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Last weekend I attended the Living Arts and Craft Gathering, a collaboration between Renewal Arts and Buddhafield, held on the edge of Dartmoor. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow creatives interested in the environmental awareness, community, and spiritual renewal. I was honoured to be asked to run a Look Again photography workshop as well as present a talk on a discussion panel on “How to earn a living whilst maintaining artistic integrity”. I met some great artists: Stephen Stockbridge, Tasha Elena, Chris Cudlip and Jack Lynch, Nicolette, and loads of others… sorry I’m rubbish at names.
The photos above capture my relationship with the land. From compost loos, tents, a cosmic walk lead by Tim Firth, land art, food leftovers and celebration.
Thanks Tim, Elizabeth, John, Sheila, Shaktigara, Nicole, Lou Lou, Chris, Jack, Abi, Stephen and my long lost mate from Uni Claire (re-united after 20 years!!) for all contributing to a really refreshing weekend. I look forward to developing further connections.
This series summarises Stroud’s contribution to the Eradicate Ecocide Campaign
. The campaign is to set up a new earth law to save generations from war and work towards peace.
Polly Higgins, international human rights lawyer and founder of the campaign gave a recorded presentation to an audience of over 200 at the Sub Rooms in Stroud. The fast growing campaign team all took part in the event. Trish Dickinson hosted a ‘Conversation Cafe’ where the audience discussed their feelings and thoughts about what they had learnt and committed to actions to take the campaign forward. Simon Hamilton from the Hamilton Group also addressed the gathering. Local singing group Eco Voices sang an Earth Chant, and we were priviledged to hear Tessa and Keith McGinn.
The event inspired the ‘Rolls to Rio’ local campaign, in which hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, including lots of school children, wrote their own personal messages to Prime Minister David Cameron asking him to attend the Rio Summit and call for Ecocide to be made a fifth crime against peace. Many turned into works of art. The campaign team managed to get signatures by having stalls on the street and by attended local events. The scrolls were presented to Local MP Neil Carmichael. He was lobbied him hard and promised to deliver them in person to the PM.
Look Again was honoured to contribute to the campaign by documenting it through photography.
I attended Gossington festival
in Gloucestershire on 27-29 July. I loved every minute of it. I’ve tried to Look Again at the festival and capture the vibe of what was happening particularly off stage. Music highlights included Seth Lakeman, Paul King (he made me cry) and Tchavolo Schmitt. Brothers Colin and Tom gave me a potted history of the festival and their personal love of Gypsy jazz. Also Stroud based Photographers Fred Chance, Phil and Matt were there – it was great to chat about our photography experiences. Thanks to you all for such inspiration.
My nephew and his mates mounted a protest to keep their rights to scoot at the local skate park. I was asked to take some pics. The day coincided with the Porthcawl annual procession.
Thanks Jo Barber and team at the Citizen. And thanks again Greg at Stroud Brewery for sponsoring the Look Again launch.
My associate Nikki Simpson and I were funded by Create Gloucestershire to run a pilot photography based workshop for educators. It was supported by Gastrells Primary School and Stroud Valleys Artspace. The aim was to share ideas and skills that could be easily passed on to children and teachers alike within any educational setting. Participants included teachers from Gastrells, two home education parents and a teacher from Milestone Special School in Gloucester. We had a great day seeing the world in front of us with new eyes. Using photography we looked again at made and natural objects and the relationship between the natural and built environment of the school, as well as at each other. We all learnt a lot. Here are some testimonials from the workshop participants:
“This workshop will help me try out new ways of engaging children with themselves, others and their environment”, Liz Bailey, Milestone Special School.
“We will benefit from using the camera more to gather evidence of learning and from using photography as a gateway to writing”, Ian Rimmer, Gastrells Primary School.
” The workshop has helped me see the need for all of us to have an expressive outlook and to see how we can let individuals have the chance to find something new and exciting. Also, the benefit of of using photography as evidence in education and learning”, Steve Goodwin, Gastrells Primary School
“I enjoyed the use of silence and self reflection at the beginning – a bold challenge in the school environment. The ideas and activities were very useful”, Ben Jarlett, home educating parent.
“I loved the treasure hunt project, experimenting with taking photos and getting feedback on pictures. You made welcome different backgrounds and interests. I feel more confident with designing projects based on photography. I can’t wait to do a workshop with the children I hang out with!”, Jo McAndrews, home educating parent.
Here are some more photos of the Cashes Green Hospital development site in Stroud. See blog post for pre demolition photos. Myself and local artist Lis Parker are planning a site specific community arts and photography project, “The Art of Applewood”, in partnership with Gloucestershire Land for People, Kevin McCloud’s (from Grand Designs) Haboakus, Greensquare, Home & Communities Agency and the local parish council. More to follow shortly…
Jonathan Pollinger from Intranet Future asked me to cover the monthly Social Media Cafe he runs at the Pepper Crescent Cafe in Cheltenham. It was a great networking opportunity and a lot of fun!
March, fourty or so people gathered at Stroud Brewery to celebrate the Look Again launch. Guests were offered a mini-workshop. They were asked to be quiet, close their eyes, breathe deeply and relax. When they opened their eyes, they were asked to look again at what they saw around at the Brewery. Many were surprised at what they saw. All Photos copyright Nikki Simpson. Thanks Nikki for all your help on the night too! And thanks to Stroud Brewery for hosting the event.