Artwork trail celebrates the achievements of Bristol+Bath Creative R+D as it comes to a closeMonday, 20 November, 2023
On Wednesday 15 November, art enthusiasts from across the South West came together for a day of artist walks, artwork and talks to celebrate the end of a five-year, multimillion-pound creative research and development project.
The Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, launched in 2018. Funded by the Creative Industries Clusters Programme and managed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project has connected the worlds of university research, technology and business, seeking to develop a shared vision across creative industries.
Between 2018 and 2023 the programme invested £3.4 million in creative projects that explored and experimented with new and emerging technologies. The team engaged with 332 creative companies and freelancers and awarded £1.6 million directly to creatives across more than 140 investments. This led to 18 new businesses, 82 new jobs, 34 international collaborations and a further co-investment of £20.2 million.
Together with students, Abigail Hunt, artist in residence of the programme, created an art trail around Bristol and Bath that celebrates the people, places and achievements of this programme. Abigail’s work is known as ‘Visual Conversations’ - a culmination of the joining together of experimentation with new and emerging technologies and developed prototype products. Each individual artwork was created using imagery that was shared by people Abigail met and worked alongside throughout her residency.
“Abi’s work is wonderful. Through intimate collages or participatory events in sites like Tate, alone or with carers at places like great Ormand street hospital, Abi’s work values process over outcome. She is interested in enabling a sense of not knowing, promoting a willingness to go beyond individual knowledge to find out together.
“It has been an honour to work with Abi over the course of the project and I am delighted that the city of Bath and Bristol will be home to her work over the coming weeks.”
Abigail met attendees at Bristol’s Watershed and took them on a tour of the Bristol-based outdoor spaces where her abstract artwork is now on display. These collaged posters can be found in various locations, including train stations, universities, cycle paths, and outdoor buildings.
Adding to Bristol and Bath’s rich creative culture, the cities became outdoor art museums and people were invited to cross the boundary between the two cities by train, travelling past some of the sites where the posters were exhibited.
Sat on the train from Bristol to Bath, Abigail gave a short talk on the project while they took in the sites. This was followed by a walk to Bath Spa University’s Locksbrook Campus where the original art pieces were displayed, and the group were joined by associates from the University of West England.
Reflecting on the experience, Abigail said:
“I felt that the walk reflected the wider Bristol and Bath research project through the diverse group of participants who came together to share the experience, their knowledge, practices and the connections between the cities. A highlight for me was to share the artworks that I created between the many locations across Bristol and Bath.
“There are so many fascinating conversations throughout the day where artists, creatives, technologists, developers and researchers all had opportunities to talk and walk and make together.”
The afternoon concluded with a series of inspiring talks, a practical collage making workshop and a celebratory drink to mark the end of Abigails residency.
“The culmination of the event at Bath Spa’s Locksbrook campus was especially important for me to bring together the original artworks, the live collage workshop, and to hear reflections on the project from leaders and experts in the field of creativity. It really brought everything together in a shared Visual Conversation.”
Abigail’s trail posters will be on display around Bristol and Bath until 15 December and you can view their locations on the Visual Conversations website.