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Artist Charlie Hill used the small budget she recived whilst on the Engaged Practice Starter Programme to develop her Trailing Project which aimed to raise awareness of green spaces and gardens around Parson Cross enabling participants to experience their surroundings differently and connect with the natural environment.
This reserach project, spanning a 6 month period from May-Oct, saw Charlie handing out free seeds, mailing postcards to many households, talking to people in their gardens and tomato sculpting in privet hedges amongst other things! This project helped Charlie make links locally with key indivduals, organisations and interest groups with over 24 hours of engagement taking place. It also provided time for Charlie to explore and experiment with socially engaged art practices and build on intervention and installation techniques in outdoor envrionments.
Charlie says of her learning experience: "This research project made more deeply about my practice. It has changed and developed in terms of what I do and how I do it. I have become more aware of the importance of dialogue and using it as a tool to create art. As a result I am now happy to experiment with various props such as the trolley, bird books and seeds, as a way to engage with people. These also helped me gain a presence in the area and built up my confidence to feel more comfortable in the area. During the project I also questioned myself and my practice and my motives a lot trying to pin down what exactly Socially Engaged Practice means and how it can manifest itself practically. The difficulty has been in knowing “where the art is”? I found that the art maybe the process that continues throughout the project and that this is still an on-going question for me. Learning to regularly reflect and question my practice has also helped me to adapt the project and address issues as they arise."
As a result of the project Chalrie is now building on ideas around green spaces and growing encapsulated within the Trailing Project. She is interested in continuing the themes started in Trailing, gathering people together to explore the area , looking at the difference between public and private green spaces, and developing a gardening/growing community. She is also keen to see she can use her creative practice to develop these ideas.