Ocean undertook a Real Estate residency on Flakefleet in Fleetwood from June 2018 to Sept 2019. The residencies take an action research approach and as such the artists undertake a journey which might lead them to an outcome that hadn’t been expected or anticipated. Both LeftCoast and Regenda, our housing association partner, briefed Ocean at the start of the residency from the local knowledge and relationships that we have developed.
Ocean started the residency with the aim to:
“…change the way people outside of this geography or experience saw and talked about people in Fleetwood & people who lived on council estates
…wanted the people I ended up working with to question how they were seen and unpick why they were seen that way – by the government, by the media, by the housing association, by anyone who’s got a preconceived opinion on how people live, work, raise their kids. – through a journey of making, talking and making and talking.”
By the end of the 18 months she had progressed some of that thinking through her experiences in the neighbourhood. She found that she was making work about internal conversations and perceptions and small, hyper local changes that felt more purposeful and powerful. Some of her thoughts:
“…there’s a real distance between assumed lived experience and ACTUAL lived experience here. I was told the estate had huge problems with debt. Within a week of living here I’d received between 4 & 6 letters every week for high interest credit cards & loans. It’s targeted and intentional and where are they getting our information from? Felt like a real, actual, tangible thing that the housing association should be aware of and could actually do something about…”
“REFLECTION – not so much back into the world, but just back at ourselves. Start to initiate a CHANGE and CONVERSATION about the image we see of each other and the place we live – ‘Fleetwood’s full of chavs, no one works, it’s all sofas on front gardens.’ Start to pick apart and RE-OWN these stereotypes.”
“…there’s a lot of stuff that talks heritage and history, which is great and all that – but so much of the rhetoric or story about NOW is negative and surface level – the trawlers aren’t coming back so what work is there for school leavers now? What’s Fleetwood’s new story?”
You can read an edited version of Oceans diary from the 18 month residency here.
Two major pieces of work came out of Oceans residency:
FRONT DOOR: An investigation into clothes as tools
“FRONT DOOR was the ‘in’ needed to get people aged 15-30, involved in a conversation about lived experience here… there’s this whole massive group of young people who are either at school, left school or in work up here who were’nt at community stuff, stuff in church halls or places I would organically meet to talk to/ make work with. And these were the people my age, goin into the world and in to work (or not work) here. And probably future or current tennants of Regenda…”
“FRONT DOOR – [the name for it coming from 2 things]
- That everyones front doors are open down my street, people live, socialise and exist at the front of their houses.
- (that came from the young people at the group who I collaborated with) That there aren’t many doors open to them up here. Not much chance to try stuff out or try new things.”
You can see and read more about FRONT DOOR here .
Our Big Green: Realising the importance of quiet green spaces
“…stuff around the house, street starts to slow down
volunteer stuff makes me realise how many people are out of work, isolated
a lot of coffee drinking and biscuit eating but not a lot of moving
Regeneration team of Regenda are working on getting people using green spaces more
Come up with this idea of running a workshop each week where we
walk and do something expressive/ creative/ anything that feels new to the people coming along”
You can read more about Our Big Green here.