Photo by Jess Holdengarde
Dreamlands (2021-23) was a cross-disciplinary body of work that weaves together different images, objects and ideas arising in collaboration and conversation with people in the Southside of Glasgow. The project explored how the act of sharing our dreams might create possibilities for new thought about how we organise and occupy space in our shared waking world. Dreamlands was body of work undertaken as Govanhill Baths Culture Collective Artist in Residence, interpreting the theme of 'OCCUPY!' through socially engaged artistic practice.
The project centred two group strands - the dreamlands pottery (a collective of women* from global majority*** backgrounds exploring themes of dreaming through working with clay), and in walking together we make the path (a monthly social dreaming workshop open to people of marginalised genders**) - alongside public facing events, publications, screenings and installations.
Photos by Jess Holdengarde (left) and Erika Stevenson (middle and right)
the dreamlands pottery
A group of eight women* from global majority backgrounds** met fortnightly over 2022 to use clay as a means to think about dreams and talismans. We came together in different combinations - as work, school holidays, illness and life’s various chores and crises allowed - and slowly over the months we coiled, carved, extruded, poured, buffed and glazed a body of collaborative work. We talked about letting the clay lead and about intuitive, sensory, collective making. We reflected on the ways in which vessels can carry stories. We thought about special symbols and charmed objects. We shared the occasional dream. The transformative processes of working with ceramics together yielded unexpected results: some objects came out from their final firings shimmering; others cracked or warped, their glazes running to fuse pot shard to kiln shelf. The outcomes of our year of pottering remind us that clay, like life, often overtakes the plans we impose on it. These images document the series of totemic objects that emerged from the dreamlands pottery.
The Dreamlands potters were Syeda Sadaf Anwar, Hanaa Ahmad, Lottie Brand, Nina Candido, Lydia Gitamvu, Mina Heydari-Waite, Shanaz Miah and Yas Rahemtulla.
in walking together we make the path
A collective of voices weave together a sensorial soundscape, using fragments drawn from a series of social dreaming workshops open to people of marginalised genders** in the Southside of Glasgow. We gathered together on Tuesday nights in a different community space, our voices blending to create a shared, constellated dream. Social dreaming is a reflective practice in which people share their dreams and associated thoughts, layering a collaborative collage of images, ideas, cultural references and feelings. At the heart of this work is the idea that, through sharing our dreams, we can create possibilities for new thought about our shared social contexts. If dreaming can help us to think through some of the ‘unthinkably’ difficult struggles of our socio-political contexts (Sharon Sliwinski, 2017), how might our individual dreams manifest if we treat them as contributions to a shared imagining of the world?
The Autumn Winter 2022-23 dreamers include Charlotte Bickley, Lisa Bradley, Fibi Cowley, Fi Halliday, Kirstin Halliday, Mina Heydari-Waite, Ane Lopez, Molly Mae Whawell, Sarah Martin, Erica Monde, Mindy Ptolomey, Johanna Saunderson, Catherine Somerville, Muna Sultan, Lucy Watkins and Sam Wood.
The SS22 dreamers included Lisa Bradley, Fibi Cowley, Kirstin Halliday, Mina Heydari-Waite, Ane Lopez, Martyna Maz, Anna Porubcansky, Mindy Ptolomey, Connie Arya Rose, Erika Stevenson, Muna Sultan and Molly Mae Whawell.
The sound pieces were created by Mina Heydari-Waite, alongside producer Ane Lopez and sound designer William Aikman.
The seasonal Dreamlands publication considers how attending to our dream-life can operate as a form of social and political action.
Autumn Winter 2022 - 2023
Photo by Jess Holdengarde, publication design by Pheobe Kerr.
The second edition of the seasonal Dreamlands publication, features collaborative ceramic works and a soundpiece made through community workshops in Glasgow’s Southside over Autumn and Winter 2022-23. It also includes we dive, we float, we drift, we are swept away and under…, an essay reflecting on a year of community dream sharing, linking the recurring images of water voiced by the dreamers to the notion of ‘oceanic feeling’ and its political implications. Read it here.
Spring Summer 2022
Photo by Erika Stevenson, publication design by Pheobe Kerr.
The first edition of the Dreamlands publication featured an essay introducing the project (Collective Dreaming and Emergent Futures), the first iteration of the in walking together we make the path soundscape and a number of other sound works exploring dream states from Ros Fraser, Sofia Saldanha, Nyokabi Kariũki and Jiří Slavičínský. Read it here.
Dreamlands: An Exhibition was an installation of collaborative ceramic works and the secound installment of a sensory sound piece made in Dreamlands workshops. The exhibition opened at 20 Albert Road, Glasgow in March 2023, and also launched the secound edition of the Dreamlands publication.
the audio cinema
Dreamlands: The Audio Cinema was a sharing of immersive sound pieces and audio stories exploring the potential of dream states. Devised by myself and fellow Artist in Residence Ros Fraser, it took place at KIOSK, Glasgow in August 2022 as part of Govanhill International Festival.
*my use of the word women is inclusive of cis, trans and intersex women.
**my use of the phrase marginalised genders includes transgender women, cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and other gender identities that have been systematically oppressed by those in power, both historically and in the present.
***global majority is a collective term that refers to people who are Black, Asian, Brown, mixed-heritage and/or indigenous to the global south.