What’s On Your Mind? is an exciting new project designed to reflect the hopes and concerns of local people in Stockton on Tees.

The project, launched by ARC and made possible thanks to grant funding from Arts Council England, will see fourteen artists create new pieces of work in response to themes important to local communities. The form each piece will take is up to the individual artists, but they will all be made available to audiences digitally, whether that’s a video, online exhibition, streamed live performance, or an interactive piece.

The consultation process is already underway to find out what’s on the minds of Stockton residents, and themes around how the town is changing, and whether people feel welcome and safe, are beginning to come out of those conversations.

Two new pieces of work will be released each week between Tuesday 19th October and Friday 3rd December, and will be available to watch free of charge via ARC’s website and social media channels. More information about the artists and individual pieces of work will be released in the coming weeks.

Paula Clark, Creative Director for What’s On Your Mind? has been appointed to lead the project and as well as facilitating conversations with the local community groups will identify artists to respond to the concerns and thoughts that come out of those conversations.

Paula says, “So often people feel that their opinions don’t matter and are not cared for especially people who already are marginalised. WOYM is a really lovely project that is all about having conversations and actually listening. ARC want to know to how people feel right now coming out of the pandemic, what feels urgent to them, what are their fears but also hopes and dreams for the future. It’s so exciting to work for an arts organisation who want to have that dialogue at the core of the work. I am absolutely delighted to be a part of it.”

To build a full picture of what the important questions are to people in Stockton right now What’s On Your Mind? will put that exact question to a number of communities ARC works with regularly including disabled people, care-experienced children and young people, LGBTQIA+ people, and refugees and asylum seekers among others.

During the pandemic, ARC was forced to close and adapted to creating more digital work, and has continued to make much of its programme available digitally after reopening its building. They plan to make use of the experience gained during this time to help artists create and share their work through digital mediums.

ARC’s aim is for What’s On Your Mind? to further its work in giving local audiences a say in the work it makes, and ensuring it continues to speak to and reflect what’s important to its communities.

Annabel Turpin, ARC’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director says, “Although we’ve continued to offer events and activities throughout the pandemic, our building was closed for many months and so this feels the perfect time to carry out a major listening exercise. This isn’t just about listening to local people though, it’s about using the creative skills of artists and the new digital platforms we have developed to make their views heard. We’re delighted to have Paula on board to lead the programme, and can’t wait to see what artists create.”

Up to date information about What’s On Your Mind? and ARC’s other work can be found via their website and social media channels:

www.arconline.co.uk

Twitter: @arcstockton

Facebook: @ARCStocktonArtsCentre

Instagram: @arc_stockton 

or by calling the Box Office on 01642 525199.