The Blueprint Collective artist Aimee Staples on the making of LIDO

Last Summer, the Pavilion’s young people’s group, The Blueprint Collective, collaborated with students from Bexhill College and RESOLVE Collective in order to create the ‘RESOLVE COLLECTIVE: LIDO’ exhibition that was on display in our Ground floor gallery from 28 May – 4 September. The exhibition was conceived as a leisure space for Bexhill, and local groups were invited to use the space for their own programmes as well as participating in a dynamic public programme curated by the young people and the team at the Pavilion. Aimee Staples, a member of The Blueprint Collective, recently wrote a blog detailing her experience throughout the process:


Hello, my name is Aimee. I am a member of The Blueprint Collective, a group of young people aged 16-24 who are the De La Warr Pavilion’s youth collective. This year we were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with RESOLVE Collective in a series of workshops to help create the exhibition LIDO, which was displayed in the Ground Floors Gallery from May to September 2022.

Going into the workshops we really did not know what to expect. In the first session with RESOLVE they gave us a task to draw on napkins; we had 30 seconds to create some sort of design. This feeling of not knowing what was coming next continued when one of the first big questions we were asked was “What is a rock?” Then soon followed by “What is a chair?”. To answer this, we created Venn diagrams about what made a chair and a rock, and what was not a ch  air or rock. Things such as size, or design affected what we argued. These debates turned into statements which we wrote down. We at the time had no idea how these would be used, but in the exhibition, they were turned into quotes that were on the walls for people to read.

On the next workshop we went on an audio walk. RESOLVE taught us a lot about mapping and different ways of mapping. They talked to us about what an audio walk is and discussed what it would include. They asked us to write down all the places of importance to us in Bexhill. At first, we struggled to think of anywhere, but after a couple of minutes of discussion, memories came back, and we were filling the page. We then drew and mapped out these places and created a direct route for us to walk. We then headed out and started at the very place where we were, the De La Warr Pavilion. From there we went to the fountains, to the Sovereign Light Café (and listened to the song of course), Egerton Park, the Library, and our favourite charity shop. Interestingly we learnt RESOLVE thought gen z did not listen to CD’s which we all love! While going around we were all sharing stories of why we love these places and what they mean to us, while being recorded by RESOLVE. These recordings were later put into the structures and played at staggered intervals in the exhibition. The feeling of being able to hear our voices come out of the structures was surreal.

The following workshop was my favorite one. We got to go out to Bexhill and forage items from the local area. We split into two teams and went off in different directions to see what we could find. All sorts of items were found, including half of a bed from which we used the bed frame and even a bag of hair extensions. I think the group’s favorite item was a more radio sign, featuring Tom, Lou, and Jack. The team I was on even went door knocking, we asked people if they had anything they were throwing away that we could have for an art project, and everyone was very generous. Once we finished collecting our parts, we headed back through the park with everything and back to the pavilion.

We then were invited in to help build the structures that were featured in the exhibition. We got to try a technique called Flint Knapping; the aim is to chip the flint to manipulate the material. Flint is a material prevalent in Bexhill, the walls that surround the train station are even adorned with it. These flints were used in the exhibition to look like the waves of the sea and the material has conations with rocks that lie on the beach.

Another session was looking into the architectural design and measurements of the objects we found. We took all our different objects, measured them, and used a ratio to scale the size down so we could sketch them. This helped us to understand the objects more as well as start to think about how they could fit together into one final piece.

For our final session with RESOLVE we gathered all the materials we had foraged and our architectural drawings. We considered the area and the Pavilion and decided to draw on Bexhill’s famed past association with motorcar racing. Using every item we had, we created a car. It was incredible to see objects as something different and learn to use tools to sculpt them into other forms. This final creation was fittingly made on the last day of the exhibition to drive us into the future!

Once the exhibition was opened, we ran two Pavilion Lates nights. One held by the students from Bexhill College, and one by us (The Blueprint Collective). Our one was called Beyond Bloom, and it was targeting young people to welcome them into the exhibition space. It was an evening of dreamy surrealness with some fun activities as well as live performances from Paris Blue and Loula. I even got to perform one of my own songs! It was fun, and special to be able to do it in the space we helped contribute to.

In conclusion, the work we did with RESOLVE was amazing. I think collectively as young people we all agree we have never had an opportunity like it and feel lucky and honored that we got to be part of such an incredible experience.


Read more about The Blueprint Collective and their work here

To find out more about how join the group, please email dee.haughney@dlwp.com

Insight and inspiration at inclusive employment seminar

Two neuro-diverse young adults, Nat and Louis, gave local businesses a heart-warming insight into the vital role of supported employment at a seminar on Wednesday 12 October at the De La Warr Pavilion.

Each spoke enthusiastically about their work at Strive Café and Little Gate Farm, stressing how much it meant to them to be in paid employment and financially independent.

Hosted by Bexhill Chamber of Commerce, the Inclusive Employment seminar introduced local employers, particularly those facing recruitment challenges, to the untapped potential of a neurodiverse workforce.

Howard Martin, President, Bexhill Chamber of Commerce said: ‘The seminar was hugely informative, busted a lot of myths and really brought home the opportunity for local businesses of employing enthusiastic and skilled neuro-diverse young adults like Nat and Louis.’

          

At the seminar, Mary Briggs, Director of Strive Café, discussed how the café bridges the gap between college and employment, providing paid work for young people with learning disabilities and giving them the experience to go on and secure hospitality roles elsewhere. And Andrea Randall-Smith, CEO of Little Gate Farm, which finds paid jobs for neuro-diverse adults in a wide range of sectors, emphasised the care taken to match the right person to the right role and explained how job coaches provided by the charity smooth the experience for both the employee and employer.

With only 6% of people with learning disabilities in the UK currently in paid employment, Victoria Bevis, Legal Director of EMW Law LLP outlined the business case for inclusivity. While Stewart Drew, Director and CEO of the De La Warr Pavilion, impressed on the audience how employing two Little Gate Farm apprentices had been an enriching experience for the whole organisation and transformative in its approach to inclusivity.

           

Andrea Randall-Smith said: ‘This event means so much to local organisations like Strive Café and Little Gate and, most importantly, to those adults who need the paid employment. The impact of this type of work is huge – it reaches and supports locally but also impacts on a national level.’

The seminar photography was taken by Sam Kirimli, an award-winning photographer with autism whose work is exhibited and sold at Strive Café.

To find out more about the work of Little Gate Farm and Strive Cafe, explore www.littlegate.org.uk, www.strivecafe.org or pop into Strive Café on Sackville Road.

View a film about De La Warr Pavilion’s Little Gate Farm apprentices here.

ANNOUNCING: Fran Painter-Fleming, CURATORIAL FELLOW

We are excited to announce Fran Painter-Fleming as the first DLWP x Flatland Projects Curatorial Fellow.

The joint programme with Flatland Projects at Beeching Road Studios provides a six-month programme for an emerging curator  to develop skills in curating and arts management through mentorship and practical exhibitions experience.  The fellowship offers the opportunity to craft a programme that fits with the Fellow’s interests and  supports their professional development in the best possible way.

Fran Painter-Fleming is a curator, writer and researcher based in London and was selected out of a highly competitive process of over 60 candidates.

Ben Urban, Co-director of Flatland Projects says:

‘Fran demonstrated a significant commitment to immerse herself into the vibrant artistic ecology which is emerging in Bexhill. As an arts organisation in our first 10 years of presenting contemporary art in East Sussex we cannot wait to both share our experience with Fran and learn from the exciting perspective she brings to the fellowship!’

Fran’s curatorial research delves into the entanglements of social memory, geopolitics, ecology and myth and her practice is grounded in slower methods of curating, collaborating with artists or fields of research over extended periods of time.  Shifting between exhibition making, residencies and public programming, her curatorial approach is somewhat fluid to meet the demands of each proposal.

Recent projects have included Re-Rooting: Mapping 30 Years of Cubitt at Cubitt Artists, an archival exhibition which examined the precarity of artist run spaces in the contemporary; hosting a Monica Sjöö summer reading group series at Beaconsfield Gallery which unpicked topics such as cosmology, queer activism and transnational feminism, and most recently, curating PORTALS, a workshop series at Chisenhale Studios, where different practitioners untangled the porous relationship between speculative fiction, art, and ecology.

During her fellowship, Fran is eager to extend these slower working patterns, bringing a long form commission into fruition at Flatland Projects and devising ways to  embed and engage with local audiences in Bexhill.