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Guest Producer blog – Reporting back: International Outdoor Arts Conference ‘Fresh Street’ & Imaginarius Festival, Portugal

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In May 2017 Rosie Strang, Articulture Co-Director from Articulture Wales and freelance Producer, attended ‘Fresh Street 2’ an International Outdoor Arts Conferene in Portugal along with 350 outdoor arts delegates from 40 countries. The aim – to explore, share and discuss outdoor arts, along the theme of ‘From Innovation to Sustainability’. The event was followed by international outdoor arts Festival ‘Imaginarius’.

Here is her account of what it was like to connect and learn with the worldwide movement of practitioners working in outdoor arts, taking part as a contingent representing Wales, and how attending this kind of event can been really inspiring and energizing for artists and producers…….

It’s a very exciting prospect, heading to an international Conference to explore and connect with others, and see new outdoor work. And a bit scary too! This was the first time that I had attended an event like this in a professional capacity, so it was with butterflies of all kinds that I stepped off the train near Santa Maria Feirra for five days for Fresh Street 2 and the Imaginarius Festival.

The aim of going was to start scoping new opportunities beyond the borders of Wales for Wales based artists, producers, and programmers working in outdoor arts – to get inspired and make new friends. Articulture’s activity in this field until now has been attending the London based Xtrax Showcase and Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, and providing bursaries for other Wales based practitioners to do the same (in June, in collaboration with Creu Cymru 25 artists, venues, funders, and producers will be going to Xtrax/GDIF).

This year, with support from the Arts Council of Wales, it felt time to step further afield, building on the networks we have nurtured so far. I did this as part a Wales crew which was great – Zoe Munn, Producer, Ali Williams, Director/Producer, Camille Benuossen, NoFit State Circus, and Marco Fiera, Performer.

Fresh Street 2 is the second International Outdoor Arts Conference hosted by Circostrada Network and ARTCENA, this time in partnership with the Imaginarius Festival (it’s biennial, the next one is really close to Wales – Galway in 2018). As a relative newcomer to this international scene, I found it a really beneficial experience overall, even on a basic level of getting known and meeting people, both from the UK and across the world. The world of outdoor arts is warm and welcoming, and the people I met were generous in introducing me to others, so I soon felt relaxed and at home.

It also helped me think about Wales and the work we do here from an international perspective. During the past four years Articulture has focused on sector development in country, building partnerships across the border into the UK. The conference programme offered the opportunity to look at fundraising differently, get useful insights into audience development, challenge and explore new ways of looking at what outdoor arts is, swap experiences with similar organisations, and build links for touring/producing work beyond the UK.

Through a series of panel discussions, talks, networking lunches, and late night cocktails, insights and experiences were shared, new friends made, and new outdoor art work enjoyed. As with many of these kind of events, not everything felt useful, and many of us reflected on the irony of getting a bunch of outdoor arts practitioners to sit down for several days inside! But on balance, once we had been unleashed into the Festival post Conference into the streets alive with performance from around the world, the week felt like it had been a fruitful adventure. Good contacts were made, and inspiration and energy gained to now put into action what I have learnt, and also share widely with others back home.

Interested in attending an International Outdoor Arts Conference or Festival?

Bursaries are often available through Wales Arts International, or the Independent Street Arts Network.

Contact Articulture for more information –

Photo: ”Wales crew @ Fresh Street 2′ – Credit/Zoe Munn

Wales Outdoor Arts Consortium – New work starts tour from July

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‘The CarCrash Wedding’ – Gary & Pel (Alex Marshall Parsons & Kim Noble), and ‘Electioneering’ – Mr and Mrs Clark start their Wales tour this July, starting at Dance Days Swansea. They will then be available for further bookings across the UK.

See here for descriptions of the work.

These works have been commissioned by Articulture in collaboration with Wales Outdoor Arts Commissioning Consortium (WOAC).

‘The CarCrash Wedding’ – Tour dates –

  • Taliesin Art Centre, Swansea – Dance Days – 8/9 July
  • The Riverfront, Newport – Big Splash – 22 July
  • Pontio, Bangor – Gwledd Syrcas Feast – 23 July
  • The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Anglesey – 11 August
  • Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff – 26 August
  • Festival no.6, Portmeirion – 8/9 September
  • LLAWN, Llandudno – 16/17 September

View tour trailer here –

‘Electioneering’ – Tour dates –

  • Taliesin Art Centre, Swansea – Dance Days – 8/9 July
  • Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff – 14 July
  • Pontio, Bangor – Gwledd Syrcas Feast – 22 July
  • The Riverfront, Newport – Big Splash – 23 July
  • The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Anglesey – 8 August
  • Festival no.6, Portmeirion – 8 September
  • LLAWN, Llandudno – 16/17 September

Photos – ©keith morris 07710 285968 01970 611106

Book now – Independent Street Arts Network on the Road – Strong & Stable tour @ Dance Days 8 July 2017

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Book now for the Independent Street Arts Network On the Road – The Strong and Stable Tour – at Taliesin’s Dance Days in Swansea on Sat 8 July 17.15 – 19.00.

The coffees will be strong, the pastries will be stable.

A great opportunity to enjoy the Festival, and then join others for an informal network, to share information, news and ideas with fellow producers, programmers and artists.

It is free to attend. For full information and to book your place visit –

New collaborations to help home grow outdoor arts in Wales

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This spring Articulture is starting a collaboration with three Wales based artists and arts organisations to help home grow outdoor arts in Wales. They are –

Cimera – A contemporary circus and arts company based in North Wales. Founded in 2013 by professional and community artists and performers, they are dedicated to creating and developing vibrant participatory arts.

Taking Flight Theatre – A multi award-winning company based in Cardiff who produce accessible and inclusive work based in Cardiff. Their aim is to work with groups of people who have traditionally been under-represented in theatre, film and television.

Mair Tomos Ifans and Nuala Dunn – A Mid Wales based duo that was formed through the Ar Waith Ar Daith outdoor arts training in Castell y Bere in 2015. United by their interest in the combined possibilities of performance, story telling and canoeing the rivers of Wales, Mair is a performer and Nuala a visual artist and outdoor activities instructor.

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Professional development & International festival bursaries available 2017

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Wales based artists or arts organisations interested in working in the outdoors are welcomed to apply for two types of bursaries in 2017.

1. Professional development – bursaries to fund a ‘go see’ or skill share session, which will assist in the development of outdoor arts work.

Read full details here 

2. International Outdoor Arts festivals – bursaries to attend two leading international outdoor arts festivals and professional showcases in the UK – Greenwich & Docklands Festival, London 23 – 25 June, or Out There Festival, Great Yarmouth, 15 – 17 September.

Read full details here 

Photo: ‘The Senses’ by Theatre A3 at GDIF Festival 2016 – Credit/Doug Southall

National Association of Street Arts (NASA): Annual Gathering 2017 – For the Love Of It

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Join others interested/involved in outdoor arts at NASA’s annual gathering of Outdoor and Street Arts professionals – a weekend of inspiration, creation and fun, a chance to recharge and re-connect.

This year’s theme is OPPOSITION – in politics and debate, with colour, scale, temperature and more

Dates: 6pm Friday 17th February to 5pm Sunday 19th February

Location: 101 Creation Space, Greenham Common, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 6HN

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Guest artist blog – Reflections – Extending Practice: Choreographic Practice and Sustainability

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Between August 2015 and May 2016, Wales based Dance Artist, Rosalind Holgate Smith and Documentary Photographer, Janet Ruth Davies collaborated on a site specific project called ‘Uncertain Terrain’, situated in Dinorwic slate quarry, north Wales. Through this project, they developed a cross-disciplinary practice involving movement studies, digital audio and photography, investigating the landscape as an embodied practice.

This year they were granted a professional development bursary from Articulture to attend ‘Extending Practice: Choreographic Practice and Sustainability’, a one day conference for dance artists, creatives and academics in Glasgow, hosted by creative carbon Scotland, September 2016. Here they report back.

As a photographer and dancer collaborating outdoors we have been exploring and transcribing choreographic processes across disciplines. Through our project Uncertain Terrain we were both interested to experience and communicate an embodied sense of the quarried landscape we worked within.

As we broadened our own notions of choreographic practice we became interested to explore how we might consider our processes, skills and practice in relationship with issues of sustainability. Read More

Guest artist blog – Syrcas Cimera fire performance training with Szymon Mamys

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This summer Wales based circus collective Syrcas Cimera worked with Syzmon Mamys, fire performer and producer behind the Bring the Fire Project. Here Syrcas Cimera Director Thomasine Tomkins reports back on developing the collectives work with Syzmon through a two day workshop, which was supported by an Articulture professional development bursary.

Last year myself and 3 of our directors/performers from Syrcas Cimera CBC attended the Awen School Dark Arts Training for Ar Waith Ar Daith with Walk the Plank. We learnt valuable skills in event production, willow lantern making and parades, fire drawings, pyro technics and fire dancing choreography and performance. It was amazing being part of such an ambitious production, pushing boundaries (whether personal or for the Arts in North Wales), and having the opportunity to work with such experienced practitioners. The skills we learnt were extremely helpful in the development of projects we had started in our local area and gave us a hunger to develop more. 

Iago Morgan Jones and Jay Ellis(Cimera) and Szymon Mamys and Hugo Maciel fire dancing, choreography by Thomasine Ar Waith Ar Daith 2015

On the course we were delighted to meet Szymon Mamys who is based in Liverpool. Szymon is a fire performer, he also runs fire dancing classes and organises a Fire Arts Festival in Liverpool and is the main driving force behind Bring the Fire Project.

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