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Commission for musicians or music groups to undertake community engagement projects in Hastings, Winter 2020-2021.

Project summary

This project is part of the Trinity Triangle Heritage Action Zone – a major programme of community-led regeneration in central Hastings funded by Historic England.

Project Art Works has been commissioned by the Hastings Heritage Action Zone team to curate the cultural programme and to commission artists, initially for this pilot project.

“Our organisation works toward greater representation of marginalised people in culture. We have strong relationships with many local caregivers and neuro-minorities through our programmes and strong collaborative partnerships with local and regional galleries. Most recently our three-year project Explorers commissioned neurodiverse artists, programmed a series of seminars, conferences, events and happenings and produced a new film ‘Illuminating the Wilderness’ that has been shortlisted for the Film London Jarman Award 2020 https://filmlondon.org.uk/events/film-london-jarman-award-weekend-at-the-whitechapel

Celebrating the free-spirited and independent community of the Trinity Triangle, we wanted to continue to build deeper local relationships through a cultural programme that focusses on the assets of this unique site and invite local residents and communities to participate. Working in collaboration with a brilliant and wide range of artists and organisations based in Hastings and St Leonards, HAZ and all partners; we want to generate aspiration for the area through art and creative actions. The HAZ pilot will launch a pulse of events and artworks over the next few years focussed on diverse representation of artists and local people.

Musicians have been profoundly hit by COVID-19 and the impact on freelance opportunities. Hastings has a great music scene and many, many talented musicians living locally. We wanted to make space for them to do what they do best and to bring some joyous music making to our lives over the coming months.”

Kate Adams – CEO & Director – Project Art Works.

We are seeking to appoint four musicians, who will each engage and work with local community groups and the area (online or in a safe physical space), to create and perform original compositions that can be shared within the Trinity Triangle Heritage Action Zone during the spring of 2021.

Applications will be accepted from individual musicians, groups/ensembles, either as a single entity (working with one community group) or as a collaboration (each individual within the group/ensemble working with a separate local community group to create a collaborative output).

Applicants will be expected to create a short expression of interest that will describe a methodology for their process and what they will do/who they might work with.

The aim of the project is to engage skilled local musicians and communities in a performance and celebration of people and place – specifically the Trinity Triangle in central Hastings. By offering four commissions, we recognise the need to support the creative community facing continued financial pressure and hardships during continued Covid-19 restrictions.

The fee for the commission is £1600 for each artist/artist group (£6400 in total) with 50% paid at the start of the commission and 50% on completion. This is inclusive of your expenses but we do not expect you to pay for the costs of  providing access for community groups (such as venue hire for workshops/ rehearsals), or production costs directly associated with the final output. Please contact us if you need clarification of fees/expenses and costs.

Expression of Interest Process – please send a 1-page statement of intent to [email protected] by 5pm on Monday 23 November 2020, outlining specifically:

  • Your experience as a musician, composer and performer, and any experience of working with local community groups, outreach or socially engaged practice

  • Your approach to this commission, and any ideas you have for themes, collaborations or the creative outputs

  • How you will identify and work with your chosen local community group

Please do not send CVs. Informal interviews will be held with Project Art Works in the week commencing 30 November 2020. If successful you will be notified on or before Friday 4 December.

Project Art Works are committed to commissioning artists that are representative of the community we serve. We therefore welcome applications from all backgrounds and all sections of the community, and will endeavour to make the application process as accessible as possible

For more information or an informal chat about the commission please contact [email protected], telephone 01424 423555. We regret that due to limited capacity we will be unable to provide individual feedback to applicants who do not reach the shortlist stage.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Trinity Triangle Heritage Action Zone (TTHAZ) is a four-year regeneration programme supported by Historic England to breathe new life into an historic part of Hastings town centre: the Trinity Triangle and America Ground.

The vision for the four-year period includes working in partnership with local organisations including community groups, businesses and local government to deliver a wide variety of regeneration and cultural projects. The projects will be produced in collaboration with diverse local communities. We will celebrate people’s ideas, help them to shape the places in which they live and work, and promote stories about this special, historic neighbourhood. This community led programme of regeneration will protect and improve the area’s buildings and heritage for the future.

The Trinity Triangle is rich in history and built heritage – it is home to the story of the America Ground rebels, Victorian and Edwardian buildings, the iconic Observer Building and the beautifully renovated Hastings library in the Brassey Institute. The residents of the area are diverse and it is home to many small, independent businesses and a growing number of creative people live and work in the area. It also has a recent history rich in music, hosting the town centre’s two music shops and a number of well-known music and cultural venues.

This music project is the pilot for a proposed cultural programme, which itself is part of the wider programme of social and built environment redevelopment led by a group of local organisations https://www.heartofhastings.org.uk/haz

TTHAZ has commissioned Project Art Works as curator-in-residence for the cultural programme.

Project Art Works is a collective of neurodiverse artists and makers. Project Art Works is an inclusion partner for the Trinity Triangle redevelopment supporting Heart of Hastings/CLT and other stakeholders in ensuring that all developments are inclusive (physical access, affordable rent, accommodation built for supported living, live/work units for neurodivergent artists, consultation and community involvement with underrepresented groups).

Project Art Works has a long history with 12 Claremont situated in the Trinity Triangle, Kate Adams CEO/Director had a studio here in the 1990s, The basement has been used as exhibition and events space by Project Art Works in the 2000s, and Project Art Works is opening a new inclusive gallery, Untitled, in the ground floor space.

 

Cultural Programme

Funded by Historic England, the overall cultural programme will facilitate cultural activities and events celebrating the history of the high street and its importance to local communities and crucially, give local communities a key role in deciding what they want to see happening on their high street and what sort of place they want it to be.

The first cultural event was a virtual “Independents’ Day” on 4 July. This replaced what may become a regular neighbourhood festival with a series of engagement activities, including a live digital broadcast from the area via Isolation Station Hastings and a film produced by a local company which highlighted local traders’ views of the area, its heritage and community. The event explored the effects of lockdown and the partial reopening of the high street on local traders, residents and visitors as well as their hopes and ideas for the future.

Pilot Project Commission – Further Details

The pilot project will build on that success with active engagement with communities in the Hastings area, to explore and develop a sense of community and neighbourhood identity, against a backdrop of the impacts of, and responses to COVID-19.

Project Art Works will work with and support the commissioned artists throughout the project and have curatorial oversight for the creative outcomes of the project as a whole. Musical outputs/ styles/form and direction are the responsibility of the commissioned artists and there are no set types of music we are looking for.

The town has a rich history of music, with classical, jazz and blues, folk, rock, dance and more experimental and electronic communities and any of these (or others) would be welcome. The creative processes and outcomes may be traditional or more experimental but should seek to enrich and develop the cultural experiences of the community groups that participate, and ideally will also engage with ideas of heritage, environment and place.

The commission fee will cover the cost of each artist working with a community group over a minimum of 5 sessions to compose/create a piece of music that can be performed either live or pre-recorded and broadcast/played back as part of an event. These sessions could be part of a longer engagement process either before or after the life of this pilot project.

Project Art Works will support the commissioned artists in the community engagement process, and which groups are engaged will be agreed between the artists, Project Art Works and TTHAZ. The artists themselves will be responsible for initiating the relationships (or building on existing relationships) with community groups – commissioning decisions may in part be based upon artists being able to demonstrate knowledge of and/or prior connections with community groups in the area.

The performative/final output of the project may be scaled up or down depending on the local and national public health recommendations in the early spring. Current funding allows for limited performance/broadcast options and these may end up as one or several ‘work-in-progress’ showcases rather than a single ‘final’ larger-scale event/celebration. Project Art Works and Heart of Hastings will monitor the situation carefully and work with the commissioned artists to decide the best courses of action for each output and each participating community group.

Should a larger event or events be possible in the spring, it may be possibly to seek further funding in order to make it happen. Should funding bids for the main cultural programme be successful, the final outputs of the Pilot Project may become the launch/introduction to the main programme.

Similar to Independents’ Day continuing the annual celebration of the history of the America Ground, as part of the legacy of the project, the works will link to festivals and events that will continue into the future, such as Coastal Currents, Fat Tuesday and other local cultural festivals as well as the Rock Fair (a potential future annual event rooted in the history of the “Rock Fair” that was held locally during the 18th Century).

Creative Outputs

[Subject to change according to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and changes to Government policies]

  • 4 compositions created and recorded by 4 local musicians/groups, each devised, composed and performed in association with a different community group.
  • 4 performances, one from each group – these could happen at different times according to when the group is ready, or could be timed to occur together as part of a final sharing event.
  • Visual documentation of the process and final outcomes photographically and on film, which could represent the performances, or augment them online. This would happen in partnership with Project Art Works

Notes:

  • These engagement processes could be new partnerships between musicians and communities, or could augment and support existing relationships between musicians and community groups, where there is a danger of them being lost due to Covid-related funding crises.
  • Final outputs could take the form of an actual live performance for a socially-distanced audience, a performance broadcast live online, or be pre-recorded and broadcast/projected/ screened, including on Isolation Station Hastings.
  • Locations for the live rehearsals / performances/screenings will be determined depending on the restrictions in place in early 2021. It is a possibility that these could take place at the Opus Theatre or one/several locations in and around the area depending on Social Distancing, safety and local permissions.

Covid-19 restrictions

The commission will need to work within Covid restrictions as defined by Historic England – in producing the commissions, project teams participants must not put themselves or anyone else in danger, and must avoid the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) by not encouraging touching or sharing objects, visiting places unnecessarily and abiding by any social distancing provisions in force under current UK Government guidelines, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Examples (Working within evolving Covid-19 restrictions):

The community collaboration could culminate in a group performance, simultaneously across the site. The performers could be located in buildings and outside spaces within the Trinity Triangle (The Observer Building, Rock House, Rose Cottage, 12 Claremont, the library, 10 Claremont, the caves, the pocket park) and perform into the Alley (behind the shops on Claremont) where a physically distanced audience will listen, walk through and witness the performance.

The performances could take place outside and filmed to be broadcast separately. Dependent on Covid restrictions at the time the audience may be present physically at Opus Theatre, be invited to watch the film in the Alley, or watch it broadcast on Isolation Station Hastings.

If the film is screened in the area, permission from local residents, community organisations, businesses would be gained by Project Art Works liaising with HoH/WRV/Alley Association. Local residents could be invited to participate as audience members.

Project Objectives/Outcomes

  • To create greater pride, sense of community and wellbeing through cultural engagement
  • Development of cultural partnerships and collaborations to bring the cultural sector and heritage closer together. For example linking to existing cultural calendar, drawing on work of local historians, HE architectural investigation
  • Demonstrating the unique quality heritage and culture can provide for public engagement initiatives
  • Engagement with communities and groups who are especially isolated during this period
  • Increased personal attachment to local places through member-making activities;
  • People feel part of something through participation in the programme
  • To engage with and support the music sector in Hastings, which is historically vibrant, and has been hard hit by impacts of COVID19 restrictions. Multiple commissions will allow us to reach a wider representation within this group
  • To attract a wide audience through a range of outputs and activities, to highlight the broader TTHAZ programme and the heritage of the area.
  • To provide support and possible fundraising opportunities for the local theatre to the TTHAZ (Opus Theatre) and the church that hosts it, which is on the at-risk register, but which cannot be funded by the TTHAZ programme directly.

Timescale

  • Early November – Musician commission advertised. Commissions will prioritise artists who are able to build links to, or connect with built heritage, local history or more recent heritage (e.g. FAT Tuesday taking place in February 2021)
  • Mid-Late November – musician commissioning process
  • Start of December – 4 musicians/music groups commissioned
  • December– Musicians make connections with groups, engagement plans agreed
  • January – Engagement with community groups begins. Potential work-in-progress mini performances subject to groups/status of engagement. Begin marketing and promotion planning and initial activities.
  • Early-Mid February – Engagement complete, composition finalised. Documentation of activities
  • Mid-late February – documentation film editing. Potential work-in-progress mini performances/live streams as part of potential Fat Tuesday festival activities
  • March – film screenings and broadcast on Isolation Station Hastings, Potential live performance at location TBC (e.g. Opus Theatre or Printworks) Tie up Pilot project reporting and evaluation.
  • April onwards – potential for more significant event funded as launch event for Main Programme if Social Distancing Restrictions are relaxed

Timelines are indicative and will depend on activities selected, public health recommendations and funding.

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