Local artists showcase art responding to museum and gallery collections across Cumbria after mentoring and partnership programme

Artists from across Cumbria have been brought together with SOURCE, a project which has given them the chance to explore, research and create digital artwork responding to heritage and cultural collections across the county.

The project, led by SIgnal Film and Media’s Cumbria Artists Digital Development Lab in partnership with Cumbria Museum Consortium, has enabled an exciting mix of Cumbria’s cultural organisations - Signal FIlm and Media, Tullie House, Windermere Jetty Museum and Wordsworth Grasmere - to come together to support and showcase the work of seven artists, all in the early-to-mid stages of their careers.

Loren Slater, Co-Director, Signal Film and Media: ‘In such a large, rural county, not to mention during a pandemic, working together has never been more important. Setting up SOURCE has allowed artists to connect with each other and the cultural environment in which they belong, as well as being guided to develop new skills and engage with the public digitally’ 
By working together, the partnership has created greater impact and networking across Cumbria’s emerging artists and existing cultural venues.  The programme took place from February to July 2021, when artists were paired with host venues and were mentored through creating work in response to the venues programme or collection. 

The work is an eclectic mix of work, from digital media to physical installations in gallery spaces and can be viewed online and in person, details at www.signalfilmandmedia.org/source-exhibition.
Signal Film and Media artist Zoe Forster has responded to their exploration of the late 19th century Sankey Photo archive with a specific focus on West Coast Cumbria, to be exhibited as part of the West Coast Photo Festival, recreating the historic images using film. Danielle Aspinall, also paired with the digital art company, has created ‘Hats Off, Run Free, Our Favourite Place’, an exploration of Barrow-in-Furness’ coastal beauty spots aiming to lift the spirits and help people feel connected.

Artist Chris Dennett has created an interactive game in his work with Windermere Jetty Museum, allowing the user to skate over Windermere as a part-hedgehog, part-dragonfly and part-otter!
Eleanor Chaney explores the female naturalists who contributed to the Nature Collection at Tullie House through paper sculptures and films, and Jennifer McMillan has created an immersive work where people use their bodies to create clocks from the shadows of their own bodies to reflect on archiving, time and history at the Carlisle Museum and Art Gallery. 

Wordsworth Grasmere artist Amy Johnson presents an exploration of the River Duddon through photography, collage and geocaching to respond to Wordsworth’s writing on this Cumbrian river. Katrin Joost also reflects on the Duddon, using the panorama function on an iPhone to take shots depicting the flow and rolling of the river towards the sea in ‘River Time’.    

Despite the pandemic, online workshop sessions introduced hands-on skills in using creative technology, as well as one-to-one portfolio critiques with artist mentors Robert Parkinson and Hwa Yung Young.  The project provided a space for conversation and cross-disciplinary exchange, with the aim of nurturing new collaborations amongst the artists involved.