The Sheep exhibition (April to June 2019) was designed to create a dialogue around the upland landscape of Mid-Wales, in the context of an increasingly vitriolic local debate fuelled by anxiety about Brexit triggering a review of Welsh Government subsidies, the growing climate emergency movement and ecological change. A combination of the rise in the climate emergency movement, Brexit triggering a review of Welsh Government subsidies for farming and the land has meant farming has become a hot topic. The history, heritage and culture of a sheep farming community and shifting awareness of the upland landscape, and in particular the future uses of the land in relation to this debate, was explored through exhibits from the museum’s collection, work by local artists (including new commissions), supported by loans of internationally significant artworks from national institutions, a first for Ceredigion Museum. It was accompanied by a symposium ‘Future Landscapes’ and engagement, particularly focussing on our Welsh language farming communities, a hard to reach audience due to social isolation.
Ceredigion Museum borrowed five 2D works from Tate for the exhibition. The loans, including works by Henry Moore, Joseph Beuys and Menashe Kadishman, and accompanying programme to maximise their impact, were supported with funding from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and a Ferryman Project bursary from Tate. Funding from Arts Council Wales supported the work with local artists and the farming community.
blaengar (adj.) prominent, progressive, leading edge, state-of-the-art, pro-active, cutting edge.
Blaengar's raison d'être was to be experimental, to establish innovative forms of collaboration and to seek out new sites for exhibiting work; allowing emerging inter-disciplinary artists to work with the landscape and built environment of mid Wales.
Using landscape and place is certainly not a new concept and in mid Wales especially, built on the legacy of artists like 'Brith Gof Theatre Company. What 'place' is, in the context of art, has been the subject of many debates and is something Blaengar sought to explore.
The enterprise ran from 2005-2009 with a legacy of having supporting and collaborating with artists who have gone on to become a key part of the artistic landscape in Wales today.
Human Threads was a commemoration of Ceredigion’s collective experiences of the covid-10 pandemic.
Ceredigion Museum asked our communities to contribute to ‘Human Threads’, an exhibition and artwork that records our experiences of the Covid pandemic in Ceredigion. The experiences were recorded digitally in the form of images, film, poetry and song. A website was created by Crew to showcase the rich patches sent to us by our community articulating a broad range of creative responses to the pandemic.
The digital quilt also existed as a physical exhibition which was exhibited as part of the wider ‘Human Threads’ exhibition at the museum.
Human Threads explored Ceredigion Museum’s quilt collection as a gateway to fascinating stories and social histories, and considers how remarkable they are for both their exquisite craftsmanship and there emotional resonance.
The exhibition united stories from across time in a variety of creative textiles crafted through quilting and patchwork - two distinct but frequently combined stitching techniques, and we’ve updated the concept to include a digital quilt.
This selection of quilts was chosen primarily for the insights they give us into daily life in Ceredigion, Wales from the 19th century to present day, a glimpse into the lives of those who made and used them. Human Threads explored how the skills and experiences of people, past and present, help shape our lives.
People and communities…
are often disconnected, from each other and the cycles of food, farming, nature and culture. This project takes place along the Rheidol river in Ceredigion, Wales, to explore and challenge this disconnect.
Workshops, walks, and one-to-one conversations over field gates will all feed into a co-created project, and we hope you’ll be inspired to get involved – see below for more.
We intend the project to inform policy-making, as we trial different methods of community engagement, listening and sharing, using art as a medium for listening and creating spaces for discussion.
Funded by Arts Council of Wales Connect and Flourish
Elan Valley has a long history as a place that inspires people. The Elan valley trust runs an artist residency programme to which I was appointed last year to spend a month over a six month period on site to experience the landscape of the valley.
I’m interested in harnessing the power of cultural action to create connection and links between the past and the present, challenging dialogues in the rural around agricultural methods i.e. rewilding/current welsh farming practices, insider/outsider dialogues around the idea of the rural and belonging.
The residency led to the completion of two major pieces of work 'Above and Below' shown at Freelands Gallery, London in spring 2023, and 'Each of these things is True' at g39 gallery Cardiff with a further solo exhibition to follow at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in October 2023.
cARTrefu, which means to reside in Welsh, is Age Cymru’s flagship arts in care homes project that has been running since 2015. The aim of the project is to improve access to quality arts experiences for older people in residential care, and develop artist’s and care home workers’ skills in running these sessions.
cARTrefu has now grown to become the largest project of its kind in Europe, and has been proven to have a statistically significant improvement in residents wellbeing after attending cARTrefu sessions, with a wider impact such as socialising more and regaining skills such as using a knife and fork. cARTrefu has also had an impact on the care staff involved in the sessions, showing a significant improvement in attitudes towards residents, especially those living with dementia, and an increase in confidence to lead a creative arts session in the home.
for more links to the project: https://engage.org/resources/dementia/cartrefu/