Since the summer of 2016 Bedford Creative Arts has been working with the residents of Chester and Carlisle Road in Queen’s Park, Bedford to explore, document and celebrate their concept of home, community and the place where they live.
Working with lead artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou from the outset, and in collaboration with the residents, the project has developed into a long-term creative community programme called Clubhouse.
With a re-imagined scaffold tower as our “Clubhouse” and pop-up creative space, young residents and families have gathered most weeks and throughout the school holidays to engage in artist-led activities to develop new projects and ideas. Many of the resident families have taken part in an inter-generational film project with lead artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou.
Over the summer months of 2017, the Clubhouse tower became the film set for the project and popped up at the communal green on Carlisle Road. Residents came together here to share their stories and take part in all aspects of making the film. This filmmaking process included script-writing, story-telling, filming, animation, sound recording, set design, special effects and editing, with local artists including Paul Pibworth, Sara Turner and Katie Allen assisting along the way.
At the end of the summer, Clubhouse hosted its own Production Party. The event was an opportunity for the residents participating in Clubhouse to share some of the different aspects of the project so far and to see the first rushes from the filmmaking to that date. The artists and residents went on to complete the filming at the Clubhouse workshops in October half-term.
The artists are now in the final editing stage and have been screening snippets of the film to residents throughout the process. The final film work will be presented at the Clubhouse Tour on Saturday 24 March 2018.
Alongside the filming activities, the green on Carlisle Road and the Bedford Hockey Centre on Chester Road have become spaces where different ideas can be explored and new skills can be learnt. Bedford College joined us on the green for an English language skills and literacy open evening and musician Edward King led an afternoon of drumming.
Now, the residents have formed a Clubhouse ‘working group’ – of engaged residents from the two streets – who have worked together in collaboration with the Clubhouse artists and BCA team to create a responsive programme of activities for their neighbours.
Starting with the resident-led Clubhouse sports day event for the two roads, residents have gone on to design and develop the October half-term activity and winter programme including sports activities, socials and creative workshops, a Clubhouse singing session on the two streets with the help of Bedford Community Arts Choir, and a Clubhouse Community Garden project. The working group are now designing the February half-term activity and preparing to welcome the public to their two streets for the Clubhouse Tour in March.
Clubhouse has been on the TV too! Over Christmas 2017 the project featured in a TV advertising campaign by The Health Lottery, one of our project funders.
From January – March 2018, artist Jan Uprichard has been commissioned to explore and document the rich variety of skills that exist within the community. The outcome of this work will be presented at the Clubhouse Tour.
Saturday 24 March 2018 The Clubhouse Tour. Join us for a ‘one night only’ evening walking tour of the Clubhouse project and experience the two streets brought to life in unexpected ways. Clubhouse runs from March 2017 to April 2018.
About the beginnings of Clubhouse
It all began in 2016 with In Situ Cinema by Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou. This project invited young residents of Chester and Carlisle Roads to engage in a film-making project about the place where they live.
Watch the In Situ Cinema film and the Making of In Situ Cinema.
Clubhouse is supported by a grant from money raised by HealthCourage through The Health Lottery, plus additional support from housing association bpha and Arts Council England.