The residency gave us space to get back to our roots to question the role of the artist and the compromises we have to make to work in a creative way. Challenges are faced daily both financially and creatively, working with free office space with support from Urban Splash in the Vanilla Factory helps immensely.
We recognise one methodology is being part of a movement of people in Liverpool many based around the Hope Street area who work in the same precarious way as The Sound Agents, a group of talented people who live off their wits, problem solve, meet in cafes in Falkner Street, Hope Street and Bold Street and talk about law, copyright and intellectual property, ethics, 'projects', experiences, loan each other equipment and plan future collaborative work or sign post a colleague to a 'suit' who may be able to help in some way. The group consists of writers, directors, producers, composers, musicians, lyricists and the occasional academics.
We have discussed this phenomena, perhaps the Mersey poets left a legacy of talented people coming together in this way? Something to think about.
During the residency we were filmed making a film as part of a BBC documentary 24 Hours in the NHS to be aired in April, we attended a number of meetings including a new focus group at the PCT, we were interviewed by China Daily, a newspaper that is sold in 30 European countries with a readership of 150 000 for a feature and was asked to write an article for the paper. We held a poetry evening in partnership with Writing on the Wall (WOW) for poet Edward Bedford AKA Steve Aldo.
We have recently joined a focus group at the PCT, we were invited along to discuss quality and value. One of the points I raised to be included in the minutes was the fact that artists do not get the respect that we deserve. As in other professions there are different roles say for example if you compare the Arts to Health, there are GP's, Specialists, Consultants, Clinicians, Scientists a wide spectrum of careers. We can compare this to the arts. We were told at the focus group, that in the future for grant funding once the PCT ends, GP's will be dealing with funding directly, arts organisations will have to be able to write and speak the same language as GP's to obtain any financial support. As artists working as agitators with people who are classed as 'community' (and the word community itself opens up a whole can of worms) we both have 30 years experience as producers of work.
We do not actually do any Art work with 'communities'. We document what is happening and agitate situations working with people who are part of a geographical location including developers and health professionals, we make partnerships with museums, universities, meet with leaders of councils, TUC and aim to set up a multi-media museum working in partnership with all of the above. We facilitate and aid the establishment and development of creative practice in the field of arts, heritage, design, music and international research. The work of art is the dialogical practice creating a relational aesthetic based on communication and exchange.
We discussed this with a film producer, literature agent and musicians how there needs to be a change in thinking about how people working in the creative industries live and work and the importance of working with creative people to bridge gaps especially in arts and health using art as a tool for communication and documentation.