TERRESTRIAL means both ‘relating to the earth’ and ‘an inhabitant of the earth’, so it embraces both a place and the people who live there.
We believe that the towns, terrain and communities of the Avon region of the West of England (made up of the counties of North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, and Bristol) can support an arts ecology that is locally thriving, internationally valued, full of surprises, and open to all.
We believe strongly in the power of co-authorship - in the wonderful things that happen when innovative artists and groups of local people work together to explore creative ideas.
Image: Mark Storor preparing a Donkey Tea Party (photo: Terrestrial).
You could describe TERRESTRIAL's approach as a nomadic 'Town of Culture' for Avon. Each year, in a single town or area, we will commission and produce a range of bold, socially engaged arts projects - which could involve music, dance, storytelling, sculpture, podcasts, games and more. Each project we help to produce will be co-created by an innovative artist or company and an existing local group: a school, a social club, a charity, a group of residents.
We want to provide opportunities for people living in, working in, and visiting the region to create and share extraordinary experiences. We’re particularly keen to collaborate with people outside city centres, with people facing barriers that make it harder for them to access cultural events, and with people who have been led to feel that the arts are ‘not for them’.
We believe that artists are great instigators: they are often brilliant at sniffing out underground stories, asking difficult questions, or getting the party started. We want to support artists to take risks, develop skills and learn from these experiences.
Images: Strolling Artists (photo by Megan Clark-Bagnall); Keynsham Signpost (photo by Priya Mistry); Residency Doodle (by Alison Neighbour).
OUR STORY SO FAR
TERRESTRIAL was founded by Tom Spencer. Tom is a producer and artist based in Bristol. He's previously organised shows and events in pubs, schools, farms, festivals, warehouses, castles, village halls and town centres, across the UK and internationally.
The company began with an extensive research project, through which a team of producers, artists, thinkers and helpers worked with Tom to explore the potential for a new organisation that could support groundbreaking arts projects in the region.
As part of our research, we hosted a series of artist residencies - opportunities for experienced practitioners to explore the region and help us to develop our ideas about how best to work in these unique places. With these artists, we set about meeting a range of local groups: we joined gardening sessions and litter picking walks, coffee mornings and community lunches, craft clubs and sports teams; and we chatted to local councillors and youth workers, small charities and independent businesses. Some of the brilliant artists who helped us on this journey were: Common Wealth, John Norton, Mark Storor, Ben Osborn, Eleanor Shipman, Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari, Priya Mistry, Alison Neighbour, Ania Varez, Clare Reynolds, Daniel Bye and Megan Clark-Bagnall.
As our ambitions have grown, we have developed relationships with funders, local authorities and other strategic investors and champions. If you are interested in supporting TERRESTRIAL's work, please get in touch.
Image: Mapping Weston (photo by Ania Varez).
TERRESTRIAL's first programme will take place in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset's largest coastal town, starting this autumn. With a lively and fast-growing population, loads of brilliant community activity, and an inspiring natural landscape, we believe Weston is the perfect place to launch our work. We are currently planning and fundraising, and hope to announce a range of ways that people can get involved later this summer.
We have established a close partnership with North Somerset Council - who will help us to collaborate with diverse local groups and unlock a variety of exciting spaces across the town.
Image: Panorama by brilliant Weston-based photographer Paul Blakemore.
Below: Ammonites by Eleanor Shipman & Keynsham residency artists.
We will produce a variety of projects in Weston over the course of our year in residence in the town. Over the course of a year, we will bring together artists (composers, choreographers, theatre makers, digital wizards) and local groups (schools, clubs, workplaces, charities) to work together to develop wild ideas for animating the town with creative energy.
Throughout our research we have heard stories of enthusiastic community groups seeking places to gather, and dynamic artists (such as graduating students from Weston College) struggling to find spaces in the town to develop their craft. So we're hoping to secure temporary use of a large building that we can offer as studios to local individuals and groups.
OUR CONTACT DETAILS
If you're an artist interested in working in these ways, if you live or work in the region and fancy getting involved, if you know someone who'd make a brilliant trustee, or if you'd just like to chat about the things we're brewing... please click on the icons below to get in touch.
TERRESTRIAL is a company registered in England and Wales (No. 10851085)