Updated: Mar 29
In September 2022 we were delighted to connect with the homeless and addiction charity Ahava who were occupying a vacant commercial property in a prominent high street location in Canterbury Kent.
Ahava supported our aims to collaborate with artists and to make art accessible to as many people as possible and were happy to share some of their space with us for an agreed term.
The period building with 3 floors featuring high ceilings and magnificent windows that overlooked the high street provided great potential for artists to develop their work and to provide free and affordable workshops and an exhibition for the public.
In A Space created an Artists in Residence programme for 4 responsible, considerate and creative artists who worked well with each other and the wonderful Ahava shop manager Coby Stewart.
Camille Serisier Interdisaplinary Artist
Molly Lambourn Multidisciplinary Artist
Emily Rose Parris Analogue Photographer
Elspeth Penfold Multidisciplinary Artist
At the start of October 2022 our four selected artists started developing their ideas and responses to being in this historic property within an interesting location and what followed
was a spectacular creation of a body of work that included reflection on their personal experiences, connections with the city, the building, the people visiting it, and the local environment.
In A Space facilitated a free workspace for each artist and supported them to deliver a free workshop each to members of the public which was an invaluable way of engaging with the local community.
The artists were also given the opportunity to use the space to host ticketed classes that cost less then £15 per person in keeping with our ethics as a charity to make art as accessible as possible.
Camille's free workshop was titled "Living Cityscapes: A Drawing Workshop" during this session members of the public explored drawing in an urban environment using the historic buildings of Canterbury high street as their muse.
Molly delivered a free session titled "Through the rabbit hole: An Alice and wonderland themed drawing workshop" as the title alludes to this class was based on the whimsical imagery from the literature by classic author Lewis Carol. In addition to this free session, Molly also hosted 2 other drawing classes "Dare to draw!" an experimental mark-making session and another based around the beautiful pattern work of William Morris.
Emily ran a Pinhole camera workshop where members of the public got to come in and use cameras made from old coffee tins and then develop their images, these negatives generated amazing exploration into analogue photography. In addition to this free session, Emily also hosted two other workshops exploring different darkroom techniques, the first on Chemigrams and the other on Photograms.
Elspeth went a different route and held weekly creative drop-in sessions titled "Making Arrangements" during these sessions, Elspeth took over a corner of the ground floor charity shop and encouraged patrons of the shop to chat and engage in creative writing, drawing, painting and other art inspired activities.
In December 2022 to celebrate the 11-week residency we began organising the exhibition, which was mainly curated by the artists themselves with some support from the In A Space team. Due to the time of year and flu season, the In A Space team were affected by illness and could only work remotely, so as not to spread any nasty germs but despite this our wonderful artists managed to band together and get the show up and going.
On the ground floor, Elspeth displayed artwork created by members of the public in her weekly community sessions. The large first floor was used as our main exhibition space Camille really utilised the space by taking advantage of the tall sash windows and making large green eyes that looked out onto the high street, she also displayed sketchbooks with beautiful drawings on a table to show the development of the ideas and concept sketches for this installation.
Molly explored Alice in wonderland themes in her work displaying a multitude of drawings and paintings in mismatched frames and re-painted crockery that explored the concept of loss and how objects and locations hold memories.
Emily Parris had a wonderful display of pin whole camera photographs that were taken and developed on-site in Emily's makeshift dark room. These images were taken on the high street and within the building, the dark and moody negative black-and-white photographs presented a theatrical view of the surrounding area and finally, part of this exhibition was Elspeth’s rope-making machine with more of the work made by members of the public displayed with it.
All the artists enjoyed being part of the project and intend to keep in touch with each other and hopefully will work with In A Space again in the not too distant future. The project benefitted many members of the public some of whom experienced mental health issues and isolation within the community.
The Ahava shop manager was delighted to have the artists in place as it encouraged new members of the community to come into the premises and bought some extra energy to the space while being respectful of the premises and not interrupting the daily business of Ahava.
We are hoping to deliver programs like this in the future and we would like to take the opportunity to thank Ahava (especially Coby) for letting us use the space, our four artists in residence, everyone who attended workshops, came to see the exhibition or shared our news and images about the events.