What brings a community together? How can we build our connection to the place in which we live?
Take Part Queens Park is an art project both inspired by and created with the community of Queens Park in Bedford, alongside local artists. Through engaging residents of all ages with the creative arts and exploring Queens Park’s cultural diversity, the project seeks to combat isolation and strengthen residents’ sense of place and community.
Beginning with a series of workshops that would eventually result in an artistic showcase, the project has since evolved in response to the current pandemic. While the future remains uncertain our sense of home and community is now more important than ever; whether that space is reflected in homes, schools or local groups, we want the new phase of this project to reflect those places and to share the stories behind them.
Our commissioned artists are: Caroline Wendling, who through an exploration titled ‘Community Blueprint’ will investigate with participants the idea of place through memories, both geographical and personal journeys as well as aspirations for the future; and Andy Holden and Mira Calix, who will collaborate on a sound work – ‘We Are Heard’ – conjuring the ambient sounds of Queens Park.
During lockdown we worked with these artists to create art packs for Queens Park schools, which were distributed to pupils with limited art resources. The packs contained basic art materials and activity worksheets which explore themes including home, the environment, place and belonging.
The next phase of the project will be open to all age groups and all communities in the Queens Park area. We will be recruiting participants for Andy and Mira’s sound archive with opportunities to record sound, share sounds and suggest what we should be including in the Queens Park sound archive.
Caroline Wendling will be also seeking to talk to people in the area, in particular to hear people’s stories of ‘home’ and share significant memories. Caroline will also be developing a food-themed strand to the work, looking at rituals around celebrating with food and asking people to discuss their own stories around food and share important recipes.
If you are a Queens Park resident or member of a local community group, we’d love to hear from you – please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project will run until June 2021. It is delivered in partnership with The Higgins Bedford and funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, Harpur Trust and housing association bpha.