A few month ago now, I went to this place called Nante and what a beautiful place it was, what was a lot nicer was the group I travelled with from the U.K. most of them were from Liverpool the whole thing was trip by the British Council to build potential creative links between the North west and that particular area of France. Even though this simple point was a bit hazy to me at the beginning … “so I’m here because…I might find creative links for the future?….” Great!
The thing about Nantes (by no way or means pronounced ‘Nonce’ as I found out on day one), is that the it was a shipping town and when that industry died it looked as if the area would follow suit but it was revived by the arts and that’s what makes this place special, – they have a giant mechanic elephant that roams the city taking people about – could do with one of them in Manchester.
It was a few intense days – those times when a few days feels like a week till you come home only for it to feel as if it was just a flicker of a moment
On the second day of a three day trip- we were taken along the river to a place called Saint Nezaire, the river Loire runs between the two towns and there’s this ‘arts’ trail, with wonderful things – an industrial chimney that looks like a lighthouse with a functioning little house on top, a surrealist boat melting almost to the water…frozen in the shape of a banana, a skeleton of a snake by the water constantly living and changing with coming and going tides and tiny organisms – lots of things like this… which is interesting and how great that we were funded to make this trip, how great that some people can see all this wonderful explosion of creative thinking!……but I’m left with questions
Who is this ‘art’ for? – For those who can afford the time and money to stroll along this river? Have the communities that surround these wonderful things been invited to respond or engage with the work in any way? I fear that the answers all sit in the realm of the expected – and it hurts to think that money dictates if people have the space to let their brains breath and imagine or not…
I guess that’s why we were there to think of a way we could work together, ask lots of questions and ‘create’…something…..us odd looking group of people from the north west, sat together we resembled the odd jigsaw pieces that have been forgotten about found at the bottom of my kids toy box but if you set the pieces out right you see something splendidly different