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New People United artist’s commissions to explore ‘wonder’ and ‘role models’

  • Date: 31 January 2014
  • Area: South East
Janetka Platun's Figure of 8, part of People United's artists commissions - Belonging theme

Janetka Platun's Figure of 8, part of People United's artists commissions - Belonging theme. Credit: Janetka Platun's Figure of 8

A new artists' commission by People United will see two artists get the chance to explore the themes 'wonder' and 'role models' - delivering work that will explore the potential of the arts to inspire positive social change and create a more caring society.

Developed in association with Manchester Museum, Lunsford Primary School and Artswork, the project will see two new commissions based in Manchester (Wonder) and Maidstone (Role Models). The two themes - 'role models' and 'wonder' - were drawn from People United's research paper Arts and Kindness, which explores how the arts might bring about social change.

These latest commissions will build on the work of Sarah Woods, Janetka Platun, Maria Amidu and Phoebe Marsh; in 2013 these four artists explored the themes of empathy, belonging, values and learning through processes that included imaginative conversations, participatory practices, inquiry and experiment.

Tom Andrews, Chief Executive, People United, said: 'The 2013 commissions were a very exciting project for us; each of the artists worked with members of the public to research their respective theme and then produced a piece of work that encapsulated their findings - for example Janetka's wonderful visualisation of eight strangers' sense of belonging at an ice rink . This year promises to be equally as successful. We believe that arts, creativity and culture have a special role in illuminating philosophies and ideas about how we live well in the world together. Our hope is that these flashes of inspiration will grow, multiply and spark new ways of seeing and being in the world.'

Sarah Woods commented: 'The Empathy commission for People United was hugely helpful to me as an artist. I am a writer who works a lot from research material and I was delighted to find that deeper discussions about the subject, its representation and outcomes from the work could be had with the staff at People United, who offered me research guidance as well as support. I stretched and developed myself as an artist, transforming my practice in a way that I will benefit from in other work I do.'

People United is an arts organisation and creative laboratory. Its work explores, celebrates and demonstrates the values of kindness and a sense of community through its artistic practice. It does this through commissioning artists, creating imaginative new work, and supporting and sharing good ideas. As a National portfolio organisation, its work is supported by public investment through Arts Council England.

The deadline for applications is Monday 10 February 2013 - for more information on how to apply please click here.