To mirror the inclusive and cooperative ethos of the 2015 Island Games, ArtHouse Jersey invited one Artist from each participating Island in the Games to spend 10 days at Elizabeth Castle where they developed shared work around the theme of ‘Islandness’. The participants were encouraged to work collaboratively to make pieces that would be showcased to audiences on the 30th June and 1st July 2015 at the end of the residency. As an Island off an Island, Elizabeth Castle was the perfect location for such exploration to take place. For up to 12 hours a day it is completely cut off from the mainland of Jersey and contains a myriad of interesting spaces and structures. The project was fully residential with no Artist leaving the Island of Elizabeth Castle at any point in the project – they were truly ‘locked in’.
The aim of the project was to bring people of different cultures, languages, experiences and backgrounds together in a spirit of creativity and cooperation, to form closer ties with our fellow Islands.
The Inter-Island Artist Lock-in was facilitated by Sue Hill who is the Associate Director of WildWorks – the renowned international theatre company best known for its 2011 production of ‘The Passion’ with Michael Sheen in Port Talbot. From 2000 - 2006, Sue was also the Artistic Director for the Eden Project, developing their innovative interpretation strategy, commissioning artists, writers and performers to illuminate Eden’s ideas and messages. Local actress and theatre director/producer of London-based theatre company RIFT, Francesca Duncan, also assisted Sue in this role.
Over the course of the first 8 days of the residency the Artists worked together to create various artworks, installations and performances that could then be shared with the public in 3 showcase events over the final 2 days.
Facilitators Sue and Francesca set creative tasks for the group on each day of the project, in order to generate material to be developed further by the artists, but gradually left more and more space as the 8 days progressed for the artists to self-direct their projects around the theme of ‘Islandness’.
Arriving with nothing but the basic tools of their respective disciplines, the group quickly discovered how the rich natural environment of the castle including its folklore could be transformed into physical props and inspiration, prompting them to respond to each other and ‘Islandness.’
The participating artists in the 2015 Inter-Island Artist Lock-In were:
Annukka Turakka - Åland - Filmmaker (Video Art and Sound)
Nicola West - Alderney - Visual Artist (Painter)
Ami Zanders - Bermuda - Visual artist (textiles and screen printing)
Horacio Esteban - Cayman Islands - Visual Artist (Sculptor, Painter, Jewellery Craft)
Kristina Sørensen - Faroe Islands - Theatre Maker, Dancer, Actress
Alan Perez - Gibraltar - Visual artist (mixed media and installations)
Frances Lemmon - Guernsey - Visual artist (Painter)
Sarah Hendy - Isle of Man - Visual Artist (Textiles)
Emma Reid - Jersey - Designer and Animator (Puppetry, Sculpture, Costume)
Eddy Bailhache - Jersey - Musician (Electroacoustic and pop)
Donald Murray - Western Isles - Writer (Playwright and Novelist)
James Sinclair - Shetland Islands - Poet
Eira Stevens - St Helena - Visual Artist (Painter)
Boris Sestakov - Saaremaa - Visual Artist (Leather-art, Painting, Drawing)
Fran Flett Hollinrake - Orkney - Storyteller
Gwennan Mair Jones - Anglesey - Theatre Maker
‘I loved the opportunity to stay in the castle and be cut off from the world, meeting new people and making friends with other islanders, which is strangely a unique experience. I don’t know why it is only sporting events which bring the islands together, opportunities like this should happen more often.’ - Emma Reid (Jersey)
‘The experience has made a huge difference to me as I am usually so remote and had spent most of the last 5 months on my own. Now I have a new focus and so many contacts to work with it’s such a positive support network and has given me lots of enthusiasm and new ideas.’ - Nic West (Alderney)
'I thought that being cut-off from technology with no access to internet or phones would be a really liberating experience. I was attracted to how the isolation of the island might allow me to focus on the process of creation without the modern distractions that usually take my attention’.Eddy Bailhache (Jersey)
'It has made me realize how important playing is as a method of creativity. It has also given me confidence to look at my potential as a performer and facilitator. I received a lot of feedback from the artists about my energy and passion and it has made me see worth in the work that I produce.’ - Gwennan Mair-Jones (Anglesey)
‘The landscape, the surroundings and the architecture were great places to investigate and use in a creative way. It was like the location became a co-creater. I decided not to use my phone or the internet during my stay to enhance the sense of “remoteness”. I think if the location became less remote, we wouldn´t get the same focus, spirit and group-dynamic’ Kristina Sørensen (Faroe Islands)
‘When I arrived back home I felt calm and fulfilled. I found I had become more patient, in particular with my four-year old son. I was also reminded at how people from diverse practices can work together well and that 'letting things go' can be really productive as well as having faith in a collective imagination.’ - Joanna Johnson (Jersey)