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How recognising past, present and future is essential to the development of positive change

Circuit member Beeny Harwood-Purkiss reflects on the theme of Regeneration ahead of the next Circuit Virtual Social.

Lessons can be learnt from the simplest of stories. Following a simple past, present and future sequence adds a coherent narrative. This is a powerful tool in making new ideas stick in people’s minds and ultimately influence change by presenting new ideas and ways of being.

In light of recent world changes, how we take steps forward as we emerge from a pandemic and change for the better has been the question on everyone’s lips. After many of us have hit the pause buttons on our lives this has been a time of reflection and an opportunity to regenerate.

As Circuit we would like to take this opportunity to explore and reflect ourselves on the question of how we grow after life altering circumstances? How can we recover, recreate, reimagine or maybe even redirect our future? Of course these are not easy questions, so together Circuit have devised a structure, topics and means of approaching this issue.

The Structure

In the following weeks we will be moving through a structure of past, present and future, examining what each of these headings tell us about changing for the better.

The Topics 

In each period of the world, history movements have united the voice of the public to reshape the world’s future and address inequalities. Movements that have recently built momentum include #blacklivesmatter, #metoo and #extinctionrebellion, each of which we will be examining in the weeks to come.

We will be touching on issues such as oppression, inequality and climate change through the lens of past, present and future as starting points to shape the future. We hope to create a basis from which these ideas can be explored in a constructive, creative way.

The Approach 

We will be creative in examining our past and present in order to move through complex and difficult issues to see a path forward. We will be working with images, collage and drawing as well as looking at other artists’ work, in order to get ideas out and push our own perspectives through the process.

In developing our ideas we re-worked each others’ images and inspiration. Here is a collaboration between circuit members Zoe Firth and Holly O’Brien (top) and Olu Taiwo editing Agnes Denes Wheatfield, an inspiration to Beeny Harwood-Purkiss.

The Context

Circuit have been invited to create a discursive research board as part of Wysing Arts Centre’s wider programme. During 2020, Wysing Arts Centre is placing broadcasting at the centre of its artistic programme; to connect with remote audiences in a way that enables us to listen, as well as to transmit, ideas using digital and other technologies. Circuit have chosen to focus on the idea of regeneration to creatively reflect on current issues and inequalities and invite collaboration from others. In addition to the research board we will also be hosting a Circuit Virtual Social on 21 July.

Circuit is a group of 18-25 year olds who work on creative events and projects with art galleries Kettle’s Yard and Wysing Arts Centre. If you’re 18-25 years old, like being creative and want to meet people and learn new skills, Circuit is for you. If you would be interested in joining Circuit in this process please get in touch with Lucy by emailing education@wysingartscentre.org.

Circuit Mood Board

Your Reflections

Before ending I would like to present three historical works of art that unfold some of the topics we will address in the coming weeks. For these three images perhaps you could contemplate how views of the work have changed over time:

What did they mean to audiences in the past?

What do they mean to us now, even as little as two weeks ago?

And how they might be viewed in the future?

Statue of Edward Colston, Bristol
The Luncheon on the Grass, 1862, Edouard Manet
Wheatfield – A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill by Agnes Denes, View with New York Financial Center