Join us for Left Behind #3 our third in the series of creative conversations responding to the recent FT article about Blackpool…
This is your opportunity as a locally based artist or creative practitioner to be the first to hear about the commission opportunities available as part of the programme, use the resources of your fellow creatives to hone, sharpen and finesse your creative responses, find people to collaborate with and creatively contribute to the debate.
After the success of our first two Left Behind conversations, we extended an open invite to ask locally based creatives to join a commissioning panel to draft the Left Behind commissioning brief. This will ultimately allow us to commission a programme of creative responses to the Financial Times article and include work by locally and nationally based artists. This panel met on 20 March 2018 to develop the brief.
The Left Behind #3 conversation will focus on supporting locally based artists who want to apply for the commissions, with the chance to discuss their ideas further, develop and shape their plans & ask any questions of the LeftCoast team and commissioning panel.
We hope you can join us.
The venue is Blackpool Catholic Club, 30 Queen Street, FY11PU. The meeting will take place from 6-9pm on Thursday 29th March, please register your attendance HERE.
LeftCoast are working with Regenda Housing in Fleetwood and Blackpool Coastal Housing to bring Before I Die – a global community art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in public.
Before I Die comprises of a ‘wall’ located within the community – the original wall was created on an abandoned house in the artist Candy Chang’s neighbourhood in New Orleans after she lost someone she loved. Since then, passionate people have created walls in their own communities and there are now over 2,000 walls in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including China, Argentina, Italy, Iraq, Finland, India, Japan, and South Africa. The wall is a positive civic engagement project to help us restore perspective, understand our neighbours in new and enlightening ways, and improve the well-being of our communities. The project has been featured on NBC, CNN, TED, and Oprah Magazine.
Each Before I Die wall is created and maintained by an individual or group of people who are passionate about creating a space for their community to share more with one another, in this case LeftCoast. We are presenting the wall in two communities, Haweside and Flakefleet.
We would like a photographer to document the wall in each location during its four week exhibition period. The nature of the wall is that it will change from day to day. Some days it may be full, some days someone may have wiped it clean or it might rain and wipe everything off.
We require a photographer to visit each wall at different times of the day and days of the week – a minimum of four visits to each wall – to capture the different ways that it is being used.
The photographs will be the only documentation that the wall was ever installed and as such are an important legacy for taking conversation forward and profiling the work in the future.
Do you want to press the accelerator and help SpareParts power into the future? The SpareParts Programme Manager will have a pivotal role in the growth and development of SpareParts Festival.
The role requires energy, initiative and strong organisation skills. It is a great opportunity for an individual to network themselves comprehensively into the Outdoor Arts circuit in the UK and build experience.
If you are passionate about helping to transform the cultural landscape in the North of England this could be the job for you.
We are seeking an external consultant with expertise in evaluation and arts engagement to: Design and implement a whole programme evaluation for LeftCoast Adopt an outcome focused evaluation methodology
We are seeking an external consultant with expertise in evaluation and arts engagement to:
Design and implement a whole programme evaluation for LeftCoast
Adopt an outcome focused evaluation methodology
Develop recommendations for LeftCoast’s governance, programming and legacy
LeftCoast is in its second phase of funding from the Arts Council – from October 2016 to October 2019. The evaluation will draw on learning from phase one and deliver a robust methodology for phase two.
A great opportunity has arisen to join LeftCoast as it’s Creative Community Activist. LeftCoast supports all the people involved in our projects to develop a greater sense of well-being and connectivity to the places that they live in. We work with individuals, organisations and whole communities to bring about positive change and improve the quality of life in local areas. For the next two years, we require a highly-motivated and people savvy individual to help deliver a dynamic programme of creative community engagement activity.
We are seeking applications from artists who work in a socially responsive way who would be interested in relocating to Blackpool or Fleetwood for a long term live/work artist residency on two local housing estates.
The two live/work residency opportunities have been informed and shaped by experiences working across Blackpool and Wyre over the last four years and will be one of our longest interventions to date. They are a direct response to opportunities that have presented themselves, a wide range of partnerships and the potential to become pioneers for change in the area. They are a response to the question we often get asked when a project finishes ‘what happens next?’ They are also an experiment into what happens when artists become part of a community rather than visiting a place.
After our inspiring and positive first Left Behind… conversation – we’re inviting you to join us for a follow on discussion. Having delved deep into the issues and themes of the FT article we’d like to shift the focus now to your creative project ideas…
Date: 8th Feb
Time: 5.45 (for a 6pm start) -9pm
Venue: TBC (Central Blackpool Venue)
So, we’re inviting
Individual artists, creative practitioners, organisations and collaborative groups, who have formed an idea for a project response – tentative, early stage or a bit more thought through. They can be any art form, maybe a film, a journalistic piece, residency based, longer term, immediate, political, social, engaged, physical, theatrical, digital…think possibility not constraint… be bold and be brave…or gentle and meaningful… any & all ideas are welcome.
Anyone who is simply keen to be part of the conversation and is willing to offer supportive and constructive critical feedback to help shape and develop others ideas.
The rules of the discussion will be as follows…
Whoever brings an idea will fully own that idea, and be ultimately the one who makes decisions about how it will be taken forwards beyond this event
All critical feedback and collaborative thinking will be offered & received with an open spirit and positive sense of shared solution focused working
At this event we would also like to share with you the work of some artists that have inspired our thinking at LeftCoast & who have created work that imaginatively makes political points and responds to community issues.
This event will include lots of time to discuss & feedback on the ideas brought by the group, and by the end of the evening we hope to have gathered a sense of who wants to be part of our Left Behind… project commissioning group, as well as have a good sense of ideas that could go forward into the commissioning process, and those that can be taken forward by other means.
We hope you can join us in the continuation of this exciting process and that we can work together to make positive creative things happen, in this place that we all love so much!
If you would like to talk through your idea before the 8th please call the LeftCoast office on 01253 477973.
Please book your place at this event by clicking HERE.
Blackpool is announcing a new CultureBlackpool project to showcase and highlight the cultural offer that currently exists in resort to visitors and residents. CultureBlackpool, a new collaboration between public and
Blackpool is announcing a new CultureBlackpool project to showcase and highlight the cultural offer that currently exists in resort to visitors and residents. CultureBlackpool, a new collaboration between public and private sector partners is launching its B/Side Campaign which aims to flip expected perceptions of Blackpool and persuade people to ‘tune in’, look up and around and to appreciate the cultural side of the resort.
The partnership has been formed to promote Blackpool’s back story of architecture, heritage, exhibitions, internationally acclaimed installations and events to its 142,000 residents and 18 million visitors.
Supported by movie, theatre, music, art and TV greats such as John Robb, Alfie Boe, Little Boots and lots more, each act will reveal their B/Side and what Blackpool means to them.
John Robb, award winning music journalist explains, “Blackpool is a creative town with a thriving culture and now that I am an ambassador, I can portray ‘my’ Blackpool and highlight the DNA that underpins the town’s glory and glamour. The B/Side campaign looks at reinvigorating the seaside resort’s traditions rather than replacing them.”
Legends of the stage including Ken Dodd and critically acclaimed Sir Matthew Bourne have both featured at The Grand Theatre, which was designed by renowned Victorian architect Frank Matcham and there is the Blackpool Winter Gardens, which is one of Europe’s biggest theatre and entertainment complexes and have hosted some of the world’s top entertainers in music and performance.
Furthermore, there is an exciting, ever-changing exhibition and events programme at The Grundy Art Gallery which features the best of contemporary art. Here, leading artists like Tracey Emin and Picasso share the platform with emerging talent from the region and beyond.
Equally, The Blackpool Tower Circus (one of the most important circus buildings in the world) has been providing spectacular entertainment since 1894 with the original cages holding elephants, tigers and lions still in place beneath the arena (although animals haven’t appeared on the bill since 1990). It is the only surviving Victorian arena still in use today, along with Great Yarmouth Hippodrome and one of four original water circuses still in use in Europe, creating an elaborate water finale to every summer show, just as it did a century ago.
LeftCoast, one of the Arts Council’s Creative People and Places Projects, have been working in the resort since 2014. Working with residents and visitors, they make arts and culture accessible whilst still being challenging and specialise in using art to reimagine spaces in new and creative ways. They have brought world-class contemporary art to Blackpool such as contemporary circus company Circa who performed DEPART in Stanley Park and dreamthinkspeak who reimagined ABSENT in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. Both of these companies are not something you would expect to see outside of an international festival and certainly not in Blackpool.
Michael Trainor, former Artistic Director at LeftCoast explains “Blackpool is a kind of ‘multiverse’ rather than a ‘universe’ – people are drawn to it for multiple reasons – from the more obvious appeals of the fun of the fair, the seaside, and the hi-tech adrenalin rides, to the specialist attractions of its unique popular culture. Seeing hundreds of lit-up Harley Davidsons cruising the promenade during the Illuminations, or the streets filled with the peacock glamour of the five world ballroom championships hosted in the town, are truly enlivening experiences. For me Blackpool puts the ‘cult’ in culture. It has excelled at being uniquely itself since 1879 when the first Illuminations were described as ‘artificial sunshine’. It isn’t just a town of two sides, but a multi-faceted diamanté of delight which catches lots of different eyes in the glorious west coast sunset.”
Councillor Campbell, Deputy Leader of Blackpool Council and Cabinet Lead for Tourism, Economic Growth and
Jobs explains “The ambition of CultureBlackpool is to keep the resort at the forefront of culture with tourists and residents for generations to come by creating a place that has a rich blend of heritage and contemporary culture embedded in its destination strategy”.
There are many projects in the pipeline for Blackpool. The exciting ‘A museum’ project to create the town’s first museum will tell the story of the city’s contribution to the UK’s popular culture. The £16m development has been chosen as Lancashire’s bid for the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund and a decision on this award and a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is due in Spring 2018. On the bids being successful, the museum plans to be open for summer 2020. It will be housed in the Palatine Building, a landmark site on the promenade between the Tower and Coral Island which is currently being developed into a 5* hotel and leisure complex.
The latest campaign complements the £250m transformation of the Blackpool seafront, a six-year project which saw the creation of six new headlands, the development of the sweeping Spanish steps leading to the beach, the c2,200 square metre ‘Comedy Carpet’ opposite Blackpool Tower, and the remodeling of the Blackpool Promenade.
Other exciting regeneration projects include a new state of the art conference centre that will directly link to the refurbished Empress Ballroom and Opera House in the Winter Gardens and opens in April 2019; the extension to the tramway connecting North Station to the Promenade linking shops, hotels and attractions; an extension to the Houndshill Shopping Centre with a new cinema with IMAX screen; and major investment in enhancing the town centre’s public realm.
Find the B/Side is a positive and confident message about everyday culture in Blackpool from opera to knitting, carnivals to light art, from the architecture to fish & chips. It’s the bonus track — the alternative, hip, experimental and for some the lesser known, unexpected Blackpool that excites, engages and inspires.
Some of you have mentioned this article to us and your desire to explore it within your practice and there have been some very interesting discussions on Facebook and other social media.
So, we thought it would be useful to explore those reactions more and are hosting the conversation to pose questions such as…
“How can we as the creative community in Blackpool provide an active response to this article? Not simply to de bunk it, but to provide a nuanced and thoughtful counter position that perhaps speaks to the positive work going on here, some of the joyful and creative elements of this place?”
“Can we creatively explore in more depth the lives of the people highlighted in the article, who have come to Blackpool as a place to find solace, comfort and a home, only to feel isolated, depressed and unable to cope?”
“What is the role of art & artists, if any, in providing treatment for the ‘shit life syndrome’ so many people are suffering from here?”
Our next phase of commissioning activity will be a reply to this article, we aim to commission locally based artists as well as artists from elsewhere to provide critical reactions, as part of a national conversation, to the themes and issues highlighted. This conversation is the beginning of that process. We will share with you the draft artist brief and host a facilitated conversation that helps us to progress our thinking and yours, towards developing high quality art that says something important about Blackpool, community and culture.
We hope you can join us… Light refreshments will be provided.
We are looking to hear from artists who work in a socially responsive way that may be interested in relocating to Blackpool/ Fleetwood for a long term live/work artist residency on a local housing estate.
We are currently seeking expressions of interest from artists who would like to be on a mailing list when we release a full brief early next year. We are particularly interested to hear from artists who engage with people and place at the core of their practice. There will be specific themes that arise when the full artists brief is released next year, but we see the artists as taking on part of the identity of the estate wardens that used to live on social housing estates. We want the artists not just to work with community but be part of the community.
We are currently planning the first two residencies (there is potential for this to rise to four dependent on funding outcomes), in two different areas which have similar but distinct identities.
One artist residency will be located in Haweside, a social housing estate in Blackpool managed by Blackpool Costal Housing, a town with a unique identity known for its transient communities. Located not far from the lights and thrills of the Golden Mile, this estate shows a different side of Blackpool, where real people and their families make their homes. Not an easy place to make inroads, there are very few community assets such as libraries or children’s centres, however once you get to know the people there is a wealth of stories, hopes and ideas to work with.
One artist residency will be located in Flakefleet, a social housing estate in Fleetwood managed by Regenda. Fleetwood is 9 miles down the coast from Blackpool, a town with a strong heritage within the fishing industry that has seen a decline in recent years. The Flakefleet estate has more community assets than Haweside such as a school and a parade of shops. Again it’s an area with a rich history and families with a long connection to place.
Over the past two months we have been piloting programmes of work on the two estates through hands on making and sharing sessions that have been popping up in unusual spaces. Through this process we have been meeting people in the communities, talking about what’s important on their estate and generally getting a feel for the personalities of the locations. Through this process we are establishing welcome committees for the artists in residence to help them settle in.
Key points to consider:
The chosen artists will be required to relocate to Blackpool/ Fleetwood for the year of the residency
We are open to interest from family groups or artists that work in collaboration
Artists will be offered accommodation, artist fee and production budget
Artists will be commissioned by LeftCoast but will need to work in partnership with our partner organisations
To express your interest and be added to a mailing list for the full brief, please send:
Your email address and contact details
A short paragraph as to why you are interested – with links to relevant past work
LeftCoast’s Artistic Director is moving on (but not too far away!) from his LeftCoast post and here in his own words Michael talks about his time in Blackpool…
After 4 years, 3 weeks, 17 hours and 4 seconds I have stepped aside as Director of LeftCoast to go back to my own artistic practice. But… I am not quite leaving the sunny shores of Blackpool and Wyre just yet, as there is one last project I want to help steer to fruition – the exciting Art Bed and Breakfast.
I am proud to say that LeftCoast is seen as one of the flagships of the 21 ‘Creative People and Places’ Projects – conceived by Arts Council England as a way of encouraging more people to enjoy or create contemporary arts and cultural experiences.
In mid-2013 there was just myself and fellow director Julia Turpin trying not to look too conspicuous, or too much like the remnants of an ‘80s post-punk experimental synth band, in the corner of Blackpool Coastal Housing’s office. We shuffled lots of paper, came up with over ambitious ideas and changed the name of the concept from ‘Playground of Wonders’ to ‘LeftCoast’ batting away ideas, with the help of Kate Shane from Merlin, that it might be mistaken for a some kind of neo-marxist political group.
We got down to business pretty quickly and since then the intrepid LeftCoast team have established festivals (SpareParts); run festivals (Showzam); commissioned new and exciting work in unusual places (from Absent by dreamthinkspeak in the Winter Gardens to Circa’s ‘Depart’ in Stanley park); collaborated with rich and vibrant communities to create new work (from 3-D printing sculptures using recycled plastic with the Rossall Beach Cleaners to cross-dressing alternative tours of South Beach) and supported the development of amazing local creative talent through the innovative LeftCoast Express and Future Popular programmes.
Of course this is just a tiny selection and much of our best work has been through working in partnership with the fantastic institutions of Blackpool Illuminations, Wyre Council, Blackpool Council’s cultural services (including the Grundy), Blackpool Grand Theatre, Better Start and many others.
If you haven’t had an experience with LeftCoast as an artist, a creative producer, an audience member, volunteer or a community group then my parting advice to you is…you should. It’s been created for you.
It’s been a fascinating, entertaining and deeply rewarding experience but I leave you in the far better and more capable hands of Tina Redford who is taking the helm. The very talented LeftCoast team of creative engagers, commissioners, producers, talent developers, marketeers and cultural enthusiasts can be contacted here .
I would be in danger of delivering an extremely long Oscar speech if I thanked everyone who had played along in the last 4 years (thank you) but special mention goes to Blackpool Coastal Housing who have tolerated and supported us with huge grace and Arts Council England who continue to support great art in the extraordinary places and spaces of Blackpool and Wyre.
A favourite moment, if forced to choose, would certainly be sitting on a recent artistic selection panel with the Police and the MAFIA (Mereside and Friends in Action) for a commission for the new regional police headquarters. The Mafia and the Police excited to be commissioning art together – perfect.