Both charitable organisations have an established track record of over 30 years in delivering art projects for young people and disadvantaged communities, as well as strong connections with professional artists and local businesses in the area.
Fusion Arts and Film Oxford receive core funding from Oxford City Council and regularly secure support from national funding bodies including the BFI (British Film Institute), Arts Council of England and the National Lottery.
For the Pigeon’s over Paradise Square project, young artists took a creative journey through the unconventional recent history of St Ebbe’s with Rachel Barbaresi.
Alongside artist Rachel Barbaresi and film-maker Nicola Josse, a group of fourteen young people created visuals such as these which illustrated the history of the neighbourhood around Modern Art Oxford in St. Ebbe’s. Using archival material from Barbaresi’s project, ‘urbansuburban’, themes of memory, a sense of place, childhood and change in St Ebbe’s were explored through drawing, sculpture and film-making.
The project also drew inspiration from writer Brian Aldiss, who knew St Ebbe’s during the turbulent period of the areas’ demolition in the 1960s. Aldiss had written evocatively about the demise of the neighborhood when it changed from a densely populated residential area to what we have now to create new roads and infrastructure for retail space. Following the breakdown of his marriage, he had initially moved to the area in 1962, lodging at 12 Paradise Square in St Ebbe’s. Here is where he began to write his renowned novel Greybeard, which recalls the story of a wasteland after an ecological fallout. Despite the bleak scenes of poverty and loss around him, Aldiss found hope in the daily ritual of an old man who released his homing pigeons every morning to “fly free, to wheel above Paradise Square”.
This message of hope has propelled the creative work of the young film makers taking part in the innovative i-creative arts programme led by Film Oxford and Fusion Arts.
Fusion Arts work with artists, groups and communities from across Oxfordshire and beyond to support a variety of imaginative and socially engaged projects.
Long term project using interactive art strategies to develop speech and language in young children.
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