We have invited two artists to take up supported residencies with Artcore responding to the title ‘Circling the Square – Visions of an Unmade City’.
Artcore’s Gallery faces onto a public space called Osnabruck Square, named after Derby’s German twin town of Osnabrück. The twinning is commemorated by a stone monument presented by the people of Osnabrück, which displays the distance between the two cities – 800 kilometers or 500 miles. Strictly speaking, it isn’t a square at all, but a tapering triangle which widens out as it wraps around two sides of the Market Hall, which bounds it on two sides, with Albert Street and Tenant Street on the others. It has an area of some 2200 square metres, most of it paved and is close to the bus station, the main shopping district & INTU, the council house and the river gardens. Intriguingly, the Markeaton Brook runs under it, hidden out of sight in a culvert, joining the River Derwent next to the Council House.
The current design of the square includes three dated ‘cabins’ – used as small retail units – a bus stop, seating, trees and some other planting. There are plans afoot to redevelop it (and other public spaces in the City) along with the regeneration of the Market Hall, and we’d like artists to playfully, provocatively, radically and collaboratively propose how the City’s public space could be unmade and remade, radically reconstructed to create a vision of what public space might mean in an age of social distancing. Perhaps ironically, given that we are now almost at the point of leaving the European Union and restricted in our social interactions, the square is likely to be renamed ‘Friendship Square’.
Our artists have been invited to critically interrogate the situation that is Derby: ‘situation’ meaning a set of conditions in time and place – a convergence of site, non-site, place, non-place, locality, public space, context, past, present and future time. What is the purpose of public space in the City Centre in a post-retail world, where social gatherings are a thing of the past, and where indoor social spaces are out of bounds?
About the Artists
A place and community orientated creative producer and sometimes artist they are interested in developing work that uncovers, grows and reimagines peoples relationships to here they live.
Work always grows from a particular place and situation, it is process rather than product based and often involves creative walks, parades, show and tells: using creative practice to platform, to ask questions and create spaces for coming together.
Their favourite part is hearing about places from the people who know them best and make them what they are.
During the Circling the Square residency at Artcore they will take leave from the situation and spatial realities of Osnabruck square, and it’s upcoming redevelopment – to include a potential renaming to ‘Friendship square’.
They are interested to explore the notion of what it would look like to design for and in friendship: with the planners, architects adoption a position of ‘friend’ to the publics they design for.
They are also interested to explore ideas of performing the public realm, and claiming it a place for personal and collective ritual.
Ryan Heath is an artist and designer based in Nottingham, UK. He is interested in psychogeography and the built environment. Heath works across painting, sculpture and mixed-reality. He has exhibited in the UK and internationally, receiving commissions and awards from established organisations including BACKLIT Gallery, UK New Artists, and Ignite Futures. Heath is a BACKLIT studio artist and former member of Chaos Magic.
A strong advocate for socially-engaged art, often working with young people as a creative facilitator. Ryan’s previous partners include Nottingham Refugee Forum, Pending Collective, Harris Museum, and Tate Modern. He has also given guest lectures and panel discussions at leading universities and institutions such as The University of Nottingham and The British Library.