What role can art play in highlighting places or themes that deserve more attention? This was the first question we were asked as part of the recent Borderlight conference in Milan last week.
Eleanor and I were honoured to be invited to this gathering to share our experiences and we met some truly inspiring people with socially engage creative practices with both resonated with our work in Bradford, and also helped us grow.
For a start, check out the badass subversive work of Maria Papadimitriou, artist and academic based in Greece.
And the ambition and spaciousness of Bianco-Valente’s ‘Open Sky’ project in southern Italy.
We also loved hearing Nicholas Anastasopoulos (Urban Planner Researcher – School of Architecture of Athens – Greece) talk so eloquently about public space and the effects of the extraordinary circumstances in Greece.
Too many good chats and interesting ideas to mention really but of course huge thanks to Nicola, Gabi, Giulia, Simona and everyone for inviting us, hosting and making it happen! And high fives to Pietro’s snappy outfit (as well as his excellent words).
But back to that first question – how can art highlight places or themes that deserve more attention? Well, at The Brick Box, we use art as a prism through which to see things differently and further transformation of both spirit and place. We are an artist-led company with a socially engaged, place based practice. We are enablers and provocateurs, stimulating creative and economic growth, creating art in collaboration with others.
We create work with a pop culture aesthetic, using powerful juxtapositions and unusual locations to increase access to and participation in the arts. Through live art experiences we transform neglected spaces, bring people together and invite them to consider new possibilities.
Amongst our many adventures we have changed an abandoned department store into a surreal woodland, transformed ‘dangerous /no go’ areas into community discos, gathered people to tell stories round our Electric Fireside in back streets, loading bays and playgrounds, and fed people across London from our magical Toast Temple.
Our current projects (in development) involve exploring key elements of the history of our home city, Bradford: hidden rivers, invisible woodlands, and a tongueless wild boar. Universal themes and playful imaginative events allow us to rewrite our multiple narratives through a mass participatory arts project that will raise our collective power and give us our voice back.