Julia Mayou

Helen (teacher)

Sarah (from Improbable)

Rachel (Theatre maker and recent MA in Participatory & Community Arts at Goldsmiths)

Xavier de Sousa (Performance maker & producer)

Sarah (puppeteer/theatre director)

Amy (writer/historian)

Sally Rose (producer/SPILL Festival)

Molly (theatre maker)

Christy (theatre artist)

Paul (Dance and performance artist)

Nicky (artist that makes work about talking to people)

Notes from the discussion:

The idea of ‘place’ in creative learning.

Artists going to a specific community and adapting to this to value those who inhabit that place, and develop a system for two-way exchange.

There is a larger narrative to a place, beyond the artist’s work, and the context of a place must be considered.

Question: ‘is there enough money for artist to go to places to make projects’?

Art about places needs conversation.

Exampled discussed of local artists and arts centres that have really garnered support from the local community and become embedded in the local ecology.

How does time relate to who the community are? A place is not just about one thing or group, it is more nuanced. Community groups can still be very niche – and sometimes define the identity of a place.

Heritage funds – are they most relevant to people, or site?

Regular engagement is essential in works made with communities. ‘Community of interest’

How does community and place relate to social justice? And separately, inclusion?

What makes people feel they belong? Amateur dramatics is an example of a key group – mutual interest, regularity of meeting and belonging.

The idea of ‘mining’ a community was discussed as an example of practice that takes away from a place.

What do we mean by ‘place’? A boundary or containment of some kind?

Attachment is a key part on being, even if only temporary. Can you stay there forever as an artist?

Artists moving or being embedded in a place. Can this be enabling? If there is disturbance involved, there must be some kind of responsibility as an artist.

Which could be argued is the role of the artist. As could the idea of creating change. Perhaps its sometimes beneficial for artists to leave after instigating change.

Long term work is all about relationships and processes, and often has trust at its heart.

Commitment & connection to a place.

How can something you set up continue without you?

‘Place based’ projects

The way an organisation or local authority is in a place, rather than what they do. Trust is a key of place-based work.

Walking projects – place based, but portable. Seeing thing differently, for a fixed period of time.

Not a specific theatre space, the “Realness” of this.

Public art.

If you are a person who is coming across art in the public space, street or non-theatrical space, you may potentially be more likely to have no expectations and engage. It may be more high risk. There is the immediate choice to experience something.


Examples of projects, or ideas that were offered in relation to the discussion.


Anthropology – a case study from Japan re: dementia Which describes a community visiting shrines, regularly each day, and how this effected those with dementia.

The Rowntree paper ‘Belonging’ is a useful reference - for civically engaged (Jocelyn can you insert weblink? I couldn’t find a specific)

‘Ageing conference at Conway Hall” Project “Hear Hear” – map of Peckham, asks what people’s favourite sounds are in relation to place, and allows other people to experience them. (artist name not recorded)

Project: “Midnight Run” by Inua Ellams

Project: “The Big Tramp” by Cardboard Citizens

Project: Cooltan Arts

Project: “Walking:Holding” by Rosana Cade (Sally is Rosana’s producer)