Annabeth Orton has been teaching Art and Design in Further Education colleges in the UK for almost ten years whilst maintaining a diverse arts practice. Her recent work as Glittermouse focuses on issues relating to city spaces as well as investigating methods of facilitating interactions with urban environments and between strangers in cities as a tool to empower individuals to feel more positive about their local areas.
In 2011, she was involved in a project funded by The British Council with Tameside College, to mentor Chinese teachers in delivering UK style creative arts briefs to students of Hangzhou Jiangbin Vocational School in Zhejiang Province. During a recent visit to the UK from staff and students of the school, she then delivered a short photography Workshop titled âUK PlaceMaking' as part of on-going cultural exchange.
Several similar workshops have been run with UK residents since June 2011 and it has been demonstrated that they successfully encourage positivity in urban spaces. The workshops are designed to provide an opportunity for people from different social and cultural backgrounds to share their views of the city so that they can see the things they have in common with others who they might never normally meet or speak to. Offering this to the visiting delegation was an important development of the project which extended the work beyond the perceptions of those with a British background.
Special versions of existing PlaceMaking boards were made available in Mandarin, though some English was also used. These interactions extended the work by further highlighting the importance of cultural as well as geographical differences in responding to our environments.
The photographs will be exhibited at Chinese Arts Centre from 10th - 14th September as part of our developing partnerships with education and community sectors in Tameside.
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