Love St Peter's Love St Paul's
Love St Peter’s Love St Paul’s was a pilot project devised by the newly established Arts Action Group (AAG) in 2017. With the project the group aimed to connect with and map the area's creative community and to start conversations with potential project partners.
The AAG obtained funding to commission four artists to work with groups of residents to investigate the history of the locality through creative workshops. Each set of workshops was comprised of five day-long sessions, and included field trips and foraging for ingredients to radically reassemble Cheltenham’s historic Dripper with activist baker Samantha Jones; mockumentary script-writing and film-making with Jack Price and young people at Bramah House; Thomas Goddard worked with children at Gardner’s Lane Primary School on the Museum of St Peter’s and St Paul’s; Scott Farlow worked with local ceramicist Kate Anderson on the Mobile Clay Experience, taking clay dug from local soil into communities on a cart and inviting residents to make tiles and clay objects, pressed with items found in the environment. The resulting artwork was presented in an exhibition at Hardwick Gallery in September 2017 – read more about the exhibition here. A conference, Cultural Dreaming, was held at the University of Gloucestershire in June 2017 which explored the role of the gallery in community building, with invited speakers from projects and organisations around the UK.
Participants were very enthusiastic about the project. Bonnie Toner, who took a number of workshops, said: “I enjoyed foraging along the Honeybourne Line, making dripping cakes at Gas Green, visiting North's Bakery (owned by my second cousin), & I made three lots of clay items, one in each of the different clays.”
Kate Anderson, ceramicist and St Peter’s resident said: “I've lived in Marsh Lane for 14 years and I'm so lucky to have the support of my neighbours and the sense of community that we all feel. To be able to work with the wider community bringing together people's skills, stories and experiences and express these through clay is very exciting, and immensely rewarding. I am very proud to be part of this project and feel it is a really good indicator of how well received people are to creative activities in our area.”
Geoff Moss, St Peter's resident and We Create co-chair said: “I have lived in St Peter’s and St Paul’s for 26 years and my association with the area goes back a further decade to 1981, when I arrived in Cheltenham as a student. I do not consider myself and artistic person, particularly in respect of the visual arts, but I am interested in local community identity and engagements. A community project can make those connections so that an individual can feel more engaged with others in the area, even if it is only an encounter in the street. An art based project enables the community to create something that can be seen, touched, felt and talked about for a sustained period. As well as creating an identity, Love St Peter’s Love St Paul’s enabled the local community to project that identity to the wider community, helping to change perceptions of the area. The project enabled us to reach out via the press and social media to demonstrate that St Peter’s and St Paul’s is a thriving place to live.”
Love St Peter’s Love St Paul's was funded by Arts Council England, St Peter’s & The Moors Big Local, the University of Gloucestershire, and the Janet Trotter Trust.