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A Sense of Place

Year 1: Public Works, Harold Offeh and Simon & Tom Bloor
January - July 2009


Public Works, Harold Offeh and Simon & Tom Bloor were invited to work with Chisenhale Gallery on Year 1 of its A Sense of Place programme in the summer term of 2009. Each artist worked with one school to research Tower Hamlet’s heritage through a series of artist-led action research workshops to provide a solid base of research to use as a resource to develop the programme in years 2 and 3.

The resulting work and research generated was presented at a Creative Forum held at Chisenhale Gallery where the artists and students from each school presented and discussed their findings.

Harold Offeh and Bishop Challonner Catholic Collegiate School:
Working collaboratively with students from Bishop Challonner Catholic Collegate School, Harold Offeh created content for a website that documents and records various historical and cultural sites and locations adjacent to the school in Tower Hamlets.

Offeh’s practice employs a range of strategies, including using found footage and deceptively simple performace-based videos, to access contemporary popular media representations of race, identity and desire. Introducing the students to his process of working they used various artistic methods and materials such as; drawing, rubbings, model making, photography, video and role-play to develop interesting content for the website. The aim of the website is to provide a stimulating repository for the students’ research and findings and an engaging database for visitors to the site.

Click here to visit the website.

Public Works and St. Paul’s Way Community School:
Public works is an art/ architecture collective consisting of architects Sandra Denicke-Polcher, Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang and artist Kathrin Bohm, who have been collaborating in different constellations since 1998.

Using the current renovations at St. Paul’s Way Community College as a starting point for enquiry, Torange Khonsari worked collaboratively with students to investigate issues surrounding public space, private space and play space within the existing social infrastructure at the school. Through research they discovered that a staircase attached to the playground, an original feature of the 1960’s school building, is marked for demolition as part of the rebuild. This staircase is a key space within the daily life of the school as it is where the students hide from teachers or gather at lunchtime. Through exploring the notion of ‘moving in’, the research developed into a site-specific artwork and a set of postcards with collages and a set of stories collected from the school community.

Public Works download

Simon & Tom Bloor and Langdon Park School:

Simon & Tom Bloor are artists whose projects develop from research into a diverse range of subject matter including historic documents, 20th Century architecture & design and contemporary popular culture, in an attempt to reassess obscure histories and flawed utopias.

They carried out preliminary research prior to the beginning of the project researching the immediate area around Landon Park, discovering that the school lies within a conservation zone and that there are several listed buildings in close vicinity.

In 2008 an extension was proposed to the conservation zone which would extend this area up to Limehouse Cut, this seemed like a logical area for exploration, taking in several possible points of interest. They took the group on a walk around the boundary of the conservation zone, taking photos and making drawings. The information gathered was used to make a series of collaborative artworks back at school. The students also produced booklets, which documented their personal responses and research about the area in the form of drawings and collages.

Simon and Tom Bloor download


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