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UrbanWords projects have an emphasis on partnership-building, collaboration and creative risk-taking. Sarah Butler has been developing, managing and evaluating arts projects in diverse settings and communities since 2000. She initiates her own projects for UrbanWords, and also takes on consultancy and project management work for other organisations operating in the literature and public art arena.
Below is a selection of recent consultancy work and projects
From August 2010-April 2011 Urban Words set up and delivered a public art programme in South Kilburn for South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust and Brent Council Arts and Regeneration teams.
A challenging project, with a budget of £180,000 and a tight timescale, the programme involved 5 separate commissions:
During summer 2009, UrbanWords worked with All Change Arts, The Sorrell Foundation, VHH Architects and fourteen young advisors from Islington, on a creative consultation project. Sarah Butler headed up a team of 7 artists, who worked alongside the young advisors to explore the aspirations of young people in the borough for a new performing arts centre. The centre has been created on the site of Hornsey Road Baths, and launched as Platform in spring 2010. The project was part of My Place, a government funded initiative to develop world class youth centres across the UK.
In October-November 2008, UrbanWords worked with muf architecture/art, the writer, Yemisi Blake and product design students from the Royal College of Arts on a pilot project, Barking Metamorphosis. The project, funded by London Borough of Barking and Dagenham arts department, explored links between the Barking Learning Centre and a new public space, designed by muf.
Yemisi ran a series of workshops with local young people, and created his own work as part of a short residency. The RCA students created a writer’s room for him within the learning centre, and responded to the workshops by creating ‘props’ and metamorphic furniture.
Find out more about the project on the Barking Metamorphosis blog.
BS1 was a two year programme of creative interventions in response to the evolution of Cabot Circus in Bristol City Centre, from building site to retail centre
BS1 was set up by Neville Gabie and Insite Arts as part of Neville’s own residency at Cabot Circus in Bristol. Six artists, of different disciplines, concerns and stages of their careers, were invited to participate in the BS1 programme. Each was selected to respond to different aspects of the site; which evolved on a daily basis. These commissions offered the opportunity to witness the dramatic transformation from inaccessible, hoarded-off building site to a highly visible, highly appealing public retail and leisure space. Equally though the remit for this project also invited the artists to consider the impact this development will have on the established communities of St Paul’s, St Jude’s and Old Market which surround the site.
UrbanWords managed a weekend of participatory literature workshops and activities for Spread the Word as part of Barking and Dagenham’s Molten Festival. There was a huge range of things going on, from blogging workshops, to poetry and origami, to storytelling for the whole family. Poets Aoife Mannix and Yemisi Blake, and storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton, wrote new work inspired by the festival weekend, which is available to read and hear on Spread the Word’s website.
Feb 2007 – Feb 2008 – UrbanWords managed a year long Heritage Lottery funded project, for the arts and social inclusion charity, All Change. The project paired a combination of writers, film makers, visual artists, musicians and performance artists with seven groups of Islington based young people to explore the borough’s rich literary, cultural, social and architectural heritage. The young people explored literature written about Islington and by famous Islington writers such as Dickens, Orwell and Douglas Adams, and to create their own original work inspired by these writers and the area in which they live.
To obtain a copy of the Write Now and Then digital book, please contact All Change on 020 7689 4646 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
UrbanWords teamed up with muf architecture/art to deliver creative workshops around the opening of an exhibition celebrating the opening of Barking’s new Town Square and showcasing a range of urban regeneration projects in Barking Town Centre. Sarah Butler worked with performance poet Aoife Mannix to explore themes of regeneration and play, and generated creative text to accompany the architects’ models.
UrbanWords secured funding from Create KX to create the post of writer-in-residence at the Foundling Museum. The project formed part of the Arrivals festival, celebrating the opening of St Pancras International and the arrival of the first Eurostar. Throughout September-November 2007, the poet Subhadassi worked with three groups of young people in the area to create new work inspired by the stories of the Foundling Museum and the regeneration of King’s Cross.
UrbanWords worked with literature development agency, Spread the Word, and Arts Programme and Development at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, to deliver literature activities as part of the borough’s Molten diversity festival. The fabulous poets, Francesca Beard and Paul Lyalls, set up ‘story stalls’ at Barking and Dagenham markets in November 2007 to encourage local residents to share the stories of their area.
In 2004, Sarah Butler conducted an evaluation of Dumfries and Galloway Arts literature programme. She also worked with Andrew Foster, then literature officer for Dumfries and Galloway Arts, to develop a three year literature strategy.