What we learnt in Bruges

Written byLiz -12/10/2019

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While we were in Bruges, we spent time exploring the city and getting to know each other, attending a series of talks, experiencing the URB festival, and participating in workshops. During the main workshop with iDrops, we rotated around in groups to generate ideas about how to address the brief.

One group decided that we wanted to provide Het Entrepot with ideas for the future of the space, rather than create a finished artwork. We wrote an opening statement, designed a series of potential workshops, created collages, and combined everything into a booklet that Het Entrepot can refer to in the future. While creating our booklet we had lots of discussions about what we were doing and why, as well as questioning what we could offer Het Entrepot as a group.

Another used the framework of the children’s book, “Where’s Wally?”, to address the lack of young creative locals in Bruges. Using members of the OTP collective, we created our own “Where’s Wally?” scene in one of Bruges’ most heavily populated squares, opposite the bell tower. Through a billboard design, the observer is encouraged to look for the selected artists in the busy space. The piece functions on two levels; on the one hand it aims to give agency to local artists, encouraging the observer to ‘seek out’ the young, up and coming arts scene in Bruges. On the other hand, it is a playful commentary on the cities focus on touristic investments over artistic ones.

This process taught me that it is also okay to sit back and think about something before acting. Although there were times that we felt we were supposed to start making, our group spent a whole day just discussing the brief, which meant we produced something that we all felt comfortable doing. I have been trying to bear this in mind now I am back in Brighton: having recently graduated it feels like there is a lot of pressure to keep going, but I have been reminding myself that sometimes it is important to reflect on what you are doing. I think the biggest thing that I took away from the trip was the importance of listening and responding to everyone’s thoughts and expectations. I am part of a group that is hoping to set up an artist’s space in Brighton, and my experience in Bruges has made me feel much more confident in navigating our group meetings and discussions.

Laura Hargreaves, Fabrica OTP Participant

A time frame of two days to complete the project meant that ideas had to be generated quickly. I learnt a lot from listening to other people’s approaches to the task and how to tie these different approaches into a final piece that we all felt communicated the problem. Completing our piece took several attempts and also the time and generosity of members who weren’t in our group. After reflecting on the workshop in Bruges, I think there’s a lot to be said for running with an idea that is ambitious, even if you know it will be tricky to complete. Within my own practice, the workshop has also inspired me to do more collaborative artworks this year.

Alice Gompels, Fabrica OTP Participant

The way in which the workshop in Bruges has influenced my thinking is by seeing how other people have set up initiatives in their own city’s, where they have felt the city is missing opportunity’s for collaboration.  I feel that I have gained some confidence, with how to communicate my ideas and own power to create change in Brighton. 

Emerald Pes, Fabrica OTP Participant

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