Jodie is Artistic Director for SpareParts and the Creative Producer for Transported, Fleetwood,
TRANSPORTED: A Reflection from Fleetwood on Loss, gains and intentions
Living through a global pandemic has meant a lot of change for people across society. What that has looked and felt like is different for each of us. When you speak with most people, their experience has not been static, nor one note. However, broad themes that have emerged have largely focused on three areas; the losses that people have experienced, the benefits or advances that some have gained, and, the hopes and intentions that people wish to carry forward for themselves, their families, communities or the environment.
Following so much isolation, TRANSPORTED creates a collective event and opportunity for people to gather safely together, whilst giving time and space for people to explore and reflect upon the diverse lived-experiences of others from their community.
Background to TRANSPORTED
SpareParts was born and bred in Fleetwood in 2014. Originally it was a partnership project between the Creative Project and People’s programme based in nearby Blackpool, LeftCoast, and Fleetwood Festival of Transport (FFoT). The idea was to introduce outdoor arts and performance to a hugely popular annual event called Tram Sunday. Tram Sunday is a longstanding transport and heritage festival organised by FFoT, a lively and committed volunteer group in the town. The event regularly attracts 50-60k people and was therefore a great platform to reach audiences who did not usually attend professional arts venues and festivals. Many years later and SpareParts has developed into a project team of Freelance Creatives, run out of FFoT, whose work extends into four other locations across the North West and is funded through ACE and our associated partners.
Understandably, FFoT did not feel able to run their festival in 2021; the risk being too great to organise an event that has the ability to attract so many people to the streets of Fleetwood. Instead, I was challenged to consider how we might create something artistically striking and pertinent for, and with, the communities of Fleetwood and Wyre, whilst maintaining a connection to our transport-related roots, respecting the societal and personal shifts that have occurred and ensuring public safety.
A reflection from Fleetwood in three parts:
The response is TRANSPORTED; a programme of three artworks that safety enables audiences to gather outdoors to share, to listen and to reflect on their recent individual and collective experiences. TRANSPORTED features In Memoriam by Luke Jerram, a newly commissioned sound artwork incorporating reflections from local residents by Ant Davey and a community installation piece called Flag-Up.
The artwork and activity will map across two magnificent areas at the sea front; Marine Hall Gardens and the newly restored iconic Mount opposite; all set against the dazzling Irish Sea as an ever-changing back-drop.
Opening and Closing – a daily rite of passage
To open our daily activity, we will begin at 11am and close at 4pm with a gesture that connects to our origins; connecting arts programming with transport festivals.
Parades have always been a key feature at Tram Sunday. While it isn’t possible to have a large-scale community and vehicle parade this year, each day will be bookended with a small rite of passage and miniature parade to open and close TRANSPORTED.
Each morning, a community member carrying a red flag, will circle The Marine Hall Gardens, to plant a billowing red flag and officially open TRANSPORTED for the day. The flag carrier will be followed by the extraordinary LeftCoast Save our Stories vehicle. Then at 4pm the act will be repeated, but this time retracting the flag and thereby closing TRANSPORTED for the day (although In Memorium will remain fully accessible to the public).
For those knowledgeable in transport history, you will already note the heritage connection. The red flag is a reference to a law enacted in the late 19th century, which required drivers of early automobiles to take certain safety precautions, including waving a red flag in front of vehicles as they travelled.
Whatever losses, gains and intentions the past year has meant to our visitors, we hope to create a memorable event that enables space to safely gather with others, reflect on individual journeys, hear reflections from others in their community and take a moment to look up, look out and be momentarily… TRANSPORTED.