Supporting new graduates
“The audience response to my work was very positive. It was good to be there on the day making, seeing the process adds a whole new level of interest for people. For me technique is just as important as final piece so it was nice to be given the opportunity to show this. I think that finishing University and being out in the real world can be quite daunting. In:Site gave me something positive to look forward to and gave me a boost to keep making.” Amber Wakley 2012 exhibiting graduate.
Craftspace works with In:Site artists on each stage of the project, from the development of an initial idea to the delivery of their first engagement project for a public audience. Often their first paid commission, In:Site is a portfolio building opportunity where graduates can build experience, knowledge, skills, contacts and networks, helping them to more confidently make early career decisions and take their next steps.
“I felt that I have gained invaluable experience through the public engagement activity in Cathedral Square. I learned which parts of my workshop did not work well with the nature of the drop-in event, and how to adapt the workshop in future depending on the circumstances. Throughout the day, I was really surprised and grateful in terms of how open the public were when they did come in to engage. The personal life stories they shared were really touching and I really felt the importance of such spaces and occasions for people to have the moment to themselves and share their stories. I especially remember when a participant mentioned that she never gets a moment for herself during the day, and how special this was for her to just fully immerse herself in the making. I think this will be an experience that I will always refer back to in my career.” Yuka Jourdain, 2022
“The location for the In:Site festival was perfect, there were lots of people buzzing about, stopping to look at the work and ask questions. I had a lot of positive feedback. Taking part in In:Site has allowed me to build up my portfolio, taught me how to showcase my work in a public art setting and has given me the confidence to consider projects like this in the future as I hadn’t even thought about it before now. It’s been both inspiring and enjoyable.” Samantha Wilson 2012 exhibiting graduate.
“Graduates have not always had the opportunity through their coursework to consider socially engaged practice or creating public art. Craftspace is often involved in commissioning public art or bespoke work for particular settings. Clients require a level of experience and track record and we are often unable to appoint new graduates for these opportunities. The context and brief for In:Site provides graduates with the chance to test the viability of ideas, go through the process of a live commission, respond to a brief and a specific site and engage with the public at first hand. They also learn about risk assessment, contracts, working with an arts organisation and positioning their practice. Having something credible on their CV soon after leaving college is definitely a benefit. Working with a well-established organisation like Craftspace means that new graduates can tap into our extensive curatorial expertise and knowledge of the cultural sector as well as our networks and resources. We can often signpost people to further opportunities.” Deirdre Figueiredo, Director, Craftspace
Past commissions have included a contemporary response to lacemaking; creating outsized stitches directly onto the bark of a tree using nails and threads, and “Chain Reaction” in which passers-by were invited to have their portraits embroidered with the use of a sewing machine. The sitter was required to generate the electricity needed to power the sewing machine by pedaling on a specially adapted cycle.
In 2015 Jessica Hargreaves used In:Site to develop her work making pewter jewellery. Watch more videos on the YouTube playlist.
Working in Partnership
Beginning as a one day event featuring only three graduates, In:Site quickly grew in partnership with Birmingham Cathedral into a five day festival, attracting new makers from colleges across the country.
The festival has been supported by Colmore Business District (CBD) since the first event in 2011 to 2015 to welcome positive activity to the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral.
Thank you to our previous supporters:
Arts Council England
Colmore Business District
Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust
Garfield Weston Foundation
John Feeney Charitable Trust
Oakley Charitable Trust
The Radcliffe Trust
Wragg & Co
Birmingham Cathedral Square
The Cathedral Square is a major city thoroughfare and meeting point with as many as twenty thousand people passing through and spending time in the public space each day. It is the perfect venue for In:Site to attract a new audience to contemporary craft, and create an environment to encounter unique cultural experiences.