Hair Styling & Extensions, 2-11 May 2017

On their daily morning walks down Dambruggestraat, the students were encouraged to focus on the new concept Hair Styling & Extensions.  Once again this workshop was site specific, process-based and largely student-directed, aimed at visual research and experimentation.  The objective was to build audience capacity through co-creation by documenting and getting to know barbershops and hairstylists working and living in the street. Students were given guidance about such partnerships and also relevant readings beforehand regarding contemporary spatial aesthetics as well as cultural, historical, scientific and behavioural connotations related to hair.

On day one and four drawing lessons were conducted by Kris van ‘t Hof with a male model interacting with the architecture of Dambruggestraat.

During some days of the workshop the students were joined in the street by guest artists, Kai Lossgott and Bram van Meervelde.  These artists joined by Bart Lodewijks, Ersi Ververi and Adrien Tirtiaux gave presentations about their own vastly different and inspiring experiences of past projects conducted by them in the streets of cities in Europe, South America, Cambodia and Africa.

The visiting student from Turku, Emilia Linnavuori gave a talk about their projects in Finland and made positive contributions to the Antwerp workshop throughout.

The programme included three visits to the City Library Permeke where the final Hair Styling & Extensions event will take place in November 2017.  To support our mission to promote community art the guest lecturer/artist Kai Lossgott presented a well-illustrated and practical introduction to public art project management.  Extra consultation time was allocated on Mondays and Wednesdays, as some students had theory classes. When they did not attend theory classes they were expected to be present in the studio and work towards the project. Kris and Celia de Villiers were available to discuss ideas and processes.  The students presented their ideas and proposals during the last two days.  Examples: Kris and two students had their hair braided and purchased wigs, one cleaned the window of a barbershop which was not appreciated – follow up visit required here.

Another is considering a painting lesson in the library for children using paintbrushes made from their own hair.  One Asian student has offered to work in a Palestinian barbershop where woman do not normally work. One student is willing to eat hairballs like a cat or an owl.

The students were encouraged to update the archive with sketches and proposals on the final day.

Workshop objectives

• Research and stimulus as well as self-directed learning of social art practices.
• Inviting guest lecturers to show via examples how to build capacity, collaborate and transact multi-professional approaches, conduct an art practice and meet the challenges when working in city spaces with multi-cultural communities.
• Learning to use situation specific and time bound art methods.
• Making participatory situation specific art and finding/reaching new audiences through inclusion of the library in Dambruggestraat.
• Learning to collaborate (working in teams and collaborating with and audience of hairdressers, barbershops and their clients).
• Learning to negotiate: How to manage the process and end result to please students as emerging artists as well as the street actors.
• Target groups: individual business owners, small enterprises, school learners and hairdressing schools in the neighbourhood.
• Horizontal relationships between Art students, Education, Costume and Fashion design students, the Circus school, Library and the City council.

Developing Effective Practices

Adhering to the Cultural Action Objectives contained in the EU report about an audience-centric approach published in 2017 (http://engageaudiences.eu/2017/05/05/study-on-audience-development-at-a-glance/ – accessed on 5 May 2017) we implemented the following:

We selected a multifaceted ‘surprise audience’; creative people who are not directly considered artists and are often socially excluded in the environment of our students.  There were signs that engagement with the diverse street communities met with far less resistance than in the first workshop – perhaps because there was a more specific and narrower target audience this time.  Reaching marginalised communities seemed less intimidating.  However, some students still find it problematic, but we do believe the positive experience of the parade contributed to the more affirmative approach.  At this early phase of the endeavour the verbal proposals from students have revealed a mix of collaborative and individual projects.  The educational principles of setting realistic guidelines, training in interviewing and listening skills, discussions, and trial and error in technical application are gradually cultivating effective student participation.  Personal consultation between individual students and visiting mentors and guests was encouraged wherever possible.  Peer group reporting, feedback and discussion at key points in the process also proved useful as a means towards shared accountability and self-motivation. The appealing factor of a shared breakfast, following the early morning walks to re-experience the Dambruggestraat was again useful – attendance varied from day-to day.

Project memory

Follow up on learning gained about the street, for the next generation of IPIP student participants the following projects.  The practice of evidence-based research by collecting data such as sketches and photographs and mind-mapped concepts will continue.

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