Please pop down to the Harrow Club on 27th March to find out about exciting art developments in North Kensington.
For a start, I'm delighted to announce my appointment as the Victoria & Albert Museum's first Community Artist in Residence. Although we haven't quite confirmed details, I will hopefully be based in an artists studio on the site, directly opposite Latimer Road tube station. We hope this will be in late summer or autumn for a period of three months.
This is a scheme funded by the V&A Museum and RIBA, and supported by Peabody, Hayworth Tompkins and RBKC.
Social and community engagement will be the primary focus of my residency. Namely, the creation of art by interaction and dialogue with the local community and to relate this to the new housing development.
I propose to run fortnightly, structured sessions with residents, schools and local artists. These might vary from drawing classes, photography, clay making or film making as I propose to work in a variety of media. Residents will have the opportunity to observe work in progress, learn skills and have fun.
The studio will also be open for visitors. There will be a range of information about the rich and complex history of the area, including maps, photos and short films.
I’m not sure whether my residency will coincide with the arrival of new residents. If so, I would be very keen to liaise between old and new residents. Art used to foster a sense of identity and community. This might be realised in the making of a short film about the housing project and my residency.
The residency will be a great opportunity for me to build on the foundations of previous work: Flood Light (2010) and West Ten, Fade Out (2013). Most importantly, the Latymer Mapping Project (2012-13), a collaborative project with group+work and local residents. This produced an alternative community map of North Kensington that focused on historical and contemporary issues related to housing and regeneration.
Having a studio adjacent to the new housing will allow me to observe and respond to the construction process. I have a personal interest in this as my father was a carpenter and worked on housing projects from the 1940s - 1980s. I would like to sample some of the materials being used for the construction (brickwork, paints, decorative finishes) and to feature this in art work.
As this is also a V&A residency, I will connect with the following collections at the museum: Architecture, Ceramics, Drawings and Photography. It will be a pleasure to have access to specific art objects and the insight of curators.
Themes that I might want to explore during my residency include:
• how the new housing will contribute to the regeneration of the area
• why the Silchester development was commended at the New London Architecture Awards in 2013
• the role of an artist in relation to community and social issues
A community artist should also flourish in the company of other artists. I will therefore invite my fellow resident artists at the V&A to share their practice and ideas about engagement, and hopefully work with them on some collaborative projects.
There is also an amazing public sculpture being created for the roof of the new building. This will be designed by Nathan Coley. Nathan was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2007 and his practice explores how architecture reflects and conditions the social environment.
A feast of art making and sharing is coming to North Kensington and the V&A Museum over summer and autumn 2014. I am privileged to be a part of this.