www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Runway 2015

Runway 2015

Runway’s Walk for Women

Join Runway artists for this year’s International Women’s Day walk to Bexhill. Meet on the sea front on Sunday 11 March at 10.30am to the west of Azur and stop for photographs on the way to Bexhill. Particpants are invited to wear dark clothing and bring some money to donate to the local Women’s Refuge. This is a participatory walk that encourges people to come together to explore the local area, take part in an art project and raise money for our local Women’s Refuge. HOT speaks to co-founder of Runway – artists without studios, Sharon Haward.

What was the catalyst for this initiative? 

This initiative was started by Roz Cran and myself in 2010 in response to the invisibility of Anthony Gormley’s exhibtion ‘Critical Mass’ at the De La Warr Pavilion. The exhibition was on the roof of the DLWP and we had thought the figures would be visible from the beach/road etc but they were all curled up on the roof so you couldn’t see them unless you paid to go in!

How did ‘Critical Mass’ lead to ‘Critical Mess’? 

We wanted to do something that was a counterpoint to ‘Critical Mass’ (hard, sculpture, cast bodies, male figures, in an institution: we love the DLWP and what they do, but wanted to create something nearby that was more inclusive). Gormley’s work was on display at the time of Coastal Currents, so Runway artists decided to stage ‘Critical Mess’ by meeting once a week for a month, on the beach in front of the DLWP, every Saturday afternoon for an hour. We stood on the beach at an agreed time, standing, sitting, lying and people came and joined us.

‘Critical Mess’, then, presented an opportunity for anyone to take part in something that was accessible, open-ended and ‘live art’. We took photographs of the group and sold the photos back to the particpants for a small fee £3 or similar.

Runway Bexhill

Runway Bexhill

What were your aims for this initiative?

Our main aim was to create something that was time based, temporary and could be achieved during Coastal Currents. Although we are aware of various similar projects that do highlight women’s issues, we started the walks for International Women’s Day as a way of combining the desire to raise funds for Women’s Refuges, which had been suffering funding cuts for some time (and continue to do so) and an open ended art project. Some of the ideas informing Runway stem from Feminist art from the 70’s by artists like Suzanne Lacey, Leslie Labowicz and Guerilla Girls.

What response have you had from observers? Passers by? Have people joined in?

Yes people are encouraged to join in. The standing pieces are usually advertised on Facebook and through our mailing list; we never know who’s going to turn up. Participants are asked to wear darkish clothes (makes the photographs more about the nature of the group rather than individuals) and to stand still from 10 minutes to an hour. The walks are different in that we walk and then stop for 10 mins to pose and contemplate the spot where we stop, take photographs and then move on. They are more social as people talk and make friends en route.

Runway Folkstone

Runway Folkstone

Is The International Women’s Day walk for women only?

No, everyone is welcome: children, men, dogs, etc – and we ask that if they want to make a contribution the best way is to bring a £5 or £10 (so we don’t have to deal with change) then Roz can put it straight into the bank and transfer to the Refuge.

Have you been involved in other events?

Since then Roz and I have staged group walks and standing performances at Whitstable Biennale, Folkestone Triennial, Art in Romney Marsh and on International Women’s Day, we have made walks to Rye Creative Centre and De La Warr Pavilion. Our aim is to stage small disruptions in a variety of outdoor locations, record each stage and present particpants with a photographic record of the walk or standing event.

Walk for Women: Everyone is welcome to come along and take part, meet new people, chat as you walk and bring £5 or £10 to support the local Women’s Refuge.

If you can’t make the walk, but want to make a donation, here is the link: Refuge.

Posted 05:49 Saturday, Mar 3, 2018 In: Arts News

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

Leave a comment

Also in: Arts News

  • Join our mailing list

  • HOT Social