Interhuman Project secures Funding

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Seacourt Print Workshop in celebrating receiving funding from two of the UK’s most prestigious trusts. The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation have both committed support for a two year project called ‘Interhuman’.

Robert Peters, Seacourt’s Creative Director said, “For the past number of years Seacourt has engaged with a range of individuals who are categorised as belonging to marginalised groups and who interface with agencies and service providers within those designations. Many speak of the frustration of being solely identified through their illness or medical condition. Others mention the expectation for them to fulfill cultural stereotypes because they are perceived to belong to a particular tradition or ethnic group. Classifications presume fixed, immutable identities and thereby perpetuate the very social divisions their benign uses are intended to overcome.

Through the positive relationships and trust we have developed with groups over the past number of years we feel we are in a position to support individuals in stepping outside of their categories and joining with others who share a common interest or enjoyment of a particular printmaking technique.  In this way we seek to break-down social barriers by regrouping individuals on the basis of printmaking related interests as opposed to shared disabilities, medical conditions or immigrant status.”

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has provided £ 31,400 toward the programming costs of delivery workshops to eleven groups including Action Mental Health, JigsawNI and the Cedar Foundtaion. The individuals from these groups will then be able to participate in further workshops that will deepen their understanding of printmaking in mixed status groups in year two. An additional element to year one will be assessing the impact on wellbeing of participants. Edward Ferguson, Seacourt’s Chairperson said, “Increasingly arts groups are being tasked by funders to deliver social and health related benefits to society. How to provide evidence of these benefits is a challenge, but by utilising research methodologies developed by the New Economic Foundation and proven to be suitable for testing social engagement projects we hope to examine our impact within clearly defined parameters. We hope that this research will support future application and and support Seacourt’s long term sustainability. We are incredibly grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for enabling us to carry out this important work ”

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change. The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK.  It makes grants in the region of £35 million annually towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. It also makes up to £35 million in social investments in organisations that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has provided £25,986.00 toward technical support in delivering the project and a major symposium in 2017 at which the finding from the project will be reported. Robert Peters said, “This support will be invaluable to the successful delivery of the project. Our symposium will bring together artists and organizations that are providing some of the most interesting, socially engaged art practice today. These include the Rebuild Foundation in Chicago and art activist Jay Koh who has worked in countries that have some of the most repressive governments in East Asia. Researcher, Joshua Guetzkow will provide an insight the social impact of the arts and how this can be assessed”  

Paul Hamlyn Foundation was established by Paul Hamlyn in 1987. Upon his death in 2001, he left most of his estate to the Foundation, creating one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK. Its mission is to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. It has a particular interest in supporting young people and a strong belief in the importance of the arts.

Seacourt Print Workshop is based at The Centre for Contemporary Printmaking in Dunlop Industrial Estate, Bangor. It is a universally accessible, fine-art print facility providing access to the widest range of printmaking techniques in Ireland. Its gallery is open to open to the public Monday – Friday 9.30 to 4.30. The current exhibition is the Members Annual Exhibition which continues to the 19th January. For further details contact info@seacourt-ni.org.uk or 02891460595.