Arnolfini welcomed Room 13 Hareclive in November 2015, as they presented an exhibition of their work inspired by their patron Richard Long.
Room 13 Hareclive is an artists’ studio based in the playground of Hareclive Academy, run by children and adults working together.
In April 2015, Room 13 won the Bristol Green Capital Neighbourhood Arts commission for the Dundry View area. The brief was to engage local residents in the beautiful but under-used green space at the edges of South Bristol - the Dundry Slopes.
Inspired by the work of our patron Richard Long and building on previous socially engaged work in the area, we proposed a new venture of discovery on the Slopes; one where the interests, questions, wonder, curiosity, imagination and pioneering spirit of local children would lead the way, creating new meaning and ways of seeing and using this landscape, especially for children and families. Through children, we hoped to engage other people too, both now and in the future:
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.” - John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things.
The end result of our collaborative and participatory work is a poetic yet useful map, showing 3 short walk-able journeys of Exploration and Wonder, Beauty and Tough Physical Challenge. We are now actively seeking ways and funding to further promote our map to children and young people in Hartcliffe and the city of Bristol.
In November 2015 we exhibited our work in progress in the Arnolfini Light Studio. This exhibition documented our collective journey of discovery and meaning-making so far.
Room 13 invites you to come and discover the Dundry Slopes for yourselves. Maps are available from email@example.com or @Symes in Hartcliffe. A guided walk will take place on Monday 23rd May as part of the Bristol 2016 Walk Fest.
In May 2015, a group of Room 13 children from Hareclive Academy, Merchants’ Academy and Bridge Learning Campus began working with artists Shani Ali and Paul Bradley exploring the landscape of the Slopes, through walking, clambering, climbing, talking to people, looking at books and listening to stories and memories.
Together we discovered Bristol’s hidden treasure: a place of secret natural beauty, amazing views and full of wildlife and history. Yet it is a place where hardly any part of the landscape was named. Room 13 children unearthed lost links and knitted these together to make sense to children now; giving them names in the landscape, making them real, providing sign posts for children to come.
We also discovered some important things about ourselves:
“I didn’t think I could do this kind of thing but I can.” - Lewis (12)
“I went up on the Slopes in my converse tracksuit and got mud all over me. I was cross then I realised the mud will wash out but the fun memories will stay.” – Rhiannon (13)
"Being involved with the Green Capital Commission has made me realise out of school I am a ‘stay in your bedroom’ kind of person. But through exploring the Dundry Slopes for this project I have discovered I like to take challenges and risks outside. I am now going to go for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.” – Lauren (15)
We are now actively seeking ways and funding to further promote our map to children and young people in Hartcliffe and the city of Bristol.
Shani Ali and Paul Bradley, Room 13 Hareclive Artists and Artist Educators
We are both socially and politically engaged, multi-disciplinary trained fine artists whose work is collaborative, collective and sited in the public and social realm. Working together, our arts practice is based on the belief that social change can result from small, quiet shifts realized through the creation of dialogue, relationships and situations.
Our greatest achievement is growing a Room 13 studio with children and young people of Hartcliffe over 12 years.Through dialogue and collaboration with others, we link children from Hartcliffe to the cultural life of their city, enabling their voice to be heard through artworks, exhibitions, ideas, presentations and collaborations.
“Room 13 is a brilliant example of how children can be empowered and celebrated as creative people. I grew up in Bristol in the fifties and sixties and I owe a colossal amount to my school teachers for giving me the encouragement, recognition and support to make art, much as Room 13 is doing now for today’s generation.” - Richard Long
Through this project we wanted to open up new worlds on Dundry Slopes, new ways of seeing and moving around in the land, and through that, the possibility of renewing social behaviour there.
If space is made by dynamics of exchange, then everybody can be the architects of our world. In this light, not just community engagement but community participation and collaboration are essential to our practice, and part of our artwork.
You can contact us both via firstname.lastname@example.org