Regeneration seems to be a bit of a buzz word at the moment. Whether it’s used nationally by government when speaking about strategic plans or by private consultants brought in to assess and review the economic needs of individual towns and cities. It’s often the case though that the people that really matter i.e. the people living and working in these towns and cities are never consulted about their views, opinions and thoughts on regeneration. All the more reason why when we hear about initiatives and projects where they do play a focal role, we just have to let you guys know too.
One such initiative is the “Art About Us” project which is currently being run in Bridgend, Wales by Visual Artist, Rabab Ghazoul. Based in an empty shop in the town centre, the project is inviting members of the Bridgend community to get actively involved - to participate in a whole host of creative and cultural activities, events and discussions. Using everything from conversation, collaboration, food, song, images and creative acts, the project aims to fully engage the local community with what they feel regeneration is, what it could be and what it should be.
Already the project has been responsible for a number of really interesting and thought provoking initiatives. For example, a parade was held in the town during which the participants held placards aloft bearing slogans like “What needs to be done?” and “Who wants to do something?” - effectively bringing the conversation to the streets. The project has also initiated “Pechakucha” evenings, the second of which happens next week, during which local creatives get an opportunity to showcase, share their interests and inspire others through the Pechakucha style of presenting 20 images with an accompanying 20 seconds of commentary.
Art About Us started in June of this year and runs until December; however the impact that the project will have in the long term, of course remains to be seen. However it is certainly already showing a good example to others into how to fully engage and get local people and communities involved in issues that really matter. If you’re in the Bridgend area, why not get involved yourself? And if not, why not see if you can take inspiration from Art About Us to implement in your own town or city.