Our journey from teenagers to artists began at the City Gallery in Leicester. It was our meeting place and our pathway into the arts. Having come from completely different backgrounds, we met as fellow members of the Youth Panel and over the years worked alongside each other facilitating workshops at galleries, museums and festivals across the city.
Watching the doors close on the City Gallery and the repercussions of funding cuts to the arts was a devastating time for us. The opportunities and role models that gallery education had allowed us to have access to not only helped us to shape our understanding of the arts and core values as artists, they allowed us to develop valuable life skills and become engaged citizens within society.
This experience became one of our main sources of motivation for initiating our own collaborative project Untitled Play. At first, we began to meet on a regular basis; battling out our frustrations, sharing memories and discussing our dreams. Over the months our interests turned into actions and we began to develop a manifesto for our work.
Our first project came into fruition when we were commissioned to produce the Generation ART Talk, Tour & Do workshops at the New Walk Museum and Soft Touch Arts in Leicester. This was a great moment for us as it allowed us to take the next steps in our careers; to be recognized as artists, and to begin our body of research into arts engagement and education.
The six workshops that we produced really fed back into our vision for Untitled Play. Our role as artists developed rapidly in response to the children and their engagement with our activities. We reflected on what was and wasn’t working, the moments that took us by surprise, and the needs of the children that were becoming apparent in each session.
We realised that the children were becoming the driving force of our work and the only way to empower them was to treat them as our peers.
We will continue to build on these observations and experiences in our future work.
This is the Untitled Play Manifesto:
UNTITLED PLAY is an ongoing participatory research project led by artists Hannah Pillai and Gina Mollett.
To deliver alternative and accessible pathways into arts engagement.
To transform public & gallery spaces into evolving, interactive art installations.
To invite audiences to collaborate and be the driving force of our work.
To use playful processes and readily available materials to build, make & display.