Artscoop has an impressive track record of successfully undertaking a range of imaginative projects in line with its aim of enabling everyone to realise their creative potential some way or other. Except where indicated, Birmingham City Council has provided the necessary funding through Edgbaston Arts forum. Projects have included:
2010- 2012 MAKE-ABLE: A major EU funded project conducted in conjunction with Cerebral Palsy Midlands, a day centre in Harborne; we organised international exchange visits between people from the centre and their peers attending similar centres in Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Spain and the Czech Republic; in each venue, people and their carers joined together in creative activities, often centred on the many wheelchair users involved; the project concluded with a celebratory performance at the Centennial Centre in Ladywood.
2011 MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME: artists toured SW Birmingham with a mobile unit to visit Paganel Primary School in Weoley Castle, Day Centre for People with Disabilities in Harborne, Ladywood Community Centre and St Faith & St Laurence Church in Quinton/Harborne; we encouraged local people of all ages to draw and write about ‘home’ on templates, which they assembled to form ‘monopoly-style’ houses and then brought them together as ideal towns.
2012 CHANGING FACES: Harborne Baptist Church became a creative ‘supermarket’ for the day with local residents ‘shopping’ for new faces; they went round the supermarket to various stalls and guided by artists they created masks, photos, drawings etc. of themselves to take away in carrier bags.
2013: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: passers-by posed in front of a shop in New St Birmingham so that artists could trace round their silhouettes on the inside of the window; a sort of two-way drawing theatre: artists entertaining passers-by who in turn performed for artists.
2013 – 2015 VEU Days: A major EU funded project in which Artscoop members designed an international exchange partnership enabling residents to create artworks in Birmingham and then take them to exhibitions in the Czech Republic and Spain. A group originally based at Quinborne Community Centre showed their pottery in a Baroque World Heritage building in the Czech Republic. Elders from the Karis Neighbourhood Scheme in North Edgbaston displayed Birmingham-themed embroidered banners Brno, also in the Czech Republic. People including wheelchair users from Cerebral Palsy Midlands, Harborne exhibited their paintings and an animated puppet video at the Botanical Gardens in Valencia, Spain. At the same visit, people with impaired sight from Focus Birmingham also in Harborne showed paintings, ceramics and jewellery. In return, peer groups from the cities of Brno and Valencia and from Kohoutov, a tiny village in the Czech Republic, showed their artworks at Artsmile 2015.
2014 ART BUZZ: a day when ten artists piled onto an open-top bus and toured arts activities – all in one day ! – round to community centres in Edgbaston District; we took music making, crafts, story-telling and painting to Quinborne Community Centre, Keystone Children’s Centre, Welsh House Farm in Quinton, and Holloway Hall in Bartley Green.
2015 THE BIRDS’ WEDDING DAY: Linking people at Cerebral Palsy Midlands (CPM in Harborne) with the parishioners at St Augustine’s church (Edgbaston) in craft workshops, an exhibition of CPM paintings and a local history talk in the church to celebrate it’s eccentric vicar during WW1; at Sunday Mass, birds created with re-cycled materials flew over parishioners’ heads and perched on pews.
2016 A NEW LIGHT: A co-production with CPM (Harborne) in which an artist facilitated people with multiple disabilities, including wheelchair users, and carers from the centre in creating their own dance performance; he encouraged people to explore and extend their range of movements, mainly with hands and arms, as ways of interacting with each other and supported them in developing a narrative with sound and light; performing for the public on a professional stage, kindly lent by Elmhurst School of Dance (Edgbaston), proved to be a major experiential development for all those involved.
2017 CURRENT PROJECTS (also see ARTSMILE)
THE BIG SLEUTH – A BEAR IN HARBORNE: Funded largely through donations, Artscoop has secured a bear sculpture for Harborne; we have organised sessions at The Harborne Pool & Fitness Centre when local people can decorate the bear with their own finger prints and choose a name for it; named and claimed by local people in this way, the bear will feature in The Big Sleuth city-wide trail during summer 2017, be a focus point for Artsmile 2107, and eventually remain in Harborne as a sort of local mascot.
EDGBASTON AWAKES: With funding from Bimirngham City Council’s Local Innovation Fund, Artscoop is currently embarking on a programme of work with five or so ‘under the radar’ community groups in Edgbaston Ward; the idea is that Artscoop members co-design and co-produce with them so that they can creatively realise their own ideas about themselves through making or performing and then share the results with similar groups resident in the Ward.