Image. Vetch Veg is a community Vegetable garden created in collaboration between residents of the Sandfields in Swansea and the artist Owen Griffiths. Together they created an urban utopia in the centre of the city on the historic ground of the Vetch football field.
Over the past three weeks I’ve been a participant on the spring/summer 2021 UNIDEE residency, each Saturday we enjoy a number of hours contact (online) with international artists and thinkers. Andy Abbot, the UNIDEE residency curator, has framed the residency with a set of questions, exploring ‘facets of embedded arts practice as a tool for uncovering, understanding and helping build and develop new realities….What does it mean to commit to a sustained intervention into a place or community? How does it start? Where and when does it end? How do we plot the journey and what can we collectively share and learn from the challenges and obstacles met along the way? How do we do it together?
KEYWORDS Groundwork, Infrastructure, Arts Ecology, Socially engaged and Embedded Practice, Post-pandemic Futures, Slow Art and Sustainability, Art and the Everyday, Tools and Technology fro Social Change, Site and Context Responsive work, Invisible Art/Dark Matter, Participation and Co-production, Grassroots Organising, Self-organisation and DIY collective agency (Demopraxy/Pandemopraxy), Co-operatives, Socially Applied Practice, Diverse and Community Economies, Cultural Dark Matter, Postwork Futures, Postcapitalism, Universal Basic Income, Transition to Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm (Third Paradise), Building the new (Digital/Virtual) Commons.
Although two of my current projects are being represented at UNIDEE, I’m representing CONJUNCTION rather than PLoT, which is already well represented by Elinor and Colette.
So far Katherine Gibson (Take Back the Economy, Author), Jeanne van Heeswijk, Kathrin Böhm, Kate Rich, Bianca Elzembauer, (The Interdependence), Alessandra Saviotti and Owen Griffiths (Decentralising Political Economies) have spoken about their work and made themselves available to us in smaller groups and one-to-ones. Broadly speaking these practitioners use artistic strategies that resist or reappropriate capitalist economies, create commoning practices, or re-articulate citizen engagement within society or place.
My fellow participants are also international, from Russia to Ghana and from Oslo to Palestine. There’s a strong contingent from Ireland, specifically Cork; Colette Lewis, Elinor Rivers, Miguel Amado and myself. We’re slowly getting to know all the participants (over forty) to share our work, to ask questions, to reflect and critique. So far so good.