Community Workshops (8 October 2016)

My second week as an intern for the Ridges & Furrows project started off with painting posters promoting the community art workshops run by our resident artists. It marked a nice turn of pace from the frantic first week as I was able to do it in my living room. It was also a big role reversal in our house as I was doing arts and crafts and my girlfriend, who had previously done a textile degree, was reading history! I then had to go out and collect some A-boards from one of our contacts in the village and put them up in the entrances and exits to the village.

The first workshop was led by jeweller Miranda Sharpe; she taught all the attendees how to do enamelling. It was aimed at an adult audience and involved use of a small portable kiln. It was great to see the themes from the historical research used in such imaginative ways to make patterns on the metal. Here are some examples of what was made:

 

 

The second workshop was a family workshop led by artist Lyndall Phelps which aimed to create a stage-like set of the old Co-operative shop which used to run in the village. The Welbourn branch was the first rural branch of the Co-operative family and opened in the 1840s. The workshop saw a great attendance with families staying for the whole day to create whole hampers of artwork.

 

 

During this week I met all the local volunteers involved in the steering group meeting for Welbourn; the meeting brought together the project leads from artsNK, the historian, artists and numerous locals from the village. With representatives from the parish council, primary and secondary schools and farming community volunteering to help at every stage of the project it really felt like a project in the best interests of the community. All this work was building up to a community-led, one day festival in which the artwork created by the village would be exhibited. This was later called the ‘Welbourn Horkey’, the name taken from the end of harvest feast the farmer would provide for his workers who helped. While seeming an generous, communal gesture, this feast was held instead of payment; a practice which soon died out with the more capitalist arrangement of landlord paying peasant, which arose in the sixteenth century. I revelled in learning this information and was getting on very well with the Ridges & Furrows historian Dave Reeves. It has been a joy for me to carry on learning and researching history after the end of my degree to keep my brain working in the same way and keep certain skills honed.

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Ridges & Furrows (1 October 2016)

Hello, my name is Danny Pedler and welcome to a blog about my first job out of university; an internship in the artsNK project, Ridges & Furrows! The project works to introduce artwork to communities in three target locations in Lincolnshire. In each location, the project researches their local, social history then, through working with both the community and professional artists, create artworks inspired from the historical research. This blog will reveal what it is like working for artsNK through my personal journey with the Ridges & Furrows project. I hope to better illustrate what it is like working in an arts administration organisation, and what the Ridges & Furrows project is trying to achieve. Enjoy!

 

In June, I graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London with a 2:1 in History of Ideas; it was a relatively pretentious degree that was incredibly fun to study, but that I thought wouldn’t yield much in the way of a career. While looking for work across all disciplines, I applied for the role of ‘Freelance Historian’ for the Ridges & Furrows project. Despite being turned down from this job due to lack of experience, I was offered an internship, as the artsNK staff were often lacking someone on the ground to carry out a wide range of tasks. I remember getting the call in the middle of Morrisons and doing a mini fist pump. I moved from Essex to Lincoln and began an exciting, unrestricted job full of diverse assignments.

 

I had a very good first week to introduce me to the work that artsNK does. I first had an induction with the team who are based at the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford. It was pretty confusing getting my head around the bureaucratic machinery of the organisation, and was told by my rather stressed inductor about the laborious task of correctly budgeting the Heritage Lottery funding for the project. After this introduction I was set to work helping in some art workshops that had already been organised in the first target village of the project which was Welbourn, just south of Lincoln. It is a beautiful community with a great agricultural heritage which became clearer as we delved deeper into the history of the village. This first section of the project employed two artists, with whom I worked with straight away, called Lyndall Phelps and Miranda Sharpe.

Their work can be seen here:

 

http://www.lyndallphelps.com,    http://www.mirandasharpe.co.uk

 

This stage of the project worked closely with the village primary school teaching workshops for their art week which included paint activities by Lyndall and metalwork with Miranda, all based on the research into the village’s history that had already taken place. I also helped the project’s historian Dave Reeves with workshops teaching local dialect to the children including words like ‘jannick’ and ‘featish’ which mean good, neat, etc. The children loved the workshops and it was really fulfilling to see new skills being adopted through a focus on their local history.

 

 

 

All in all it was a great first week to introduce me first to the machinery of arts administration but also to the invaluable work it does. I thoroughly enjoyed working with children in the schools reintroducing them to their history and teaching them new artistic skills.