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Community Maker, British Ceramics Biennial, 2015

FRANCIS, Anna (2015) Community Maker, British Ceramics Biennial, 2015. [Artefact]

[img] Text (Description of year one of project, and display at BCB 2015.)
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Image (Project year one flyer for engagement programme)
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Abstract or description

Display at the British Ceramics Biennial, Spode Factory, 2015.
The ‘Community Maker’ project focused on the Portland Street area of Hanley, where 33 houses have been refurbished and sold for £1 each as part of a long-term process of social renewal and urban regeneration led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. This housing intervention aimed to ‘change the rhythm’ of the area and support the development of a happier and healthier community.
‘Community Maker’ formed part of the cultural sector’s response to place-making for the area, bringing long-term residents together with new arrivals to build an active and engaged community. It began when local artist (and £1 home owner), Anna Francis, approached British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) with the idea. BCB’s community engagement programme acts as a catalyst for positive social change through cultural activity in Stoke-on-Trent, a city with some of the lowest cultural participation rates in England (34 per cent). The idea was to work with local people to explore personal stories, cultural identities, ceramic heritage and relationship to place through the making and sharing of food and through designing and making ceramic objects together.
Using community meals and ‘make’ sessions to bring people together was a way of creating space for productive, if at times difficult, conversations.
Using an action research approach to involve local people in decision-making tells you if and how something will work and empowers people to take action and engage further in their community.
The need for sustainable business models for community buildings is necessitating a more creative approach: new buildings need flexibility built into the plan so they can evolve and develop in relation to the needs, wants and resources of an area.
Community asset mapping is a way to involve people in identifying potential resources in their area and changing views of a place.
The biggest finding from year one, which was repeated again and again by members of the community was the need for a community space to get together.
The local pub, shop, community centre were all still boarded up, and people felt strongly that in order to thrive, a space was sorely needed.
The end of year was celebrated with a display at The British Ceramics Biennial, held at the Spode Factory September to November 2015. On Saturday, October 3rd 2015, Anna Francis hosted a celebratory feast event at the Spode Site, where artists, community development workers and interested stakeholders were invited to discuss the questions raised by the project so far.
The display consisted of a series of ceramic items created with the Residents of the Portland St Area of the City, as a way of exploring the needs of the area.

Item Type: Artefact
Uncontrolled Keywords: ceramics, ceramic, clay, regeneration, culture, community development
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Art and Design
Event Location: Stoke-on-Trent
Depositing User: Anna FRANCIS
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 14:01
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:46

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