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GTCxLICA Launch Pad 2022: SETTING OFF- A BLOG BY JESSICA HOLMES

Here we are, the beginning of another new and exciting artistic journey with Good Things and LICA's Launch Pad. My name is Jessie Holmes, I've been creating and making alongside fellow members of Good Things Collective for the past 5 years and I was very genuinely thrilled to be invited to participate in this new project aimed at developing a more social and sustainable creative practice, sponsored by Creative West End.


Last year I was lucky enough to participate in the Good Things & LICA 'Neighbourhood Campus' project and it had quite a profound impact on my work. Attending lectures, meeting new artists, learning about new artistic processes really made me rethink my own creative practice and I found that I wanted to create work that was more meaningful to me as a result. Back in February this year I started to explore digital technology and how I could use it to tell interesting stories about the challenges of life and the environment around Morecambe.


For five months I struggled away in the evenings learning Blender, a complex 2D and 3D free and open source animation package. I began with a small passion project animating the pattern of movement of channels in Morecambe Bay. However, in June I decided to see whether any other members of the Collective were as interested in creating animations as I was. We started a small group on Facebook and this has since become a really lively space full of people sharing the animations that they love, some of the artwork they've been doing, ideas for projects and video tutorials to help us learn new techniques. Collaborating in this way just made everything so much more fun and exciting.


In October four members of the animation group (Jules Abraham (writer & poet), Nick Hellier (photographer), James Cat (software engineer) and myself (artist & technician)) teamed up with local ceramic artist Andy Morris to apply for funding from Creative West End to create Augmented Reality artworks attached to ceramic tile QR codes for the alleys of the West End. This project developed out of the wider C.W.E. AGORA project, a collaboration with internationally renowned artist Heather Morrison examining how we can improve social spaces in disadvantaged areas. We started by creating models in Blender and we're currently developing the AR technology with promising results ahead of installation at the CWE winter market. We're already discussing ideas for how we might go on to collaborate on future projects.

This is the business that I would like to develop within the Launch Pad program. A small Morecambe-based cooperative digital arts studio made up of people with a diverse array of talents that can team up to create interesting socially and environmentally engaged projects within the wider Collective, that can team up to teach new skills to other members of our community, to develop and nurture new talent and to create exciting new animated films and models to show locally. For my commission piece for the Launch Pad we'll be creating a film that explores how our process of creating AR for the alleys has developed along the way; the ups, the downs and everything in between. Our aim is to celebrate the art of collaboration in producing collaborative art.


So my thanks to Good Things Collective and Lica for the Neighbourhood Campus project, these links have led to so much already, I genuinely can't wait to see what develops during the next six months of the Launch Pad!


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The LICA x GTC Launchpad is funded by Santander Bank and Creative West End, as part of a programme with Lancaster University encouraging responsible and innovative enterprise. The participants, a mix of Lancaster fine art BA graduates and Good Things Collective members, get studio space, their first art commissions, business support, and professional mentoring over the course of 12 months.

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