This week has been one of new adventures. Following an open call from Art Gene, I have been selected to work with them as artist in residence for the next four months, starting with an introduction to Barrow-in-Furness this week. Read more about the project here
The residency is an invitation to get to know Barrow – a curious landscape of industry, past and present, environment and the social – all woven in-together. The first few days have been mostly spent cycling around, trying to get my bearings and learning about the work so far of Art Gene, an organisation and collaborative artistic venture led by Maddi Nicholson and Stuart Bastik. Also working on a sort of in-tandem residency, is artist Owen Griffiths – welsh based artist with a focus on community food systems and land use.
Extreme Views is an ongoing project at Art Gene, exploring the surprising-to-many fact that Barrow is the number one borough in England for Natural Heritage Assets – what this might mean, exploring the benefits that might be had from linking the communities and landscapes here.
Barrow might not be a particularly old town, but it has a rich history and identity. Armed with Art Gene’s rather amazing maps I hit the roads, pathways, coastal routes, short cuts and long cuts. Ideas start to form. I visit the library, where everyone seems to be enthusiastic and welcoming. There are plenty of interesting or unusual buildings, and everything from en-mass wind farms, nuclear submarines, off-shore gas terminals to their very own Walney Geranium, and hosts of sea birds.
The first visit is a brief one, but filled with a sense of possibility, and surrounded by lots of welcoming folk and interesting places. I’ll be visiting and spending time in Barrow on and off throughout the next few months. If you have a suggestion, or can share some curious insights about the town and the surrounding area, please get in touch.