Over the initial three years of the Arts Council of Wales’ Ideas People Places funding, a programme of socially engaged artist commissions is creating opportunities for the people of Haverfordwest to work with artists practicing throughout the UK.

The programme aims to change people’s perceptions of Haverfordwest, broaden understanding of what art can be and explore how artists can make a contribution to regeneration.

The commissions range in scope and scale from the bite-sized through to the longer term and include one larger scale capital commission. A micro-strand of the commissioning programme has also been developed as a test bed for new ideas.

Current commissions

Searching for the Centre

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Following an open call to artists, resulting in more than 100 requests for information and 35 completed applications, in August 2016 Janetka Platun was appointed to work on the current commission, Searching for the Centre, taking place between September and February 2017.

Conventional thinking assumes a town has or should have a town centre, but what is a town centre and how is this defined? Engaging with a range of people and stakeholders in the town, Janetka will be investigating the psycho-geographies of Haverfordwest, and will create an artwork that captures and communicates her findings.

Meet the artist and find out more about her practice and emerging ideas for Haverfordwest on Wednesday 5 October 2016. More information and details are available here

Platform – a three-day programme of contemporary arts 

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PLATFORM presented Haverfordwest as a stage for a programme of new commissions and existing artworks by artists living in and around Pembrokeshire. The programme reflected the diversity and depth of contemporary arts practice in the region, and included artists’ film, installation and performance that together created a body of work that was in turn exciting, thought- provoking and inspiring.

Find out more here

Capital Commission

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Fifty-six applications were received by the October 2016 deadline to work on a project located on the river corridor in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire’s county town. The recruitment and selection process was managed by Sarah Pace from creative arts consultancy addo.

The commission, to create a permanent art installation, is also intended to test new ways of working and reconnecting people through engagement with the arts, in the process of regenerating the town. Download and view the capital commission brief.

Following interviews scheduled for 18 November 2016, the successful applicant will begin work in January with a view to completing the work by the end of October 2017.

Past commissions

Pembrokeshire Drover

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Through Spring/Summer 2016 BAFTA award-winning artist film-maker Karen Ingham created Pembrokeshire Drover: an artist film installation, which was shown as part of Haverfordwest Festival Week in July 2016.

Pembrokeshire Drover is a socially engaged, site responsive moving image artwork that draws on and reflects upon the interrelationships between Haverfordwest and the rural and coastal hinterland it serves. – Karen Ingham

The work was also shown at Oriel y Parc, St Davids throughout August, and can be viewed via Karen’s Youtube channel here For the HD full screen version contact Karen via the project blog https://studiowestorguk.wordpress.com

An accompanying artist’s book, featuring research stills and revealing the context and concepts behind the work is available to view and download here.

Black Diamond

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Black Diamond is a project that combines the history and the music of the Western Cleddau river to produce a rave music track with the people of Haverfordwest

Exploring the joint history and mythology of the Western Cleddau river, flowing through Haverfordwest, Serena Korda worked with local musicians, and producer Andy Wheddon, to produce a rave track for Haverfordwest.

Find out more about the project here and view Sharron Harris’ video documenting the commission here

Bite-sized commissions

Wild Technology

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Presented by bloc in association with the Lab, an amazingly diverse group of 35 people from the fields of art, technology and the outdoors, came together for Wales’s first ever Wild Hack on Saturday 24th October 2015.

Wild Hack Haverfordwest was established to kick start bloc’s concept of Wild Technology (inspiring people to get outdoors using art and technology imaginatively) and to begin to invent new tools and/or resources to inspire people to use the wonderful wild spaces on Haverfordwest’s doorstep. This piece of work is currently being developed with support from the Lab and Leader into a two year Wild Technology programme, which will include a number of high profile artist commissions alongside an investigation into the feasibility of developing a Green Fab Lab in Pembrokeshire.

Find out more about the Wild Hack event here

The Random Story Generator Haverfordwest

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In the run up to the project launch in May 2015, artists Davis & Jones, equipped with a portable cafe and some marker pens, approached people out and about in Haverfordwest inviting them to chat about their thoughts and memories of the town.

Young and old, holidaymakers, people on their own, people in groups, shoppers, workers, skaters, families, friends, people with dogs, buskers, people with family ties, people living in town and people living nearby all took time to stop and talk.

The thoughts, memories, feelings, hopes and fears which people generously shared, were put together to create the Random Story Generator Haverfordwest, which can be viewed here.

Festival Flags

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During March 2015,  A&E Adventures an inspirational local company, based in Talbenny near Little Haven, ran a series of design workshops with seven Year 5 and 6 classes from Haverfordwest primary schools to inspire the design process for a set of festival flags to launch the Confluence project.

Each flag is based on a different stretch of the river Cleddau as it flows through the county town. Find out more about the project here

Ideas Lab

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Established at the start of 2016, Ideas Lab provides a test-bed for arts and regeneration projects in Haverfordwest. Through a monthly drop-in session individuals and organisations are invited to bring along the seed of an idea and see if by working together we can make it happen.

In the first year more than ten small-scale initiatives have been supported. Find out more here

Image Credits (from top):
Janetka Platun, Sean Vicary, Chris Evans, Karen Ingham,
Chris Evans, bloc, Davis & Jones, Guy Norman, Heidi Baker.