‘The Britishness Project’ is a groundbreaking exhibition that explores national identity through art.
From September to December 2017, eight professional artists undertook residencies for one term at seven schools and education organisations in Colchester, Harlow and Harwich. During this time, the artists and students aged from 7 to 16 investigated notions of Britishness through art-making. The project used engagement with visual arts to enable young people to explore issues of identity and Britishness in the context of the recent European Referendum.
The residencies have created content for a major exhibition at Firstsite, showcasing work made by young people in a gallery with an international profile. A total of eight projects are exhibited, including a display of loans from the collections of the Colchester and Ipswich Museums that has been curated by students.
The projects consist of works in a variety of mediums including collage, stop motion animation, sculpture and photography, and engage with ideas of identity, landscape, sub-culture, democracy and political voice. By inviting young people to speak up about issues that affect them and their future, The Britishness Project is an opportunity to generate wide-ranging conversations in a public forum on the shifting social, geographic and political identity of Britain.
The Alternative School of Economics (Ruth Beale & Amy Feneck), EVEWRIGHT, Sadie Hennessy, Amy Leung, Richie Moment, Jennie Pedley and D.E. Stenvoll-Wells.
Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow; Cherry Tree Primary School, Colchester; Gilberd School, Colchester; Harwich and Dovercourt High School; Kingswode Hoe School, Colchester; North East Essex Co-operative Academy and St Michael’s School, Colchester.
The exhibition will be supported by a series of programmed events to encourage wider debate on issues of identity, citizenship and community, as well as the role of the arts in education.
The Britishness Project has been made possible by the generous support of the Garfield Weston Foundation.
Join Harriet Cooper and Sue Hogan from Firstsite’s Programme Team for a unique insight into The Britishness Project. From working with schools to curating the final exhibition, this tour will discuss the ideas and stories of this project.
Image: Harwich and Dovercourt High School and Evewright, Alien Birth, 2018. Courtesy Evewright.