Art festival will breathe new life into Doncaster’s cultural community

A three day festival will bring music, art and discussion to Doncaster - with hopes to challenge what art can be in the town.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 6:17 pm

Artbomb is an open arts festival which will spread across public space and spill out onto the street.

The three day event is engineered through the collaborative efforts of Doncaster Creates, The New Fringe and Truetone.

August Charles, co-organiser and founder of Truetone said: “As an artist and experimenter, Artbomb feels like the event we have all been waiting for within Doncaster.

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Artists Sarah Smith will be part of the Birdsong exhibition.

“A chance to step outside of our familiar bedroom walls and mingle with fellow creatives in the community.”

The centre of the festival will be the Unitarian Church on Hallgate.

Artbomb aims to spark discussion, challenge ideas and foster a new sense of curiosity.

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Art by Sarah Smith.

It will be a unique experience for people to step out of their homes where they have stayed during most of the pandemic and experience the urban art realm.

There will be experimental performance, installations, music, film screenings, workshops and much more.

With a focus on a new generation of diverse creative practitioners, Artbomb will also foster the growth of emerging creative producers and students by providing live mentorship and talent development through live production, festival management and public engagement.

Opening day, August 5, will see an exhibition in the Unitarian Church named Birdsong.

Art in the Birdsong exhibition.

It will feature works by 14 local artists.

The exhibition is named Birdsong as that sound represents what people heard during lockdown: the absence of the usual hustle bustle sounds emitting from humans, with the replacement of birdsong.

The worlds explore the impact of Covid-19 interpreted by the artists.

Sarah Smith is one of the artists involved.

Art in the Birdsong exhibition.

She has created a zine especially for the exhibition.

Her work focuses around the topic of radical care.

Sarah, 33, from Adwick, said: “As an artist I always hoped Doncaster would have something like this.

“I’ve lived here 33 years and we have never had anything like it.

“There are some big important people in the art world coming to Doncaster for the first time and we have the opportunity to have some really interesting talks and discussions on large ideas in the art world.

“It’s going to bring an energy to Doncaster that we have been missing for a long time.”

Art in the Birdsong exhibition.

Sarah has teamed up with Elica Agar who has created a piece based on education and how it can be improved - she will be handing out specially designed lesson packs that have a real world use.

Other artists include: Sarah Villeneau, Mandy Keating, James Lockey, Ian Byatt, Sacha Gray, Vicky Morris, Raj Madaan, Angela Robson, Amelia Londsdale, Les Monaghan, Natasha Clarke, Sarah Smizz and Warren Draper.

On August 6 there will be a one day forum named Public Art to Street Art.

It will consist of feature presentations, workshops and round table discussions - once again held at the Unitarian Church.

It is an event for artists, curators, urbanists, and writers to challenge how they think about art in the public realm.

Speakers include Tamsin Dillon, Laurie Peake, Lorna Collins, Yola, Natasha Clark, Sophie Emst and Matthew Rosier.

They will discuss creative connections, social agency, effective responses and the relevance of contemporary urban interventions to form a critical understanding of people and place.

Another interesting topic is that of high street collapse and how it creates new opportunities for urban space.

Interwoven into the forum is Parallel State, a collaboration with Olivia Jones and Doncopolitan who have invited a number of people to respond to the question ‘what does a northern town look like in a parallel state?’

They will discuss what Doncaster would be like in different scenarios.

Olivia Jones said: “After so much pandemic postponement, is this the moment for Doncaster creative to galvanise and provoke some new approaches?”

There will be many performances during the festival including a live event at The Leopard on August 7.

The event will have a variety of artists immersed and performing within the crowd, producing a culture clash of music and exploring sound in different formats.

Musical guests will include Paul Parlyb Brown, Tim Cook, Simmeon Naphtali, Jordan The Ego and GSD.

Mike Stubbs, artistic director of Doncaster Creates, said: “Artbomb is a festival in the making, a festival on the cusp of a return to ‘normal’ life, and in itself as we put a foot in the water to test what doing things in public feels like.

“The adaptation of humanity to major changes makes us ask questions about how we interact, share space to meet and how we come together to create our own entertainment.

“We are in the eye of that storm, and during Artbomb a group of committed collaborators will turn the idea of a festival into a reality.

“Personally as the lead organiser, there is a responsibility to demonstrate ‘doing something’ and enacting the possibility of new forms of art making.

“This is informed by a lifetime as an artist and curator, and the confidence built up over time as the founder of other international festivals and organisations, which of course also require hard graft on administration, marketing and health and safety.

“Trusting younger people to take the lead has been essential and suggestive of how we can all contribute to our experience of the world.

“I hope that a new homegrown festival not only provides a platform for developing future local talent.

“Not only for artists but for organisers and curators to try things out in the real world and help further to put Doncaster on the map with new thinking and cutting edge art, building on a cultural renaissance with other creative initiatives.”

During Artbomb there will be a series of film screenings where filmmakers investigate the topics of cultural identity, perceptions of race and colonialism.

Colours is an event which will be held in Doncaster’s Market place on August 6.The Corn Exchange building will host nine artists selected by GSD.

Visitors will find digital animation, videography, mixed media, photography and illustration which will fill the mezzanine.ArtBomb is funded by The Arts Council North and DCLT, and in partnership with The Point, Right Up Our Street, Art of Protest Projects, Doncaster College, D31 Gallery, Doncopolitan, CAST and Pride.For more information and to book tickets to events click here.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.