This exhibition was a new partnership between ROTOR and East Street Arts focusing on the town and its people, as both a rich archive and motif to initiate a co-produced public exhibition. The exhibition combined public display and artist residencies, forming a vibrant, working, open-space for dialogue to develop.
ROTOR and East Street Arts invited proposals from regional artists interested in working with local people, places and archives to form a co-produced exhibition within Huddersfield Art Gallery as a response to site, memory and community. The selected artists had access to space within Huddersfield Art Gallery, which they used as their primary studio space during an initial four-week residency period. They invited involvement by other artists, community groups, students and members of the public with a view to a final exhibition outcome at the end of the four-week residency period, which stayed on show within the gallery for 8 weeks. The gallery remained open to public throughout the making process.
These first 4 weeks formed an open development, ‘residency’ period, whereby the artists co-produced new works in a vibrant, working, open-space as conversations and dialogues developed with the community to produce a ‘static’ exhibition for the remaining 8 weeks.
At the start of this four-week residency period a ‘skeletal’ exhibition from the existing Huddersfield Art Gallery and Kirklees museum archives and collections, selected by each artist via initial/early conversations with their community and gallery staff, formed an initial backdrop to the opening of the exhibition.
The artists then utilised the formative skeletal exhibition to start deeper conversations with gallery visitors, and thus to respond, transform and co-produce new works of art, both in the gallery’s making space and off-site, to produce a new exhibition.
Throughout the process all of the artists engaged in discussion with passing audiences around their arts activity and aspects of the museum and gallery collections. Overall, the Open House exhibition was formed through dialogue, community engagement and co-production.