Tag Archives: Arts

Flickers of the past

As a volunteer at MPA I was excited when I was asked to help with a photo shoot for the upcoming Contemporary Heritage installation at Gawthorpe Hall, Flicker by Catherine Bertola.  I have visited the hall on a couple of occasions and I felt privileged to be able to see behind the scenes and learn about the history of Gawthorpe from some very knowledgable people.

For the first two days of the shoot I tried to be as helpful as possible, getting people into costume and making sure everybody was comfortable.  Two sets of re-enactment groups took part in the project and it was engrossing to see them transform from 21st century people into characters from the 1600’s.  Even more amazing was the way that their transformation created a dramatic change in the space, passing a 17th century physician on the staircase really made you feel like you had gone back in time!

On the third day of the shoot it was my turn.  Early on in the process of selecting the cast for the shoot there was a call for a petite female with dark hair, as I fitted the bill I put myself forward to help.  Little did I know that I would get the chance to dress as a 17th century lady of the manor and wear an incredible dress! I began my day by being strapped into a very small corset and a floor length dress.  I began to realise why ladies had such a need for servants as bending, sitting down and even walking suddenly became very difficult without some help.  Then it was time for the photographs and I really enjoyed chatting to my fellow cast members while trying to ‘look natural’.  The day was a lot of fun even if it was a little chilly and I can’t wait to see the images that come out of it.

Flicker will open on Saturday 23 March and run until October, see Mid Pennine Arts website for details.

Contemporary Heritage: A new way of seeing is an ambitious programme of site-responsive artist commissions at stunning historic sites across Pennine Lancashire.  The commissions, inspired by Pennine Lancashire’s heritage, animate each site and offer visitors a rare chance to experience major works of art by artists of national and international standing outside urban centres.

Dom in costumegw_3

Emma Booth, 15, reflects on her week of work experience with MPA.

I must say, my time spent here at Mid Pennine Arts has been a huge eye-opener to the massive range of art and artists out there. Being a teen on work experience, I knew there was more to art than pencil, paint and paper, but I have never really considered art beyond my own passions.

By delving deep into the heart of what MPA is about, I discovered knowledge about their past projects and the impact they have had on people who visit them. For example, the Contemporary Heritage projects have taught me that there is more to art than what it looks like. Of course, the aesthetics of a physical piece are important, but projects such as Not Forgotten have shown me that the story behind a piece of artwork is of an even greater importance, and when one reads deeper into that story, the beauty that was originally there shines brighter and illuminates the site.

As well as the many stand-alone projects that have been created, I have also learned about the heaps of work that MPA does with children and young people. Researching Creative Learning projects such as Padiham Greenway and Historical Tea Parties has made me smile widely, especially after reading about the work MPA has done with children with learning or behavioural difficulties. Right now, thinking about the massive impact MPA’s work must have had on these children, attempting to put it into words is proving a difficult task.

Being at MPA has not only given me an insight into the many forms and meanings of art in the world, but has also given me a taste of what the world of work is like. I remember sitting outside the office back at my primary school, waiting for my mum to finish in the teachers’ meetings that were held, itching to burst inside and share my thoughts and ideas. Well, MPA has given me that opportunity, and with each meeting I was a part of, I couldn’t help but marvel at the wonderful future projects being discussed that held so much potential. Of course, the world of work is not all fun and games, but even sorting through artists’ applications and data has taught me about the vast variety of art forms.

I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time at MPA, and I am absolutely certain that my experience will come in handy at some point in the future. I would like to say a big, big thank you to all the colleagues at MPA, whose friendly natures made me feel comfortable and welcome in the new atmosphere. And for all the coffee!

Emma Booth
Work Experience Volunteer

Photo of Emma Booth for blog compressed

Think Big!

As a volunteer for Mid Pennine Arts many new opportunities have come my way. I am pleased to say that with the support of MPA I have received funding from O2’s Think Big campaign to realise my own project and I am very excited to begin!

My project is called Pass It On and its all about sharing skills and knowledge. I want to create a chain of people who pass on skills to each other. Each person would learn something new and then teach a different skill to the next person in the chain. It’s a great chance to meet new people and get involved in a project to be proud of. I also want to document each skill sharing session and potentially hold a small exhibition to share the experiences.

All I need now are some volunteers to participate! The skills I am looking for do not have to be complicated the only criteria is to teach someone something new. In a practice run of this project people taught things like how to cook soup, meditation and how to mix songs as a DJ. I believe that everybody has talents they can pass on and who wouldn’t benefit from learning something new? To get involved please email, projects@midpenninearts.org.uk or call on 01282 421 986 (ext 206). I am aiming to fit the project around the participants to make it as convenient as possible so it should not encroach on any other commitments that volunteers may have. The total time commitment is 4-5 non consecutive days between mid February and mid May.

This project is open to anybody to come and learn something and have some fun in the process! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Dominique Dunand-Clarke
Project Assistant

Young People in Focus

Author Stephanie Hawke

What do young people do in their free time? Do they engage with arts and culture? If the answer is yes, then how and why do they do this? If no, then what’s stopping them?

MPA are helping Curious Minds find out the answers to these and other questions as part of a miniature action research project.

The first two sessions took place at The Hollin’s Technology College, Accrington last week. The young people considered their level of engagement with arts and culture before choosing ‘interventions’ to make and reflect on. They chose to engage with digital media and theatre.


So  a few days later, Matt Gartside from Zumamedia joined the group in school to give them his digital photography top tips. What do you think of the results?

Next week we’re off to the Lowry Centre to see some musical theatre!

Latest Commission in the Contemporary Heritage Series

Contemporary Heritage: A new way of seeing

by Claire Morgan

Mid Pennine Arts and Lancashire County Museum Service are delighted to announce the latest Contemporary Heritage commission has been awarded to international sculptor Claire Morgan.

No Match will have its official opening at a free public event on Saturday 18 February 2012 at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Rossendale, Lancashire.

Following on from a research residency at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in October, Claire Morgan will create a six part, site specific, sculptural installation at the museum in January.

Inspired by the mill and her discoveries during the residency, what Claire has found most intriguing is the mill workers fond memories despite the daily hazards they faced. The installation will be suspended in the Devil Hole where man’s attempt to harness natures’ power was realised through intense heat, noise, pressure and sometimes even smoke, fire and blood.

“My idea for No Match came from my fascination with all the complex, repetitive, and really quite aggressive processes that occurred in the Devil Hole.  I wanted to make something that traced the passage of nature through that dark, industrial space, and for me that could mean anything from the cotton, to workers, to fire, or even blood.  The finished installation will hopefully acknowledge these things in an abstract but engaging way.” Claire Morgan

No Match is part of Contemporary Heritage: A new way of seeing, Mid Pennine Arts’ ambitious partnership programme of contemporary art commissions at some of Lancashire’s most colourful and intriguing historic venues.  The commissions, inspired by Lancashire’s heritage, animate each site and offer visitors a rare chance to experience major works of art by artists of national and international standing outside urban areas.

No Match launches at 1pm on Saturday 18 February 2012 at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4 4NP. FREE EVENT.

No Match is supported by Modern History which is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), funded marketing programme which promotes the industrial heritage of the North West in a contemporary and compelling way making it relevant to today’s visitor.