Random Acts of Neighbourliness

BPT Random Acts of Neigfhbourliness image credit Tom Wenezoui

Our artist in residence as part of Brighton Festival’s Your Place has been asking local residents to consider what it is that ties neighbourhoods together and what can be done to bring the community closer together.

Taking inspiration from the recently popularised Random Acts of Kindness movement, Your Place 2018 Artist in Residence Kate McCoy has been leading a series of workshops known as Random Acts of Neighbourliness, which encourages participants to share experiences of their own neighbourhoods to create a ‘visual map’ of the area and to come up with creative ideas to get to know their neighbours and bring the community together. Their contributions – which have ranged from coffee and cake mornings to getting rid of double yellow lines so that the children of elderly residents can visit more easily – will be incorporated into an interactive, visual exhibition by installation artist Luan Taylor at the two Your Place weekends throughout Brighton Festival.

Kate McCoy visiting the Hangleton Rocks group at Hangleton Community Centre

Kate McCoy says: “Being Your Place’s artist in residence is my ideal job, I get to meet loads of different people in a range of settings and find out more about them creatively, connecting through laughter and conversation. I have been setting up in community centres, lunch clubs and youth drop-ins, asking people to sit down with me and create a visual map of their neighbourhood using objects to represent themselves, their neighbours and the landmarks and features that surround them. So, a Pritt stick has been a lamp post where young people hang out on the Knoll Estate, a bus stop in Whitehawk that can be seen from a living room window, and someone who works with the community, sticking people together. 

“I have also been asking people to decide on a “random act of neighbourliness” something that could happen to bring the community closer together. People have been so welcoming in both communities, open and even more creative than they thought they were and have made beautiful images and said thought provoking things that I hope you will come and see.”

Kate McCoy visiting the Boccia group at The Manor, East Brighton

Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre, says: “Kate McCoy was chosen by residents from East Brighton and Hangleton to become the artist in residence for Your Place from an impressive range of artists who applied. They were particularly taken with her down to earth and relatable approach to working creatively with people who may not think of themselves as creative. Her idea of Random Acts of Neighbourliness caught their imagination and people in both communities have been really impressed by the work she has done over the past few months.

“Your Place is a partnership project run by Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre and two resident-led, community development projects on either side of the city: Due East and the Hangleton and Knoll Project. We have been working with a steering group of local people from both communities over the last year to co-programme and co-design Your Place for the Brighton Festival 2018. We are really excited about all the brilliant shows and workshops that are part of this year’s programme.”

Naomi Alexander working with the Your Place steering group to design the artist in residence

The residency was designed by a group of local residents who worked with Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of BPT to decide what they would like to artist to do in both communities. It is funded by a commission from Brighton Festival and an Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Your Place is part of the Brighton Festival and is completely free.

Sat 19 & Sun 20 May, 12pm to 5pm, Hangleton Community Centre
Sat 26 & Sun 27 May, 10am to 5pm, Manor Gym, East Brighton
For further information visit the Festival website here.

Photo credits: Luan Taylor

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