Well, I had a brilliant (if exhausting!) day on July 9th, at the University of Manchester.
I once told my mother that I wanted to change the world. With typical common sense, she pointed out that there was an awful lot of it to change. My answer was that there were thousands and thousands of people, all over the world, who wanted to do the same.
So it was inspiring to spend a day in the company of 10 artists who have made and are making change happen and listening to their collective passion, intelligence and wisdom. It was inspiring to be joined for the day by 35 workshop participants from across Greater Manchester and 5 University of Manchester students who took risks, experimented, produced work, talked, laughed and shared experiences with each other. And it was great to be able to document the day well– with the help of film-makers and a visual artist. We’ll be sharing much more about what happened and what we learned in the weeks and months to come.
I wanted to share my (preliminary) sense of what the artists thought and felt their work was about, based on interviews I carried out with them during the day. They talked about:
- Co-authorship and collaboration
- Fighting against injustice and inequality
- Building community and supporting different kinds of communities
- Encouraging individual creativity and expression, linked to wellbeing
- Opening up wide-ranging conversations that can lead to collective action
Some practitioners might say their work addresses all of these themes and some might say their work is more closely aligned to one or two of them than to others. The artists also talked about making beautiful art, making thought-provoking art, making challenging art, making art that has contemporary relevance, making art that has the power to move people.
Would you describe your practice differently? Or have you perhaps seen or taken part in a powerful piece of work that addressed something else which should be ‘in the mix’? Help us build the picture.