BAS9 Ambassadors are representatives from the local community in each City of the British Art Show 9 tour. Our Ambassadors in each City will be working with gallery staff and the BAS9 team to be part of the British Art Show 9 experience. They will help to promote the exhibition to friends, family and their wider community building new relationships in each city.

Kathryn O’Connor – BAS9 LGBTQ+ Ambassador 

Wolverhampton Ambassador - Kathryn O'Connor

Wolverhampton Ambassador – Kathryn O’Connor

Kathryn O’Connor is a genderfluid gay artist with many strings to her bow. Kathryn’s ethos is to promote equality and diversity in society through working and engaging with all ages, ethnicities, and identities, including LGBTQ+, abilities (disabilities/mental health) and helping to bring people together through shared  projects. 

Kathryn saw the LGBTQ+ Ambassador role as a great opportunity to help make a difference and engage new people in contemporary art,  especially those who feel art “isn’t for them”. 

Kathryn grew up in Willenhall in between Wolverhampton and Walsall. Growing up in the area, Kathryn wants to help promote Wolverhampton and show how fab it is!

As an Ambassador, Kathryn is interested in the work of Sin Wai Kin in BAS9 and their focus on deconstructing narratives and identities. 

Sin’s work relates to Kathryn’s ongoing project LGBTQ+ Voices West Midlands 2021-2023, which involves creating an authentic book of 100 people’s identities through photographic portraits and quotes on their lives and opinions (transcribed from audio interviews).  For more information please see the LGBTQ+ Voices website: www.lgbtqvoiceswestmidlands.com

 

Kathryn is also helping to co-ordinate and link with a local Wolverhampton group called LGBT+ Sparkle Wolverhampton led by Paul Ryder and Marcus Cotterill. Inspired by works in BAS9, Kathryn, LGBT+ Sparkle Wolverhampton and a mosaic artist Sophie Handy have collaborated to create a series of mosaic workshops exploring how we all communicate through different senses and exploring and enabling visibility of our different self-identities (LGBTQ+ inclusive). 

 

Linking to BAS9, and as part of Kathryn’s LGBTQ+ Ambassador project, they will be sharing an exhibition space in Wolverhampton Central Library in 2022.  

LGBT+ Sparkle Creative Through Art Mosaic Exhibition is taking place in Wolverhampton Art Gallery over several weeks throughout February and March 2022 and will invite participants and groups linked with the project to come and see BAS9 to enrich their current art experience. 

 

Georgia Goodman

Georgia Goodman - Wolverhampton Ambassador

Wolverhampton Ambassador -Georgia Goodman

24 year-old Georgia Goodman (she/her), originally from Tamworth, Staffordshire, is a first-year illustration student at the University of Wolverhampton. .  She is heavily influenced by macabre/memento mori imagery, and vintage items which she collects on her travels, as well as industrial, working-class environments, similar to areas where she grew up.

Georgia would like to break down barriers with her artwork and question the elitist side of the art industry. Her heavily tattooed appearance and difficulties she faces with Autism have subjected her to many judgements from passers-by. She  feels that it is important to express that a person isn’t defined by their appearance, social status, disabilities, health conditions, race, sexuality, beliefs or gender identities. 

Georgia is keen to show young people, who maybe haven’t visited a gallery before or those who are put off by feelings that art galleries ‘aren’t for them’, that they can be a welcoming space and that creativity is for everyone. She feels that the Ambassadors programme can help more audiences understand and access BAS9, while breaking down contextual jargon therefore making  more inclusive creators and audiences. 

For BAS9, Georgia is looking at ‘Illustrated Identities’ and exploring creativity as a form of expression and emotional output. Key aims for her are: making a welcoming project for all; for everyone  to understand the importance of creating regardless of artistic ability or education; and to collaboratively interpret the works in BAS9 in order to help each other understand them. Reviewing  the works in BAS9 together as a group, she plans to think about how we describe our values, cultures, background and personal challenges using art. 

Georgia will support participants over the course of 4 workshops. She will be working with the participants to create both a personal zine each about themselves and an overall collaborative final zine responding to BAS9.

 

The Way

The Way Youth Zone is a youth-led, state of the art space for young people aged 8-19 (up to 25 with a disability) located centrally in the vibrant and diverse city of Wolverhampton. The Way is a youth work charity providing an incredible range of activities in a safe space designed with young people in mind. They aim to give  these youth  someone to talk to and staff that will always listen, always putting young people first and at the heart of what they do. 

The Young Ambassadors of The Way Youth Zone will have the opportunity to work as a team to improve their creative skills, and create new artworks that will be showcased at a professional level. This project will place  the group work directly amongst the local art scene of Wolverhampton, and provide the opportunity for young people to visit the exhibitions, allowing them to also meet other artists and art professionals. While exploring different disciplines, this project aims to ensure the young ambassadors are immersed in the arts and ready to explore their own creativity.  

This is a great opportunity for the young people of The Way, as they will be able to immerse themselves in BAS9 and explore the benefits, opportunities and challenges of contemporary art. The Way believes in the importance of enabling cultural spaces to allow  young people to  express themselves and speak about  their views of the world.

 

Amarjit Nar 

Amarjit Nar - Wolverhampton Ambassador

Amarjit Nar – Wolverhampton Ambassador

Amarjit Nar is a writer whose stories capture the lives of three generations of the Indian community living in multi-cultural Britain. After completing a degree in Creative and Professional Writing and Popular Music, Amarjit has run writing workshops on storytelling, playwriting and writing news stories. View her blog Snidge Scrumpin – Mapping Black Country Smells and Memory here

BAS9 offers an excellent platform for  Amarjit’s passion  for diversity in storytelling and bringing stories of our communities alive. .   

Amarjit is responding to artworks by BAS9 artist  Caroline Walker, which look at ‘invisible working-class women’. 

The project will document the stories of working-class Indian women in the community and the impact fashion and textiles has had on their lives. Through a series of fun workshops, women from the Indian community will recapture stories, which will be recorded by women writers from across Wolverhampton to create a final piece of art. 

The workshops include: flower making using a traditional starching technique; making tootia from coconut halves covered in bright vibrant material; and old-style dyeing and block printing chunnia (headscarf). There will also be a demonstration of cutting and sewing a salwar kameez, the two-piece suit worn by Indian women.

It is vital to capture and record the history of these women – some of whom are now in their 70s and 80s – and the important role they played in the British fashion industry,which is fast being forgotten. 

The final piece of art will be a collaboration of the work, stories and images of the women to cement their place in history. 

 

The The Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID) 

Wolverhampton BID - Ambassador

Wolverhampton Ambassador – BID

The Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID) team is a business funded and led organisation that delivers improvements within Wolverhampton’s city centre BID area. The core of Wolverhampton BID’s ethos is attracting footfall to the city centre through events, supporting the city to thrive, showcasing the city centre and all it has to offer and ensuring that everyone who visits the city centre enjoys Wolverhampton.  

Wolverhampton BID delivers an annual programme of events that brings a significant amount of visitors to the city centre. They  are extremely excited to be welcoming BAS9, an event which will shine a light on the city and on contemporary art. BAS9 also gives the city an opportunity to represent its rich and diverse community through art. 

Wolverhampton BID have a team of City Ambassadors who undertake daily patrols of the city centre. They are a friendly, informative and helpful team that provide a warm and inclusive welcome to all visitors. They also provide all of Wolverhampton’s  BID businesses with up-to-date information about the company’s activities, as well as any operational issues and city centre events. Additionally, this opportunity to be BAS9 BID Ambassadors will allow them  to share information about the art show to as wide of an audience as possible. They will also assist with wayfinding to the show for its duration as well as to off-site activities based within the city centre.  Since many visitors will be visiting Wolverhampton for the first time to see British Art Show 9, the Wolverhampton BID team will be there to provide a welcoming environment, therefore boosting the image and perception of the city.  

The team of Ambassadors, including  new team members, will be equipped with skills in order to provide information about the event and explain the key themes of these events and of  the exhibition itself. They will have full knowledge  of the locations and activities planned as part of BAS9 and will be able to effectively share this information to all visitors.   

British Art Show 9 provides a wonderful  opportunity to see art of international importance in the city centre. The focus for the exhibition in Wolverhampton will be  ‘living and giving voice to difference’, which is undoubtedly one of the most important strengths  of the city and its population. Being  involved in BAS9 is fundamental to establishing the city as a future venue for  such significant events, proving that Wolverhampton can be  a marvellous  host. 

 

The Good Shepherd – (Kate Penman) 

Wolverhampton Ambassador The Good Shepherd – (Kate Penman)

The Good Shepherd – (Kate Penman) – Wolverhampton Ambassador

Kate is one of the project workers at The Good Shepherd, helping  to run activities and co-ordinate creative projects alongside the city’s arts community. She has been involved in large scale community projects for the last ten years and is particularly interested in showcasing the work of people who historically have not had the opportunity to share their stories and talents. 

Kate co-edits the arts and social action magazine, Collectivism, which aims to highlight social issues and the collective grassroots work going on in the city, featuring  art and photography by local Wolverhampton artists.  

The Good Shepherd were  established by the Brothers of St John of God and have been supporting the local community for 50 years, making people feel valued and heard.  

They  place a lot of importance on  lived experience and believe everyone has the capacity to change and achieve their full potential. Additionally, they  are passionate about collaboration and set ambitious standards for the quality of their services  , their vision being to end homelessness in Wolverhampton and create sustainable pathways out of poverty.  Their mission is to ensure the most disadvantaged and marginalised have the support and opportunities they need to achieve their full potential. 

When The Good Shepherd first heard BAS9 would be coming to the city, they were thrilled. As a charity, they are proud of how the city has worked together to tackle homelessness and issues affecting the most marginalised.  The Good Shepherd team felt British Art Show 9 could be a starting point for the city to begin growing their involvement in the arts. By actively promoting the exhibition amongst their partner organisation and supporters, they would therefore aid in stimulating the city’s creative capital.

The Good Shepherd will open guided tours of the city centre to the public, showcasing the work of service users and offering an authentic experience of the ongoing work that they do at the heart of Wolverhampton . 

The Good Shepherd tour  will be an immersive experience.As visitors queue from the carpark on Waterloo Road, they will be able to see what it is like for  those who benefit from The Good Shepherd services,  queuing daily for the dining and takeout services, as well as the  family pantry. The audience will meet with the characters that make up the amazing staff and beloved volunteers, alongside the service users who will share their testimonies as part of the tour.  

The onsite emergency night shelter that had to close with the onset of the pandemic will be repurposed and become an exhibition space, which will showcase multi-disciplinary artwork developed in response to BAS9. The exhibition is entitled #itstartswithameal, and provides a locus for people can meet and safely let the Good Shepherd know their needs and their stories.   

The Good Shepherd hopes that people can see first-hand that they are not only imagining better futures for the most marginalised in our city, but are actively making these futures a reality.  

For The Good Shepherd, British Art Show 9 resonates with Wolverhampton’s ‘Relighting Our City Recovery Commitment’.. The Good Shepherd will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2022, and have always sought to ‘imagine better futures’ for all of those who access their services. Having BAS9 in our city coincides not only with the anniversary, but shares our mission as a charity. The Good Shepherd team believe in the healing power of inclusion and belonging that BAS9 is championing, and feel that being a BAS9 Ambassador makes this landmark anniversary even more special.  

This opportunity is also helping The Good Shepherd to consolidate important relationships with the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. The project has enabled The Good Shepherd to look at bigger and bolder creative projects, knowing that they have the support and guidance of the Art School and the Gallery, as well as  a project manager to act as a mentor  through the entirety of the BAS9 experience.   

 

Alex Vann

Alex Vann is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and musician and a Wolverhampton School of Art alumnus. He first founded the visual arts organisation RAW (Real Arts Workshops) in the late 1990s and ‘rebooted’ RAW in 2017 after being a key artist on the ‘Wolves in Wolves’ public art project.

Since then, RAW has delivered over 1,000 workshops to a diverse range of groups and organisations all aimed at encouraging improved self-esteem; breaking down barriers; and building up confidence. RAW works with all sorts of people, ages and abilities and particularly with people who may not have access to the Arts. We often work with people with learning and physical disabilities and incorporate British Sign Language in a lot of our work.

Alex also runs a small graphic design business in Wolverhampton and has been a recording and performing singer song-writer on the local gig circuit for many years.

 

Alex is working with the Wolverhampton Social Prescribing team with adults who have been referred to their service [for Covid related, or other reasons] and may be dealing with a low sense of self-efficacy alongside a desire to get back to doing art activities they previously enjoyed. Alex believe that “art is for everyone” and through RAW he works to make art accessible to people who may not ordinarily have access to it. It has the power to express feelings and we find vulnerable people experience many benefits by creating art.

 

The artists chosen for Wolverhampton have been done so because it’s thought they reflect the city’s ‘intersectionality’. The artist Alex has chosen to concentrate on, Michael Artmitage, he has a sense of duality throughout his work with a foot in both African and European art and uses his art to tell stories about social norms and cultural clichés.  This is a good way in to working with the adults that will be referred to this project.

 

Alex will deliver 4 practical workshops, beginning with a short tour of the exhibition. Using the work of Michael Armitage as a basis we will explore ways to deal with issues that may otherwise remain hidden and unresolved.

Together the group will look at what influences his work and his technique of painting on lubago bark and we will create new work which will hopefully be displayed in a future exhibition.

 

Wolverhampton has seen a decline in recent years, like most cities as retail has moved more towards online. The themes of BAS9 tactics for togetherness, imagining new futures and healing, care and reparative history are therefore very important to Wolverhampton and in particular to this project are notions of healing and care.