The Clubhouse project in Queen’s Park, Bedford is an ongoing exploration of collaborative approaches to art making within a community, over an extended period. Clubhouse began in April 2017 as a year-long inter-generational filmmaking project on just two residential streets. It was conceived by lead artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou.
On weekends and holidays from April 2017-April 2018 residents came together with the artists to create a short film and resident-led creative programme . Over 60 residents engaged regularly in different aspects of filmmaking, from camera, sound recording and special effects to prop making, script writing and acting. Located on a small green on the two streets, and with a scaffold tower as the set, the artists provided a framework for exploration that enabled the residents to respond directly to their environment. The creative programme also included drawing and games cafes, photography projects, dance, creating a community garden, a family sports day, inter-generational football matches and the creation of a residents’ recipe book.
The Clubhouse Night on 24 March 2018 was the culmination of the year’s activity. For one night it brought the two streets to life in unexpected ways, celebrating and sharing the project with the wider community. Located in a garage lock-up in between the two streets, there was an exhibition of film stills on garage doors, short films were projected into empty garage spaces and there was a resident run-café with a residents’ recipe book created with artist Jan Uprichard. The main feature of the evening was the Clubhouse performance. This walking tour presented film vignettes outside the homes where the films were created, and was performed by young participating residents. Films were projected onto walls and stairwells, bringing the street to life after dark.
Over 130 residents have taken part in the project to date and a number of resident-led activities have developed from the project. To date these include an annual Sports Day, a regular inter-generational football match and regular planting of the community garden. The final film will be screened in summer 2018 and the next phase of the Clubhouse project will begin in early summer 2018.
Lead artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou
Support artists Katie Allen, Edward King, Paul Pibworth, Si Rawlinson, Anne-Marie Stijelja, Sara Turner and Jan Uprichard
Support practitioners Daniel Bedeau, Karike de Klerk
The project was featured on national TV in the 2017-18 Health Lottery advertising campaign and the Clubhouse Night was featured on BBC Look East on 26 March 2018.
Clubhouse is commissioned and produced by Bedford Creative Arts. Supported with funding by Arts Council England; a grant from money raised by HealthCourage through The Health Lottery; bpha housing association; Gale Family Trust; Bedford Borough Council and Burrow Venues. With very special thanks to the residents of Chester and Carlisle Roads. Also Kim Burrows of bpha; Tessa Jackson OBE, independent curator and Zach Walker, MakeAmplify.
Image Credit Cat Lane