What links us together!
LINKED is a collaborative project from artists, Emily Thomas, Natalie Whitney and Jack Richardson that explores cultural landscapes of the East through talking to communities and creatives across Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester. It aims to highlight and celebrate the places we live in through the voices of people. It took place from October to December 2022 and was the first commission from FLOCK. Keep reading to meet the artists behind LINKED and discover more about the project!
We are three artists based across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex and are the team behind LINKED!Â We work across a range of creative practices including dance, participatory art and choreography. During early discussions we began to explore what connected us and the places we call home. From here we began to develop the idea LINKED.
A bit more about us
Natalie creates participatory, audiovisual and playful objects and spaces. She is currently an Assistant Technical Producer for Collusion and co-runs the platform Young Artists in Suffolk
Jack is a freelance Dance artist, ranging from teaching, performing and creating and is currently setting up a company with a fellow dance artist.
Emily is also a freelance dance artist who comes from a community dance background who has moved into choreography in the past few years.
Researching, chatting and recording voices
We decided to respond to the brief by exploring voices across communities in the East of England, focussing on the three locations we are most connected to; Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester. Engaging with communities in depth was a really important element of this commission for us. We researched and met with different creative individuals and groups across the locations. This included people who run and visit community spaces, those involved with independent venues, community radio, emerging creatives and many more. These individuals were asked to respond to a selection of questions, prompting them to think about and explore the spaces and places they are connected to. The majority of audio was collected in person, however, to enable us to reach out to further individuals, a call out online was also shared out. We were lucky enough to be invited onto BBC Radio Suffolk and Norfolk to share this call out and chat all things LINKED!
Developing an interactive space
The next steps involved Natalie designing and constructing an interactive space to share the voices collected. This materialised in the form of three interactive wooden booths, with the shape of each structure and way of interaction inspired by map routes of the places we explored in Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester.
Each booth was split into three with audio answering the following questions about that place; How would you describe this place in 3 words to someone who hasn’t been there before?
Can you name a place you have a connection to there?
What would you like to see happening there?
People were able to collaboratively explore the audio around the surface of the booths, triggering the voices through touch and listening through headphones. The audio was made interactive through the use of microcontrollers, electric paint touchpoints, wooden buttons and conductive thread.
Accompanying the booths was a collection of photogrammetry collages projected across two screens. These collages documented some of the areas of the East we explored interspersed with the captured movements of Emily and Jack. In addition to this, the space was filled with ambient soundscapes created by local musician Austin Brooks.
Emily and Jack began the process of choreographing movement which was performed at intervals throughout the final event. We worked collaboratively in the studio to develop movements based on the research, audio collection, our own thoughts on the areas we live and what linked means to us.
On the night
LINKED was shared on Thursday 15th December at The Baths, Ipswich in an interactive installation, movement piece and community space to meet other creatives and like-minded people, in collaboration with Led Creatives and Young Artists in Suffolk.
Young Artists in Suffolk also shared a sneak peak of the creations from their Unofficial guide to Ipswich zine workshops, which complemented the bustling, DIY-creative community feeling of the space perfectly!
We aimed to curate the space to create a welcoming, relaxed environment, encouraging people to freely move throughout the venue, engage with the interactive booths, projections and chat with others in the space. Movement performances were interspersed throughout the night, consisting of a mix of pre-choreographed movements and improvisations.
Our main aim was to create an environment for people to explore the voices of active communities in the East, whilst also offering a space for new connections to form. The experience of the final event was overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to developing LINKED in the future to continue exploring new communities, voices and locations.
What people said about LINKED
“I have discovered more about what these 3 locations have in common.”
“The Voices and subjects were really beautiful and special, and really well presented.”
“I’ve learnt that there are loads of people doing great things and I’m really positive about Ipswich.”
“This event was another reminder that there is a creative scene in Ipswich/Suffolk”
“I would love to see LINKED travel and explore rural areas and communities!”
“LINKED in 3 words: New, Revealing, Caring.”
Click here for highlights of the evening: https://youtu.be/shkmvo9mjXA
Click here for dance highlights from the evening: https://youtu.be/x7i2LFSRahE
Ambient sound design
Creative Arts East
Special thanks to
Caitlin Whittaker and Jamie Robertson // The Smokehouse
Lea Schiller and Aston Howe // Creative Arts East
Amy Falla // Young Artists in Suffolk
Malachy Luckie // photography
BBC Radio Suffolk and Norfolk
Virtually There Studio