Lady Kitt | Sarah Stamp | Elaine Robertson | Kat Bevan | Rosa Postlethwaite | Sara Qaed | Bethany Stead
Socially Awkward is a collaborative project being led by artist Lady Kitt and NewBridge Committee member Sarah Stamp. It aims to gently interrogate, illuminate and insight social functions of making, breaking down socially awkward barriers through developing and testing out alternative ways to engage with the public.
Lady Kitt and Sarah are working with artists Bethany Stead, Elaine Robertson, Kat Bevan, Rosa Postlethwaite and Sara Qaed to explore creative approaches to everyday life and thinking.
Socially Awkward focuses on ways of communicating and collaborating in non-hierarchical ways. Gathering on public transport or in everyday public spaces across Newcastle upon Tyne, the city forms the backdrop to their work, creating an uncontrived space for the artists to connect with people outside of traditional cultural spaces.
The project is process-led and fully steered by the group of artists. Lady Kitt will work alongside the 5 supporting artists, who were selected through an open-call process, to explore their interests and to facilitate and strengthen their practices through collaborative learning, social engagement and hands-on professional development in the public realm.
Together they are exploring what art can do, and what it can’t or shouldn’t be expected to do, and their approach does not subscribe to the assertion that social practice can be used to solveall our problems or that it can plug the gaps left by austerity politics.
Socially Awkward has continued beyond the end of the project, with the 7 members continuing to work together collectively think about, share and hopefully ease their social awkwardness.
As they continue working there are three key stages to the project: Firstly, they plan to create a series of podcasts exploring themes including social awkwardness, public transport, games and art. Initially the 7 project initiators will produce the podcasts, but in the future, they would love to collaborate with other people in creating them.
Secondly, they would like to make handcrafted or personalised (embellished) objects and are working collaboratively with local groups to create these!
And thirdly, these objects on various modes of public transportation in the Newcastle area. The left objects will have a label attached with a message and information about the project. This will include directions to find the podcasts and the Socially Awkward social media account.
They have decided to use handmade objects because we feel they have significance as the act of making something by hand takes time and consideration. The objects will be the finder’s first interaction with the project.
Based in the UK, Lady Kitt is a paper cutter, performer, and researcher. Kitt’s work is driven by an insatiable curiosity to:explore the social functions of visual culture,play with and question traditional roles of maker, viewer, muse and the made.
Elaine Robertson is a painter, curator and comedian working across the North East. She co-directs ‘Conny’, a contemporary art festival based in Consett, County Durham. Across her work she’s interested in exploring humour as a tool to manipulate and confuse particular spaces and narratives.
Kat Bevan is a conceptual artist based in Gateshead. Using a range of mediums including performance and role-play, creative writing, video, participation, installation and the constructed image, Kat often collaborate with artists, photographers, videographers and musicians, among others to appropriate neoliberal capitalist forms and modes of production to explore, critique and subvert the hierarchies, and social, economic and cultural power within and external to the private and public sectors of the art world.
Rosa Postlethwaite is aperformance artist and producer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Rosa’s work is site-responsive, it’s a creative response to a place that is both physically present and remembered and is interested in the ways that places illicit or demand particular ways of performing.
Sarah Qaed is an artist, editorial cartoonist based in Newcastle. Sara publishes daily caricatures and runs a participatory visual project called “Akml”. The project aims to engage and encourage people to participate in artworks and acquire more creative confidence. It attempts to provide a space where people feel safe to experiment with the artist and co-create works collectively.
Currently studying Fine Art at Newcastle University, Bethany primarily specialises in sculpture, along with a keen interest in drawing, painting, photography and printmaking. Her practice often engages with a wide range of subject matters, but a topic which resonates throughout her practice is the lived and political experience of the female body. As of present, she is researching European and English folklore, as well as feminist histories and the feminine psyche in order to inform my creative practice.
Socially Awkward has been curated by NewBridge Programme Committee member Sarah Stamp. The Programme Committee is a hands-on, curatorial learning and development opportunity, enabling members to produce an exhibition or commission alongside The NewBridge Project, and gain valuable experience through a programme of professional development and peer-to-peer learning. The Committee represents many voices, enabling new narratives, methodologies and approaches to emerge across our programme, diversifying the curatorial voice.
This project is supported by Newcastle Cultural Investment Fun