Rachel Aspinwall and Holly Thomas are Arnolfini City Fellows!

We are delighted to announce that PECo’s artistic director Rachel Aspinwall and core artist on the Dark City project Holly Thomas, have been appointed Arnolfni city fellows.

Read Arnolfini’s press release below!

Arnolfini announces our City Fellows – two ambitious art projects created for Bristol by Bristol.

Arnolfini today announces two ambitious and experimental projects co-created by the people of Bristol to address overlooked histories, pick up current conversations and dream for what the city needs next.

PECo Theatre’s Rachel Aspinwall and Holly Thomas (collaborating as sighted and visually impaired (VI) artists) will be working with co-creators from the VI community on Could this be the place… uncovering how the organisation and design of Bristol impacts upon our relationship to the city. Aspinwall and Thomas will be bringing visually impaired people together with sighted partners to travel together, recording their experiences as they navigate their way through the city. The group will share and reveal their perspectives on city life and together explore possibilities for the future, giving voice to the incredible value their contributions can and do bring to society.

PECo and their community will work with Dr Ute Leonards, University of Bristol, who is internationally renowned for her research on how the visual environment impacts our health and wellbeing. This collaboration will allow the project to reach a more holistic understanding of the impacts of city on body and mind.

Apsinwall and Thomas said: “We are so delighted that our group and this work have been selected for a City Fellowship. As artists it’s really thrilling to be recognised for the work we have been doing. The project gives us and our group the opportunity to make heard the usually hidden voices of VI people in our city.”

Letty Clarke, project-lead for City Fellows at Arnolfini said: “working together to re-imagine the world is what we live and breathe at Arnolfini, we’re really excited to be working with a fantastic community of people on this project.”

Fozia Ismail’s Camel Meat and Tapes will research into the stories shared by families of the Somali Diaspora, through the exchange of self-recorded cassette tapes and Muqalmad (dried camel meat – an important part of Somali nomadic culture) between Somaliland and the UK both during the civil war and after. By sharing tapes family and friends would communicate and connect, bringing intimate voices of loved ones via analogue technology and across hostile borders- into each other’s homes.

What’s happened to these cassette tapes? Have people held onto them? What messages do they contain? The project will look at the way food and sound can transcend physical geographical limits and the efforts the Somali community, led by mothers, aunts and sisters, have made to hold families together.

To support them as they create new work, Ismail and PECo will work with Arnolfini’s Researcher-in-Residence, Marcus Corrd Brown (Director of Signifier, a UK based think tank that works to advance diversity in the cultural and creative sector). Brown will act as a critical friend and project evaluator, supporting the artists to help turn Arnolfini into a centre for civic action and imagination, acting as a catalyst for social change. Together, Ismail, PECo, and Brown will host a series of conversations, meals, and work-in-progress performances as their work develops – offering Bristol’s audiences an insight into the developing art.

The projects are being developed as part of City Fellow, Arnolfini’s programme for supporting artists to make ambitious and experimental art co-created by the people of Bristol. City Fellows has been made possible through generous support from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The programme is managed by Assistant Engagement Producer for Arnolfini, Letty Clarke.

About Arnolfini

Woven into the fabric of Bristol since 1961, Arnolfini is a pioneer of interdisciplinary contemporary arts, presenting an ambitious programme of visual art, performance, dance, film and music. Housed in a Grade II listed, fully-accessible building at the heart of the harbourside, Arnolfini is an inspiring public space for contemporary arts and learning, welcoming half a million visitors each year and offering an innovative, inclusive and engaging experience for all. An internationally-renowned institution, Arnolfini supports and develops work by living artists, investigating their influences and aspirations, and celebrates the heritage and wide-reaching impact of the organization by sharing a 55 year archive of exhibition slides, publications and artist book collection with the public and artists, inspiring new commissions.

2019 is a year of new beginnings for Arnolfini as we re-open our spaces. Collaboration will be at the centre of this approach as we explore again our role as Bristol’s Centre for Contemporary Arts. We look forward to sharing and developing many new projects as the year progresses.

Find out more about Arnolfini and our current programme at www.arnolfini.org.uk.

For more information about City Fellows and Arnolfini please contact: letty.clarke@arnolfini.org.uk

Arnolfini is supported by the University of West of England and Arts Council England.