In-Situ is an arts organization based in Pendle, Lancashire that supports art as a part of daily life. In 2013 In-Situ invited Amy to make work in response to the culture, history and communities of the town of Brierfield.
Amy created ‘The Drawing Shop’ in Brierfield Library – a drop-in, temporary space which invited anyone to join in. “The Drawing Shop believes anyone can draw,” read a sign above the installation; “it is a space for trying, learning and having fun.” The Drawing Shop proved popular, particularly amongst young people, who produced poems as well as pictures to be displayed on its makeshift gallery walls.
Amy also spent time in the local working men’s club. Here, she met 81year old Margaret, who spoke about her memories of the town. Together, Amy and Margaret made a film which shows Margaret speaking alongside archival footage of Brierfield, projected onto an empty book in her hands.
Finally, Amy worked with a local TV shop to create an installation of archival footage of Brierfield. The footage was drawn from local community groups, In-Situ’s archive, and newly sourced material about Northern Soul. This installation remained in the shop window for seven days, presenting a moving reflection of the town to people passing through.
Working across public, private and commercial realms, Amy’s residency grew out of a series of personal connections with the people of Brierfield. Her use of unconventional materials, techniques and sites translated every day experiences into creative acts, and suggested art as a communal, public activity, particularly in relationship to shopping. Despite its name, for example, The Drawing Shop fostered relationships instead of consumer transactions. Meanwhile, the installation in the TV shop window created a space for time, history and memory to co-exist with the promised futures of technology.
Most importantly, Amy worked in collaboration with the people she met in Brierfield. The Drawing Shop participants, Margaret from the working men’s club, and the owner of the TV shop are all co-creators in Amy’s work, which is as much about the nature of their individual relationships as it is about the town as a whole.