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YA Microgrant: Update from Helen Stratford

Here we have an update from Helen Stratford, a recipient of a Yorkshire Artspace 'Microgrant' - support for Sheffield artists looking to develop and realise a project of theirs. You can read more about Helen's brilliant 'Flora and Fauna' tours over the summer here. And read on for her more recent activities relating to this project:

'Over the summer I’ve been having conversations with the temporary community of demolition workers who are occupying the Castle Market site until the end of the year. The re-development of Castlegate represents a rupture in the established patterns of use and movement in the city. I am using the Open Studios Microgrant to research how this rupture is negotiated by the demolition workers, who are perhaps more comfortable inhabitants of this space of uncertainty and change than city residents. I’ve been exploring how the actions of re-development shift the way this area is performed; subjecting it to a completely different set of people, practices and values.

In practical terms, this has meant going on site to learn about the demolition processes, looking at spreadsheets and critical path charts, drinking strong tea, making lists of equipment, people and processes and recording how the workers inhabit the space during its transformation. One way that communities are recognised is through a common language. I have become fascinated with how the process of deconstruction is measured and scheduled and how it parallels its opposite: the process of construction. To develop work from this research I’ve been playing with the language of architectural or interior design, usually associated with construction, to document the materials, processes and gestures used by workers, architects, engineers, inspectors and others involved in the deconstruction, as they open up the space, inhabit it and disassemble it into a completely new set of spatial relationships.'