Kurt Schwitters ESIR. 1947 *
Quick link to TSAP @ Platt Hall 2020
Full post to follow
Background to Terrace Square Artists Project (TSAP)
TSAP has it’s roots in the on-going Alley Greening Project by the grass roots organisation, Upping It, in Moss Side & Fallowfield’s Terrace Square, Manchester. Alley Greening has demonstrated positive effects to residents’ individual and collective well-being. The cobbled alleys once they are greened, become like walled gardens: shared spaces behind neighbours’ back-to-back terrace houses. In many cases they have been cleaned up and transformed by building planters, planting and growing fruit, vegetables and flowers. Water butts have been installed to collect rainwater and leaves are swept and stored to turn into leaf-mould, all for the plants. Greened alleys characteristically display decorative and practical inventiveness by those investing time in their shared and useful recreational spaces.
The Upping It project has been driven by grass roots activism in response to Manchester City Council’s lack in implementing effective recycling of refuse and waste in these neighbourhoods, exacerbated by communal bins which are also placed in the alleys. A creative affirmative inquiry approach has broadly resulted in improved recycling habits in neighbourhoods where care and creativity of the greened alleys are evident.
Manchester Climate Emergency Project
By Jackie Haynes of Terrace Square Artists Project (TSAP) for Platt Hall
(dismay followed by ideas)
Outside Platt Hall the animals are forming an orderly queue, 2 by 2 at 2 meters apart. They’re waiting for Platt Hall Climate Emergency Hub to reopen and shouting up and down the queue about the world they expect to be living in when they eventually emerge from the emergency.
Manchester Climate Emergency Declaration is one year old on July 10th 2020.
Twenty-two animals end their year-long trek towards Platt Hall Climate Emergency Hub which began following the announcement by Manchester City Council of the Manchester Climate Emergency Declaration on 10th July, 2019.
On the way to sheltering in the hub, they walk and talk through how they’d like to emerge from the emergency into a better world.
Terrace Square Artists Project (TSAP) are making new works for Platt Hall as part of
Love Parks in Platt Fields from July 10th 2020.
The animals are based on the Noah’s Ark set from Platt Hall’s Mary Greg Collection:
Photos taken on a visit to Platt Hall
Audio Visual Artwork
Artwork currently in the window at Platt Hall, in Platt Fields Park, Manchester.
The project can be accessed by a QR code in Platt Fields Park, as well as being on Platt Hall and TSAP’s website: https://art.tsap.uk/jackie-haynes/
LOVE PARKS Week
This project is one part of seven projects by TSAP which will be part of the LOVE PARKS Week, 10-21 July, 2020. Artworks will be placed around Platt Fields park, with social distancing measures observed throughout each aspect of the project.
Terrace Square Artists Project
This project is one of four TSAP artworks and a new digital platform commissioned by Platt Hall. More information to follow on artworks by Katy Jones, Tzanka Tcherneva-Ilieva, Claudia Alonso & Carlos Vincenti, launched on a new website by Astrid Johnson.
Terrace Square Artists Project began a year ago and is growing all the time. A group of local residents met to work out how to improve daily life through neighbourliness and interests in creativity of all kinds, in the communal spaces of our newly ‘greened’ alleys. We started with ‘Alley Tours’, going from one alley to the next to do a different creative activity each time. These were organised and hosted by the person whose alley we were visiting. There were about four activities per Alley Tour and each lasted about an hour. They are a great way to spend an afternoon and a great way to get to know neighbours. Through this project with Platt Hall and Manchester Climate Emergency in the Moss Side Ward, we hope to expand the TSAP network and meet creative neighbours who have access to an alleyway behind their houses in the ‘Terrace Square’ neighbourhood. This is approximately the area within Platt Lane, Wilmslow Road, Moss Lane East and Princess Parkway.
TSAP went to the ‘Open Door’ public consultation for the future of Platt Hall a few months ago to look around and make suggestions for how best it could be used by and for local residents and park users. The Platt Hall website says: “It’s about being welcoming, inclusive, thinking about the people that live in this area, the wealth of different people and making them feel they can use this space.”
TSAP are currently doing an art project for Platt Hall because the work to secure Platt Hall’s future needs to continue, whist at a safe distance during the coronavirus crisis.
Manchester Climate Emergency (Moss Side Ward)
Manchester Climate Emergency Story-telling Project (Moss Side Ward) is the first step in the idea that Platt Hall could become a Manchester Climate Emergency hub. This idea has been well received by Platt Hall, as stated in MCC’s Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee report: ‘A place for collective engagement with social issues, especially the climate emergency. A very strong theme throughout discussions, which included a suggestion from the Terrace Square Artists Project group of making Platt a hub for neighbourhood action in response to the climate emergency.’
The proposed idea is that the hub would become a place to go for people to share their ideas for how to respond to Manchester City Council’s declaration, which was announced in July 2019. Part of this announcement was that each Ward should hold a meeting for local residents for climate emergency issues to be raised that are particular to their neighbourhoods.
The Moss Side Ward meeting in January 2020 was very lively and well-attended, with noticeboards packed with Post-It notes full of ideas. Although the coronavirus crisis has had an impact on the momentum, the issues brought up at the meeting remain and may have worsened in some cases. At the same time, new ideas may have sprung up about Manchester Climate Emergency, brought to light by our experiences during this time.
With the weather not really conducive to or reliable for outdoor activities, TSAP have regrouped at Platt Hall. We are taking part in the public consultation for Platt Hall’s forthcoming relaunch as an arts-based facility which reflects the interests of local residents.
We were joined on Alley Tours 1 & 2 (see below) by the newly appointed archivist and curator responsible for the Platt Hall consultation. Early in 2020 we met again at Platt Hall in the former ground floor shop to discuss ideas. We were please to see TSAP referenced in the Platt Hall section of Manchester City Council’s Art Galleries Budget Report:
‘….we have focussed on developing key local partnerships with immediate neighbourhoods of Rusholme, Moss Side and Fallowfield. At this year’s Festival of Manchester in Platt Fields we showcased the quirkier objects from the wider collections, revealed little-known aspects of the Hall’s history, and solicited ideas for its future with a wide range of potential visitors. Contacts have also been made with local groups and organisations including the Friends of Platt Fields, Urban Diggers, Trinity House, Robert Darbyshire GP Practice, Rusholme and Fallowfield Civic Society, the Terrace Square Artists Project, and the Manchester Maya Project. Initial findings indicate that Platt Hall is held in great affection locally, and that there is a clear appetite for developing it as a community resource. Priorities include a community café/social drop-in space; facilities for local groups to meet, run workshops, share skills; making/creative spaces where local and emergent artists and makers can develop, share and sell work; a space to display, celebrate and discuss local culture and history.’ (https://democracy.manchester.gov.uk/documents/s15586/Art%20Galleries%20Budget%20Report%202020.pdf)
Prior to the meeting at Platt Hall, we considered how our ideas as an arts collective might intersect with our ideas for Platt Hall as local residents.
This was a useful exercise for us to consider the functions of the group as it has developed in its first year. Working on the premise that we continue to meet approximately every two months, we envisage doing three alley-based events in the summer months (May-October) and three at Platt Hall during the winter months (November-April.) Other events at Platt Hall between these times could also be developed, particularly as the collective grows with a newly identified focus on Mancherter’s Climate Emergency declaration. This work would be documented and archived as Artist Books. The Artist Books could be exhibited to disseminate the activiites whilst contributing to grass roots responses to Manchester’s Climate Emergency.
The key ideas we came up with are:
- Platt Hall as a local hub which makes visible the climate emergency declared by Manchester City Council. Creative and playful workshops aiming for a ‘convivial aesthetic’, formed with content arising from the new obligatory Climate Emergency Ward meetings. The three annual TSAP workshops (we’re Moss Side and Fallowfield ward) could run in connection with other creatives/teams arising from Fallowfield and Rusholme Ward meetings. They would perhaps also lead three climate emergency-focussed workshops each, to contribute to a continual annual program at Platt Hall. Addressing the climate emergency is a good fit for TSAP with its emphasis on up/recycling and neighbourly social cohesion. As a council-owned building, Platt Hall could be a publicly accessible place, where the local response to the urgency of climate breakdown could be demonstrated through generative and collective art activities.
- Open Exhibition of artwork submitted by residents in the Moss Side, Fallowfield and Rusholme wards. The current success of the well-attended Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME where ‘everyone is an artist’ could be adapted perhaps to launch Platt Hall, when the time comes, by encouraging submissions from all within reach. This would help artists and neighbours to find each other, and it would also help TSAP to grow.
- Many more ideas and questions came up at the meeting, for instance inviting groups of Terrace Square neighbours (eg from neighbouring alleys) to TSAP winter workshops and PH Kitchen facilities being used cookery lessons & convivial eating workshops.
TSAP’s Original Proposal (May 2019)
Terrace Square Artist Project (TSAP) seeks to build outwards from Upping It’s Alley Greening Project. TSAP is currently in its early stages. It began with three visual artists living in Terrace Square, myself (long-term resident of St. Ives Rd), Claudia Alonso and Carlos Vicente (Heald Place). We have recognised and are motivated by the potential for expanding upon the collective creativity of those living in our neighbourhood. We aim to locate and map out artists living in the Terrace Square of Moss Side. This has already begun, with the help of Upping It and will be carried out through word of mouth with the intention of being inclusive. This method highlights the benefit of direct and neighbourly communication. A preliminary search has revealed a range of artistic practices in the area, such as performance, book art, jewellery, illustration, painting and installation.
Insects made from ‘rubbish’: 1st Alley Tour, June 2019
Artists of any discipline would ideally be residents of Terrace Square with access to an alley. The terms ‘artist’ and ‘art practice’ will be self-defined along the lines of Joseph Beuys’ belief that ‘Everyone is an artist’. The quality distinction of work will be peer-led and find its own level organically, rather that by top-down judgement. Artists will be encouraged to re-use and recycle materials rather than buying new, in the grass roots spirit of sustainability and climate breakdown accountability, demonstrated by Upping It. The project aspires to become a way of coping with the overwhelming powerlessness climate emergency can cause, through collective neighbourliness and generative art-based actions.
Also relevant here is Kurt Schwitters’ Merz art practice, the subject of my current art practice-based PhD study at University of Cumbria, which supports the idea of making art from ‘rubbish.’ By coincidence, the image above is a Schwitters collage, ESIR. 1947 which includes the lettering TSAP, and it also seems to be made from ‘rubbish’.
Collage made from ‘rubbish’: 1st Alley Tour, June 2019
Aims and Actions
An ongoing artist collective will grow as the network spreads and people move into the area. Collaborative initiatives focussing on the alleys will develop over time according to the interests of those generating the work. A similar model which I have experience of is the peer-led collective, Islington Mill Art Academy, now in its 10th year. Our collective would also be peer-led and connected to The Whitworth and hopefully to Platt Hall, which is currently being redeveloped. Ideally TSAP would find a good fit into the new development of the future public use of Platt Hall. The purpose of these connections would be to ground the TSAP project with local organisations to have the public-facing potential for events, residencies, workshops and exhibitions etc.
Paper made from ‘rubbish’: 1st Alley Tour, June 2019
As the project develops, collaborative as well as individual art activity would ideally develop between artists. This could involve artists from the same or multiple alleys in the Terrace Square. Projects which are self-determined and tailored to individual and multiple alleys will focus on interests particular to the neighbourhood. Suitable ways of communicating the various projects throughout TSAP will form as the project progresses. This is currently a Whatapp group and word of mouth. This sets up the possibility of interests and issues being addressed and developed for the enjoyment and participatory activity amongst neighbours. Supportive networks of artists and their neighbours, families, friends, colleagues and other interested parties in and beyond the area will develop over time. Artists, for instance, might have individual ideas to further their own studies and practices to generate income, raise their profile and carry out socially engaged work. This could be developed within the Terrace Square Artist network by organising, for example, crit groups, workshops, group exhibitions and sales of work. Along with the work carried out in the neighbourhood, the merits of this project could be shared. Events, particularly at The Whitworth and Platt Hall as well as other venues in and outside of the area could inspire and be inspired by other allied projects.
The weather was ‘rubbish’, so we sat round the table indoors: 1st Alley Tour, June 2019
Terrace Square is well-established as a neighbourhood with a diverse and in some areas, a transient population, punctuated by more permanent long-term residents. The project would contribute, promote and invest in the idea of better balanced and stable neighbourhoods. This is for the well-being of those living there, for any amount of time both long and short term. It would also aim to contribute to the upturn in neighbourhoods being made more attractive from resident-led grass roots actions, such as Upping It. Their 2018 FEAST event, funded by The Whitworth, celebrated the success of the Alley Greening Project with a turn-out of approximately 100 Terrace Square residents, all keen to meet to talk about their greened allies and experiences throughout the afternoon. This differs from promotion of the area by house letting and estate agents, who benefit from greened alleys, but, with a few exceptions, do not significantly contribute to the efforts involved. Current indications show a decline in popularity in the area for traditional short term student lets due to competition for purpose-built student accommodation. Houses remain to be let well into term-time. This may lead to deflating prices and therefore more affordable rentals and house purchases. The Terrace Square Artist Project would work towards the idea of attracting community-minded people to the area, to stay and settle for longer and to become involved in its organic activist-led growth.
Filing through the houses from one alley to the next: 1st Alley Tour, June 2019
To date, we have had an initial meeting at the Whitworth of approximately 15 artists, followed by a Spring Gathering BBQ (see below). We each brought along an object with which to introduce ourselves and our art practices to each other, to learn of each others’ interests. We discussed how best to organise, present and proceed with the project. As a result of this, we had our first Alley Tour in June. This involved an art activity and refreshments hosted by four residents from different alleys. The next Alley Tour is 7th September, featuring three more alleys, art activities and refreshments. While the first one was a huge success creatively and socially, the second one will also aim to use the opportunity to arrange four dates for future activities for the following year. We will build on existing ideas, such as a collective request to see works from the Whitworth Collection.
Contact with Ed Watts (Whitworth Engagement Manager) will be maintained to summarise, indicate direction and progress of project and to scope out possibilities for future engagement and funding. We also look forward to building a productive working relationship with the new curator and archivist at Platt Hall.
Post-Whitworth Art Gallery meeting event. Flyer by Claudia Alonso.
2nd Alley Tour, 7th September 2019
A second Alley Tour took place on Saturday 7th September, 2019. We were joined by Jayne Donaldson (and daughter!) and Liz Mitchell, archivist and curator (respectively) of Platt Hall. Platt Hall is currently undergoing a public consultation to work out a community focused future for Platt Field Park’s most elegant asset!
Flyer by Joe Tenner.
1st Stop: Making mosaics with Claudia and Carlos using discarded tiles, some of which have since been fixed to the alley walls.
2nd Stop: The Art of Lemonade Drinking, introduced and made by Tzanka
3rd Stop: ‘Moving Moss’ with Christian and Dani (no moss was scraped from the ground!) This featured hands-on geology and mindful movement (no photos for this activity which required our undivided attention.)
4th Stop: Freestyle upcycling of plastic milk bottles with Jess.
3rd Alley Tour: 11th November 2019
1st Stop: Festive Junk Wreaths at Violet’s house.
2nd Stop: Finger-knitting at Kate’s house.
Images either taken by me or uploaded from our Whatsapp group.
- Image credit: Schmalenbach, W. (1970) Kurt Schwitters . London: Thames and Hudson. p237. ESIR (1947)
- This collage not only has TSAP placed centrally and is recycled from discarded-looking materials, but the cut-up letters reform to say ‘APARTMENTS RESIDENCE BOARD’, underlining neighbourly communication which forms the basis of TSAP.