Creative Public Engagement in ‘Community Routes’

As pandemic restrictions limited my usual ways of approaching face to face, creative public engagement in ‘Community Routes’ I had to quickly find another approach. As I said in a previous blog post, I created the ‘Community Routes Collage Project’ .  I designed a collaged, professionally printed, instruction booklet to accompany the kit and it celebrated both the history of collage and contemporary artists who use this medium today. In the booklet, I shared the work of Birmingham trained, Pop Artist, Peter Phillips and John Heartfield, a German political artist, significant in the history of collage art, specifically photo collage. I also promoted the work of artists from Birmingham Collage Collective, West Midlands Photography Collective and links to collage artists on You Tube ; to find out more, please go to ‘Community Routes Collage Booklet’. I scrounged materials through social media for the kits and added in some basic materials, such as glue, pencils, crayons and pens to facilitate making. Participants were invited to add in their own materials, recycled, natural or otherwise …

As a way of creative public engagement, the kits were sent out to over 40 local community members, kindly distributed by Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir, EATMAKEPLAY, West Midlands Photography Collective and Black Heritage Walks Network. Participants had three weeks to create their collages, expressing what they loved about the people, places and heritage of their communities. We were overwhelmed with the quality and range of work returned to us ! Individuals and families of all ages contributed and it always amazes me what can be achieved with imagination, some scrap materials and a glue stick ! Please check out the gallery section of this blog to view them and see some comments from participants about taking part in the project too ….. I’ll be incorporating some of the fantastic ideas and images generated from the kit into the artworks I create for the exhibition at Roundhouse, Birmingham in early summer.