My overall vision is to nurture a sense of place among residents and workers in St Loyes, and to build community. Then within this, my objectives are to: produce engaging art in St Loyes; engage and be led by the people of St Loyes; increase access to experiencing and making art; engage with nature and environment; connect the residents, businesses and public sector organisations in St Loyes; and HAVE FUN!
For the main programme over December 2017 – November 2018, I was linked to Digby Community Association, which works in one of the neighbourhoods within St Loyes. As of September 2018 there is a Community Builder in St Loyes as well, and hopefully we can support each other a bit going forward.
What actually is Working with Gold?
The actual programme content started looking like one thing in January 2018, and evolved over the year into something completely different. It involved a lot of research and experimentation, trying out various different ways of engaging the community.
For example, in January and February I experimented with Free Art Friday and FALAFELS which is about dropping small pieces of artwork in St Loyes for people find, take away, and enjoy. It’s not time-bound, so you can get involved too!
In May I launched Minecraft my home, with the support of Exeter City Futures. They created St Loyes as a world in Minecraft, and between May and November it was available as a multiplayer version to explore and create online. The original world and the online world as it ended up are both still available to download.
In August and November I put on a couple of stargazing events in Digby, the Star Spangled Kyrangle. This with the help of Dr Claire Davies, local resident and researcher in Exeter University’s Astrophysics Group. It was a great success, and there are more planned in different parts of Exeter in 2019. Keep looking up!
I’ve also been publishing some nuggets of gold – the history, geography, and mythology of St Loyes – on this website, and it would be wonderful to hear your stories too. You can either post them on the Facebook group, or contact me via this website.
And there is much more in the 2018 Project Report, which you can download as a pdf.
I plan to carry on maintaining this website and producing work off my own bat, so watch this space!
I also had plenty of ideas for ongoing regular activities, community events and projects, and commissioning other artists. I’ve put all of these together in two resource packs of 19 or 23 or so ideas for place-based activities in schools and communities, which you can download as pdfs.
SLURP St Loyes Random Picnics : Bring and share picnics in green pockets and unusual locations, eg the tree circle at the M5 services, the centre of Middlemoor roundabout, your local green, or even the part of Ludwell Valley Park that falls within St Loyes.
SLANT St Loyes Arts n Times : A newspaper for the people of St Loyes to share stories of community and place.
Make place-based visual art : To encourage people of all ages to be aware of and respond to St Loyes, including workshops on eg place-based art, street art or photography; maybe a competition in different age groups, themes, and media; and an exhibition of the artwork.
Write a book! : Again, to encourage people of all ages to be aware of and respond to St Loyes, with different themes and categories of eg horrible histories or poetry; with maybe a competition in different age groups, themes, and genres; and culminating in the production of a community book.
Heraldry Day : A fun day for all, held around Heraldry Way in the streets named for royalty, maybe including fancy-dress jousting, a medieval fair and food, a troubadour group and procession, mediaeval crafts.
…and then there could be an apple festival where the roads are named for apples; a beating the bounds expedition; foraging and/or growing food, cooking and sharing the results, and producing a beautiful recipe book; and so on and so on.
I’m really grateful to Exeter City Council for their financial support. Working with Gold received a Grass Roots Grant from the neighbourhood portion of the Community Infrastructure Levy managed by the Exeter Community Forum.