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Artichoke Blog

Post Date

01 March 2013


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New Girl in Town

I must admit I started my first week at Artichoke a little bleary eyed, having said goodbye to Cardiff just two days before and my new bedroom in London was still looking a bit like it belonged to a serial hoarder (ie full to bursting with cardboard boxes!)  

Anyway, my first five days getting to know the team at Artichoke have certainly perked me up a bit.  As their new Communications Officer, we are just about to start planning our work for Lumiere, so it’s a good time to start!  With this in mind, Anna packed me off to Durham on Wednesday to get to know the City a little better.  I spent three years studying my English degree in nearby Newcastle so I was very excited about being back in the North East, and I was blessed with unusually bright blue skies during my time there! 

When not pretending I was Orienteering (map on clipboard in hand) I also met with two of the companies who will be creating work for the festival.  We’re keeping who they are under wraps for the moment, but I can tell you they were both from outside the UK and one of them was wearing particularly impressive orange leather trousers.

With me and Anna both hailing from the Land of our Fathers, we’ve both been celebrating St David’s Day in the Artichoke office today.  Any suggestions on where to find emergency supplies of Welsh Cakes are most welcome.

Post Date

28 January 2013


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Lumiere’s biggest fan?

Yesterday was Monday. We turned up to the office in the morning with all the expectation of an average Monday. Imagine then, if you can, our absolute delight when we received an email from a Lumiere fan who had spent several hours out in the recent freeze constructing his very own "snow cathedral" in tribute to Lumiere. This was no ordinary Monday...

Snow good!

This is the fabulous creation of Florian B. Soulard who decided to take advantage of the recent flurries of the fluffy white stuff by crafting a miniature version of Durham's iconic Norman cathedral. Florian is a PhD student at Durham University studying Digital Holography so we can see where his excitement for Lumiere comes from. Not only is the snow cathedral impressive enough, but Florian achieved the ultimate effect by projecting images from a video projector to create an amazing homage to the son-et-lumiere Crown of Light seen on Durham's cathedral at Lumiere in 2009 and 2011. Click through the pics below. Inspired!

Florian said: I enjoyed the light shows in 2011, in particular the projections of manuscripts and stained-glass windows on the cathedral. Inspired by the recent snow falls, I built a "snow cathedral" in my garden (I thought it would be more original than a classic snowman!). Looking forward to Durham Lumiere 2013!

Look how happy he looks. We love this. And even though we're still a bit shivery from the cold, this truly warms the cockles. From all of us here at Artichoke, thanks Florian!

An InTents Moment

After a whistle-stop tour around the UK, InTents popped up along London's South Bank as part of Southbank Centre's National Poetry Day Live.

As part of this summer’s poetry project Peace Camp, we launched a UK-wide schools project with over 400 students taking part. Made possible by our Learning and Participation Producer Miriam Nelken, InTents was facilitated by some of the UK’s best artist-educators, with children and young people, from the Isle of Skye to the tip of Cornwall, taking part. Inspired by the themes of love, language and landscape, groups of students wrote poems and made art installations to be explored in specially commissioned bell tents.

On Thursday 4 October, seven of the tents were brought together from all corners of the UK as part of Southbank Centre's National Poetry Day Live (NPDL). These ‘pop-up’ poetry tents formed a trail along the South Bank and delighted many a passer-by. As well showcasing their tents, the students also opened the festivities by reading poems they had created during the InTents project. This marked the first time that young people had taken to the stage during NPDL and it was so successful that Southbank Centre said they would welcome more in the future.

We thank the schools, staff, and students for wholeheartedly being involved in Peace Camp. The tents will return to their respective schools to be kept as a memento - they represent a fascinating portrait of the lives and loves of young people across the UK in 2012.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Post Date

23 August 2012


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Exploring Poland for LUMIERE

Preparations for the next LUMIERE festival are already well underway and our production team are investigating new opportunities for collaboration in Europe. Artichoke Associate Producer Hannah Standen is currently in Poland investigating the potential for future co-operation.

Hannah is studying for a European Diploma in Cultural Project Management with Association Marcel Hicter. As part of her yearlong course, Hannah is required to complete a comparative study in another European country. Hannah has chosen to undertake her study in Poland and is currently there carrying out research into potential light artists for the next Lumiere, learning the language and meeting with arts practitioners.

Not that we had any doubt, Hannah is proving an excellent student, working hard, and finding out more about the climate in which Polish producers and artists operate and the social, economic, and political factors affecting their work. In addition to attending language classes at the School of Polish Language and Culture in Cieszyn through the University of Silesia, and discovering some incredibly good ice cream (!), she has also met with arts organisations in Gdansk and at the weekend will attend the Skyway light festival in Torun.

Hannah said: “It is hard work but I am really enjoying exploring the country, talking very bad Polish with everyone and drinking very good iced coffees! A challenge in 35-degree heat but someone’s got to do it right?”

35 degrees, Hannah? Are you sure you didn’t pop over to Spain instead?

In September Hannah will return to Poland to present Artichoke’s work to practitioners from across Europe and to debate the function of art in public space as part of an event organised by the ARTLOOP Sopot and Grolsch ArtBoom Festivals.

Post Date

17 August 2012


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We are delighted to announce that Artichoke co-Director Helen Marriage has been awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The prestigeous Loeb Fellowship is awarded to individuals working in the area of urban design and planning. Helen's appointment is an acknowledgement of the impact Artichoke has made on the way mass public art events are negotiated and staged.

Founded in 1970 with a gift from John L. Loeb, the Loeb Fellowship was set up to encourage reinvigorated thinking about how our cities and natural environment are designed and planned. The only requirement for Fellows at the end of the award is that they return to their positions and make a real impact on the way that a city or culture is thinking about itself and its purpose.

Starting in September Helen will use the opportunity offered by the Fellowship to explore public perceptions of risk, and the processes of negotiating with several different agencies to deliver complex productions in the public realm.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We have allowed ourselves to become frightened of what is possible by the over-regulation of public space. I want to look at ways in which we can take away people’s anxieties, and show them that temporarily closing a road or digging it up in the pursuit of art is okay. It’s about challenging the consensus that our public spaces are places just for shopping or traffic. I am extremely honoured to have received this award. It is a recognition of the work Artichoke already does, and I want to take some time to explore the intellectual framework around our work and ideas in more depth”.

Helen is now busy programming Artichoke’s 2013 projects before she leaves for her sabbatical.

Nicky Webb, Artichoke co-Director said:
“We are so thrilled about Helen’s Fellowship. It is a tremendous accolade for all that Artichoke has achieved since 2005. It has been an extraordinary time, during which we have grown from a three-person team to an organisation employing 12 full-time people.  With two forthcoming projects in 2013, one following hard on the heels of the other, everyone will be kept busy and we’ll try not to bother Helen too much whilst she’s away! Every project we take on challenges us in new directions and we are looking forward to the insight and ideas for the future that Helen will bring back with her”.

We wish Helen all the very best and look forward to her return next Spring. We'll send you updates of how she is getting on over the pond so stay tuned for news of Helen's adventures.