Funding support by Arts Council of Wales – The Night Time Economy with S.J. Fowler23 Dec 2015, Posted by Newport, Night Time Economy, Out & About, S.J. Fowler, Work in progress in
So it is with a huge amount of excitement that I’m able to announce I’ve submitted a successful research and development application to the Arts Council of Wales to work on a collaborative project on The Night Time Economy in Newport with London based international poet, S.J. Fowler.
I really am beside myself with excitement on this one. Steven and I met back in May earlier this year through my involvement with The Project Space, when Gelynion came to town. An exploration of contemporary Welsh poetry through the potential of collaboration, the project was curated by Steven and Nia Davies of Poetry Wales, launching in Newport and going on to tour throughout Wales. My memory of the evening was that is was full of experimentation, energy and enthusiasm with over 21 poets performing live on the night – please check out the links to Gelynion and Poetry Wales above!
It was at this time that Steven and I began talking about collaborating on a project in Newport, him using poetry and myself using photography. From two completely different sides of the UK, we identified with each other through our experiences of working in the night-time economy. With Steven previously door staff in Newcastle, and myself a bar manager in Newport, in these two completely different cities, we both came to change the direction of our lives and our careers as a direct result of violent intervention. This arrest – this brake that stopped our motion, this detention under authority and law – is the point at which we connected, and the point we wish to explore through this collaborative exercise.
With the project’s primary focus being Newport, our goal is to explore the city’s sense of identity. To many, Newport is a place where there are limited recreational or economical opportunities available, with a notorious alcohol fuelled reputation. With Newport undergoing a period of regeneration and redevelopment, we recognise the role that the arts can play in celebrating and promoting local pride and achievements. This project therefore will focus on the multifaceted components of Newport’s Nighttime economy, pursuing a neutrality of topic whilst preserving a loyalty to the place.
Working with Steven will challenge me to work in a more responsive and complex way than I have done working solo on my own projects. An international poet working in experimental ways, this opportunity would allow me to learn directly from Steven, both about collaborative practise, but all how responding and sharing his insight of language can inform my photography and work in new creative directions.
With the immediate outcome of this proposal being an exhibition to a critical audience, the ultimate aim will be publish the entire collection of work produced towards the end of 2016.
Launching in January 2016, (the accompanying photos are taken from my existing archive on Newport) this ambitious project will begin in Newport, where our initial outcomes will form an exhibition of the poetry and photography for the review of our peers. The project will take place over a 10-day period between January and March 2016. The work will then be exhibited in April 2016 at The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre, Newport, and again in London during July 2016 at the Rich Mix Centre, Shoreditch – a centre of innovation and experimentation, bringing work to new audiences from both inside and outside London… watch this space for an invitation!
Already this project has gained critical interest from Poetry Wales and Wales Arts Review, which is again mega exciting. and we hope will lead to published articles on the outcomes produced from this collaboration in 2016.
This is the first time I’ve ever applied to Arts Council of Wales for funding, and I’m grateful for the opportunity they have given me by granting this funding to work with Steven on this project, to learn from him and his approach to collaborative working, as well as to develop my own practise. Watch this space for more details – they’ll be coming soon I assure you – and I know Steve and I will be looking forward to seeing at one of the showings.
Ta ta for now,
This project is funded through a ‘Research and Development’ grant from Arts Council of Wales, supported by Welsh Government, for which we show our thanks.