Laura was commissioned by EMP Projects for a two-week artist residency in Newport in April / May 2015 to engage with the wider public through art and dialogue the contemporary relevance of the Chartist movement in today’s society. Using The Project Space as a base, she organised up pop up events at the Cwtsh, a resident run community space, and at Newport Museum & Art Gallery for passers-by to share their thoughts on the Chartist legacy.

Based on Professor Chris Williams’ work on how the central values of the Chartist Movement may be expressed for the twenty-first century, Laura encouraged the public to discuss:

  • Democracy – a political system that reflects the views and interests of the people
  • Equality – of all both in terms of political rights and of opportunities
  • Dignity – respect for all forms of labour
  • Participation – the idea that all have an opportunity and an obligation to contribute to debating the present and future of society
  • Community – that social and moral values can be understood best in a common, collective context
  • Co-operation – that much more can be achieved by working together across boundaries than by remaining isolated
  • Vision – a future that is worth championing and that offers positive hope for all

In order to pull together different viewpoints and complex connections Laura illustrated a documentary comic booklet in a nod towards cartoons as tools for political commentary. The comic included some historical context, viewpoints on voting, democracy, and the local Newport spirit. The work was exhibited at The Project Space and shared widely on social media, and the findings contributed towards a report to the Chartist Commission.

Background

‘Celebrating Chartism’ is an arts / social engagement plan that was presented to the Newport Chartist Commission in May 2015, with a view to presenting an event in November 2015 and beyond. The Chartist Commission is an independent panel set up to consider new ways in which Chartism can be celebrated through in a forward-looking and meaningful way; by incorporating its legacy with that of Newport as the home of democracy.

  • Laura was booked by the Wales Deanery to make a graphic recording of our MedTRiM Course for doctors. She captured both the main learning outcomes of the course and the essence of the learning activities incredibly well. What she produced was so good we now use it on all MedTRiM Courses to set the scene for the day.

    Andy McCann, DNA Definitive

  • Laura was a pleasure to work with, both flexible and accommodating for our specific needs. The final piece produced on the day was of exceptional quality and I highly recommend her.

    Chris Formosa, Strategic HR Project Manager at City of London

  • Laura’s unique work created an extremely exciting, vivid and innovative artwork that Chapter continues to profile through its marketing and promotional material.

    Hannah Firth – Head of Visual and Live Arts, Chapter

  • She turned our research into a creative and effective set of scenarios. We would recommend anyone who wants to make their research come alive to work with Laura.

    Noel Hatch – Co-Chair, Transeuropa Cooperative

  • The work done by Laura was invaluable in helping others to understanding the innovation model clearly, and in a lively way that inspired and engaged people. Laura was very effective in clarifying the brief and making helpful suggestions to improve the final product.

    Ian Graham, Head of Innovation, City of York Council