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Talking & Thinking Space was a participatory digital arts project set up to explore ideas of locality and a sense of place in Oxford from the perspective of young people. Artists Fiona Bailey and Shona Illingworth worked with young participants to create a web-based public artwork as part of the inSite Commissions.
From January 2003, young people from the ‘Flex’ project, Oxford Community School, Union Street Youth Centre, The Mish, and Wood Farm Youth Club, became involved in the creation of this collaborative digital artwork which developed into a multimedia video and DVD streamed live online. Participants from each group used video, digital photography and sound to investigate and document their diverse experiences of growing up in East Oxford and Wood Farm.
Participants actively explored ideas through brainstorming, hands-on creative activities and guided discussions. Each group used digital video and stills cameras to ‘map’ their immediate environment with an emphasis on exploring and documenting locations with a specific individual and group relevance, highlighting their knowledge and relationship with their immediate environment, and their ideas for stimulating positive change. Conversational commentaries were encouraged and facilitated during filming, and incidental and directed discussions were recorded as an integral part of the work. Collectively, the work managed to present alternative views of the historic city of Oxford through the unique insights and perspectives of young people.
This project was supported by Arts Council England (RALP), East Oxford Action (SRB), Carnegie UK Trust, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council.
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