Open Hands Project (January 2015 – September 2015)

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The ‘Open Hands’ project is a project based on bringing a community together and encouraging the public to take pride the area they live.

The aims of the project are to improve community spirit, whilst providing a platform for young participants to interact with others and make new friends in a productive environment and to beautify a public space with a public sculpture whilst raising awareness and celebrate the spirit of Normanton.

Sessions lead by professional artists from Artcore will encourage participants to come together and work together as a community, exploring a variety of art mediums such as sculpture, carving, modelling and mosaic etc.

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A series of workshops with local communities will be conducted. Individual artworks created will be incorporated into a larger final collaborative sculpture. All ages and backgrounds of people will be invited from the local community to get involved in sessions (including idea generation as well as creation and installation of the sculpture).

The theme of the sculpture is ‘Normanton’, attempting to capture the essence of the community and celebrate Normanton and what it means to its residents.

There is also a research and development element to the project, encouraging people to research their own past in Normanton and the history of the area itself, discovering the heritage of the community and portraying it in the sculpture.


The next upcoming sessions of this project that are open for the public are as follows:

04-08-2015            11pm – 1pm        Arboretum Park Orangery      Sand Casting

14-08-2015            2pm – 4pm          Arboretum Park Orangery      Wire Sculpture


On the 23rdJuly, a session for the Open Hands project was delivered by the Artcore team at the Hindu Temple on PearTree Road.

The participants explored hands and sculptures using the medium of clay press molding.

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As a part of our open day ‘Artwave’, Artcore discussed the Open Hands project with members of the community and local organisations.

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On Saturday 20th June 2015, Artcore was outside the Pear Tree Library delivering sessions for the Open Hands project.

From 11am-1pm Artcore was hosting a workshop where members of the public could create mini sculptures from clay using the medium of press molding. These sculptures will be incorporated into the design of the final sculpture which is proposed to be displayed in a public location.

Participants said the activity was good and that they though the ‘Open Hands’ project was a good idea. They also said that this type of session should be conducted more often.

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As a part of this project,  the ‘Innocence and Expression’ project participants have also been exploring hands and sculptures. The participating children have been working with the medium of paper and clay to create 3D sculptures based around the theme of hands.

To find out more, click HERE! 

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Artcore at the Street Party

As a part of the Open Hands project Artcore was at the Big Street Party at St. Giles Church, Village Street on Sunday 7th June 2015 from 12pm to 2pm, consulting the local community and residents in the area. We spoke to members of local communities, residents, children and the elderly; discussed ideas, identified areas and shared thoughts that would inform the making of the sculpture.

They were very keen and had lots to contribute through their views and inputs and enjoyed taking part in activities creating small sculptures using clay press moulding exploring the theme of hands. Some amazing ideas were generated. The people involved were very keen to see how the ideas develop and have provided their contact details to keep them updated with it.

We found that this activity added an extra element to the Street party. People really enjoyed taking part and one of the regular feedback we received was to have such activities more often where the whole family can also take part and share ideas.

We would like to thank Liz Cox for giving us this opportunity.

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As a part of the ‘Open Hands’ project, a session was delivered at the West Indian Centre on the 18th of May. In the session, the medium of clay was used to explore different hand gestures and sculpture shapes as universal symbols. Also, there was an open discussion on what is was like to live in Normanton and the different observations on the change of the community since 1960. The most noticeable changes were the increase of litter and lack of street pride, as well as lack of polite behavior from the locals.

The general opinion is that the sculpture is a good idea. The participants came up with some constructive ideas on how the sculpture can be designed and what it could bring to the community. They felt that the middle of Cavendish Roundabout is the best place for the sculpture.

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One person said that community cohesion meant, ‘Pride of the community and unity in the aspirations for the community’ and another suggested we use a different face for all the different groups of people now living in Normanton.

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As a part of the open ‘Open Hands’ Project, a session at the Peartree Library was delivered on 15th May. During the session, participants explored the use of hands as universal symbols through the medium of clay and drawing and writing ideas.

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The venue was chosen to make the workshop available to a wide range of people in Normanton. Because of this diversity in ethnicity and language, many of the participants did not speak English. However, because the members of the Artcore team are also diverse, we were able to translate English, Hindi, Arabic and Punjabi so all could understand and share their thoughts, opinions and design ideas.

There were some sensitive and insightful ideas on community cohesion, including ‘sign posting’ the major faith buildings of Normanton and focusing on the similarities between the faiths, rather than the differences. One woman wrote down her idea in Arabic to illustrate the beauty of the written language. Her idea was for hand writing to be written directly on the surface of the sculpture using it as decoration as well as delivering a message.

One person thought the sculpture could communicate a welcoming handshake and promote acceptance, tolerance and friendship.

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A session at the Hindu temple was held on the 1st April where young children from a local school could use paper to explore hands sculptures.

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The launch of the Open Hands project was on Thursday 22nd January 2015 from 11am – 1pm at The Indian Community Centre, Rawdon Street, Derby DE23 6QR (01332 342892)

It was a great day and over eighty people attended. Activities were arranged where participants could create their own designs for hands and use clay molds to make miniature hand sculptures.

Everyone thought it was a good idea and thought it would improve integration in the Normanton community. Some saw it as a good opportunity to learn new skills in the sculpture workshops that will take place. One of the ideas that came out of the event concerning the sculpture was the importance of surface decoration and its ability to represent different cultures.

Overall, feedback included general enthusiasm and support for the project, with people saying things like ‘I think it is a good idea to involve all the community together. All of Normanton will be closer than now’ and ‘very interesting project, it should improve community cohesion’.

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