Contributed by Jim Worgan (Chairman, Newcastle under Lyme Civic Society)
A chance remark made at a meeting I attended (as a Friend of Chatterley Whitfield) with a video and film company on 27th January led me to go to the old St. Giles and St. George’s School at 6.00 pm on Thursday 29th January 2009.
Having experienced disbelief when told that the meeting would be held there, I was delighted to find that this old and picturesque school was indeed open for the launch of Place, Space and Identity. This is a programme of temporary arts projects giving people the chance to respond to the social, economic and environmental changes taking place now in North Staffordshire. The innovative programme is led by the Arts Council England – West Midlands in a unique collaboration with Renew, B..Arts, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent Councils, Staffordshire University and many other agencies and partnerships.
Five arts projects have been commissioned involving media as varied as photography and dance, sculptured clay, graphic design and stitched hangings.
Guests were welcomed by Mark Barrow, Chief Executive of Newcastle Borough Council, and speakers included representatives from Renew and B. Arts. Many of those present included artists involved in the Art 34 project (Chatterley Whitfield) as well as representatives from local museums and Burslem School of Art. This was a one off event, but it was a foretaste of what could come once this building is again opened to the public.