Upcoming: Arts and the urban commons: new visions for a phoenix city

I have received a bursary to attend a symposium and public forum exploring issues arising from UK City of Culture, looking forwards to what ‘legacy’ might mean for Coventry. Day 1 introduces ethnographic research, field research and participant observation methods and brings researchers that have been working with publics through participation and creative practices to share their work. For day 2, entitled Arts and the Urban Commons Forum, artists, curators and scholars share their work and ideas around the city and culture’s role in living together empathetically.  

Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture has now come to an end. This mega-cultural event brought with it an image-change agenda which seeks to remodel the city as a destination for cultural tourism, alongside claims of generating pride and well-being amongst Coventry’s citizens. In tandem with UK City of Culture 2021, significant city centre regeneration projects have been ‘green-lighted’ including the proposed City Centre South scheme.

We will hear from artists, curators, researchers and local citizens, offering insight into some of the cultural activities that are played out in the city as well as the broader context of arts and culture as a UK government process of regeneration. We imagine questions of agency, function and the depoliticization of arts and culture will result from the talks and conversations planned for the day.

Hints for British Tourists – Upcoming Solo Show

On the Rocks II

Denise Startin: Hints for British Tourists

Text by Anneka French

A figure in a bowler hat, waistcoat and rolled-up trousers brushes sand from their feet. They read a book in front of a painted beach hut, climb on rocks, clutch a newspaper, wait, fall asleep and look out to sea. In one moment after another, we see tourism performed and time laid out in photographic frames like film stills.

Coventry-based artist Denise Startin presents a series of site-based performative actions, seen here via photographic documentation. The genesis of the exhibition Hints for British Tourists comprises two chance encounters: the discovery of a tourism pamphlet on eBay (also titled Hints for British Tourists) and a wall plaque on Hertford Street, Coventry, dedicated to the historic watchmaking trade that lists craftsmen Samuel Vale and George Howlette. The exhibition represents a re-staging and fictional expansion of these two very different starting points.

Vale & Howlette are adopted as dramatis personae in a wider body of work by the artist, becoming primary characters in a narrative that explores ideas of travel, leisure, time and memory performed by Startin herself and her partner. Startin’s work makes enquiries, both serious and humorous, that question what it means to be a tourist in post-Brexit England, in a world grappling with a pandemic and climate catastrophe, in a physical body that requires care and rest, and in a landlocked city more than one hundred miles from the nearest stretch of coastline.

The original pamphlet purchased by Startin was published in the former Yugoslavia in the 1970s, intended as a practical guide for travel. In it, the author observes, ‘One of the reasons I like Britain and the British, apart from liking the Sunday Times, cheese cake, Constables in the Tate, ‘apples and pears’ and not to mention the liveliness of their pubs is because their idea of a holiday is not just lying around on the beach and drinking.’ Startin’s work offers more than a nod to this ambiguous description, providing viewers with perspectives on place that appear both familiar and strange.

While also introducing historic travel mythologies relating to legendary, often unreachable places, the titles selected by Startin for the photographs shown – On the Rocks; Between a Rock and a Hard Place; Rush Hour – also point toward emotional states of being in motion, conflict, indecision or, indeed, indicate a sense of stillness. Vale & Howlette’s journey is as yet embryonic. They are on their way to who knows where.

Denise Startin studied at the Royal College of Art and has exhibited work at Compton Verney, Coventry Biennial and Whitechapel Gallery, London. She is the recipient of multiple awards and bursaries and has completed artist residencies in Wrexham and the Lake District.

Hints for British Tourists – Upcoming Solo Show

Hints for British Tourists – Upcoming solo show at City Arcadia Gallery, City Arcade, Coventry.

Hints for British Tourists is a series of site-based performative actions presented via photographic documentation. The work is the re-staging and fictional expansion of a found pamphlet (also titled Hints for British Tourists) containing instructions for travel and is a meditation on tourism, travel, leisure, time and memory. On show at City Arcadia Gallery, City Arcade, Coventry. Private view Thursday 7th July 6.30-8.30pm. Open daily 11-4pm until 16th July (except Sundays).

Upcoming: Warwickshire Open Studios

Holyhead Studios will be taking part in Summer Arts Week 2022 which is a “a true celebration of the variety and quality of visual art available locally, Summer Art Weeks is open to all – from passionate amateurs to professional artists, across all mediums. This year’s is a bumper year, as we have over 400 artists and makers taking part at 149 venues across Warwickshire and Coventry. From bars to barns, cafes to churches, galleries to gazebos, halls to hallways, you’ll find amazing original art presented by the talented creators.”

Come and visit our studio holders and get an insight into their studios and their work. Practices range from Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Paper Engineering, Painting, Book Arts, Drawing, Painting, Woodwork and Installation. We are open Sat-Sun 18th & 19th June, Sat-Sun 25th & 26th June & Sat-Sun 2nd & 3rd July from 12 noon til 4pm. For more information about the artists exhibiting click here.

Image & text reproduced from https://www.warwickshireopenstudios.org/ (accessed 28/03/21)