Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Mediated Garden Potato Harvest

The Mediated Garden, our ongoing project run by long-term tenantspin member, gardening guru and artist Jennifer Welch continues to flourish in its prime (rather exposed) spot on the FACT roof.

Last week we witnessed the harvest of some of the potato’s Jennifer had sown some 34 weeks back – the first potato’s to ever call FACT their birth place!

tenantspin win Partnership Award for

tenantspin have been reconogised for their work with Liverpool Mutual Homes on the project at the 2011 LMH Focus Awards. We won the partnership award at the presentation ceremony, hosted by Roger Philips.

We are very pleased to be given this award as the project has only just come out of its pilot stage, its great to be working in partnership with LMH and the award is very heavy and shiny!

The Mediated Garden

It is fair to say that tenantspin’s Jennifer Welch is a true horticultural artist (+guru I’ll have you know!). Last year, as part of our then fledgling Healthy Spaces programme artist Ross Dalziel and Jackie Passmore worked with participants from Merseycare to develop and build a food garden on the roof of FACT in an area that was previously a purpose built outdoor space meant to facilitate the staff offices.

The project incorporated a technology output via “>arduino sensors measuring humidity, rainfall and other environmental factors which may effect any planting in this part of the city. After the group moved on Jennifer was approached to reinvigorate the Plot and she came up with the concept of the Mediated Garden. The project would follow on from some of the work already done by The Plot participants and artists but attempt to expand on the kind of produce nurtured and encourage participation from staff and visitors to FACT as well as working with our partners in Anfield/Breckfield and developing a database of recipes, tips and tricks and arduino feeds which act as an experimental space for urban growers everywhere.

We are also asking questions about public space using this project as a starting point, who wins, looses and what is lost in parks, squares and cities in general. Check out the blog at www.themediatedgarden/ for guest articles.

You can also stay in touch with the garden via our twitter feed and facebook group search ‘themediatedgarden’ and keep your eyes peeled in the building for news of upcoming events including potato tasting and much more!

Knowledge Lives Everywhere…….and now here.

Everybody has a story to tell. Unfortunately the majority of men and women fail to share it in their lifetime, suffering a lack of time or imagination perhaps. It’s one thing to talk about a personal story, down the pub say, its another to document it in tangible form, tenantspin’s latest project attempted to bridge this divide. Our space in the Media Lab during the ‘Knowledge Lives Everywhere’ exhibition in FACT, aimed to record stories of local people whilst exhibiting the lives of two very special gentleman; the Howarth Borthers; the underlying inspiration behind the project. The public have been encouraged to come along to workshops and record a memoir of their life. The result being a colourful archive of stories about local people, told by local people, and as always at tenantspin, technology has been central to this process.

A couple of months ago me (Jonathan Turton) Edwin Pink and Laura Yates found ourselves foraging through the possessions of Charlie and Norman Howarth in their nephew’s cosy, semi-detached house in Crosby. The Brothers had passed away a year before leaving a catalogue of items behind in their home on 18 Ludwig Road, Anfield, which their nephews had readily retrieved. We spent hours sifting through the estate which included LFC season tickets dating back to 1907, swimming accolades, love letters dating back to World war Two and a plethora of other personal belongings. Their items were infused with personality seeming to capture moments in time perfectly, and gave a fascinating insight into the lives of the two men.

Charlie and Norman’s home on Ludwig Road was like a time warp. The Howarth family had lived in the house for one hundred years and from the 1950′s/60′s onwards, very little had been done to update the surroundings. The Howarth’s remained loyal to old appliances and fashions, pretty much all of the furniture and fittings were unchanged from that mid century epoch. The brothers found a period in time that they were comfortable with and stayed there in many ways, although it’s important to point out that they were far from reclusive men. To visit the house was like stepping back in time and in our exhibition space we tried to recreate this setting; hanging photographs of the Ludwig Road house (taken by photographer Stephen King), inserting furnishings from the same time period and displaying artefacts recovered from the Howarth abode in an antique cabinet. The brothers refused to throw away even the most arbitrary items; old rent books, train tickets, newspapers. Through their meticulous retention of stuff we got a fascinating look at the era they lived in. However it is an exceptional case. The physical items of ordinary people tend to be discarded or deteriorate over time. Many tales of the past, especially personal stories, have been lost through a simple lack of documentation. However with the capabilities of technology and the internet that needn’t be the case anymore.

In our gallery space, tenantspin invited all interested parties to come to our weekly workshops and share their stories. Through the physical items of the Howarth brothers we have a tangible record of their human experience, however via digital means, the same can be achieved. Through digital archiving it’s possible to leave a legacy of our lives online. Through writing, recording audio, photographs and video we can record a picture of our lives for future generations to see and enjoy, which is exactly what we have done in our workshops. Everybody has a story to tell and you never know who may be interested in it, be it today, tomorrow or twenty years down the line. The space has attracted people of various ages and creeds, and the material we have produced has been diverse, informative and entertaining.

The entwined concepts of time and human experience have encompassed our project. The culturally rich, physical estate of the Howarth’s inspired us to create a similarly captivating archive of tales through technological means. The project has given engaged individuals a creative platform to share their stories and express themselves through art, and represented a starting point in terms of interacting with digital technology. The internet gives the individual an outlet to express him or herself, to whom ever may be interested, and that expression is saved in cyberspace for future generations to see. It’s an inspirational concept and has been central to the success of the project. Coming soon will be a designated area of the tenantspin website where all material produced in the space will be accessible. There will also be a showcase afternoon in The Box (FACT) sometime in late August, where all material produced in the space will be displayed. Knowledge truly does live everywhere.

Jon Turton.

Digital Story telling travels

tenantspin has been traveling round North Liverpool for some time now developing digital story-telling sessions with our partners Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council, Anfield, Breckside Community Council and individuals from across the breadth of this diverse and ancient suburb.

The resulting stories have been a rich tapestry of human life and endeavour from the tales of a 94 year old woman, who has lived in the neighbourhood all her life and remembered, amongst many other things, the time she was conscripted to build breach-blocks for sten guns in World War 2 to a scouse miner, a sailor, an evacuee, tales of work, happiness and above all what it has been like to grow up and in some cases grow old in the heart of a suburb so famed for its football connections, cakes, parks and rows of densely packed terraced streets.

You can view some of the stories at the North Liverpool digital story-telling channel on youtube here or have a listen to our audio boo collected voices here collected during the workshops described by Jon Turton in his post above.

Alan’s take on Closing Time a book by Kevin Casey

Alan Kelly is a member of tenantspin, in particular our North Liverpool Digital Stories Group. We recently held a webcast to celebrate the launch of Kevin Casey’s recent publication ‘Closing Time’ which documents the decline of the Liverpool Pub over the last 3 years.

As a response to the book Alan has written the below review from the perspective of a citizen who has seen the decline of the pub over his life.

“A picture speaks a thousand words. The saying could not be more appropriate to explain the subject matter of this book.┬áThe photography is a stunning reminder of days long gone.

Read on…