Making, Mapping and Mobilising in Merthyr: using visual and creative methods to engage change with young people
Gabrielle Ivinson, Manchester Metropolitan University
The presentation will describe a range of arts-based methods designed to enable young people living in ex-mining valley of south Wales to speak back to pathologising media images of the place where they live, such as the Channel 4 documentary program ‘Skint’. As part of an ESRC/AHRC funded Productive Margins Project, we offered young people workshops run by visual, media and sound artists. Through their involvement artefacts, soundscapes, stories, visual projections and video footage emerged which became the basis of a series of local art exhibitions and a film called ‘Graphic Moves’, which I will show. I discuss the role of the art works as affective relays that touched those who came to the exhibitions in ways that lead on to other events and actions, some of which fed into Welsh policy on domestic violence.
Our work is influenced by new material feminisms and specifically Erin Manning and Brian Massumi’s work. We see the creation of artefacts as emergent processes that enable connections to be made between the history of place where the young people are growing up and their desires for the future. The artefacts, as emergent objects, sounds and visual images become affective relays that allow ideas to flow outwards into new arenas and to ‘touch’ others and have unforeseen ripple effects. In this way we glimpse ‘a people yet to come’ (Massumi, 2015).