottery continued to be made in Swansea at the Glamorgan Pottery (1813-1838) and at the Cambrian Pottery, which closed in 1870. Llanelli’s South Wales Pottery was the only significant pottery left in south Wales until it too had to close in 1922.
The story of Welsh pottery and porcelain is told in the Joseph Gallery. The site of the Nantgarw China Works is now a museum, a few miles north of Cardiff.” National Museum Wales, Cardiff.
St Tydfil’s Shopping Centre – I had the opportunity to get up on Wilkinson’s roof for an amazing 360 degree panoramic view of Merthyr and the surrounding hills. Nick Megor, the Shopping Centre Manager accompanied after gaining permission from Wilkinson’s Store Manager.
Nick also had a collection of aerial photographs of the local area probably taken in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s and during construction in the mid 1960’s of the pedestrian bridge linking the west side of the Taff to the east and the new – as then – shopping centre.
At the top left of this image can be seen the Merthyr Tydfil Bus Station – which is now on the move to a new site just out of shot here on the far right of this image on Swan Street.