How this art project examines what people in Stockton think

THE hopes, worries and thoughts of a community that has left the pandemic are the inspiration for a new art project.

ARC Stockton leads the project, which involves people from the city and their thoughts and feelings about the now and the future.

What’s on your mind? comprises 14 artists who now interpret their individual answers in new works.

Creative Director Paula Clark said, “It’s been a really interesting project so far and I’ve loved working with the different communities to see what they’re thinking about and then identify artists who respond to those thoughts.

“So often, people feel that their opinion is not important and that they are being ignored, especially people who are already marginalized. What’s On Your Mind is all about having conversations and actually listening.

“ARC would like to know how people are feeling when they come out of the pandemic, what feels urgent to them, what their fears, but also hopes and dreams for the future are.

“It’s so exciting to work for an arts organization that wants that dialogue to be the focus of their work. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Visitors regularly took part in the consultation, with topics such as how the city is changing and whether one feels welcome.

It has involved people from across the community, from refugees and asylum seekers to young people, the disabled and people from the LGBTQIA + community.

Artists will give their responses to people’s comments.

The form of each piece is up to the individual artist, but they are all made available to the public digitally, be it as a video, online exhibition, streamed live performance, or interactive piece.

Two new works will be published every week from Tuesday through Friday, December 3, and can be viewed free of charge on the ARC website and social media channels.

The first two What’s On Your Mind pieces are by punk poet Henry Raby and filmmaker and sound artist Dermot Daly.

Henry’s work will be published Tuesday and Dermots will be published on Friday October 22nd.

The project is funded by a grant from Arts Council England.

One of the goals of the project is to give ARC audiences and users a greater say in the work of ARC Stockton and to ensure that its work reflects what is important to its communities.

Annabel Turpin, ARC’s Managing Director and Artistic Director, said, “Although we will continue to host events and activities throughout the pandemic, our building has been closed for many months, so this is the perfect time to do a major listening exercise.

“It’s not just about listening to the locals, it’s also about harnessing the creative skills of artists and the new digital platforms we have developed to make their views heard.

“We’re delighted to have Paula on board to lead the program and can’t wait to see what artists create.”

More information is available at www.arconline.co.uk.

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