International Women’s Day | A Celebration of female creatives

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re shining light on some of the amazing female creatives we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past two years.

And what better place to start than our artist residencies at Bostonway.

▹  Niki Colclough studied the trees in Bostonway and delivered an urban forest bathing session to locals. She encouraged residents to engage with the nature on their doorsteps.

▹  Frances Disley held multiple workshops on Bostonway including a wreath making session at Christmastime. She also collaborated on a piece of work with one of the residents, seeing the duo host their own drawing workshop at the end of 2021 and create an artwork as part of the Open Exhibition at The Grundy.

▹  Helen Stratford worked with LeftCoast on a micro residency. Using her organisational diagrams for every day life she engaged residents to help us understand what motivated them and what barriers they faced to engage in creative projects, or anything outside of their routine. Informed by this work, Helen created the ‘Productive Life’ room at Blackpool’s Art B&B. The project saw Helen explore ideas of ‘productivity’ and encouraged people who visit the Art B&B to do the same.  

Forest Bathing Bostonway Niki Colclough

▹  Sarah Harris hosted weekly zoom art meet ups, turned the garden into a community space, and initiated public sharing areas. She was both welcomed and challenged, encouraged and critiqued. In Sarah’s words she “found sanctuary” with people.

▹  Claire Griffiths invited Bostonway residents to document the their perceptions of the area through audio recordings, film and photographs. At the end of the residency she turned the window of the residency house into a viewing platform to see the film she had made with the residents. Claire also works with LeftCoast regularly, helping us to document the work we do.

▹  Alex O’Toole was the producer and editor of the Upside, a feel good newspaper created for and with elderly residents who were shielding during lockdown. The paper addressed their feelings of isolation, printed their stories and informed them of relevant support services to access. Alex lead a dynamic, artist team including photographer Claire Griffiths and the illustrations of another super-talented female Cait Mceniff.

▹  Natalie Lee developed Hawes Side Stories during her residency. The project became a physical publication that looked at the lived, everyday experience that is often hidden from popular or political discourse surrounding housing, welfare, and economic policy-making.

▹  Ocean Farini sparked conversations with 15 to 30-year-olds in Fleetwood which evolved into Front Door – a streetwear project, celebrating, questioning and talking about identity through clothes, photographs and words. She also produced the book Our Big Green from trips to Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve, and used this to write to campaign for better facilities in the space.

▹  Carol Salter worked with Ocean Farini, and the communities of Fleetwood, to unearth the story that eventually became the film ‘Left Coast’. The film is based on Carol’s observations of food banks being the over-looked, underfunded fifth emergency service. She used political commentary to bring the stark differences between political rhetoric and everyday reality into focus.

▹  Linda Hampton was our wonderful “Welcome” for the project she split her residency across both Flakefleet and Hawes Side where she transformed into her alter ego Muriel, who would warm locals up with a hot cuppa while cycling around on her Tea Trike and talking to people about what they would like to see in their neighbourhoods. She joined another incredible woman, Ruth E. Cockburn, in compering the Comedy Night for The Welcome Collective.

▹  Ecaterina Stefanescu is our Mereside architect and collaborative designer. Half of our architect design team for the Mereside Library Laundrette project, Ecaterina has played a critical part in visualising the plans for the laundrette for our Mereside collaborators, her 3D modelling is amazing and really helped people understand what could be done with the space.  Juggling her time with us and her residency in Berlin, we have been very lucky to have her work on the project.

To wrap up, we’d like to champion Sam and Aish Bell, Gillian Wood, Tina Dempsey and Catherine Peters who over the past year (and beyond) have poured so much of their time and efforts into their work with LeftCoast.

▹  Sam and Aish from House of Wingz who choreographed Blackpool’s brand new social dance, The Blackpool Way. Throughout lockdown, the duo engaged the Blackpool community through doorstop dances and workshops where they taught locals the moves. The dance was then turned into a beautiful film, showcasing the very best of Blackpool.

▹  Gillian Wood brought together the often unseen and under represented creative talents of Fleetwood residents and showcased them at their very own Inside Out exhibition, which has since been recognised nationally by Creative Lives.

 Tina Dempsey joined Gillian’s Scrub Hub during the pandemic, and created the book Handle With Care, which shared stories, ideas, and wisdom from those involved across the spectrum and who would probably never meet in person. She was also involved in the Before I Die project, inspired by Candy Chang’s art work. Tina held workshops in the local school where she explored what children wanted to achieve in their lifetime.  

▹  Catherine Peters has worked with us on a number of projects, she played a key role in the consultation for the Mereside laundrette before we had even identified a site, hosting making workshops where the conversations influenced the project’s design. She also worked with us in Bostonway with Sarah Harris on a Swap shop pilot. Separately to us she continues to deliver the amazing Fylde Repair Café, gardening project at the back of Art B&B that the LeftCoast team enjoy when the sun comes out.