Last month we went to Helsinki, Finland. (you know you can catch a ferry to Russsia from there? RUSSIA).
This was the first phase in a new project we’re developing called Hope Springs Eternal. We’ll be working in Kannelmaki in May 2018, building a temporary spa-type experience with the local community, so this was a scoping trip for our mad ideas.
We stayed by the harbour in an area called Eira and visited Kannelmaki, a north western suburb of the city, for an arts festival organised by the Baltic Circle team.
Helsinki is built on a big rock next to the sea, as we flew in we saw islands and pine forests. Very Moomin.
We met Satu, Hanna, Maja and the rest of the team from the Baltic Circle Festival who were just GREAT. In some ways it felt like an international art solidarity trip – going to a place far away and meeting people who share your values and approaches. Very empowering. But we also met a lot of local people in Kannelmaki who were hanging out in the square and part of the festival.
We chatted about plans, logistics and concepts and it was well received. Someone said ‘wow, what a project!’ in a positive way, I think. What’s not to like about hot tubs, bubble machines and gold rainments?
We also went to a sauna, a flea market and a sea pool. We went to a Russian bar (and left at some point I think). We tried some horrible blueberry cider. We drank Tom of Finland coffee. If you haven’t come across Tom of Finland, google him.
We didn’t get out loads but one thing is that it seems to be more centralised / government run than ours. Most cities have a city theatre, for example. I think what Baltic Circle are doing – getting out of arts institutions and developing more socially engaged practices – is rare. This work is new and radical, pushing the boundaries of what is art, who does it and where it happens.
One of the most surprising things about Finland is that it is SO CLEAN. Although that wasn’t really surprising. But I mean really clean. And you can’t buy alcohol from an off licence after 9pm. That was a shocker.
The next steps for Hope Springs Eternal is spending some time researching and developing water rituals here in Bradford. We’d like to get some bubble machines going in Oastler Square and see what happens!
We were honoured to be invited to organise David Hockney’s 80th birthday celebrations in his home town of Bradford, and boy was it a party!
David’s been voted ‘Britain’s greatest living artist’, and to mark his big birthday Bradford Council created a new permanent gallery in the city.
The birthday celebrations and gallery opening took place in Lister Park on Sunday 9th July 2017. There was a cavalcade of art, music, food, drink and balloons for all. There was even a life size cake of Le Plongeur and a Hockney’s 80th ale brewed by Bradford Brewery
Audiences enjoyed iPad drawing with Fabric Lenny, and exploring People in the Landscape – a new work of art made in collaboration with older citizens based at Francis House sheltered accommodation. There was sketching, dancing, balloon modelling and celebrating at our Hocknification Station. Our friends from Handmade Parade brought their brilliance with parade of sausage dogs, swimmers and a huge puppet of the great man himself.
A huge thanks to Bradford Museums and Galleries, and Arts Council England for funding this event and helping everyone celebrate our David.
Last year’s Wild Woods project has been renewed with three more events in the former department store in Bradford city centre.
This time, the indoor woodland wonderland is spruced up for spring, and hundreds of people have already enjoyed the first Wild Woods in Bloom on 18th March.
Working with partners across Bradford, we’re delivering a packed and varied programme of performance, music, games, food, drink, art and more.
We’ve been blown away by the help we’ve been given by Bradford organisations and individuals to put these events together, which will be the final events in the Wild Woods before it’s dismantled.
Here are a few photos from the 18th March event, and we hope to see you at one of the remaining two events on 1st and 15th April.
- An interactive live dance performance of Dancing with Strangers: from Calais to England by Instant Dissidence
- A celebration of the Cottingley fairies in partnership with Impressions Gallery
- A holi festival of coloured powder throwing, in partnership with the Colour Museum and Speakers Corner
- A pop-up mosque to meet Muslim neighbours
- A wild food buffet
- A mobile herbarium
- Live music from Punjabi Roots, Ilk, The 309s, and The Peace Artistes
- The Brick Box Bar and food offers from different local businesses
- Flags made by Bradfords refugee football club
- Digital bluebells, a wishing well, and an indoor pond
See the full programme over at wildwoodsbradford.co.uk
The Brick Box are very happy to announce that we’ll be working with Emergency Exit Arts as a creative partner on their incredible Paper Peace project.
This UK-wide project will see a team of partners create collaborative events around the country in 2018 to commemorate the end of WW1.
Funded by Arts Council England, we’ll be working with five regional partners, and particularly with young artists aged 18-25.
The regional partners are:
Creative Scene, Batley; City Arts, Nottingham; Vivacity & Jumped Up Theatre, Peterborough; B-Arts, Stoke-On-Trent; Articulture, Aberystwyth, Wales.
The work will include outdoor performances, poetry, paper sculptures, projections and pyrotechnics, and some of the work created by these partnerships in the regions will tour the country.
We’ll bring more news as the project develops, but we’re looking forward to being part of this fantastic project alongside Artistic Director, Orit Azaz; Poet and Visual Artist, Robert Montgomery;?and Associate Director of Participation, Chloe Osborne.
Find out more
We’re very happy to be able to welcome some new neighbours to our building in Ivegate, Bradford city centre.
Speakers’ Corner is a new social space which was set up by some of the dynamic women who took part in the Women of the World Festival in November last year.
They’re a friendly and welcoming group who care very deeply about helping other people and their city, and continuing the wonderful, positive energy the Women of the World festival brought to Bradford.
Everyone is very welcome to attend all the Speakers’ Corner events, it’s not just for the girls, and they’ll be using the downstairs space at Ivegate for all kinds of entertainment, discussion and get-togethers.
You can read a bit more about them in this news story on the Telegraph and Argus website, and follow their events by liking them on Facebook.