Project Spaces in Romford & Harlod Hill 2009 - 2010
Situated in the London Borough of Havering I transformed two empty commercial properties into a temporary space to showcase contemporary art and writing produced by early career artists and writers. Aiming to connect the local community to the contemporary art world, and encouraging beneficial exchanges. Theses projects empowered early career artists through exchange and the use of alternative economies. Not often financially stable, recent creative graduates had few opportunities after leaving university after the financial crash. We provided free studios and exhibition spaces for 2 months to bring contemporary art to the London Borough of Havering. The spaces attracted an audience of all ages and backgrounds. We provided a number of free workshops for community groups, working with over 100 people.
Studio artists worked with existing community groups to provide creative and original workshops. These were free of charge and were mutually beneficial, providing each party with a new experience. The projects always remained open, encouraging artists to get all they could from the spaces. All workshops were tailored to the needs of those attending, and were run in exchange by studio artists. They ran workshops for for adults with learning disabilities taking the exhibitions as inspiration and created works for the participants to sell for their charity. They worked with Havering Sixth Form foundation students, providing feedback on their work and producing workshops which could be incorporated into their course work and finally exhibiting them in the gallery
The artists I worked with were chosen with consideration of the audience. Space was used creatively, with all areas open to the public. All previous shop furniture was incorporated into the exhibition. I was aware of the potential of a project to be perceived negatively by neighbouring shop keepers who paid full rent for the use
of their properties. In order to dispel any initial hostility and involve the surrounding shop community through supporting their businesses and building up good rapport.