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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.

From Counting Sheep to Finnegan’s Wake: The Dawn Of Digital Thinking – micro documentary and live events

1 Aug


Something a bit more digital from the Curated Place archive – a piece we developed off the back of our work on the 2011 Future Everything festival.

Wanting to get away from dry documentation of events that so often ends up as digital landfill, lacking impact after the event, we developed an idea for series of films taking highlights of the festival into an abstract micro-documentary format that would prime our audiences for the next festival.

Giving a teasing insight into the artwork showcased at the preceding festival and synopsising the ideas that were discussed, we developed a format for a marketing campaign that was built around a series of five short interlinked films – each of a duration that responded to how people actually digest digital media.  By building a story about the broader impact and concept of the festival we aimed to create a sense of anticipation around 2012 using more than just advertising budget alone.  Simultaneously we wanted to create a more usable resource from the footage captured in previous incarnations of the conference by giving some order and rationale to the archive and presenting a way in to the often jargon-filled world of digital culture.

The first film featured highlights from interviews carried out with Chris Speed and Bill Thompson exploring the dawn of digital thinking and the impacts for society as a whole. Far from just been about the technology it shows how the digital revolution changes how we think, act and relate to one another. Although abstract the teaser film was linked to the source interviews – all carried out with a clear vision and purpose as part of a medium-term strategic plan to develop the documentation and distribution of the festival’s resources – along with a curated digital resource pack.

Although only ever rolled out as a pilot/proof of concept at Future Everything we’ve now developed a solid format for for turning the documentation of one-off events into a resource that reaches beyond established audiences and will be something you’ll be able to see us extend on the new Curated Place site (from Monday) around our work on this year’s Liverpool Biennial.


An example of the source footage from Chris Speed where he expands his ideas outlined in the micro-doc. We wanted to hook people in with a brief film then give them access to more in-depth content.

The Truth: The Story of UK Hip Hop (full documentary)

30 Jul

Later this week we’ll be launching the new Curated Place website.  To celebrate we’ll be posting some of our highlights from past productions, starting with “The Truth” a film made with director Teddy Nygh for our 2009 exhibition “Homegrown”.

The brief was simple – make the most comprehensive documentary covering the development of UK Hip Hop from its origins to today told by the people that created the scene.  The result is a film that brings together legendary names of the UK scene – from Saxon Sounds through Rodney P, Roots Manuva to Giggs and Sway all telling their part in the story that makes up a uniquely British music and a uniquely British culture.

Show & Tell November 2011 | Cornerhouse

24 Nov

This Saturday head down to Cornerhouse from 4pm to 6pm to get  a taste of what’s happening in the minds of some of the city’s best leftfield innovators.

Bringing together Manchester’s visual arts community and the thriving digital design sector in a playful and informal setting Show and Tell invites ten artists and designers to make lightning-quick presentations about a current project, experiment or source of inspiration. The only rule – it mustn’t be something from the day job.

This time around our speakers are a mix of invited people, nominations from previous speakers and open spots that you can offer to fill.

The line-up includes:

Cherry Tenneson ‘Artist-informant-cartographer’ of redundant objects and information. Often seen documenting crumbs and plastic at an everyday desk top.

Michael Trainor founder of Pop Empires, Art makers and commissioners of art and events.

Richard Schofield from weareboy, 3D guys in Manchester serving the creative industries with still and animated 3D CGI, video, and all things ‘motionified’.

Mark Jermyn and Sally Gilford from one69a, a creative collective who specialise in screen printing, run educational workshops and run live screen printing sessions at events.

Mishka Henner Belgian born photographer whose recent work included No Man’s Land and recipient of the world’s smallest photography award! which seeks to emphasise the importance of coincidence, grace and humility in photography.

Amanda Bellantara from Kinokokophone, an artist collective that collects and composes sounds, stories and imagery from around the world.

Filmmaker, creator and compere extraordinaire Maria Ruban.

Plus more to be announced – including YOU!

The ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Following the first event we’ve responded to your requests to include open spots and there will be two available at this event for anyone who wants to present a cool, interesting project they are working on if you’re a designer please remember to focus on personal projects rather than pitching company work.

A collaboration between Cornerhouse and FutureEverything

via Show & Tell November 2011 | Cornerhouse.

Building digital capacity for the arts – ACE videos now available

8 Jul

Ooh… hasn’t it been quiet around here? Too much work on to put time aside to write about it recently. Will get back up to speed soon hopefully.

Anyway, the Arts Council have just released the second round of their Building Digital Capacity for the Arts seminar videos.

Full playlist on the Building digital capacity for the arts mini-site.

Manchester Young Creatives 2 – This Friday

9 Mar

Manchester Young Creatives meeting 2 at Band on the Wall
To all Manchester creatives – Want to meet people from music, visual art, theatre, film, photography, dance and general arty-ness? Fancy meeting up for a drink? Of course you do.

For its second outing Manchester Young Creatives wants to bring people who work in the arts in Manchester together to discuss, collaborate and create stunning cross-arts projects.

Manchester Young Creatives wants to be the place where an artist meets a musician and they decide to work together to create something new. (Or a filmmaker and an actor, or an architect and a graphic designer – you get the idea).

So, they’d love it if you’d help start this by bringing and image or recording of your work which can be showcased on the evening. Send submissions to manchesteryoungcreatives@gmail.com

The second MYC will take place in the Picturehouse Cafe Bar of Band on the Wall on 11th March from 5pm-7pm.

Manchester Young Creatives Eventbrite.

Twitter @manccreatives.

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

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