Over November 18 and 19 2015 artist, photographer and academic John Kippin joined us at The Lab to give a public talk on his own work and to take part in our Open Space event, discussing the how the arts might help regenerate Haverfordwest.

On the evening on the 18th John, who is a regular visitor to Pembrokeshire, discussed examples of his own work over the last 30 years highlighting how creative techniques and use of text can challenge dominant perceptions of landscapes and place.

Though-provoking presentation, I like the parallels with Pembrokeshire’s industrial super complex and the rural idyll, hidden realities of landscape.

I enjoyed this, showing landscape in a ‘different way’, with underlying themes. Ships and water are relevant to Haverfordwest – potential for retrospective?

Great to have an established and talented artist come and speak in Haverfordwest.

The following day John opened our Making Connections open space event with a short presentation on The value of arts practice and its value in the regeneration of places and communities. Throughout the day residents of Haverfordwest and the surrounding area helped to shape Confluence’s plans for the next 2 years, with their thoughts on how the arts might regenerate the town.

Led by Deri Morgan the group spent the day putting forward their own queries and suggestions in reply to the question: ‘How can the Arts regenerate our County town?’

The responses were wide-ranging, from a local currency to an arts festival and arts college to celebrate and nurture local talent, to small installations around the town and using abandoned historic buildings (such as Foley House, Shire hall and the old post Office) as workshop and exhibition spaces.

The turnout of local residents, artists, business owners, council members and community group leaders was encouraging proof of a community who want to see their town returned to the thriving market town it once was.

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With so many fantastic ideas buzzing around The Lab, it’s clear how many people want to see a positive change in the town, and many were keen to follow-up on the ideas that were generated, which you can view here.

This was only the first step – with 18 months left in the Confluence programme there is plenty of potential for these great ideas to be realised. A full report from the event is also available for download here.

Featured image: (HIDDEN), NATIONAL PARK, NORTHUMBERLAND, 1991, From the portfolio Nostalgia for the future, a solo retrospective of John Kippin’s work at The Photographer’s Gallery, London