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.
Light up your chandeliers and open your ears for a FREE illuminating, fun and unique evening on King Edward Avenue, Blackpool. Join us on Saturday 28 October for the FREE performance of a new work by Dan Fox and associate artists, commissioned by residents of King Edward Avenue.
Chandelier night is an illuminated walking performance that will take you on a tour of King Edward Avenue like you’ve never seen it before. Projections and a four-piece costumed live band will explore the trials and triumphs of B&Bs in King Edward Avenue celebrate the stories of this special place. Exploring the stories of local landladies and ending in celebratory dance, it will be an unforgettable evening.
Rebecca King from King Edward Avenue Community Arts Project said, “With the support of LeftCoast we were fortunate to receive Future Popular funding that enabled us as a group to explore artistic ideas and how we would like to develop these to increase the profile of the avenue via an arts perspective.“
Artist Dan Fox was chosen to develop a new bespoke piece of work and the group felt that the story of King Edward Avenue was a powerful and joyous part of our history. Dan used this to develop a new work in a playful and unusual way.
Rebecca continued, “Dan and associated artists have come up with a fantastic production using cutting edge technology which includes projections on buildings on the Avenue and audio recordings of the residents to tell the story of King Edward Avenue showing Blackpool as a premier holiday resort.”
Dan Fox, Director of Sound Intervention, the creators of Chandelier Night, said, “This is a great opportunity to showcase our unique off-grid cinema bikes. The original BoomBike sound system was commissioned by Blaze for Ride The Lights in 2010. We added LED/laser projectors to them last year with help from a commission at Lightpool Festival. Chandelier Night is a development of our new style of processional digital projections with live music. Chandelier Night incorporates recorded voices mixed with music, comic images and an open air dance. I am really pleased to be able to bring together a team of 10 artists to present this one-off site-specific work developed with the residents of King Edward Avenue.”
Starting from the promenade end of King Edward Avenue there will be two performances at 6.30 and 8.30pm – each performance will last 45 minutes.
Chandelier Night is one not to be missed and includes procession, music, digital projection, LED lighting, amplified sound, live music and dance. Projector “BoomBikes” will be riding on the road and projecting onto properties on either side of the street accompanied by live music by the band.
The audience will be treated to comic animations with a soundtrack of collaged voice recordings played through the BoomBikes. The procession will end with an open air dance at the crossroads of Holmfield Road and King Edward Ave. This will last approximately 20 mins with ceilidh style called dances accompanied by Boom Bike Bourrée playing through the Boom Bikes.
King Edward Avenue will be closed to through traffic and street lighting will be turned off between 6.00pm and 10.00pm to allow the performances to take place.
Visitors to Chandelier Night can also win a two night stay in 2018 at their choice of selected hotels on King Edward Avenue – a great offer for visitors to come back and enjoy all that King Edward Avenue has to offer! More information can be found on the Facebook page @BlackpoolQualityHotels
Left Coast is looking to commission a film maker to make a series of short films both documenting and in one case creating the final outcome of 3 locally based artist projects we have commissioned on the theme of loneliness.
Background & Brief
LeftCoast have commissioned 3 locally based artists to create new artworks on the theme of loneliness.
The artists selected are all taking very different approaches to that theme and therefore will all require a different documentation approach to capture the outcomes of their work.
Skool of Street will make a dance piece that follows the journey of a single lonely girl living in Blackpool as she traverses the town and expresses her loneliness through dance – in particular the dance style of Krump, exploring the contrasting images of the busy seaside resort bustling with so many people and the place we know where it is so easy to feel isolated and alone in a crowd.
Buzz Bury, will work with a group of volunteers who have travelled from all over the world to work at the Streetlife charity which works with young homeless people in the Town. Buzz will explore ideas around the loneliness of arrival in a new place where people and language is unfamiliar. The project will involve workshop activities with participant volunteers and a final outcome of a temporary beach installation of written phrases and words collected from the participants and washed away by the tide.
Tina Dempsey will explore words of hope and affirmation, working with communities and groups affected by loneliness to write postcards to other people suffering the same, and passing on thoughts about ways to feel better and connect, phrases to build hope and feel less alone. These postcards will be exhibited at locations throughout the town and in window based vinyl art works.
Our vision is to work with 1 film maker or film company to capture all 3 projects and create 3 distinctive short films that still hang together as a collection and can be viewed together or separately.
In particular the Skool of Street project was envisaged as a dance film, so the filmic element is particularly important in the final realisation/outcome of the work. Buzz’s piece also had a film element in the capturing of the final beach installation, documenting its creation and ultimate destruction by the sea, which he hoped to realise using a drone camera.
We want add a professional support strand as part of our LeftCoast Studio scheme, by connecting the commissioned film maker with a less experienced person, looking to gain professional experience in this area. This will provide some additional hands on support to the delivery of the project, but would require a degree of mentoring and support from our commissioned practitioner.
We are keen to work with a locally based film maker, who can respond to each of these 3 projects and offer some professional development support as outlined.
Timelines for delivery of this project will begin in winter 2017 and continue until summer 2018.
The final films should be available by end June 2018.
Please send us an expression of interest that includes:
What interests you about this commission & why you feel you are the right person/organisation for the commission? (500 words)
Links to your film show reel – with suggestions of previous projects that you think are relevant to this commission.
We are looking for smart and friendly people to join the board of LeftCoast and support its work on the Fylde Coast over at least the next two years.
This is an unpaid opportunity and we are seeking individuals with ideas, energy and expertise to help us take forward our work in engaging more people in our communities with arts and cultural activities, developing artistic talent and commissioning and presenting dynamic new art projects.
In addition, LeftCoast has a vested interest in two brand new business models – Art B&B and the Blackpool Culture Company, so, right now, it is important for us to be advised by wise and innovative professionals. Our future will be shaped by it.
Still interested? We would love to hear from you.
Applications close on 10 October 2017 and short two-way interviews will be held on 20 October 2017.
Wyre Borough Council Arts Service are looking for a poetry/creative writing artist and creative artist to carry out workshops with the students of Larkholme Primary. Their vision is to create a new ‘mythic
Wyre Borough Council Arts Service are looking for a poetry/creative writing artist and creative artist to carry out workshops with the students of Larkholme Primary.
Their vision is to create a new ‘mythic coast’ narrative for Larkholme Grasslands. For more information on the Mythic Coast Artwork Trail please click HERE.
Artist Stephen Broadbent together with a local author or poet and the ranger service will undertake workshops with local students to create a poem or story which can then be translated into the environment of the park. Text will then be carved inlayed or coated into seats, bridges, walls, wind shelters etc. The narrative will help tie the project into the Mythic Coast, allowing a new story to be heard for this unique place.
Stephen is intrigued by the simple notion that if you ‘build a habitat they will come’ – can this green space become a good home to a diverse and interdependent range of marine species? Can the complexity be created? Is it as simple as building houses or are we in fact more than simply our homes?
The challenge to the community is to think about how we can build and maintain a safe place not just for our homes but the wider maritime eco-system.
This new public space is going to be a valuable asset to the local community and it is key that the younger population can become engaged with both the importance of this space, as a recreation facility and also as a place of ecological significance.
It will take many years for Larkholme Grasslands to become the rich environment we all envisage, so during this time of growth it is important to start marking these important stages of environmental development and keep re-telling it’s ‘story’.
This opportunity will entail working together with the students at Larkholme Primary School, Wyre Countryside Rangers and Arts team, other local artists, poets and film-makers. A diverse engagement process is to be developed to embed the narrative within the community through workshops held at the school.
It is hoped that the immediate workshops with the students can produce work that can be integrated into the fabric of the landscape – a narrative text can be carved or inlayed into seats, bridges & wind-shelters. The narrative will help tie the project into the Mythic Coast, allowing a new story to be heard for this unique place.
Students can also help to determine those special species which are to be depicted within the imagery on the large entrance ‘grasses’, or carved into the various timber structures.
It’s important for the young people to have a sense of ownership of this new space and integrating their work within the hard landscaping can go a long way to start this process.
Possible First Year Events
Poetry / narrative sessions
Documenting the creation of the environment
Understanding the plant and wildlife through research, drawings, talks etc
Narrative – November 2017
Species for integrated artworks November 2017
1 day workshop at £250 per artist
Materials will be provided
If you are interested in this opportunity please submit a short proposal with examples of your illustrative work or creative writing by Wednesday 20th September 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Somewhere on Blackpool Promenade, close to the town centre, a lonely empty hotel is about to be transformed. Some of you may have heard of our mythical Art, Bed and Breakfast project but wondered why it has all gone quiet. The answer is that we have been busy beavering behind the scenes to raise the money, develop the design and initiate the first round of artist commissions – but the real work is about to start…
A B&B will feature 17 bedrooms, a café bar, 2 ground floor multifunction spaces for a creative programme, freelancer workspaces and a meeting room – all featuring an amazing range of specially commissioned artwork and installations. It is a new business model (set up as a community interest company) where the profits from the hotel will be re-invested in creative activities and training for the brilliant communities of Blackpool and Wyre.
It will also be the new home of LeftCoast and is being developed as venue where artists, creatives and communities, can meet, socialise, work and share or experience new projects, ideas, exhibitions and performances.
We have selected the contractor (Parkinson’s of Blackpool) and are just in the final stages of deciding what colour everything should be (always a bone of contention) and where the plumbing is going so we hope to be starting the full building project in the next couple of months with a view to opening around Easter next year.
There is a lot to reveal but it wouldn’t be fun if we did it all at once so…
If you would like to be invited to special previews, tours of the building (before and after) kept up to date on the latest developments and find out how you can be involved we would love you to sign up here or join is on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter all @abandbblackpool
So far A B&B is being supported by Arts Council England, Power to Change (Community Business Fund), Coastal Communities Fund, Clore Duffield Foundation and the Tudor Trust.