New community-focused public art project for Southampton: Co-Creating the Public Realm

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01 April 2022

John Hansard Gallery, part of the University of Southampton, is pleased to announce Co-Creating the Public Realm, a nationally significant project principally funded by Arts Council England, University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and with support from GO! Southampton.

Co-Creating the Public Realm invites communities from Southampton to develop major art commissions, created in conjunction with leading international artists. These new public artworks will be launched as part of major festivals and community celebrations in Southampton and beyond.

This project, which starts in April 2022 and runs over two years, will see John Hansard Gallery and a range of city-wide partners working with local and international artists, including: Mary Evans, Oozing Gloop and NewfrontEars, Rich Holland, Grace Lau, and other artists TBA. These artists will work in partnership with multiple community groups and organisations, including: Art Asia and Southampton Mela, The Mela Partnership, Black History Month South, Chinese Arts Southampton, Chinese Association of Southampton, Confucius Institute, Kingston Creative Jamaica, Skate Southampton, Southampton Black Archives, Southampton Pride, SPUD, The Stage Door, UP Projects, and  videoclub.

Co-Creating the Public Realm aims to empower communities to reimagine how public space is used in their cities. In addition to five significant public art commissions, Southampton will host a national conference about public art and co-develop a new public art strategy for the city.

Co-Creating the Public Realm will explore new thoughts around creativity and public space in relation to gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, access, health and wellbeing.

Co-Creating the Public Realm will support artists, producers and the cultural sector in Southampton,
the South West and nationally, bolstering the city’s social and creative recovery following COVID-19.
A number of new roles and artist opportunities will be created as a result of this project that will be
led by John Hansard Gallery, in collaboration with UP Projects and Visual Arts South West.

Southampton is bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2025 and John Hansard Gallery is fully committed
to being a programme partner for Southampton 2025. Designation as UK City of Culture would be a
catalyst for much needed social, cultural and economic transformation for the city and its inhabitants.
Co-Creating the Public Realm will nurture creative and cultural communities, building skills, capacity
and participation in support of Southampton’s ambition to be UK City of Culture.

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