31st May – Arts into PLAY LAB
It’s been a productive fortnight crystallising ideas for moving Arts Lab forward in the context of Dartington’s own vision for creativity and learning. A useful meeting with Dartington’s CEO Rhodri Samuel and Amy Bere, Arts Director, left me feeling optimistic, my proposal for a pilot project for Play Lab feeling increasingly plausible.
Personal experience as a practicing artist, musician, sportsperson and collaborator has shed light on the lack of distinction between the essence, for example, of good design and fine art, performance and playing music and sport. All are linked in their pursuit of excellence through purpose and play.
The long term objective of Arts Lab is to evolve into Play Lab – a space that fosters and facilitates play through a broad range of disciplines: music, dance, sport, design and technology, the arts, etc. Intended to be an interesting new take on igniting passion for lifelong learning as well as a valuable resource for fostering health and well-being Play Lab would be underpinned by an ethos of experimentation and exploration, collaboration and inclusivity, creativity and innovation, flexibility and enquiry.
Democratising resources, I would want the key resources of space, time and expert/specialist facilitators to be made easily accessible for a broad cross-section of society. Amy Bere’s idea of targeting (initially at least) 16-21 year olds could well be a good one to kick things off.
Making would be at the heart of Play Lab, linking amongst so many other things, cutting edge technology with historical, traditional methods. An objective, as well as engaging with and enriching lives, would be for the Lab to create timeless, high-spec products or productions – whether design objects, works of art, performances in music or theatre, etc. In the process, creatively engineered business models would be embraced.
Invaluable in helping shape my ideas have been conversations with: Jay Tompt at REconomy Totnes; film maker James Rowden; Head of Creative Arts at Kevicc Tim Wightman; Kevicc parent governor Bethan Edwards; Caroline Dimond Director of Public Health in Torbay; Torbay Culture Board’s Kate Farmery; Mike King social enterprise consultant and Chair of Governors at The Grove; David Irish of Totnes Fab Lab; Ian Hankey of Plymouth Fab Lab at PCA; conceptual artist Laura Denning; Dawn Brumham business development consultant.
Below is “Play”, a 50 second film by my daughter, Zanna. Put together from photographs of some of my past workshops and everyday playing and doing scenes of the Lotto kids when they were younger, she’s cleverly synchronised the images with some of her favourite music from Metronomy. Great link here: James Rowden who’s working with me at Arts Lab, has just emailed – “I went to school with Joe Mount (the man behind Metronomy), who funnily enough grew up on Dartington estate just up the road from Aller Park.”