Articuture reflects back on a year of ARTSCAPE, a multi partner outdoor arts project in Powys rooted in local communities and landscape, celebrating its achievements, and looking to the future.
“I was inspired by the work that was created. There was incredible collaboration and connection between artists; the projects on the ground were beautiful. This has the potential to become something else”
ARTSCAPE took place in Powys between Spring and Autumn 2021. It was a vibrant programme of arts events and workshops, mainly outdoors, rooted in local communities and landscape, and prompting creative exploration of connections with others, with nature and with the environment. Happening at the time of COP26 and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it encompassed the connected themes of wellbeing, connection and a sense of collective responsibility for nature and the environment.
Below is an account of ARTSCAPE. You can also explore ARTSCAPE’s short films and images here – https://artscape.wales
A creative partnership across Powys
The partnership guiding ARTSCAPE encompassed a wide range of people with deep experience
of the county and in their fields of expertise, and included Powys County Council’s Arts & Cultural Service, National Resources Wales, Impelo, 4Pi Productions and Articulture.
It took place across Powys, with clusters of activity in the Autumn of 2021 in three locations and with local communities. These were – Hafren Forest and neighbouring villages and towns in North Powys; Llandrindod Lake and woodlands at Llandrindod Wells in Mid Powys; and the Island Fields and the town of Brecon in South Powys.
Artists participating in ARTSCAPE were encouraged to embrace themes and ways of working which, for many, produced new collaborations, methods, sites and audiences/ participants. Several are exploring these further with new commissions and collaborations.
Communities were invited to explore familiar sites afresh, to contribute and share their own stories and creative expressions and responses, and to consider the local environment in the context of the wider climate emergency.
Three ARTSCAPE location and activities
In Hafren Forest, Articulture Co-Director Julie Ann Heskin led ‘Gwrandewch a Chreu’ – ‘Listen and Create’ – a day long forest artist’s summit. After this exploratory and grounding day, artists shared ideas and three new commissions were chosen, bringing alive the forest with spectacle, workshops and performances – ‘The Source’ by Billie Ireland, ‘Hidden Connections’, Camilla Saunders, and ‘Puppetry of the Woods’ by Puppet Soup.
In Llandrindod Wells artist’s Fin Jordao, a transnational creative biologist and writer; Marla King, a Welsh dance artist and climate justice activist and Clara Rust, dancer engaged local communities in conversation and guided movement sessions, responding to the landscape of Llandrindod Lake and woodlands, leading to a series of public performances, supported by Articulture Co-Director Sarah Anne Morton.
In Brecon ARTSCAPE brought together creatives and families, to consider the impact of Climate Change on Island Fields – a local area rich in biodiversity but under threat from flooding. Led by Articulture Associate Producer Ruth Lloyd, artists included Charlie Ward, a comic and poet and her ‘Climate Emergency Comedy Party’ for children, and Matt Cook, a sound artist, who created multi-layered recording “Brecon Sound Forage’ with a group of young producers. The Brecknock Arts Collective also used arts, crafts and movement to find ways we can connect with Island Fields – and the positive potential that has for our wellbeing with their project ‘Stop Look See’.
Looking to the future
Reflecting here at Articulture, Julie Ann observed –
“This project proved irresistible despite the short time frame as it is on our own doorstep working with a great array of partners, both arts and natural environment and an opportunity to take part in COP26 here in Wales. It’s been a great way to get to know more artists, and for them to have an opportunity to collaborate with communities around care of our local landscapes and climate change here in Powys. I believe the arts have much to give in both shaping and people accessing the challenging subject of climate change, as well as health and well-being, it is a language we can all share and its vital we do”
There is a strong appetite and desire from those involved to date in ARTSCAPE to continue to build on the aims and achievements of ARTSCAPE, with a further project to foster collaborations, over a longer time period in order to develop stronger and more sustainable connections with communities and
local organisations. Watch this space!
Find out more about ARTSCAPE
Explore ARTSCAPE with film, photos and interviews – https://artscape.wales
ARTSCAPE was funded by the Arts Council’s Connect & Flourish fund, and Arwain, Powys LEADER programme.