Friday, 24 July 2009


Image from PS2

Installation and documentation of a creative community initiative in Ballykinler, Co. Down
Opening: Friday, 24 July 2009, 6-8pm

With its seaside location and the Mourne Mountains as a backdrop, the small village of Ballykinler in Co. Down seems idyllic. Unless you take a wrong turn and end up at the gated compounds of a long established British Army site? A complex situation, not just for the two different spellings of its name on road signs.

How do you live there as a young person? How do you make changes or at least influence the social infrastructure? And where does art fit into all of this? Anne-Marie Dillon, artist and co-founder of the Ballykinler Creative Forum and the initiator of many activities in her home village, brought together a group of young people to work on small projects, to have fun and to kickstart a process of creative engagement with the social and built environment.

Bus stop was originally built outside a disused school in the centre of the village. The Creative Forum has argued for years that this should be used as a community arts centre- a recent request was again refused. The installation highlighted the fact that there isn’t a sheltered bus stop and the direct action revealed the lack of social provision, the divisions in the village and the opposition to a proper bus stop from parts of the community in fear of anticipated vandalism.

For PS², the bus stop is re-assembled together with a personal documentation of the history of the Creative Forum; its past projects, the community structures, stakeholders and fractions, struggles, achievements and set backs. A history of an initiative which set out to provide social and creative activities for the small village in the past ten years; from ad hoc child care to youth disco’s, from shopping tours for elderly people to water sports for the youth. What distinguishes these social activities from other initiatives, is the strong artistic element which makes these events into happenings or performances.

This project is seen in connection with an ongoing programme by PS² of art initiatives in a rural context. How difficult it is to introduce art and creativity into a smaller town or village in Northern Ireland, is exemplified with this initiative by the Creative Forum in Ballykinler. It shows the wide gap between urban and rural conditions in terms of cultural provision, desires and political preconceptions.

Exhibition continuous till 9 August 2009
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 1-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm, Late Night Art 1-9pm

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