WE ARE HERE

We Are Here

We Are Here was a Wur Bradford project with Jean McEwan and Chemaine Cooke which celebrated and documented Bradford’s Oastler Market and it’s history, stories, people and communities, in collaboration with BCB Community Radio and market traders. The project took place in 2018 and was funded by Arts Council England Jean and Chemaine ran creative guided walks around the market, including walks with children, parents and teachers from a local nursery, and recorded stories from market traders and visitors which became the inspiration for two celebration events on 21st and 28th April featuring poetry, live music, DJing, a brand new theatre performance from poet Kirsty Taylor, guided walks, a print exhibition, ‘zines, drawing workshops, a live radio broadcast and more. 


The project involved 20 artists and 100 community participants, and the events attracted 750 extra visitors and a digital and broadcast audience of 30,000.

A concurrent exhibition showcasing the project took place at Kala Sangam Arts Centre in Bradford.

Jean and Chemaine continue to work regularly in the Oastler, hosting guided walks and other creative activities, and will be working with Purple Patch Arts to run a walking project there with adults with learning disabilities in Autumn 2019.

Power Up Creative Resitance

Power Up Creative resistance

Power Up Creative Resistance was a year-long action collaborative research project with artists Jean McEwan and Uzma Kazi from Wur Bradford, exploring the relationship between art and activism.

The project ran from 2017–2018 and invited people in Bradford to play, think, and talk with us to look at how we could use imagination and creativity to to respond to our increasingly changing and challenging world.

Some of the things we did included:

  • Helping to organise the Bradford ‘Bridges Not Walls’ action
  • An evolving interactive exhibition
  • A Poetry and Protest songs event
  • ‘Lets Talk About Brexit’ conversations
  • Open sessions to share make and talk about whats going on and what we can do
  • Being part of ‘The Bradford Yell’ on General Election Day 2017
  • Running creative sessions at Take Back Control and Wow Bradford events
  • Box Up Series: Thinking Outside The Box

Power Up Creative Resistance was supported by CommUNIty Thinkspace group, Bradford University and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Visit the project blog

Processions

Processions

Jean was commissioned by Bradford arts organisation The Brickbox in 2018 to make a banner with a group of Bradford women for Artichoke’s PROCESSIONS project – a national mass participatory artwork to celebrate 100 years since women in the UK began to have electoral power.

2018 was the centenary of only some privileged women being granted the right to vote – and our struggle is in no way over – but the 1918 Representation of the People Act was an important milestone in the history of equality.

In a series of open workshops, Jean, The Brickbox and a team of brilliant women from across the district co-created a unique banner with the message “Bradford Grows Powerful Women”. This banner was then be processed through the streets of London, carried aloft by it’s makers at a huge coming-together in June 2018.

This vast artwork was based on an original idea by creative director Darrell Vydelingum. PROCESSIONS was commissioned by 14–18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary and produced by Artichoke. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Read a blog about the process of making the banner on the Brickbox website.

Circle of Friends go Walking

Circle of Friends Go Walking

Circle of Friends Go Walking was a collaboration between Jean McEwan and Blackburn Circle of Friends group, commissioned by arts programme Super Slow Way as one of their first community residencies. Together Jean and the group explored playful, creative ways of walking, wandering and wondering, in Blackburn and beyond.

During the walks with Jean, the group had conversations, recorded sounds, took photographs and collected found objects as a means of collecting and curating emotions, memories and to develop a sense of place. The group created zines (DIY magazines) as a way of recording its explorations.

The group had been running for 18 years, with many of the current members having attended for years, some since the beginning. Jean said: “We spent a session with the group making personal maps of walks significant to them personally, and now we are in the process of going on these walks together, with each person leading on their own walk.

Kavita lead the first walk, to Corporation Park, where she has happy memories of walking in the summer with her boyfriend. People took photos, recorded sounds, took notes, followed paths and told local history and personal stories. Afterwards, some of the group collected research and did some writing about the experience. We decided that it would be interesting to make a ‘zine (a handmade magazine) containing everyone’s experiences and reflections of the walk – as a kind of alternative guide.“

Watch a video about the project here

Find out more about the project on the Super Slow Way website

Read more about Jean’s approach to the working with the group here

Circle of Friends Go Walking Zine