Human Threads is the first exhibition of its kind, based on the understanding that art is a language shared, a generous site of intersectionality and humanity. The following images and texts map out the development of the artworks and illustrate the ways in which people with PMLD inform the artworks.
A recent interview about the exhibition and it’s background story
Kirsten Lloyd in her essay Uncommon Ground makes so much sense. After reading the Scotsman It would appear that people feel more comfortable putting others into pigeonhole’s. But do they really need to do that?
We are always looking for points of connection to find meaning and purpose within what we do. What follows is a series of images and texts which in some way illustrate the build up to the exhibition and the artworks on show. This is all about the people who have informed the artworks, its intention … Continue reading The build up to Human Threads
Feedback from two wonderful people from Cherry Road who have helped to make this work possible.
an essay from a soon to be published book by Amanda Cachia excerpt from intro to chapter For more than two decades, Artlink has pioneered the use of contemporary arts practice as a form of collaborative research with partner Cherry Road Learning Centre in Midlothian, Scotland.1 Through the Ideas Team, an Artlink project, it paired … Continue reading The story behind the exhibition
The people we work with are incredibly complex, as are all human individuals. We often have to confront the separation that exists between people, and how this can be heightened when someone communicates using their own language or physicality.Often, this barrier feels thinnest when we are working in the session, using materials and are in … Continue reading Everlasting by Laura Aldridge & Lauren Gault
The project will consist of approximately 3 “cabinets” that have elongated viewing slits that allow viewing, smelling, or hearing some sort of activity. Imagine a wooden box, the approximate size of a large double door kitchen cabinet, that is closed on all sides, except for a slit in the front. Inside this box, to use … Continue reading Preparatory work – Matthew Ronay
Human Threads: Wendy Jacobs As part of her research Wendy worked with participants and carers at Cherry Road on the Sound Diary Project. Her aim was to ask questions to carers about the soundscapes that are part of the individual day to day life. Sounds that we take for granted but are an integral part … Continue reading Wendy Jacobs prep
The silk form is now pretty large scale and reaches up to and over a steel beam, taking up a bay and a bit, (a bay defined by the columns). See images. As well as being visually arresting from a distance it creates a kind of tunnel and tent-like form that visitors will be able … Continue reading Human Threads: Claire Barclay and Laura Spring
Human Threads: Adam Putman A structure not unlike a beacon in the ocean, at night, in the fog, or a clocktower that marks the passage of the day. This work started from a wish to connect to people, not with a language of words, but with touch, scent, light and sound. The tower, a 24’ tall … Continue reading Human Threads: Adam Putman – background
To read the whole document click here excerpt on impact of lockdown ‘A severe decline in behaviour. Frequently walking around shouting and rocking. Sleep patterns completely disrupted and frequent bouts of bad temper and frustration. An almost complete unwillingness to cooperate with caters at home. High incidence of incontinence both at home and while travelling.” To … Continue reading Coronavirus and people with a learning disability
In developing the ideas the artist made many sketches. Firstly talking about stage sets and a series of events, all the time returning to the idea of a tower. Adam – Tower A structure not unlike a beacon in the ocean, at night, in the fog, or a clocktower that marks the passage of the … Continue reading Adams sketches
Human Threads: Claire Barclay and Laura Spring The silk form is now pretty large scale and reaches up to and over a steel beam, taking up a bay and a bit, (a bay defined by the columns). See images. As well as being visually arresting from a distance it creates a kind of tunnel and … Continue reading Human Threads: Claire Barclay and Laura Spring
Email correspondence 1. Tower – Adam Putnam A Clocktower, a Belfry, a Lighthouse – not unlike a beacon in the ocean, at night, in the fog… this project started from a wish to connect, not with a language of words, but with touch, scent, light and sound. At intervals throughout the day, a series of events will … Continue reading Tower development – early stages
I have been thinking on the inner tube/vibration problem and have another possible solution. I like the idea of using big, fat inner tubes (car, truck and tractor), but not having to depend on them as the primary medium for carrying sound. So… I proposed installing a low wooden platform, a dozen rubber inner tubes, … Continue reading Wendy Jacobs wedge with a few amendments
For the last year I’ve continued with figurative pieces. They range in size from 6″ to 3ft tall. It will be good to talk and hear what you both are thinking about. Here are a few images of recent work: Untitled, clothing scraps, plaster, plaster gauze, fabric collage, watercolor, 6 ½ x 9 x 4, … Continue reading JENNIFER PAGE COHEN – idea development
Visual Evaluation coordinated by Greer Pester and Sally Hackett Sensational Brass By Wendy Jacob Photos by Anne Elliot A performance of music and vibration by artist Wendy Jacob, featuring freely roaming balloons and the community band “Brass Aye?”The balloons act as speakers that receive and carry sound you can feel with your fingertips, feet or … Continue reading Visual Evaluation of Sensational Brass as part of Altered States, Human Threads at Tramway
Visual evaluation coordinated by Greer Pester & Sally Hackett Sense Field by Steve Hollingsworth & Jim Colquhoun. photos by Anne Elliot Part performance, part workshop, Sense Field featured sound, movement, costume, masks and improvisation to alter our sense of time and space.This performance was informed by the interests and insights of individuals with profound and … Continue reading Visual evaluation from Sense Field as part of Altered States, Human Threads at Tramway
Visual Evaluation of Comfort Zones. Whose Comfort Zones?as part of Altered States, Human Threads at Tramway
Visual evaluation coordinated by Greer Pester & Sally Hackett Whose Comfort Zones by Robert Softley-Gale Photos by Anne Elliot In this discussion-workshop, Robert looked at the ways in which we can stretch our comfort zones and meet those around us in an equitable space. He discussed how the arts create environments that allow us to … Continue reading Visual Evaluation of Comfort Zones. Whose Comfort Zones?as part of Altered States, Human Threads at Tramway
Hi all Im realizing I might not have responded to some of you directly! THANK YOU so much for taking the time to engage with this idea! I love all the suggestions/input you gave Alison! A lot of these are in line with what I have been thinking about but it is really helpful as I … Continue reading Adam Putnam idea development with Cherry Road
September 23 – October 14th A season of immersive events aimed at breaking down barriers of difference through shared experience. In response to Nick Cave’s shimmering installation, and his prompt to use it as an alternative town hall, Artlink has devised a series of interesting encounters. These will focus on how the shared experience of … Continue reading ALTERED STATES & HUMAN THREADS AT THE TRAMWAY
In trying to work through some of the many ethical issues surrounding the creation of an exhibition that to its core is informed by people by profound learning disabilities, we have been drawn to the following book – ‘Inclusive Arts Practice and Research: a critical manifesto’ Inclusive Arts is an important field of creative practice … Continue reading Inclusive arts
SCAN launches the Art in Action campaign this week to champion the valuable role visual art plays within communities across Scotland – and to call for stronger recognition of this value when it comes to decision-making. Over the summer recess MSPs will be invited to see for themselves the positive impact of visual art in their … Continue reading Art in Action
Its difficult to accurately portray artists practice within this context. Its about finding a common language where none has existed, creating experiences based on who people are and building spaces where we learn from each other. Through that much needed change happens. See SCANs Art In Action case studies. ￼ https://action.art.blog/case-studies/artlink-edinburgh/
‘A multifaceted large-scale structure made from layers of natural fabrics will fold its way around an area of the space……We will attempt to balance simplicity and complexity and disorientation and comfort in creating a form that has a lightness and a sense of flux rather than claustrophobic or heavy’
By offering Terry choice, interesting things seem to happen – like when we had a bowl of coloured beads and a bowl of plain wooden beads, she choose predominantly the plain beads then she would choose a single coloured bead to add in, then go back to the plain ones – it feels very deliberate … Continue reading Terry – Ideas Development
All images from workshops by Steve Hollingsworth, Laura Aldridge and Laura Spring
Another possible form for the sound island is a three-dimensional sine wave. My preferred version is the one with decreasing amplitude. As amplitude decreases and the wave profile approaches flat, the structure could extend out (beyond what I have shown here) to become an on-ramp for wheel chairs
Artlink has pioneered a unique way of working, the Ideas Team, a laboratory of experimental approaches where contemporary artists explore sensory experiences in partnership with people with profound learning disabilities. These have included adventures in olfactory memory, sound and vibration, time spent immersed in intense colour and pattern. Some remarkable work has resulted from … Continue reading
ELEMENT 1: MOVEMENT & ARCHITECTURE The costumes we use are an important part of the way in which we try to create a sense of ‘otherness’ in the space. These costumes serve to make the space itself animate whilst removing (for a short period) the presence of us as people, replacing ‘us’ with a kind … Continue reading Steve Hollingsworth & Jim Colqhoun – Ideas Development
Hi Guys, Thanks for your patience. Here are my initial proposals…. And some descriptions in case its unclear what is happening… I chose to do just six of these for now to get your input and see where it goes… I have several other ideas as well…But all based on this principle of the pedestal … Continue reading Matthew Ronay – Ideas Development
My interest in art, particularly sculpture, was with the to aim to develop a language: a means of communication, sharing and exchange; a way to combine references, knowledge, research and lived experience and express these things through physical materials. For those sources to be ‘held’ somewhere and to be expressed again; to be caught and … Continue reading LAUREN GAULT
Containers, collaboration and perception BY MATTHEW MCLEAN ‘California wow!’ exhibition view at Tramway, Glasgow, 2015. ‘All my work might be about vessels, the idea that everything is contained by something,’ says Laura Aldridge, standing amid ‘California wow!’, her installation in the former transport shed of Glasgow’s Tramway. The statement is perplexing at first, as there’s … Continue reading LAURA ALDRIDGE IN FRIEZE
Play features in these artists work with emphasis on the relationships that form through play. What is important within their work is that the person with complex disabilities directs what happens. The final art works will unfold over time. The more they learn from each other, the more people they involve, then the more they … Continue reading KEVIN HUTCHISON MCPHEE & FRAN NOBILUCCI
Laura Aldridge has worked in workshops with people with complex disabilities for many years. She has a beautiful and innate sense of the people she works with. She watches and listens to the detail that surrounds the individual, slowly encouraging their involvement. Responses to colour, proximity, touch and scale all play a part in her … Continue reading LAURA ALDRIDGE
dust spiraling in a beam of sunlight -inside a woodshed long gone. light through a window, (a beacon?) like a bell ringing in the distance these are all stills from recent videos, a video from 6 years ago and a photograph from 20 years ago perhaps all are spaces where doing and being done to … Continue reading ADAM PUTNAM – early ideas
MOMENTS OF EXCHANGE – HANDS TOUCHING HEARTS by CLAIRE BARCLAY for RIO TITLE IMAGE: Gary making sculpture at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital, August 2013. Photo: Claire Barclay ( note this is the close-up image of hands) Place: Instituto Nise da Silveira, Engenho de Dentro We are lying, eyes closed, on the floor in a circle, … Continue reading MOMENTS OF EXCHANGE – HANDS TOUCHING HEARTS by CLAIRE BARCLAY -RIO
Sensory experiences: another language to learn Laura Spring There were moments in Rio when we were invited to participate in more intimate and sensory experiences; these were some of the most powerful exchanges for me. Surprising exchanges that captured unexpected raw emotion – an invitation to stand together in a circle around a series … Continue reading Sensory experiences: another language to learn Laura Spring – text for Rio
We will create a piece of work where the aim is not to culminate in an end product or an object intended for view by a passive spectator, but where the process is more important than the outcome. This work will explore different ways in which changing the environmental and interactive conditions (e.g. turning the … Continue reading Kevin. Fran and James – initial ideas for Moments We Collide
When we first talked in Matthews studio in New York, we discussed the idea of being lost in an artwork – the physical experience of being so caught up by the work that you become immersed in it, of not seeing the work, but feeling it, the sensation of it.
George makes objects out of cardboard. Usually they are related in some way to Dr Who. A show he loves. We are speculating about his involvement in Kelly’s Slowing Down Time project, getting him to design the prototypes for the pods.
The fact that Fiona was so interested, that it held her attention for so long, was the perfect starting point for working with her.
Yesterday’s session with J and D saw D drawing with some new apps on the ipad to make projections that lit up J who was working with Laura A. He was enjoying a good dance and some time under the leaf…
In 2016 we were full of ideas. . Look here .
For exhibition in 2020, Jacob will construct an undulating platform/ramp accessible to all bodies, where visitors can listen to embedded speakers playing a collage of sounds. The sounds, curated by service users of the Cherry Road Day Center, draw upon the center’s ambient hums and vibrations as source material. .
Popkalab seem to have created the perfect Fiona Moyes cushion without even knowing her…couldn’t believe it when I saw this! ‘This cushion has 10 different sounds of cats trapped inside it. The cats can be heard when you press it. It also vibrates when the cat purrs…’ WOW! As well as this amazing cushion, they’ve … Continue reading Cat cushions
Lauren Gault is one of the artists we are working with on the Ideas Team project and she recently came into the wednesday session with a prototype of something she had been working on to see how the service users interacted with it. Here’s a few photos of Donna interacting with one of the square … Continue reading Lauren Gault – work in progress
QUALITY TIME It is important in every workshop we offer, that we put the individual first. We go out of our way to make sure that they have a great time and that people get to do what they want to do. It takes time to get this right and when we get it right, … Continue reading FRAN & KEVIN -initial ideas for Moments We Collide
Some light experiments with the projection hoods we have been working on: we want to develop a agreement that allows us to become a part of the projection – so we are something to look out for within the light –
CYMBOL + SILK RIBBON + WOODEN HOOP = PROPOSITION HOLDING + TAPPING + CONNECTING = ACTION More experimenting with Ben today. Thinking on from Steve’s work that he does with Ben – Ive started making random objects/propositions that have a kind of purpose. Ben seems to understand that he can have an affect what we are doing, … Continue reading Ben i cause & effect – Laura Aldridge
I (Aldridge) have been thinking a lot about what direction to take the work we are doing in. I’ve been thinking a lot about the sensorial and experiential in sculptural practice lately, in relation to my own work, a teaching project I am doing and of course the Sensory workshop. How to do we make … Continue reading RELATIONAL OBJECTS
Miriam Walsh is the artist behind the work of Red Note Ensemble in Cherry Road Day Centre, preparing the ground for the musicians, making sure that everyone involved has a part to play. This is her feedback on the sessions. What happens when we slow down? Over the course of the last few months … Continue reading WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE SLOW DOWN TIME
It’s all in the detail As Scotland’s contemporary music ensemble, Red Note is renowned not only for its virtuosity but also for its voracious enthusiasm for challenging work. As part of its quest to reach underserved audiences, Red Note recently collaborated with Artlink, Edinburgh’s ongoing programme ‘The Ideas Team’, established in 2005. The Ideas Team … Continue reading RED NOTE ENSEMBLE
Lygia Clark (Bel Horizonte, 1920 — Río de Janeiro, 1988) studied in Río de Janeiro and Paris, and after spending some time working in abstraction, became a part of the Grupo Frente and was later one of the signees of the Neo-Concretism manifiesto. She began her most creative phase of her career in 1960 when … Continue reading LYGIA CLARK
We were drawn to Claires interest in the act of working together as a form of unconventional communication, where the object made in response or collaboration evidences growing understanding of each other. We are interested in how Claires work will change in response to individuals whose vocabulary is based in actions and reactions that … Continue reading CLAIRE BARCLAY
I met Ben in the Cherry Road Learning Centre in Bonnyrigg. He seemed to be on the fringe of things, passive, his potential untapped. Week upon week, for an hour or so at a time, Ben took me on a journey. As an artist I absorbed his world. This began with the idea … Continue reading Sensorium – Steve Hollingsworth
Wendy Jacob is an artist and researcher involved with expanding the sensory dimensions of art, including research on the tactility of sound for the hearing impaired. In 2008 she founded and led the Autism Studio at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), developing new and creative responses for living with autism. Wendy Jacob proposes to make … Continue reading The project – Singing Buildings
Has working with the sound diaries changed how you work with the individuals at Cherry Road? Kingsley: Working on the Sound Diary Project has brought my attention to how I work with Nicola and Donald on a more individual basis. I am aware that there are similarities between Donald and Nicola however through the … Continue reading Wendy Jacob – Some feedback from care staff
Brief for artists Laura Aldridge and Laura spring Collaborative environments This project offers its artists the freedom to imagine their most incredible ideas and the resources to realise them. We would like you to think about day centre environments as theatrical/carnival/fairground spaces. By this we mean that we would like you to think about all … Continue reading ARTISTS BRIEF FOR COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENTS
Steve Hollingsworth: The impact of art in this context (art as relationships and new perceptible forms-light, sound and performance) is enormous in this area. The art is really in the relationships that form over time between the disabled, their carers, parents and other professionals (as well as new physical and tangible art objects) Opinions change … Continue reading Sensorium – impact of my practice on the individual and care staff
Laura Aldridge : The biggest thrill from the work I do with Artlink is that it gives agency to individuals who through physical and mental difficulties, quite often don’t have any – choice is just something that falls away from their daily lives. In our sensory workshop sessions, we try and make the people we are … Continue reading WHAT IS THE IMPACT?
LAURA SPRING: Artlink has brought so many beneficial elements to my work and myself as a person over the seven years I have worked for them. Many of these I never expected and I think says a lot about the unique approach Artlink has to working with people. Freedom, room for experimentation, meeting and working … Continue reading WHAT HAS WORKING WITH ARTLINK BROUGHT TO YOUR PRACTICE?
LAURA ALDRIDGE: It has enabled me to work in a way to fits my ideas and thinking – i struggled for years as an art student, unable to make work that spoke or sang even. Its made me free in the way that I approach art making – I think, when making art, so … Continue reading What has working with Artlink brought to your practice?
We need to get closer, slow down time in order that we can better understand the ways in which people with profound learning disabilities communicate with us. When we do, we enter a world in which colour becomes sound and sound becomes colour, where light becomes an object to be touched, where simple vibration and … Continue reading What happens when you slow down time?
An amalgam of Fiona’s weaving and Kelly’s drawing. Is this what the pods will look like? The plan is to start soon on combining the things people like to make with the actual construction of the pods. So, Fiona’s pod will be constructed from her weaving. It’s an interesting collaborative process Kelly has come up … Continue reading Slowing down time re-imagined
Dr. Gordon Dutton As a clinician who has spent many years working with children and adults with impaired vision, often associated with developmental and learning disorders, this contributor’s view is that it is important to bring about a sense of pleasure and fulfilment through the medium of artistic expression, for all those whose normal is … Continue reading THE THRESHOLDS OF PERCEPTION
The notes below are from a workshop by artist Steve Hollingsworth exploring ways in which staff could be inspired to inform the progression of Nathalies (the person they cared for) project. I blind folded both of them and gave them a large sheet of paper to write words down as they listened, so they wrote … Continue reading TO INSPIRE CARE WORKERS
Steve Hollingsworth works closely with the individual, watching their smallest response as a way of informing his artworks. He enters a world in which colour becomes sound and sound becomes colour, where light becomes an object to be touched, where simple vibration and sound are all consuming, where seemingly routine events become fascinating. These observations … Continue reading Accumulating the detail
For the last eight months, I have been working closely with artist Wendy Jacob and carers at Cherry Road on the Sound Diary Project. I have been helping Wendy to ask questions to carers about the soundscapes around them, and the individuals they work with. This has been a journey, observing and exploring what it … Continue reading Wendy Jacob – The Sound Diary Project
Laura Aldridge presents a new installation for Tramways main gallery which reflects on her engagement with the relationship between art, craft and performance. Drawing together sculpture, textile, print and ceramics, Aldridge sets up a vivid and tactile environment inhabited by a variety of ‘display-scapes’ through which the viewer is invited to interact with the exhibition … Continue reading California Wow! at the Tramway
“What seems so important is to feel you are on some kind of equal level with the person you are working with, that you are listening to each other through a specific artistic approach, and actually finding a new language by which to communicate.” Claire Barclay
Both artists work in Artlink workshops. They play, slowing down time, listening, exploring the moment when the individal connects with them. When all are lost in an action or interaction. In this space the individual dictates what happens and things are never quite what you think they are.
Entry sound diary 5th January 2015. Looking at the circular sound charts, I am thinking we need a different format. We came up with the 60 min circle in relation to clocks and charting sounds over time. The format, however, suggests repeating 60 min cycles. What feels cyclical at Cherry Road is the shape of … Continue reading Entry – Sound Diary
Back home in Boston, Kelly is working on ways of weaving innovative cutting edge textiles, inventing new upholstery and cloth with integrated sensors and actuators. She is creating test pieces at MIT which she will send back to Scotland to be used by Fiona and her team. By the time the material has been sent, … Continue reading Beginning to make the textiles for the time machines
Kelly Dobson’s initial drawing of Fiona’s car. An extreme sculpture that will support profound shifts in the way that Fiona accesses her inner and outer worlds. At present the car in imagined to be partly constructed in Fiona’s favourite woven textile. Based on the fact that Fiona loves wool and fabric. Back in Boston, Kelly … Continue reading sketch idea for time machine
In order to ensure that the individual remains central to the development of the artwork, we establish many different ways of collating information which further enhance the function of the artwork (and its relevance to the individual) . We needed to ensure that information as much information as possible was being collected to inform … Continue reading Meetings to create portraits for the time machine
My overall aim is to refine ideas concerning the developing immersive sensorium (and what is most appropriate for Ben and Nathalie) and also to be ambitious as possible in moving toward a further potential version of the Sensorium. To do this I need to learn more from Ben and Nathalie, this will come from the … Continue reading Update on Steves work
This is a prototype device that comprises of an umbrella projection screen, a video projector, small speakers and amplifier, a colour changing LED strip and a specially designed interface. Bens sensory preferences are combinations of Sound and Light (high pitched sound seems to be favoured) The planetarium is a computer based system that Ben has … Continue reading A bespoke sensorium for Ben
To physically demonstrate how the different sounds feel, the artist introduced a weather balloon. Activated by a transducer, the balloon carried the vibratory signals of the various sounds. By touching the balloon, staff were able to gain a different experience of the sounds that surround Nicola and Donald. Over time the artist will work with … Continue reading Wendy Jacob Sound Project – background to the blue wedge
Illustration of future art work by Wendy Jacob. The artist will create “sound spots” in the building, places where Donald and Nicola can sit, lean or lie to experience sound as tactile sensation. We requested this drawing from Wendy to illustrate what she wanted to achieve in the longer term. It allowed staff and family … Continue reading Sketched ideas for sound spots – early ideas
Dear all, It was good to visit Cherry Rd and hear firsthand the sounds you have been chronicling all fall. It was also good to see all of YOU! The sounds of Cherry Road are complicated, with both constant and unexpected sounds layered one on top of the other. Marcin and I were able to … Continue reading buildings that sing – a letter from Wendy Jacob
It looks like time and patience (and the exhibition) have paid off. The staff are weaving with Fiona. Laura Spring and Laura Aldridge are giving staff and Fiona the materials and the frame to weave. She is doing it in her own time! Look what’s happening as a result!
In their workshops Steve Hollingsworth and Jim Colqhoun engage people through an immersive aural/visual environment, that serves to highlight the tiniest of sounds, attenuating perception through chorus of spoken, shrieked, whispered and disjointed wordplay. The artists strive to create a zone where perception is subtly shifted and where people are gently eased away from … Continue reading Immersive workshops
Working with Miriam and Wendy to ‘collect’ sounds has given me a greatly increased awareness of how noisy the world can be. By taking our time to be still and learn to listen again we have discovered a range of everyday sounds that we are too busy and preoccupied to notice. When Wendy played the … Continue reading Feedback on Sound Diaries
This is a very early sketch for Paul’s car, made after spending the night at the circus with him.
Steve makes sketches of the ideas emerging from his workshops with people. He has pages and pages of them. The sketches below are the beginnings of his ideas for the Sensorium.
Kelly visited artlink on a regular basis. During these visits she would meet with different people who would help her to form her ideas. Her interest in personal spaces for people kept being talked about. What sort of space would each person require? How would it benefit them? Was it one space or several? If … Continue reading KELLY DOBSON – idea development
To ensure that we were going in the right direction we asked staff to feedback on their staff training. We asked them how they would apply what they were hearing to their everyday work. By working in this way we ensured that they had to think about the relevance of the training and how they … Continue reading Feedback on staff training – Conscious Calm
To ensure that we were going in the right direction we asked staff to feedback on their staff training. We asked them how they would apply what they were hearing to their everyday work. By working in this way we ensured that they had to think about the relevance of the training and how they … Continue reading Feedback on staff training – observational writing
To further enhance the work being done through the ideas teams and to strengthen the links to care staff, we put on a series of staff seminars. Each seminar was directly linked to Ideas Team work e.g. classes in descriptive writing enhanced staff abilities to write more descriptively in the sound diaries that they were … Continue reading Staff Seminars