Old punk meets new punk

Friction Arts partner with Dutch producers to push the boundaries of community arts participation.

Birmingham-based arts organisation Friction Arts have been selected to collaborate with Dutch company Podium Asteriks as part of a prestigious Europe-wide cultural project.

Sandra Hall, Friction Arts co-Director, and Podium Asteriks’ Sjoerd Boostma met at the TANDEM: Community and Participation cultural managers exchange, as part of a programme funded by European Cultural Foundation and MitOst, in Holland during October.

“We really hit it off. It’s obvious that we share the same ethics about creating artwork that really engages people,” says Sandra.  “The co-ordinator for TANDEM said we were ‘old punk meets new punk’, which struck a chord. So we developed a project that would let us work together and submitted it to the TANDEM panel. Happily it was selected to go forward.”

Friction Arts work internationally and locally, in Birmingham. They create bespoke art projects for each community they work with, be it former industrial workers in Digbeth, Birmingham, or ferrymen in Vitoria, Brazil. Artworks include transforming a boxing ring in inner Johannesburg into a bed of flowers donated from suburban gardens, and Reality Estate, a 300-person promenade musical across Birmingham’s Five Ways housing estate.

Friction’s partners, Podium Asteriks, are co-authors of the successful bid for their home town Leeuwarden to be European Capital of Culture 2018. Asteriks started as a group of friends and is now one of the largest cultural producers in the Dutch region of Friesland. They run the annual Welcome To The Village festival of contemporary arts and performance.

Sjoerd Bootsma from Asteriks will visit Birmingham in March 2014 to learn how Friction works with communities, while the Friction team will go over to learn about Asteriks’ excellent crowd-sourcing and digital media techniques, and how they use them for social change during May 2014. Friction will develop art projects in Leeuwarden with Polish agricultural workers, leading up to Asteriks’ Welcome To The Village festival in June 2014.

Notes To Editors

About Friction
Friction Arts make arts projects with communities.
Current projects include Echoes, an installation of multi-media rooms exploring the history of industrial and domestic Birmingham, inspired by interviews with residents.
Details: www.frictionarts.com   |   www.digbethechoes.com

About Podium Asteriks
Podium Asteriks is an arts venue based in the former prison Blokhuispoort, dedicated to profiling quality performers. Current projects include The Longest Concert In The World, an attempt to break the world record between December 6-21, 2013, with a concert lasting 363 hours.
Details: podiumasteriks.nl

About Welcome To The Village
Welcome To The Village is a three days arts festival in the picturesque village of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. Details: welcometothevillage.nl/pagina/english

About TANDEM
The TANDEM programme is for organisations based in the Netherlands who want to set up long-term working relations with organisations based in Germany, Belgium, and the UK. TANDEM “Community & Participation” is a pilot project that transfers the TANDEM approach to an exchange among EU member states on a specific topic.
Merging professional skills of the TANDEM partners in a joint trans-national project will yield new insights and practical approaches to the field of community engagement and (non-formal) arts & citizen education.
Details: www.mitost.org/kulturaustausch/tandem-community-participation.html

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