Spoon Fed No. 7
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Remain Present :: Seila Fernandez Arconada

With this project I aim to re-examine various relationships to the photographic image: as “documentation of truth”; its value in recording memory; its importance in our current culture, and the importance of photographs in the future. This project is a workshop- residency to work creatively with the elderly based in rural areas around Bristol.

Interaction with a place, participation of and with the community, and collaboration between artists and the elderly, are all vital in this project: as this is key for site-specific dialogue. The objective is to work in partnership with community groups/organisations to build personal or local visual and sound archives which could be of interest to local community/historical/cultural organisations and the families and descendants of the local participants.

The isolation of rural communities needs to be considered since the traditions and identity of those places could disappear. Migration has caused urban growth at the cost of rural communities, especially in this country where the population growth has increased around 4 millions in the last 10 years.

With this project artists have the chance to expand the role of creativity in society, as the local artists and the artist participants will be actively involved in the history of that particular place.

This workshop will be scheduled as a collaborative residency with the community and participant artists (maximum of three including myself). The community group will be determined by the location selected (nearby Bristol). At the moment the organization of the project is still exploring rural areas and arranging dates.
The workshop-residency schedule is the following (briefly explained):

- Presentation of photographs/memories of the place by the local participants for open discussion.
- Trips to the rural setting of old photographs by the local participants in order to explore changes and development over time.
- Presentation, with visual examples, by the participant artists about storytelling and photographic theory.
- The local participants will be given a disposable camera to record what they consider would be important to remain for the future.
- A sound recording will be recorded for each of the photographs developed from stories about that particular image.
- An exhibition with the images and stories of the local participants inviting people in the village for discussion.
- The participant artists after the experience will generate a collaboration piece related with the experience to be presented in an exhibition in Bristol as part of the research project of Remain present.
- Details of the outcomes will be negotiated with local participants and community groups in order to facilitate genuine collaboration rather than inviting people to join a pre- determined brief.

The budget raised is for buying and developing the disposable cameras and the hiring of the space for the workshop to happen. Also it aims to cover the transport expenses and some food expenses for the participant artists during the four-days workshop.