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Supercritical Mass – International Residencies and innovation in the arts

5 Aug

Following our own positive experiences of residencies at the end of 2011 we started experimenting with a view to developing a Curated Place residency programme for artists wanting to work in the UK. Developing relationships with both venue and creative partners in Manchester we sought to introduce international talents to the North of England to both contribute to and learn from the strong arts sector here.

The Supercritical Mass projects of Australian artists Luke Jaaniste and Julian Day was a real highlight. Developed over two residency periods we initially hosted SuperCritical Mass for a mini-residency in November 2011. Working closely with the music department at the University of Salford and with the artists communities in Islington Mill we delivered a masterclass and artists talk to students before devising and delivering two performances in the University and in the nearby Peel Park.

This short 5 day residency was inspired by innovation development models of quick hit, low cost, managed risk projects and intended as a proof of concept performance. We very deliberately developed the format to develop the profile of the project for participants and funders alike. It worked.

Creating high quality documentation of the pilot which we could distribute widely and being able to very clearly state how we would scale the project up we received significant funding from Sound and Music to develop the second phase of the residency programme – hosting the artists for two weeks as part of the FutureEverything festival 2012 to deliver one of the most ambitious Supercritical Mass projects to date – a vocal performance at Manchester Cathedral.

A huge success for artists, participants and audiences alike we were able to learn a lot about how high-quality residency programmes can be delivered in the UK and we’re now in a position to expand our own residency programme to become a more formal international artist exchange – but with a twist. Rather than simply inviting artists to work in a creative vacuum we’ll be insisting that visiting artists work in collaboration with local participants who will then make a reciprocal residency visit to our international partners to develop the projects on an international platform.

Tomorrow we’ll be formally launching the new Curated Place site which will outline the programme and how it will work. If you’re a mid-career artist, with experience of exhibitions and commissions in the UK and interested in participating sign up to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the latest and for ways to apply when we launch.


Just back from British Council CLI Programme in Istanbul

30 Oct

Lost in Istanbul
The last week has been a real eye-opener.  Even with everything Curated Place taking off in the last year (hence the quietness of the blog) getting out of the UK to meet with cultural leaders from around the world has truly been a career highlight.

Over 5 days an incredible group of 47 participants selected by the British Council from 18 countries discussed the power and worth of cultural policy, the impact of culture on society and the opportunities afforded to cultural practices by digital technologies.  I was one of the participants but I also worked with the superb filmmaker Maria Gabriella of LittleStar and social media expert Jenny Jones to document the whole programme in a format developed by Curated Place and LittleStar that we’ll be rolling out across the arts and cultural world later this year (get in touch for more details if you’re doing an event and want it professionally covered with more panache than a corporate sales pitch).

Some on-the-fly films and audio are already available but we’ll be producing more lyrical mood pieces over the next two weeks that completes the package as a useable resource post-event.  Here’s a link to Audioboos with participants, and you can see some of the films here. Should give a hint at where we’re going with it.

Josephine Burns, BOP Consulting at Cultural Leadership International, Istanbul from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

The full list of CLI participants is on the British Council website and it makes for impressive reading but meeting these impressive people in the flesh exceeded my already sky-high expectations.  With a professional development programme to implement over the next year I’m extremely excited to capitalise on the networks created and the friendships started in Istanbul.  My head is still spinning from the whole experience but somehow I’ve got back to the UK with a remarkable clarity about the possibilities and the priorities I need to focus on over the next 12 months.

Thanks to all CLI participants.  2012 is going to be incredible.

Tamara Takishvili at Cultural Leadership International, Istanbul from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

Salwa Mikdadi, Head of Arts and Culture Program at Emirates Foundation from British Council Arts on Vimeo.

Urbis Research Forum Podcast 4: Happy Birthday Mr Engels!

16 Feb

To mark the 190th Birthday of Freidrich Engels the Urbis Research Forum revisited the work of one of the 20th Century’s most influential thinkers to see how his writings reflected the city that inspired his most revolutionary work and how his insight and ideas remain relevant in 21st century Manchester.

The session was hosted by Dr. Andy Karvonen with panellists Steve Hanson (Hereford College of Arts) and Mark Rainey (University of Manchester).

Urbis Research Forum Podcast 4: Happy Birthday Mr Engels!

Subscribe to the blog or via feedburner.  Click the iTunes link to the right of the page which will download all podcasts in the future automatically.

Richard William Wheater at MCAD

15 Feb

"I'm Electric, You're Electric" - Richard William Wheater interview

On saturday neon artist Richard William Wheater opened his new exhibition”I’m Electric You’re Electric” at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Curated Place went along to speak to him about the exhibition, strip joints, visions of the future and what its like working with one of the most socially loaded materials an artist can choose to wrangle with.

Finishing Touches - Richard and MCAD curator Dena finish installing

If you like what you see at MCAD there’s more of Richard’s work on show as part of the Crafts Council show exploring British glass blowing – “Breathtaking“, currently exhibiting at the Bilston Gallery in the West Midlands and Curated Place will have details of some exclusive neon workshops Richard will be running in Manchester where you can make your own neon piece guided by one of Britain’s masters of the material.

Richard William Wheater interview.

I’m electric you’re electric is open until the 30th april 2011 and admission is free.

Manchester Craft and Design Centre
17 Oak Street
Northern Quarter
M4 5JD


Qasim Riza Shaheen interview

10 Feb

Qasim Riza Shaheen interview with Curated Place about "Prodigal Son" at Contact Theatre, Manchester
On Tuesday night we caught up with Qasim Riza Shaheen at the Contact Spring Season Launch to talk about his practice, identity and community work at the start of “Prodigal Son” his 12 month residency with Contact Theatre.

Qasim Riza Shaheen interview.

Keep up to date with the project by following his Friday Confessions or head to Contact to see both the Prodigal Son exhibition and the Urban Shrines work Shaheen produced with LGM and the Albert Kennedy Trust.

Qasim Riza Shaheen Father I have sinned I, 2010, Video stills
Qasim Riza Shaheen Father I have sinned III, 2010, Video stills

Contact Theatre Launches New Season

9 Feb

Qasim Riza Shaheen at contact

Big night last at the end of Oxford Road as Contact theatre launched their new Spring Season alongside Queer Contact’s mini festival and welcomed Qasim Riza Shaheen as artist in residence for 2011.

Interview with the artist coming tomorrow about his plans for the year long association with the theatre but in the mean time you can listen to Qasim performing “All the Angles” a poem written by Josh – one of the participants in his Urban Shrines piece on show in the theatre bar, or check out the Spring Season promo trailer below.

Urbis Research Forum Podcast 3: Drinking and the City

21 Jan

EDIT: Links fixed! (Sorry folks).

Here’s the latest Urbis Research Forum podcast. With media coverage of “Booze Britain’s” taste for binge drinking, minimum pricing plans and debates around pub licensing, alcohol continues to be a hot topic of debate. But is this a real or moral panic? The Drinking and the City Session explored the benefits and drawbacks of alcohol use in British culture and society paying particular focus on the city of Manchester.

The panel consisted of Dr. Mark Jayne (Geography, University of Manchester), Sarah Pickstone (City Centre Safe, Greater Manchester Police), Dmitri Brady (Warden, Methodist International House) and Haydn Pope (Manchester Pub and Club Network).

Subscriptions can be found here.  Click the iTunes link to the right of the page which will download all podcasts in the future automatically.

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