Working across the region, we will be activating creative projects in collaboration with artists, communities and partners in a year-round place-based approach. Each of these will bring artists and communities into closer contact, helping make our part of the world a better place to live, work and play.
We will deliver this through a variety of ways included funded residencies for artists to research and develop projects with local communities and to build relationships with local partners.
Work is underway! We are currently supporting award-winning choreographer, theatre and filmmaker, Dan Canham on a project with schools and communities in Fenland, while Dot Howard and Sorrel Muggridge are developing a traveling collection of palm-sized artifacts which they will use to inspire communities in Norfolk to create a new large-scale public artwork. Find out a little more about both projects below.
Dan Canham – A Fenland residency
Our Creative Places work will support artists to develop projects with communities across the region. Residencies offer artists time and space to expand their practice and explore ideas for projects they might develop with us. Supported by Festival Connect & Create, dancer and choreographer Dan Canham has completed a fortnight-long residency in Fenland.
Re-discovering the landscape of his childhood, Dan embarked on a series of meetings and workshops. Immersing himself into the communities of Fenland, he ran a workshop with drama students at Abbey College in Ramsey and spent time with Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust. He met with a number of local arts organisations and visited different towns, libraries, museums, and more than a few open fields!
Sometimes these residencies offer up an unexpected encounter. When Babylon Arts introduced Dan to Katie Boag and Ash Goosey – two krump dancers from the Ely area – they collaborated on a short film that resonates profoundly with many of the themes he went into the residency with – young people, landscape, climate grief and ritual.
His residency uncovered issues that Dan will work into his project proposal – from a lack of public transport to problems faced by the community’s young people. A valuable opportunity for artists, residencies like this offer a chance to get under the skin of a place before embarking on a project.
“To have the time and space to build relationships, to learn what is already in place in the area and to trial experiments has been of immense value and has ultimately allowed for the conditions for richer work to occur” Dan Canham
Watch this space as we’ll announce the showing of Dan’s film with Katie and Ash and have more news of his project proposal.
Dot Howard & Sorrel Muggridge - A Handful of Time
Residency September – November 2023
Visual artists Dot Howard and Sorrel Muggridge have completed a three week residency across Norfolk libraries as part of the development of their A Handful of Time project.
A Handful of Time invites participants to create small artworks or ‘artefacts’ with locally sourced clay; each artefact is unique and personal to the participant making it. Dot and Sorrel have used the libraries as a base to present the work and to engage the network of communities that utilise the libraries.
Over the three weeks, more than 100 people participated in creating their own artefacts, connecting with people from eleven months to 80+. The library settings also enabled different levels of participation, from supported one-to-one sessions, to groups and independent participation.
Dot and Sorrel visited us at our Norwich Guildhall office to give the Festival team the opportunity to experience the project and make their own artefacts. Anna McCarthy, Head of Connect & Create, had this to say on participating in the project:
“It was amazing how evocative picking up other people’s imprints in clay was – it whispered belonging and intimacy along with a sense of the eternal; it was incredibly reassuring and Moore-ish in more ways than one.”
The residency has allowed the artists the vital time needed to experiment and develop the project without impending deadlines. Through the process, they have been able to develop the delivery; from the way they source and prepare their clay, to the way they approach and engage participants in different community spaces.
Dot and Sorrell intend to develop the project further and we’re excited to see how A Handful of Time progresses over the next few years.
February – April 2024
Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Norfolk Wildlife Trust are proud to announce a new project for Sweet Briar Marshes in Norwich. Nature Connects Us builds on Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s previous partnership with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Common Ground project, where we offered opportunities for young people to develop creative interpretations for built and natural heritage sites in the East of England.
This new place-based partnership continues to drive our mutual goals to connect urban communities with local nature and to promote social and ecological responsibility.
Kinship, a new poetry and sound project celebrating Sweet Briar Marshes, is 2024’s Nature Connects Us commission. From February to April, writer Daisy Henwood and musician Milly Hirst will collaborate with young people and their communities to explore how we relate to nature.
Daisy will be running fun, family-friendly activities in the Mile Cross and Marlpit areas of Norwich in the February half term, and spending time with local people to tell a new story of nature.
Stay tuned for more updates!
This project is part of a wider programme of work we are delivering in partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who purchased Sweet Briar Marshes in September 2022. The purchase of this land provides the opportunity to protect and restore its biodiversity and enhance it for people – to inspire them to care and act for nature.
Anna McCarthy, Head of Festival Connect & Create, said:
“Norfolk and Norwich Festival is absolutely delighted to be working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust as part of a long-term partnership using the power of the arts to forge meaningful relationships with the places and people on our doorsteps. Inspiring and supporting communities to connect with natural spaces has never been more critical; Nature Connects Us and On Our Doorsteps employ the magic of the arts to help us to imagine futures to thrive in and to fully realise the interdependency of our collective wellbeing.”
Masthead: Kerry Bensley | Dan Canham