Guest artist blog – Reflections On Hull – ISAN15 Conference

By 8th December 2015Uncategorised

In November 2015 Articulture and 6 Wales based artists attended the Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN) Biennial Conference.

The ISAN Conference is a meeting point for everyone involved with outdoor arts across the UK, from artists, directors, technicians and producers, through to representatives from local authorities, agencies, venues, strategic initiatives and national funding bodies

Below is reflections from one of the artists who took part, Justin Cliffe from Tin Shed Theatre. This blog originally appeared on Tin Shed’s website, where you can find out more about their work.

Ee by gum ya.

Translation from Incorrect-Brutal-Northern-Stereotyped-Phonetics to Boring-Normal-English:


I’ve just spent the past three days up North in the beautiful, vibrant, bustling, industrial, interesting, historic-like, rock n roll, cream phone boxed, founded-on-whaling, gritty city of Hull!


As a representative of Tin Shed Theatre Co and under the warm embracing umbrella of the super lovely and proactive Articulture, I, along with five other Welsh Delegates (Chloe Loftus Dance, Kitsch N Sync, Migrations, Marc Rees, and Citrus Arts), found myself immersed in a world of outdoor arts, with artists, producers, funders, makers, doers and sayers at the ISAN Outdoor Arts Conference 2015.

The conference was taking place in the Hull Truck Theatre, and it just so happened that a few years ago I read Mike Bradwell’s book The Reluctant Escapologist which explained that he ended up founding The Hull Truck Theatre. Since then I’ve always wanted to visit, and I’m happy to say in a two pronged attack of visiting the theatre, seeing it’s spaces, and getting what I could out of the conference, I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.

Hull Truck Theatre

With two days of seminars, talks, breakout discussions, lunch breaks, pitches and opportunities to network, I have to admit my brain did feel a bit like it was going to explode, but I left the conference feeling completely inspired and utterly galvanised. Not only to carry on creating and making work happen outdoors, and not only to do it better and more effectively, but most importantly of all to do it more collaboratively. Through this transaction…

The Foyer of Hull Truck on Day 1

I mean, look at this swathe of people, all of whom are connected in someway to the creation of outdoor art. Whether it be from a funding point of view, in a practical sense, for festivals or carnivals and the spaces in-between, or the creation of work for children, adults, both and all. For communities, for schools, for towns for villages, for one person and for all people. ISAN presented a remarkable opportunity for me to see a part of this sector I’d been otherwise blind to over the past few years. It was like being at Birthday Party where everyone was the Birthday Boy/Girl who all had a mutual passion for making stuff happen, and thats when it dawned on me. This isn’t a room of delegates, it’s a room of co-collaborators. It’s a room of energy. It’s a room exciting opportunities and a fruitful future.

Spotting Sharks before Dinner In The Deep
I’m not great at chin wagging, I’m especially not good at talking about my own work. Kathryn and LJ from Mischeif Le-Bas who sat next to me for dinner in The Deep will vouch for me on that as I struggled to articulate what Tin Shed does, but had a great big fat chat about tattoo’s, Glasgow and the habbits of cats and dogs. But I found comfort in knowing these people gathered, I felt inspired by their stories and triumphs, their resilience to the bastards, their acceptance of the circumstance and there almost innate need to make stuff happen and celebrate life with people who might not typically do so.
I’ll surmise, in order to keep this sweet and neat and brief (and honestly, my brain is a fart, and I’m still processing it all), but I have left with a new appreciation for the people who endeavour to make work happen outdoors, because it seems like fundamentally what they want to do is connect people to something amazing, to introduce people who assume “art” is not for them to something that could potentially be an enriching and powerful life changing experience and let them know that it’s for everyone, and if theres one thing I cansay about Tin Shed it’s: We are with you on that.

Leave a Reply

Skip to main content