Fresh off the back of Glastonbury, international artist Morag Myerscough is bringing her bold and colourful artistic approach to Blackpool with a touring pavilion, which she has co created with local residents.
Responding to the question, ‘What does it mean to belong in Blackpool?’ the 4m x 7m structure will host a programme of pop up activity. The pavilion named ‘These People Are Our Kinship’ after a direct quote from a Blackpool resident, will travel to three different Blackpool communities over August.
Morag said: “In Blackpool, you have such amazing groups of people, with so much creativity, which came out in our initial workshops. I knitted the community’s ideas and designs together so it kept on evolving – almost like a jigsaw.
“Everybody has been involved, from little ones to older ones, people with different abilities, it has been an inclusive piece of work, which is a key part of it.
“It’s a celebration of the people who live here. We want to show everyone in the streets that these communities are here, they’re not hidden, they are out there doing things, and I can’t wait to see their response to it.”
From drag queen story time, meditation sessions and gong baths, to puppet theatre and Supper Clubs, each community the pavilion travels to will host a full programme of free events for locals to get involved in.
The artwork, which has been commissioned by LeftCoast and funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Community Fund, started in April this year when Morag joined forces with locally based poet Nathan Parker and LeftCoast’s associate artist Sarah Harris to run a series of design workshops.
Local residents took part in the sessions, sharing their ideas, stories and drawings on how best to reflect the identity and spirit of Blackpool.
Sarah Harris said: “We spent three days chatting with lots of people about how they connected with their communities, if they felt a sense of belonging, and how they would want to express this through the artwork.
“Participants were asked to create a doorway to welcome people into their community. Nathan recorded the conversations and has created three poems, one for each location which capture the wisdom, joy and strength of being part of these communities. The poems will be painted on the inside of the pavilion.”
Tina Redford, LeftCoast’s Artistic Director, said: “This creative collaboration between Morag and the town’s residents will most definitely stop people in their tracks. The Pavilion is audacious and playful and we hope it will inspire joy and wonder wherever it goes.
“Morag has encouraged as many people as possible to be part of the co- design process, to ensure the work amplifies the authentic voice of our communities. And it doesn’t stop with the design, Blackpool residents have been stepping forward to paint the structure, steward the tour and help with the programming. It’s been a truly uplifting process.
“We look forward to seeing people’s reactions when the Pavilion turns up on their playing field or community centre, especially when they see their sentiments written in metre-high florescent letters.”
The Blackpool groups involved in the co-creation are Revoelution Community Hub and Revoelution Youth, House of Wingz, The Hub at South Shore, the New Langdale Photography Group, Claremont Park Community Centre, Bostonway Community Centre, The Magic Club, and Revoe Learning Academy.
The University of Central Lancashire’s Grenfell-Baines Institute of Architecture has teamed up with Morag on the fabrication of the pavilion build, which was painted using Johnstone’s Paint, and will be toured around Blackpool by KRS Productions.
LeftCoast and Morag will gift the artwork back to the community at the end of the tour so everyone can take home a piece of These People Are Our Kinship.
These People Are Our Kinship will tour Blackpool in August at the following locations. Everyone is welcome to come and see the installation, and take part in the free programme of events:
- The Hub at South Shore (FY4 2JF): August 9th to 11th
- Claremont Park Community Centre (FY1 2QJ): August 13th to 15th
- Revoelution Community Hub (FY1 4AU): August 17th to 19th