On December the 1st the ‘Partners’ residency programme starts within an area of Aberdeen facing regeneration to encourage varied, local communities to participate in the arts. Three artists will each work and live for six months in the area. Eva Merz, who has a track record in socially engaged practice, is the first artist-in-residence and starts her job this weekend. The other appointed artists are David Rushton and artist duo Kevin Reid & Graeme Rodger, starting in July 2007 and January 2008.
Eva Merz says about the project: “I come from Denmark and I’ve been here for four years now. I don’t want to knock the way people live here or anything – but things are different. I couldn’t help noticing that some housing estates here are… how do I put it? … quite rough, poor quality housing.
One of the first things I noticed when I came to Aberdeen is that there is a big difference between people who have money and people who don’t, rich and poor… that’s one thing. The most recent project I did was about street begging, homelessness and drug addiction in Aberdeen. I found this Communities Scotland report on Aberdeen City Council’s performance in dealing with homelessness, housing management and housing maintenance, and there are some serious issues.
I want to look at where they are failing and to find out what local people think about the problems, but it’s also important to highlight the positive things in the community”
The areas the residency will focus on, Fersands, Tillydrone, Middlefield and Woodside, are among the most deprived areas of the city. These areas have been involved in several government regeneration programmes over the past 20 years. While there have been improvements, there are still challenges to be met.
This residency is a Peacock Visual Arts project in partnership with Station House Media Unit (SHMU). SHMU is located in Woodside, one of the areas the residency is based in. It aims to encourage and promote filmmaking, radio, and magazine development in and around some of Aberdeen’s most deprived areas.
Partners is a National Lottery-funded initiative giving communities with little experience of the arts new opportunities to engage with professional artists.
This project is funded by the Scottish Arts Council and Aberdeen City Council
We will report regularly on the Peacock’s website about the residency