The CRITshow event was the culmination of the Creative Whispers group project, in which each collaborator began by producing an item intended to represent their practice. These were brought along to each meeting (beginning December 2013) and passed on to a new artist. The task was to respond to each piece and bring it back the following month. The pattern repeated for 5 responses, with the intention being to discuss and review the outcomes in order to research the characteristics of practice and the effect of labelling work as the product of a particular discipline, though we also knew we would have some interesting pieces in their own right. The final responses were shared at our last meeting and some of those can be seen here. Creative Whispers was the first time we have either collaborated or shown work in what I am now coming to think of as more than just a networking group but actually something beginning to approach an arts collective. I normally try and keep my blog posts as neutral as possible out of respect for the fact that my views are not shared by everyone who attends our meetings. As the CRITshow day was much longer than our usual 2 hour slot however; I couldn’t possibly record enough notes to give everyone’s views an equal airing so in this instance I feel at liberty to make this a more personal reflection.
Earlier this year we held an oral history afternoon tea, an event to share personal memories of the Northern Quarter with lashings of tea and scrumptious cake. The strangers who gathered become chatty over the refreshments, talking of personal stories and ones handed down through family lore. We held the discussion on the ground floor, where the topic of conversation jumped from Abraham Lincoln to the nascent African National Congress, American G.I.’s, seedy comic book stores, real silk, department stores and more.
TV-B-Gone soldered circuit boards and decapitated doll’s head automata. Some may call this mischievous, but here at MadLab we call it creative inventive FUN!
The weekend of the 2rd May saw MadLab host three innovative tutors who travelled from as far as sunny America to ‘sunny’ Manchester to lead workshops in soldering and automata creation, Victorian style! Both events were highly attended and culminated with a collection of extremely happy participants, and a rather messy MadLab!
On one of the first warm days of the year (20th April), a delegation of intrepid Mancunians set off on a road trip to visit the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in London. This was the second museum (first was to the Museum of Science and Industry) visit for All Our Stories, and the first activity outside of Manchester.
EcoHome Lab launched this weekend (19th/20th April 2013) with two fascinating and involving events taking place at MadLab in Manchester. These sessions were part of Carbon Co-op‘s new project to assist householders in taking greater control of their homes through use of open source tools.
The weekend started on Friday evening with Matt Fawcett of Carbon Co-op and Trystan Lea of OpenEnergyMonitors running an introductory workshop on the use of the Arduino platform – a really simple programming environment that enables participants to control bits of technology and kit such as the OpenEnergyMonitors.
This session was followed by a short launch to the project with presentations from Matt and Trystan on the potential of open source technologies and OpenEnergyMontiors in particular, and from Jonathan Atkinson of Carbon Co-op and Eleni Kalkantzi of URBED Co-op, on the potential for these tools to empower householders and provide new methodologies for household energy and retrofit assessment.