General Public (artists Elizabeth Rowe and Chris Poolman) devise daring and humorous propositions that invite communities to participate in reimagining their local areas. Between 2011 and 2013 they developed ‘The Balsall Heath Biennale’, a multi-faceted project in the inner city suburb of Birmingham where they lived. This consisted of exhibitions, artworks, events, talks, a newspaper delivered to all 5,000 homes in their local area, area-wide competitions and a local contemporary art school.
In 2014 General Public were commissioned by public art agency WERK to develop and curate the inaugural ‘Longbridge Light Festival 2014’. The festival’s ‘Back to the Future’ theme used the metaphor of science fiction to explore how regeneration might operate in a context such as Longbridge.
Over 2014 and 2015 they developed a project at Soho House Museum, Birmingham as part of New Expressions 3, a major nationwide Arts Council initiative encouraging collaboration between contemporary artists and museums. This commission involved producing a set of new Handsworth coins featuring the profiles of local people, thousands of which were disseminated into the local community in May 2015, thereby writing migrants’ stories into the history of the site. The coins’ value – free museum access – was positioned within the context of city-wide cuts to cultural funding and reduced access to museums in Birmingham.
Like the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who always flew in separate planes (if one crashed the other could continue their work), we travel in separate vehicles (white van, tatty estate).
Phone: 07769 530 557