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In Situ Cinema – November Workshops

Following on from our In Situ Cinema project on Chester and Carlisle Road in July 2016, we invited the residents of the two streets to join us and artist Maria Anastassiou as we returned to Queen’s Park, Bedford with two new and exciting filmmaking workshops. With the help of artist Maria, residents of Chester and Carlisle Road explored the use of cut-out collage stop-frame 2D animation techniques using both found and drawn images combined simple sound effects to create colourful worlds inspired by the place that they live. Over two weekends in November 2016, two films were made by nine enthusiastic children and young people. One film explores the wall separating Carlisle Road from the Allen Park, and the other on building a bug hotel on the unused green space on the corner of Chester and Carlisle Road.  

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In Situ Cinema  

 In July 2016 a group of young residents living in Bedford’s Queen’s Park took to their local streets in a film-making project about the place where they live. Over a period of four weekends they worked with artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou to explore their neighbourhood and create a magical and irreverent film about life on Chester and Carlisle Roads. From revealing hidden spaces and favourite places for play, to collecting the neighbourhood’s sounds and memories from residents young and old, the film explores the two roads with the children as our guides. The scenes reflect thoughts and ideas the residents have about their home. The defunct telephone box becomes a silver birch tree, the concrete wall separating the estate from the recreation ground becomes a magic gate into the park, speeding cars vanish and gardens become places for adventure. All the local residents from the two roads road were invited to stop by, join the group activities and chat about what it’s like to live in their part of Bedford, but it was the children who jumped at the chance to make recordings, photos and films about what they liked and what they’d like to see change. “We were interested in working with local residents to produce a more intimate reflection of their thoughts and ideas. The children have their own view about the place they live; they see the environment very differently to adults. The children took their storytelling and turned it into filmmaking, creating sound, images and some clever special effects.”  Julie Myers, artist Working from the artists’ circus style black and white cinema tent, the children used microphones, a 16mm film camera and a digital camera to interview their neighbours, collect stories, record snippets of songs they sang and noises they could hear around them and

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Dump It On Parliament Revisited

Step back in time to the post-punk scene of the mid 1980’s. Think Siouxsie Sioux, a DIY ethic, scratch video, protest, Thatcher. This is the backdrop to Dump It On Parliament Revisited, a new living history artwork exploring counter-culture local history, and created by artists Dash MacDonald and Demitrios Kargotis (DASHNDEM) and artist/musician Roshi Nasehi.

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Selfie Slot Car Championship

How can our libraries adapt to changing times? The marketing machine of Formula 1 might not spring to mind but for artist Chris Dobrowolski it was the inspiration behind his new project Selfie Slot Car Championship. Created in early 2016 as part of the Library as Laboratory commission, this project was an experiment in making and marketing in our selfie-obsessed world. The artist invited local families along to workshops at Dunstable Library to make slot-car replicas of their own domestic cars. Then  two weeks later the families returned to the library to race their slot car in a one-day championship. Twenty five cars took part in what proved to be a passionate and hotly contested event. Chris Dobrowolski is an artist, maker, story teller and car enthusiast. He is known for creating homemade life-size vehicles that actually work, such as a hovercraft and an aeroplane. For the Dunstable Library project his inspiration came from an unexpected source. “My approach started with a satirical look at advertising and marketing” says Chris, “and I decided that Formula 1 motor racing sponsorship was probably the most expensive and glamorous form there was. I then tried to find a way to associate this with the not so glamorous context of the library. In my mind creating an alternative championship using the slot car was a way of mirroring the dystopian experience of the world outside we live in,” said Chris. So on a cold half-term week in February 2016, Chris found himself in the Asda car park in Dunstable armed with a mobile phone and selfie stick. “The idea was for people to park their car in the Asda car park next to Dunstable Library and pose inside their car. I then took photos of the whole car – front, bonnet, boot, roof and sides”

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Dunstable Wind Charming Day

We invited the people of Dunstable to dance with the wind, become part of a collective performance, and create the folklore of tomorrow.

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Bedford Voices

In March 2015, just two months before the General Election, the town of Bedford saw ten of the its central commercial advertising billboards replaced with hard-hitting political cartoons.

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The Word Blind

‘The Word Blind’ attempts to address the plights of people with sight issues using their genuine gripes about every day occurrences, taking the speech melodies to make the music. Composer Roger Illingworth worked with the people of Sight Concern in a collaborative process to create a cathartic message about the little things that full sighted people take for granted. Nine core participants took part in the production of the piece which lasted 5 minutes. The piece was based on the idea of a complaints choir. The people that took part are registered as blind or  partially sighted. A volunteer from Mind worked with us and assisted with the group.   A Test Beds commission. Test Beds is our new programme to experiment with artists’ work in social settings, getting artists and communities of place/or interest to work together on imaginative creative projects. Six commissions will happen over the next two years in central Bedfordshire. Contact us to find out more about the commissioning process. Test Beds is funded by the LLoyds Bank Foundation.

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bedford happy

In 2013 the Office for National Statistics said Bedford was the unhappiest place in the country. In 2014 we proved it’s one of the happiest.Dan Thompson is a social artist, interested in making things happen as much as he is in making things. He’s created a day of happiness, a game played across Bedford town centre’s underused spaces. Dan is spent three months meeting people, exploring the town, and working with groups like the West Indian Social and Cultural Society and the Polish School. He asked people what makes them happy, mapping where in Bedford people are happy, and delving into why people like the government are talking about ‘happiness’ so much. We had Bedford Happy badges, small interventions in shops and cafes like Coffee with Art, and some inspirational posters around the town. The big Bedford Happy day  took over the town centre on Saturday 29th March. People took to the streets, creating a series of momentary distractions from the normal day. There was music from Bedford Arts Choir, free fudge to be won and certificates for local people who made their fellow Bedfordians happy! You can join in with Bedford Happy online, too. There’s a Facebook page, and on Twitter search for the #bedfordhappy hashtag.

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hip hop vs monuments

Do you walk past Bedford’s monuments and statues without a second glance on a daily basis? Do you know their meaning? Renowned choreographer and photographer Mickael Marso Riviere , international street dancer Si Rawlinson and a troupe of young street dancers from Bedford fused photography, live art and Hip Hop/Breakin dance to challenge our perspective of the well-known Silver Faces sculpture. For two weeks Bedford Creative Arts transformed the windows of the Sports Traider shop on Silver Street into a gallery displaying Marso’s images of the event. Mini commissions are open to professional and amateur artists, curators and producers living in the five counties area around Bedford. Each season we award £500 to a great idea that aligns with our artistic policy.Visit our past projects archive to read about previous mini commission winners, Kristian Purcell, Aaron Head, Kezia Ruth, Liz Wright and Jan Uprichard.

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Almanac Festival

A weekend of art made in Bedford.

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Lace in Place

Inspired by the rich history of lacemaking in Bedford, Bedford Creative Arts, artist Arabel Rosillo de Blas and over one hundred Bedford volunteers created the commission Lace in Place.

Concerto Magnificent: An Anthology of All Things

The commission was to be an ambitious and new, large-scale work for voice and orchestra, written, composed and performed by volunteers living in Bedford.

Want to get involved? YEAH!