ARC Stockton and The Albany announce five new artists as part of radical new model

Headshots of artists Lizzie Lovejoy and Symoné

ARC Stockton and The Albany announce five new artists as part of radical new model transforming the role of 21st century arts centres

The appointments are part of Artists of Change, which bridges the gap between artists, venues and communities and puts people in Stockton on Tees and South East London at the centre of decision-making.

ARC and The Albany today announce five new artists that will work with people local to each venue over the next twelve months, creating art that responds directly to their needs, interests and tastes. The appointments are part of each arts centre’s biggest commitment to handing power directly over to their communities, whilst removing the traditional ‘top down’ programming model and democratising the way each organisation is run.

ARC is looking forward to working with Lizzie Lovejoy and Symoné.

Lizzie Lovejoy is a Northern creative practitioner whose work focuses on concepts of community, heritage and cultural identity. Making use of a variety of mediums, Lizzie has developed illustrations, animations, written poetry and spoken word works for a range of different projects.

Their primary goal is to learn, share and celebrate local communities’ stories and experiences, while working as a story teller, reportage artist and creative researcher. Having chosen to remain in the North, Lizzie runs workshops and continues to document her local environment both in image and text on a daily basis.

Symoné is a multidisciplinary circus and performance artist. Her work shifts between cabaret, club and theatre work, using and fusing her movement based skills, such as high heel roller skates with hula hoops, pole dance, and voguing.

Thematically in some of her work, Symoné explores human consciousness, queerness, underground parties, and celebration/ritual.

She has travelled internationally working in 10 different countries with clients such as La Soirée, Jon Hopkins, Machel Montano, Omi, Paul and Paul Smith. She has had editorial features in Time Out, Instagram, QX Magazine, Diva and The Stage.

Symoné has previously worked as resident artist with The Roundhouse in London, Fierce Festival FWD programme and is currently a resident of Black Hold Club.

Artists appointed by the Albany are all resident in South East London and include the actor, writer and director Ryan Calais Cameron, award-winning cross arts collective Initiative.dkf, run by Artistic Director DK Fashola and Creative Producer Wofai, and actor, writer and theatre maker Angela Clerkin.

Each artist was recruited via an open call in the summer and chosen by a panel actively engaged with each venue. Working to an open brief they will curate, create or lead activity in collaboration with the community in Stockton and Deptford. The announcement follows a significant shift in the way both venues operate in recent years which has already seen an increase in community-centred models of making art. These include projects such as: Pizza and Pitches, which invites local people to submit their own creative ideas for funding at both venues; and the Here and Now project, a Future Arts Centres initiative led by the two venues, where communities co-create work to reflect their local areas in 40 arts centres across the country.

Lizzie’s role at ARC is part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programme, which supports people from low socio-economic backgrounds. Artists of Change is part-funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation at the Albany.

ARC’s Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Annabel Turpin, said:

‘We know that we need to find new ways of working if we are to change who gets to make and experience arts and culture. We are excited to be employing two artists entirely new to ARC, to work with us and our communities over the next year. We are open to change and want to learn, so hope this will prove to be another way of giving artists and communities a bigger stake in our organisations.’

Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Albany, Gavin Barlow said:

‘We were bowled over by the wealth of ideas and creativity that we saw in response to our call out, that although we had originally intended to appoint two artists, we had to have three! With the world changing so rapidly, now feels like the right time to try out new ways of working and let artists and our communities tell us what they want from us and what matters to them.’

Creative practitioner, Lizzie Lovejoy said:

‘I am so proud to have this opportunity to work as an Artist of Change with ARC, as a working class creative who has spent their entire life in the North East, I am really excited to be able to interact with the local community and with other artists in engaging and visually interesting projects.’

Circus and performance artist, Symoné said:

‘I’m really looking forward to working alongside ARC Stockton as an Artist of Change to explore and challenge some of the practices within the arts with a real focus to help artists to grow.’