Art of Destination: Sunshine, Souvenir and Skyping Shanghai

Lucy Green, MPA’s project manager for the event, recalls Art of Destination. 

The Art of Destination conference we held at Brockholes at the end of March was a fantastic success, and I think we’ve all just about recovered from the busy lead up to the event. Thanks to everyone who came along and who contributed, Lancashire County Council for commissioning the conference, and Arts Council for supporting it.

The invited speakers gave a great range of perspectives on their very own Art of Destination – we had Laurie Peake talking about some wonderful artists she has worked with through Liverpool BiennialSteve Messam skyping us from Shanghai to talk about his current projects; Assemble collective describing their fantastic self-initiated work Cineroleum and Folly for a Flyover, and international artist Marco Dessardo explaining his unique approach to creating site-specific work in a traditional gallery space.

Highlights were the beautiful sunny weather we were delighted to have for the day (let’s hope there is more to come!) and the fantastic turn-out that gave us the suitably eclectic audience mix we were hoping for, which really spanned the arts, culture, tourism and regeneration sectors: artists, architects, arts officers, designers, curators, County Councillors and commissioners were all in attendance.

The low point was the fact that Steve Messam’s wonderful piece Souvenir, commissioned by LCC especially for the event, was sadly damaged by vandals soon after it had been installed earlier in the week.  The first showing of the work in the UK following presentations in Shanghai and Venice, by the day of the conference it was far from its original wonderful and ethereal state.  However, some fantastic images remain of Souvenir, so we’re glad that we were at least able to document its fleeting existence so we could share it with the audience who attended, as well as show it online.

Audience feedback rated Brockholes as a fantastic venue, and it’s one we would definitely recommend as conference hosts as well. The conference venue itself is a large, spacious room with beautiful views over the water, and forms part of the Visitor Village that is floating on the lake at the reserve.  An amazing piece of architecture in some lovely landscape, the Village and surrounding site is well worth a visit.  Also, just as importantly, Brockholes passed the conference-goers ultimate test – brilliant catering!

You can see more details of the event and images here.

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