In June I was commissioned by Aberystwyth University as Artist and Researcher to work on The Assembling Newtown research project. It is an in depth case study within GLOBAL-RURAL and has been running since 2014. The research team: Jesse, Laura, Marc, Mike and Sam have been trying to understand some of the ways Newtown is connected with other parts of the world; through trade, through migration, through consumption, through culture and ideas and through politics. The research sets out to try and better understand how what is referred to as ‘globalisation’ affects small towns in rural areas. We have tried to assemble a picture of Newtown as it is today and how it has changed over the last fifty plus years. Through our interviews, workshops, ethnographic work and household surveys we have also been able to look more deeply into how globalization affects people’s lives in a more everyday sense.
Working closely with the research team, I will be coordinating Listening to Newtown; a series of conversations with people who live and work in Newtown, about their hopes, dreams, concerns, visions and experiences. I am particularly interested in listening and recording to stories of the everyday; work, family, home, values, holidays and things people of Newtown do for fun. Through recorded conversations, photographs and regular town visits, I will produce a new audio work, documenting the voices of every day experiences of people living and working in Newtown. Throughout July and August, I will be in Newtown, spending time in my listening booth in the Newtown market. Setting up a small comfortable and cosy installation. Come and spend some time with me be it 5 minutes or an hour sharing your experience of Newtown. In September there will be an exhibition of my final work, in audio and visual format.
I’ve already been out and about in Newtown talking with all sorts of people, and documenting our conversations through audio recordings and photography. Some pictures below.