Artist Anna Francis
has been working with the Portland Street residents for a number of years, to plan a future for their changing community with clay. Clay has been used to gather and activate the community, encouraging individuals to communicate and form ideas about the future of their place.
The Portland Street community is in flux, as new residents move into a long-standing community through a £1 home scheme, initiated by Stoke on Trent City Council.
After initial work with the community, it became clear that clay was a positive material for engaging a wide range of participants, and for activating social change. Last summer Anna Francis temporarily opened the local pub, in response to the community calling for a permanent and creatively-driven center. The response was overwhelming, with over 600 individuals enjoying and feeling inspired during creative sessions. The Portland Street residents wanted the pub back, and to use it as a creative space for everyone to meet, play and learn.
Alongside the Portland Inn’s co-lead artist Rebecca Davies
, Anna is now working on a 5-year business plan, that sets out how the Portland Inn will become a clay-based social enterprise. The document will enable Stoke on Trent City Council to ‘gift’ the pub to the community.
This summer, Anna Francis will be completing a series of interactive ‘clay tests’ – during the Community Maker project - to see what types of clay and creative engagement should sit within the heart of the new social enterprise. Anna will be in residence at AirSpace Gallery throughout August, testing out works towards the completion of her Community Maker ware - a community focused, 21st Century mirror of the iconic Home Maker ware of Edith Seeney in the 1950's.
Delivered in partnership with the British Ceramics Biennial, look out for regular updates on the summer's activities both here at the AirSpace website and on our Social media and blog pages and on the BCB Learning Blog.
Community Maker Family Day>
Portland Street, Hanley
Join us at the Portland Street green space to celebrate the start of the Community Maker project. Play with clay in mini clay pit, enjoy food prepared by local residents and hear more about the Community Maker project.
This is a collaborative project delivered by The British Ceramics Biennial and AirSpace Gallery.
More details of the full programme of activities shortly.