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US artist Suzanne Lacy to visit Pendle to create a unique community experience

Friday, 29th January 2016

LA-based artist Suzanne Lacy is coming to Pendle next week to begin work on an ambitious mass participation project for the community.

Suzanne, a pioneer in participatory arts, will meet members of the community at an event on February 3rd at Brierfield Community Centre at 6pm. Working in collaboration with Super Slow Way and In-Situ, she is inviting people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds to join her to discuss their lives and experiences of Pendle and join in a very unique event, Shapes of Water / Sounds of Hope.

All members of the community are invited to attend, whatever their vocal ability or experience. No training is required, just an enjoyment of singing in all its forms, whether they like to simply have a sing-along in the car or shower or use singing as a form of worship, the project is open to all.

Suzanne will be drawing on several vocal traditions, most notably Shape Note, a musical practice of social and communal singing used for centuries in the North of England. Inspiration will also come from church choirs, folk singing, Naat, Nasheed and Qawali. The aim is to create a mass participation event later in 2016, in which around a thousand people from the Pendle area will come together in a unique form of community expression.

Ruth Shorrock, community coordinator at Super Slow Way, is working on developing the project. She attended a Shape Note session recently and said of the experience: “It provided a unique opportunity to experience how the structure and intimacy of Shape Note encourages people to discover a once quietened personal inner voice.

“Combining this with Suzanne Lacy's practice of embedding herself within communities, working with them to identify key issues, this project has the potential to bring people together in the creation of new dialogues, friendships and hopes for the future."

The mass participation event will take place at Brierfield Mill, Pendle, which is home to In-Situ, a non-profit artist collective. Paul, a member of In-Situ and Pendle resident, is working closely with Suzanne to bring the people of Pendle together for this unique event. “This is an amazing opportunity for people of all walks of life who live in Pendle,” he said.

“If we can pull off working with one thousand people it will be a fantastic experience. Suzanne Lacy has worked all over the world and is now on our doorstep, which is a real coup for the area. As a resident, as well as working on this, it’s very exciting.”

Suzanne’s work forms a part of Super Slow Way’s ambitious programme in Pennine Lancashire, which aims to transform lives and communities through art. The organisation is part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places action research initiative, with a remit of increasing participation in the arts in areas of typically low engagement.

People can sign up for the event on Eventbrite:

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