The Inspire Exhibition: 2015

Commissioned by Hartlepool Town Council

In early 2015, Hartlepool Town Council was seeking an artistic partner to deliver a whole exhibition that would inspire 16-25 year olds, many from socially deprived backgrounds who lived with the day to day reality of unemployment and crime. The goal was to show them that sport could offer focus in their lives, help them feel more motivated, encourage them to get off the drugs, get into work and be part of a team.

Having seen my work elsewhere in the region, I was commissioned to undertake the exhibition.  Initially I was unsure about the scale of the exhibition and whether I could do it justice. However after seeing the gallery space, a converted church with incredible ceilings, great lighting and fantastic spaces – I was convinced. I also relished the opportunity of exploring sports in the locality – slack lining, BMXing, skateboarding and parkour. In the end a total of 18 sports were represented.

I worked with some highly successful local athletes. I listened to their stories, found out what inspired them, took their actual body measurements and the creative process began. To add to this idea of ‘the process’, the first exhibit in the space was a roll of wire representing a clean start. I then created a series of partly made figures which evolved into a fully formed man who in turn became an athlete.

“Access for all” was a very important part of this project. As a result I took up residence in the local university for a week and created some of my work in the foyer so the students could be inspired by the making process. I also delivered a series of workshops with delinquent youths.  By the end of the project, the participants had inspired me, never mind my work inspiring them!