Someone asked me about success, so here's my answer ...

"Speaking from a personal point of view, and in all honestly, I think that all of the events and workshops that COCOA (Castlegate Open Collective Of Artists) has undertaken so far have been successful, and meaningful, in one way or another.

The writing workshop with AB Jackson - our first step on the COCOA journey - certainly had a certain creative magic to it. It also helped establish the theme of confluence, or joining together, that has become something of a leitmotif throughout the residency period. You will be able to see the results of this workshop - the collective poem ‘Confluence’ - during our special screening event “Shining a Light on Castlegate' at Exchange Place Open Studios on Sunday 21st November. The poem, which has been made into a short film by Steve Pool, will feature as part of a short programme of artist’s film that will be projected onto Exchange Place Studios. The programme will also include works by Victoria Lucas and Peter Griffiths.

I suppose that it was ambitious from the outset to try to create an artistic ‘community’ - however temporary - but do I think that we have succeeded in establishing some very strong connections between individuals that didn’t exist before - and I am confident that these connections will be of a lasting nature. By way of example, I was speaking (or should I say ’touching base’?) with two of our COCOA artists at a networking event recently and they said that they felt a lot more secure at the event than they would do normally - simply because they knew lots of people who were also at the event through Studio COCOA! We haven’t tried to force this ‘community making’ but we have managed to all stay in touch - and we have also used the age old strategies of sharing meals, resources, and above all experiences and ideas to forge these bonds. I really do think that Studio COCOA has brought people closer together and Art has been at is the heart of this; Art performing its primary, age old social function - creating a space in which conversations can take place and in which happy social interactions can occur and be made material.”

Paul Evans 2015

Image credit: Steve Pool 2015