Art Transmission was a radio experiment devised by FrancisKnight, an independent arts organisation in partnership with BRFM and in particular, Daniel Nash: Community Liaison coordinator for BRFM, community catalyst, and artist.
3 micro-commissions were offered to established artists to work with clubs, groups and societies in Sheppey to make new art for the airwaves, or to experience new art that is shared on the airwaves. The three commissioned artists were Jim Whelton, Jane Pitt and Kate Chapman. The three community groups were The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway, Minster Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club and Sheppey Horticultural Society.
Art Transmission was funded by Ideas Test (formerly called Creative People and Places: Swale and Medway), an action research programme designed to find new ways of getting people involved in creativity and the arts. The programme hopes to encourage people to lead creative projects in the areas where they work and live.
FrancisKnight is an independent arts organisation based in Maidstone, Kent. Established in 2004 by Directors Louise Francis and Laura Knight they have a passion and energy for working with artists, commissioning and presenting new work in the public realm
Through the arts they offer positive experiences and new ideas that inspire vibrant communities and places delivering projects in north Kent and across the southeast.
For Art Transmission FrancisKnight managed the project, which included the artist commissions, budget management, marketing and evaluation.
Daniel is an artist, community catalyst and presenter on The Daniel Monday Night Community Show that is aired on BRFM 95.6 every Monday 7-10pm. Since launching his show in November 2006 he has interviewed a wide range of guests with a focus on the arts in Swale.
In his art practice he uses the medium of concrete to produce large scale sculptures, enhancing the surface texture and manipulating the light and shadow that is cast across the surface.
For Art Transmission Daniel has followed the progress of the project through his community radio show, and the Art Transmission blog interviewing the commissioned artists as they developed their work and relationships with each community group.
Simon Martin is a young documentary photographer based in Kent. He recently graduated from Middlesex University with a degree in photography and was shortlisted for Saatchi galleries new sensations award as well as being one of Saatchi onlines best of 2013. His interest lies in capturing British life from the individuals who regularly play bowls in their local club to the competitive world of crazy golf enthusiasts and he is currently following the training of Royal Marine Cadets between the ages of 13-18 years of age.
Simon documented the Art Transmission project and followed all three commissioned artists as they worked with their chosen groups.
Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/110507427@N06/
Jim is an audio artist and sound designer. Over the last 15 years he has produced experimental radio shows and written original scripts for radio stations around the world. His sound and musical pieces have formed part of interactive displays in the Tate Modern, Science Museum, National Horticultural Museum, National Trust of Scotland and most recently for the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.
The Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway
The Stitingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway operates over almost two miles of the original main line from Sittingbourne Viaduct station to Kemsley Down Station and crosses one of the first and longest reinforced concrete viaducts in the world. The line was formerly owned by Bowater papermaking and was used to carry raw materials and finished products between the company’s two mills and Ridham Dock. This steam railway is run entirely by volunteers who work together to keep the service operating and open to the public between April – December each year.
For Art Transmission Jim Whelton, worked with SKLR volunteers and recorded them relaying a wealth of anecdotes and discussing technical details to do with the preserved narrow gauge railway. Jim also made recordings of sounds that can be heard around the railway, such as the throaty growl of diesel engines and the chug of steam locomotives.
His resulting work was called Press Your Ear to the Rail, which consisted of 5 informative, and evocative sound bites that mixed the history of the SKLR and Sittingbourne Paper Mill, which the railway was built to serve, with memories, stories and sound effects.
Jane is a multi- disciplinary artist from a visual and live arts background with a particular focus on sound. She is particularly focused on creating participatory and interactive work for outdoor and non-arts spaces. This direct connection with people produces experiences that are co- created developing ways of engaging with people including the vocalizing method she calls ‘Sounding’.
Minster Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club
Minster Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club is the brainchild of local businessman Terry Dodd. The desire of the club is to provide friendship, respect and achievement for young people on the Isle of Sheppey. Using a state of the art sports venue the club runs programmes for all ages during the week. For Art Transmission Jane worked with the members and supporters of the club to create a sound works that drew out the rhythms, rigors and passion for the sport.
Don’t tickle me… punch! Focused on the timed bouts that reference the rules of amateur boxing. It featured “field sounds” such as feet moving in the ring, boxers using skipping ropes and the shrill of the bell at the start and end of the round as well as vocalised sounds. The three transmissions portray the emotion, tension and excitement as the listener goes through the rounds and lives the bouts.
Kate is a writer, producer and director with twenty years experience working in theatre, radio and the arts. She has worked with Nottingham Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Derby Theatre, Curve in Leicester, Royal and Derngate in Northampton, Talking Birds, Women and Theatre, Kali, New Perspectives and Eastern Angles. She has produced and directed radio drama for BBC Radio 4 and commissioned to create audio journeys in parks and city centre.
The Sheppey Horticultural Society
Sheppey Horticultural Society is a long established society that has been running for over 50 years with a current membership of 220 enthusiasts. They manage two allotment sites on the Isle of Sheppey with a main shop on their Richmond Road site. The shop acts as a social space for members to meet and exchange advice as well as selling essential pots, poles, seed potatoes, and a selection of seeds.
For Art Transmission Kate worked with the members from both sites to create a series of sound pieces from their allotment plots. Plot holders were encouraged to talk about the sounds that they could hear from their plots.
Digging for Sound features a plethora of noises that can be heard at the allotments – the boot on the spade, the wind whispering through the trees, birds chattering, a watering can being filled and the clink of a teaspoon against a mug – interspersed with people talking about their hobby.
Dave Hale, Chairman of the SHS: ‘We were very pleased to take part in the project and for BRFM to get us involved in this; it was something we would never have thought of. When I first mentioned this to the allotmenteers that this would be an art project using sound there were a lot of curious looks and thoughts of what is he talking about! But Kate has worked well with on the two sites and I think we all now see and hear things very differently on our allotment patches’.
‘The sounds were quite remarkable, sounds which we don’t necessarily hear or don’t necessarily listen out for which were being recorded. Separate them out and they become special and all most musical. Kate has capture a rhythmic sound to the allotments’
Garry Thelwell, Head Coach Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club, “ The first time Jane came in the gym we were all a bit sceptical. We didn’t realise the potential of the project. Once Jane started walking about with her microphones and recording equipment we remained dubious. But as time has gone on, she’s fitted in, same as the radio station and the photographer. They are all part of the family, part and parcel of day to day running with the club. The coverage has been brilliant. We couldn’t wait to hear Jane’s broadcast; it’s a great step forward for the club’.
Paul Best, Press Officer for SKLR; ‘We didn’t know what to expect from the project but Jim Whelton was brilliant, he really got involved.’
We were very impressed with the final recordings, it was nice that Jim included voices from SKLR members – I was very surprised that he got the ones he did – even the Chairman who ordinarily never speaks on camera – it was great to hear his voice played our around the yard. The stories had a real humour to them too – we even gave him a membership form at the end.’
Karen Day, Station Manager BRFM: ‘BRFM is very popular on the island as we cover so many subjects and interview so many people. Wherever we go, such as on a road show we take Daniel’s projects with us. Plus people can listen back on his podcasts. The Community Media Association (CMA) have also become more aware of us. They link all community radio stations and promote our work through local networks’.
‘This project was a real partnership between BRFM, the groups, FrancisKnight and the sound artists. Daniel really let the artists take control of the radio, he let their talents come across the airwaves.’
Artists are Jim Whelton Who will be working with The Sittingbourne Kemsley Light Railway, Jane Pitt who will be working with Minster Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club, Kate Chapman who will be working with the Sheppey Horticultural Society, photographer Simon Martin
Radio project consists of
- Contemporary Arts Practice FrancisKnight
- Community Catalyst Daniel
- BRFM Bridge Radio
- Daniel Monday night
It is funded by Ideas Test (Creative People & Places: Swale & Medway), which is an Arts Council Programme designed to get more people engaged in the Arts.
For more information on Art Transmission go to