We all carry around with us connections to places - some that tug on our heartstrings stronger than others. Imagine a small, fragile pod that you also carry around with you as you walk. The pod will let you know you are moving towards a place that means something important to you by gently shifting its weight in your hands.
Enthusiastic, curious people are invited to participate in a group workshop led by Nikki Pugh at Birmingham Open Media as part of a research project that investigates the use of sculptural, location-aware objects as a tool for thinking and talking about distant places.
During the workshop you will assemble a paper pod that will then have electronics added to it so that it responds to a place that you choose. As we craft these pods we will talk around the subject of 'distant places that we have a strong emotional connection to'. Be prepared to share something of the place(s) you are thinking about and the reasons for your decisions.
The research is about exploring the conversations that lead to how we decide what place we would want that pod to respond to, and how we might use such a pod. After the crafting and the conversations we'll also go outside, walk with the pods and try out some of our ideas.
Who is this workshop suitable for?
Anyone over 18 years old with an affinity for PVA glue and the patience to spend a few hours wrangling a couple of sheets of paper into a 3D shape!
Where the Sky Widens is an art project in the early stages of development – what happens as a result of this research will help to shape how the project evolves, so we're looking for people who will play an active part in exploring different possibilities.
There's a strong chance the topics covered in the discussion could touch on powerful experiences of loss and separation so we ask that you are gentle and respectful to the other participants. If you think confidentiality might be an issue for you, please also be aware the space we'll be working in is shared with a cafe open to the public.
Can I keep my pod after the workshop?
Yes! (But not the electronics bits inside.) (And I might ask to borrow them back for an exhibition.)
Do I need to bring anything with me?
The pods will just about fit into a single standard supermarket carrier bag, but you might want to bring a couple for extra padding and/or waterproofing options when you take your pod home.
Please also bring waterproofing options for yourself if the weather's wet, so we can walk with the pods (an umbrella might be good too).
You're welcome to customise your pod if there's time left during the workshop (or at home afterwards), so if there're some materials or tools you'd like to bring with you, then feel free to do so. There won't be much in the way of drying time though, so things like paint might be best left until afterwards.
How can I get to the workshop?
Birmingham Open Media is a short walk from Birmingham New Street railway station and many buses stop nearby on Smallbrook Queensway and Moor Street. Station redevelopments and the demolition of Central Library may affect travelling times by car, but there are various multistorey carparks in/near the city centre. We can provide on-site parking if you need it for accessibility reasons.
If you're arriving by bike, bring it into the gallery and we'll find a space to park it.
What's the situation with food?
We'll provide tea, coffee and cake, but not lunch. There's a cafe in the space where we'll be working that sells sandwiches etc, or you can venture further afield or bring your own and use our microwave.
Who's doing this research?
Artist Nikki Pugh: most of her projects are investigations of interactions between people and places. This includes designing and making interactive devices that adjust our perception of – and relationship with – urban spaces.
This research forms part of the final project of her Masters degree (MA) so before the workshop there'll be some information for you to read through and a consent form to complete so we have a record of how we can document and use your contribution.
You can follow the project's development at http://npugh.co.uk/tag/where_the_sky_widens/
The project has been part funded via the UWE Bristol Santander Masters Bursary Scheme 2014/15.
How do I get in touch if I have any other questions?
You can email me (Nikki Pugh) on firstname.lastname@example.org
When & Where
Nikki Pugh is an artist who investigates interactions between people and place.