An auspicious day to begin our blog, as idle women launch their newly built floating arts centre on International Womens’ Day, almost a year on since we commissioned it, a perfect example of the super slow way of creating art in communities.
Caretakers Rachel Anderson and Cis O’Boyle, have brought an amazing list of women artists to the area over the year, working and presenting in spaces not usually seen as cultural, from Whitehough Outdoor Centre in the shadow of Pendle Hill to Waterfall Mill in Blackburn and, in doing so, attracting and catering for women who have few opportunities to take part in such activity. Artists from a range of backgrounds in an array of art forms, from performance – such as Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones at the Bureau in Blackburn in their two woman show dealing with a century of female experience in Ireland, moving and funny in turns – to visual arts, including award winning Ruth Ewan’s fascinating talk on her work at the Booths store in Barrowford and Silvia Federici, the acclaimed chronicler of women’s history, who provides the text on female factory hands in their first publication.
We are looking forward to seeing the next three residencies unfold as the project moves along the canal and are waiting with bated breath to hear what the name of the new boat, towed behind their own boat in the traditional manner, will be. It is a thing of beauty and great purpose with a great many formerly unrepresented women behind it and a testament to slow, considerate working.
We are also thrilled to be welcoming Carl Honoré to Darwen Library Theatre to talk about the Slow Movement, an event not to be missed and there are just a few tickets left! The Slow Movement resonates with how we aspire to work with people; to take time to get to know the people and environments we’re active in and for them to spend time with artists in thinking about their places, needs and desires and maybe make a difference in their own neighbourhoods. Slow is about taking time to know your neighbours, look at the world around you and think about how we might be more proactive and positive within it. Anthony Shrag is doing that at the moment in Mill Hill, Blackburn and is planning a host of community events in the spring and summer.
Anthony is just one of almost 20 artists now working across the area now with groups from students at Hollins School in Accrington to visitors to the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park, Nelson; all working in different ways, using different approaches from spoken word performance, music and making. We look forward to some of them showcasing their work over the year so watch this space. Meanwhile a group of local artists just completed their first residential weekend at Coldwell Activity Centre last weekend, an exciting start to a six-month professional development course with other artists from across the North West.
If you’re interested in singing and music from folk to Sufi chanting or even just singing in the shower, join us for the second evening of Shapes of Water / Sounds of Hope with LA-based artist Suzanne Lacy next Wednesday, 16th March at the ACE Centre in Nelson hosted by artists collective, In-Situ. This a free event where we will be delving deeper into vocal traditions – from Shape Note to Nasheed; from choirs to Naat’s; from folk singing to Qawali. There will be more great food and a chance for you to help turn this project into something that really represents and pulls together communities of Pendle. This month we are joined not only by Suzanne but also by the wonderful folk music expert, Ron Pen from Kentucky, who will be working with us throughout the coming months.
Lastly, put 20th April in your diary for our own programme launch and watch this space for a brand new website.
Super Slow Way Director Laurie Peake