Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Working out the logistics for the Awards ceremony for Eat the Streets Tasmania. Imagine trying to wrangle about 50 children, 12 restaurants, a choir, a group of children in a play, parents, teachers and audiences, techies, Mc's, Dj's, volunteers etc etc etc. As you can imagine it is a detailed meeting.

We had a great dinner last night at Flip Burgers, it was next door to a pub, that had a big dance floor and the kids had the best time. I also met some local arts folks and we even had a sword swallower that built the tension prior to dinner talking about his gag reflex, the kids loved to hate it.

More conversations this morning about risk and safety and how we could do something together about this exact topic.... going to spend a few days pondering - but it is clear when a good idea emerges it is time to do something about it.

It's dawning on me that the work of MDR really is a response to a "current climate" what ever that looks like. The team move with research and trends and /or lack of research and trends to locate their projects within a specific climate. This is a useful framework for understanding how work needs to be relevant, but I have not checked this theory with them, so will confirm or deny tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

back in Tasmania

Landed in lovely Hobart yesterday had the big 3 hour drive back to Launceston and got into some great conversation about balancing the work we do with young people and the work we do with adults. Different topics and content and how that can be managed and when it could become complex. Lots of thinking to do as artists who work across genres and population groups and themes.

Also will update more on the week ahead and my thinking about risk, and a new project idea emerging called "World without Strangers".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

risk, risk and more risk

Since june 2008 when i started working at YPAA (Young People and the Arts Australia) i was handed on a project called Planning Safer Projects, which we delivered in Perth a few month back, and will be in Canberra in mid November. 

When i first saw this project I really had little idea what to do with it, I presumed most arts workers had this risk stuff covered. However during my time here in Tas i realise that in fact maybe this is a much bigger issues nationally than i had originally thought.

There was an article in the Weekend Australian a few weeks back about parents and children and the issues / media  / situations which have created more evidence for families and communities to be risk adverse - when it comes to children just "being" in the world.

Darren, Nat and I have been talking a lot about risk.
Asking questions like:
"what risks would parents / teachers / children consider acceptable?" 
"how can this conversation be built into our projects?"
"where are our own boundaries around what risks we would be comfortable with in our projects?"

I noticed Darren had linked some stuff on the Mowbray Heights blog about children's playgrounds and risk. I have cut and pasted just a small section of a larger quote.

"The problem is exacerbated by the American public’s increasing difficulty with assessing risk on a daily basis. The playground has become so safe that it no longer allows children to take on challenges that will further educational and emotional development"  American Playgrounds by Susan G. Solomon 

I have also noticed that a few other organisations are hosting workshops with similar topics and links into larger government departments whose job it is to avoid risk, of a large magnitude.

I have no answers about this yet but have been pondering the associated questions.

I have been wondering how to build into my work this type of conversation and during one of the workshops i realised in fact children like adults  have some big concerns about their own saftey in relation to strangers...

I will come back to this topic, as it is forming part of some larger questions:
what risk is helpful to human growth?
what risk is just plain dangerous?
what risk have we been made to fear and by which sources?
what does this mean for art making?
what does this mean for contemporary childhood?

links to the Mowbray Heights Blog


this shows you photos and comments by the judges and the overall vibe of the project.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MDR and Portland.. linked

If you check out the MDR website you will their writing on Social Acupuncture:
Our Social Acupuncture wing houses ongoing work that induces encounters between strangers, blurs the line between art and life, and proves the generosity of the social sphere. We devise methods to increase our stock of social capital, bridging gaps between people who may not ordinarily have any reason to form relationships. Simultaneous to its impact in the community, it functions as a laboratory of sorts for the performance work of the company, inspiring new techniques and approaches, as can be seen in the development of Diplomatic Immunities.

In our Social Acupuncture work, we are exploring an aesthetic of civic engagement: the artistic use of the institutions of civil society - of community centres, schools, senior's centres, sports clubs, the media and public spaces. Civic engagement as an aesthetic uses the consensual participation of these institutions as material to create work that, seen from most angles, appears to be mostly not art, or even intervention, but that takes modest glances at simple power dynamics and, for a moment, provides a glimpse of other possibilities.

 Social Practice Masters details can be found at http://www.pdx.edu/art/graduate-programs

Dedicated to helping students understand and explore the ways that artists and their work function within a larger social context, the Department of Art offers a two-year degree program leading to the Master of Fine Arts, Contemporary Art Practice, with an emphasis in either Studio Practice or Social Practice. Studio Practice students engage in independent research and production, combining disciplines or concentrating on a single discipline, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, digital or time-based media. Social Practice students work beyond the studio, engaging the public in projects that seek to transcend traditional boundaries between artist and audience

The Fellowship begins

I was awarded a Brisbane City Council Fellowship to explore an arts related practice called Social Practice.  I will be spending part of my time with Canadian based Mammalian Diving Reflex (MDR) - Artistic Director Darren O'Donnell and Producer Natalie De Vito while they are working on a project called Eat the Streets in Launceston, TAS. www.mammalian.ca 

I will also be traveling to Portland, Oregon to participate in his masters course he teachers focusing on Social Practice. www.harrellfletcher.com and then seeing his work in motion in Melb in 2010.

This is very exciting because I am looking into where abouts this kind of work fits with my own kind of work.... Ill be updating this blog during this time... also if you want to email me with any ideas, questions, or just get in contact about this fellowship, you can find me via lenineb@gmail.com