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From 7–19 April 2020, Open House artists in residence for 2019-20, Wright & Vandame, were scheduled to host a display and series of events in the Ede Room at Kettle’s Yard, which celebrated and reflected upon the outcome of their year-long residency, Meeting Ground. Unfortunately, this display is unable to be realised in its original form due to the temporary closure of Kettle’s Yard in light of government advice responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are delighted to invite Wright & Vandame to instead share their experience of collaborating with North Cambridge communities through our blog and social media platforms. Wright & Vandame will host a take-over of Kettle’s Yard’s Instagram feed from 17 – 19 April 2020, reimagine their meditation and artist talk events on Kettle’s Yard Facebook page on Saturday 18 April and share their thoughts, experiences and artworks through the Kettle’s Yard blog over the course of the week.

When we first started the residency, we learned about an existing connection with Kettle’s Yard and Cambridge Community Arts (CCA), creative groups that meet regularly at the local community spaces in North Cambridge. CCA supports learners to build community, connectivity and confidence through creativity, as well as supporting improved health and wellbeing.  CCA learners can engage with a variety of artforms such as photography, mixed media, sound, dance and drama. . After inviting three different community groups to make the sound pieces between November 2019 and February 2020, we knew we wanted to  invite CCA to engage in some meaningful way.

Guillaume Vandame (GV): In October 2019, we spent a week in Cambridge for World Mental Health Day and an open conversation about all our ideas. We went to visit CCA at their offices in Arbury Court and we were instantly drawn to their enthusiasm and total joy for how art can improve people’s lives. Within minutes of our first meeting, we had this idea of inviting them to take part in an open call for works of art inspired by the sky. This meant that they would have complete autonomy and creative independence while staying connected to the wider project and aims.

Josh Wright (JW): We were overwhelmed by the quality and sheer number of submissions from the CCA members! Guillaume and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day selecting our favourites and we were pleased that we were able to accommodate at least one work of art or poem by everyone who submitted something.

CCA Exhibition at Meeting Ground, photo: My Linh Le

There was such a wonderful eclectic mix of watercolour, photography, textile and collage and we quite quickly saw four themes emerging: Dawn, Day, Dusk and Night and subsequently curated the works into these themes. In one of the two changing rooms at Nun’s Way Pavilion, we opted for an open plan, informal hang on four white panels slanted against the wall and then used the existing benches in the locker room for seating. This method of display worked beautifully in the space, mimicking the architecture and sloping roof of the pavilion, a style which Guillaume likened to the Guggenheim in New York.

CCA artworks, Meeting Ground, photo: My Linh Le

The incredible group of CCA artists included: Annette Bee, Vanessa Bradshaw, Gill Drake, Darren Fitzpatrick, Harrinder Gill, Richard Green, Karen Greeves, Andrew Harding, Maria Hewson, Bryan Johnson, Robert Jones, Laura Kirby, Paula Last, Cathy Noble, Carole Middleton, Elizabeth Middleton, Sammie Payne, Nicola Pritchard, Paul Pritchard, Marie Goodwyn, Yvette Wilkie and Denise Windsor.

Spoken word and poetry event on 1 March: Iain, Joe, Gill, Clare, Steve, accompanied by Darren with sound FX

CCA Artworks at Meeting Ground