A group of disabled and chronically ill people came together to learn fire-making skills and find in this process new ways of speaking about how to build accessible and welcoming spaces. Everyone who took part in the project received a fire-making kit, including kindling, paper, charcoal, instructions on fire building and prompts to spark thinking through fire. Responses were shared in a multitude of different ways, including as letters through the post, videos and audio recording via email. The project culminated with an in person fire-side gathering on a wintery December evening. We ate soup together and took turns to burn drawings, writings, reflections and thoughts in the fire. The ash from this fire was collected to glaze a ceramic vessel in the hope that it will be used to hold the ashes of future fire-side discussions amongst arts organisations and audiences.
Artist quote: “Continuously coming back to fire-making was a really helpful way to think through how we tend our relationships with each other and how to ensure the project reacted to the different ways that the group were able to take part. It was about listening, observing and providing what was needed to keep the conversations burning. There were so many beautiful ideas shared within the group and we’re incredibly thankful for the generosity of everyone who took part and supported the project.”
Building Warmth team: Artist, Lily Lavorato and Project Assistant, Carys Fieldson.
Partner Organisation: East Street Arts
This project is one of six commissions as part of AHRC funded project SAFEDI (Social Art for Equality Diversity and Inclusion). SAFEDI is an AHRC fellowship led by Manchester Metropolitan University, Social Art Network, & Axis, working with social artists, marginalised communities and policy makers around the UK to rethink what inclusion in the arts means.
Close-up photograph of a fire with wood and paper in a a dark setting.
Photograph of a fire-making kit: a box containing wooden sticks tied together, some written instructions on paper and some matches laid out on some brown cloth.