Superannuates and Tenderfeet

Anne Eggebert and Jane Chambers

They are instant happy makers. CSM student

The unlikeliness of us. AgeUK member

The project began with a conversation between neighbours living on the edge of the city far from King’s Cross – Anne Eggebert, XD Pathway Leader BAFA from CSM, and Jane Chambers, Network and Provider Services Manager for Age UK Islington. They discussed Age UK’s aim to link their users with young long-term unemployed people to offer skills support and as the conversation unfolded it occurred to them that there may be potential to link art students with Age UK members.

Superannuates and Tenderfeet has been developed with Anna Hart who has established a curatorial practice of pairing people who might not normally meet and asking them to explore place together. The project proposes space for connections between art students and older members of the local community, to test possibilities of exchange and mutual production, and to examine the value of dialogic practice for everyone involved. Nine second year Fine Art students have been paired with nine members of AgeUK Islington’s art groups over the spring and asked to make something in response to this pairing, either individually or in collaboration. All the participants were invited to bring their on-going artistic concerns to these conversations and potential processes.

The initial sessions brought all eighteen individuals together as one group, visiting each others’ ‘studios’ in the art school and the AgeUK day centre, presenting artworks to each other, and drinking a lot of tea. After some hesitancy from nearly everyone, the pairings were postponed until early April to allow further groups sessions that extended the initial conversations through doing things together, for example drawing each other.

The pairs have now been doing things together locally and further afield for six weeks, including going for walks, visiting exhibitions, exchanging techniques, writing each other letters, and drinking yet more tea. Destinations have included Tate Modern, South Bank Centre, Camley Street Nature Reserve, casinos in Leicester Square and cafes in Archway. They have made performances, films, prints, drawings, sculpture and text-based works. All the pairs have ended up making collaborative work.

A selection of outcomes will be shown this Friday in Conway Hall Library as an exhibition titled by the group ‘Exchanging Time’. There will then be a final evaluation event on 25th May using Lynn Froggett‘s Visual Matrix method to explore what has happened for individuals. Anna Hart will also interview some individuals in May 2017 to look back at the experience.

‘Exchanging Time’ is a mystery, a thought, a moment, a discussion, a space, a unified phenomenon, a remarkable understanding. AgeUK member