The groups gathered and shared ideas together with ideas to follow up, as we proceed towards the exhibition.
Following the walk to the Garden Gate Project, to coincide with the opening of the new exhibition at the gallery; a session was held with John Akomfrah in conversation with BBC historian David Olusoga. The film by John is being shown as part of the exhibition.
John had made the film installation (initially commissioned for the Venice Biennale 2014) entitled ‘Vertigo Sea’ which I had previously seen at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It is an extremely powerful and emotive film which addresses issues that are still relevant to issues today. I was anxious to meet him in person and engage in a brief conversation which I was able to do!
The group met for an introduction at Turner Contemporary, and aim of the session was of walking together and stopping for readings at stages along the route.
It was not a day conducive for walking but we carried on regardless and the weather did improve as the time went on.
Alongside reading from the poem, Elspeth had also arranged for some of the visitors to set up ‘Walking Books’ sessions and various people signed up for a session beforehand.
The group walked from the gallery along the seafront and ended up at the Garden Gate Project.
Keith, a member of the group read one of his poems at the end of the walk.
It is now nearly a year (17 November) since the group formed and we went on the first walk. It has gone from strength to strength with Elspeth ensuring that each walk has a main focus. Alongside the main aims, friendships have emerged and the parameters have been extended as to how the group has developed offering a positive prospect for the future.
Since the Turner Contemporary TS Eliot Research Group came into being in August 2015, I have been documenting all the meetings and activities. I have also been part of the Evaluation Team, which has looked at all processes and activities to gather feedback, to enable the group to move forward and progress effectively.
To date although the number of members attending has diminished from the earlier meetings, there is now a strong group who attends and contributes regularly. The group have collaboratively put forward suggestions for pieces to be included into the final exhibition and is now at the stage of putting these forward to the curators to see whether or not these will be available to exhibit in 2018. These are some of the suggestions that I put forward for inclusion.
Subway Drawing – Henry Moore 1941
Night Hawks – Edward Hopper 1942
The group is now on its summer break until September 2016.
This meeting focussed in the main on the reasons and importance of evaluation and explored creative ways that this could be undertaken. Michele led the meeting in her capacity as the consultant professional evaluator for the project, and followed on from the initial introduction to the process that Trish and I had introduced at the last meeting on 5 April.
The meetings are now following the format where a topic is covered in the first part, and then a discussion is held to consider images which the members have submitted online for possible inclusion into the final exhibition. The images considered at this meeting related to journeys, migration and myth.
Each walk has adopted a different focus and I put in the suggestion for this one that we go in search of the blue plaques that exist in Margate. They are all reasonably close to each other and once a route was determine we set off. It took us to places and made us aware of things we may not have looked at previously. The plaque showing where Turner went to study was obviously of importance.
During the winter months much discussion took place over the steps that needed to be taken as the project moves forward, with the emphasis being very much on any actions being approved by the group.
This session on 13 January 2016 considered statements that were felt to epitomise the main facets of the project, through a practical activity of moving to an ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ area.
At the following meeting held at The Yacht Club on 26 January, the group split into group to cover the main facets of the exhibition such as object research, evaluation and community engagement.
The next steps that were needed to be taken were discussed further at the meeting on 16 February.
Instigated by Elspeth Penfold
Elspeth emailed the group with a view to setting up a regular walking group. It was a cold blustery day for those of us who turned up and was very much a walk to meet each other and to see how we felt future walks should be organised.
Keith was a wealth of knowledge of snippets of local information and kept the group entertained. We followed the route that Eliot would have travelled on his return to the former Albermarle Hotel, unfortunately now demolished.
It was agreed that we would like to continue meeting possibly fortnightly, weather permitting.