Heather Connelly                                                      homepage   about   current   projects  exhibitions  research  contact 
International Projects

Incubate project menu

CoLab was set up between 2006-2007 by Heather Connelly, Jo Dacombe and Jayne Murray. A temporary partnership exploring the potential of responsive projects in the public realm; our intention was to work collaboratively and directly with the people and places we were invited to.

Project Background

CoLab applied to NAN for a New Collaborations Award in order to test out our practice, and were successful in gaining a small grant for our research and development project 'A Site of Insignificance'. David Nigel LLoyd - Arts Officer for Arts Council County Kern responded offering us a selection of sites/places to work. We decided to take up this offer applied for an Arts Council Grant (ACE West Midlands) to spend a month working in Kern County. After much deliberation we decide to work in Weedpatch - not exactly 'insignificant' but it appeared, on paper, that the community had been involved in the decision making process.

Weedpatch entered the cultural history of the United States when John Steinbeck went there to write a story for Look Magazine during the Great Depression. He decided to end his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, there in the Arvin Migrant Work Camp which he renamed Weedpatch Camp.

Our aim was to undertake a period of research, followed by response and experimentation, resulting in temporary site-specific interventions - engaging the population through cultural exchange.

        Weedpatch Highway 2006

Meanings Significado
Work made in response to our time in Weedpatch. Comprising of a CD, conceptual CD cover and visual text based piece. The soundwork features fragments of the 22 stories that were recorded as part of our story recording service, each translated into Mixteco, Spanish and English.
The stories were told by: Maria Mares, Dalia Villalon Jeanette Dhaliwal, Wade Meinke, Emma Worley, Pamela Worley, Barbara Worley, Julio Hernandez Cruz, Maria Cruz Sanchez, Mr. & Mrs. Bobadilla, Marco Antonio Garcia Vega, Cruz Ramos, Victoria and Domingo Medina, Juan Lopez, Earl Shelton, Mattaeo Velazco, Josefina Rojas, and Evonne Dunlap. Stories were recorded in Spanish, English and Mixteco and translated by Rosa Lopez, Hector Hernandez, Guillermina Sanchez, Patti Ramirez, Cruz Ramos and Roberto Escudero.

Translating Weedpatch
Is a collective narrarative, edited and woven together by Heather Connelly from the English stories and translations collected whilst in Weedpatch. Weedpatch slowly emerges as fragments of stories, tales and memories merge and collide. A sample of which can be heard here.

  Listen to sound sample

Locating a temporary common space: cultural exchanges in Weedpatch
CoLab commissioned Gillian Whiteley to write an essay about the project, which has been published in Artistic Bedfellows: Histories and Conversations in Collaborative Art Practices :University Press of America Inc. an anthology of Essays about Collaboration edited by Holly Crawford 2007 and can be down loaded here.

PDF Download 7mb

Essay by Gillian Whiteley

Dissemination Events in the UK

Each member of CoLab developed their own responses to their experience of being in the USA for dissemination events in the UK. The work and the project was discussed at the following events: Making the Connections: arts, migration and diaspora regional network seminar in Grantham, 'Interchange: Cultural Exchanges in the Public Realm' an exhibition and events during Architecture Week 2007 at the Depot, Leicester and 'From Weedpatch, California - to Rowley Regis, West Midlands' with Longhouse (http://www.longhouse.uk.com/longhouse/translating-weedpatch)