We Are Dreamers

We Are Dreamers

We Are Dreamers was an ambitious project which gave Arc the opportunity to work with more people in Stockport than ever before. Delivering in schools, neighbourhood settings and town centre spaces such as Hat Works, we gained a wider profile and reach. We employed a range of artists and developed new partnerships with community and cultural groups across the Borough. Arc consolidated its working relationship with SMBC, establishing itself as a respected and trustworthy partner in the design and delivery of high impact, high quality arts projects.

Making a DreamBox resonated with people of all ages. It was an accessible, easy and creative way to engage with a difficult history, and inspired a wide range of responses. Arc deliberately gave minimal guidelines to participants regarding their DreamBox, encouraging them to use their imagination and respond in whatever form they saw fit – textiles, mixed media, sculpture,  painting, animation, ceramics, and mosaic.

So, what does Stockport dream of?

Dreams ranged from those as simple as a child wishing to live under a rainbow, to those which outlined larger aims of world peace, prosperity and sustainability. The eclectic mix of styles, artforms and themes in the final installation express the highly inclusive nature of this project. Children as young as 4 contributed and groups such as Brinnington Family Art Attack made inter-generational pieces, where children worked with parents and grandparents to create their DreamBox

We Are Dreamers inspired not only a massive number of Stockport residents but also Stockport creatives. It promoted cultural networking, brought Stockport to the attention of organisations and individuals outside the town, and firmly established Stockport as a place that is capable of commissioning and designing unique events which are widely admired; a great place to make art, to make a powerful statement and to make something beautiful.

Curating the dreams

The scale of the proposed installation, with a large number of artists and community participants, required an overall curator who could create a cohesive and professionally designed space.

For this Arc brought in acclaimed theatre designer Richard Foxton to design, curate and install the We Are Dreamers installation. Richard created a design which took inspiration from other war memorials, using a repetitive and uniform grid layout, allowing each contribution to have a place of its own, while still creating a cohesive installation.

He took on an active role throughout the creative process – lending support to the artists and community groups, and offering guidance to participants to enable them to develop their own unique DreamBox designs and ideas.

Sharing the dreams

We Are Dreamers was on display at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery between the 11th November 2018 and 9th February 2019.

This fabulous piece of work had a total audience of over 5,600 people.

I went down the route of finding someone who interested me and concentrated on his life, not so much his war experience. So I enjoyed learning more about Compstall village, a place I often visit because of Etherow Park and used the fact that he was a weaver in my display as I am enjoying learning to weave.”  Kath Walls, Volunteer Artist.

“ Researching my particular soldier, Robert Leigh Redfern, gave me a much deeper appreciation of the reality of the situation that young men found themselves in, in 1914. It gave me a huge amount of respect for their sense of honour and duty to their country and of the sacrifice they made. Spending so much time considering what Robert Leigh’s hopes, dreams and aspirations might have been has left me with a long lasting feeling of connection with him and I feel myself still thinking of him all these months later.”  Jane Kocar, Volunteer Artist.

“ I was interested in the notion of representing the people behind the names on a memorial, to show that they were not just faceless soldiers but were living, breathing people with dreams and aspirations too.”  Mandy, Volunteer Artist.

Click here to download a PDF report to read more about this exciting and innovative project.

Thanks & Acknowledgements

Richard Foxton   Jodie Silverman   Sharon Campbell   Kirsty Gbasai   Julie Mosley  Mandy Beck‑McKim   Nerissa Cargill   Thompson   Mia Nisbet   Glynn Rowan   Scott Jason Taylor  David Milligan  Croft Yvonne Noworyta Kirsty   Higgins   Sandra Evans   Jane Kocar   Jane Hughes  Kath Tindale   Michelle Bostock   Mandy Barret   Molly Graham   Kath Walls   Anita Draper  Tim Rogers   Alison McKnight   Lisa Bowyer   Danny Bentley   Jayne Fallows   Susan Diskin  Jessica Wheeler   Suzie Parry   Dawn Pickin   Mark Coffey  Rachel Dakin   Mike Cummins  Lucie Fitzpatrick

Arc Arts for Wellbeing Programme      Just for Mums Creative Writing @ Arc     Stockport Women’s Centre
Stockport for Peace Pure Studios     Brinnington Community Arts Group     Family Art Attack Stockport for Peace     Voice for the Voiceless      Broadstone Hall Primary School      St. Mary’s Primary School      Cheadle Hulme High School      Hursthead Primary School      Didsbury Road Primary School

Thanks to the Staff of Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery. And a huge thank you to those members of the public who came to We Are Dreamers workshops at Arc and Hatworks, and to all the community groups, schools, colleges and individuals who contributed DreamBoxes to the exhibition.