Collaborative Commissions: WE ARE & The Art House

WE ARE is a partnership between Amy Lilley and Lucy Norton. We provide a platform for early career artists and young businesses through a variety of collaborative projects and events. We first started working together in 2013, when we met volunteering for Beam after both returning to Wakefield from University. In trying to obtain work in a creative industry in the area we found that there was a real lack of opportunities for young artists and professionals in Wakefield. We decided the best way to solve this was to create opportunities for ourselves, and we began to design and facilitate our own projects and events to address this. Since then we have worked on a variety of creative projects such as film nights, exhibitions, markets and residencies, all with the aim to help other young, emerging creatives who are in the same situation we were. We now also run a space in the city centre called Crux where we host events, gigs and share the space as studios with other creatives and musicians.

Amy-Lucy-WkfBExchng-2016-19 copy

During January we’re working on our WAP co-commission with The Art House, an arts development agency and accessible studio space in Wakefield. We wanted to use this opportunity to work on a project with an organisation who has a lot more experience than us! To be able to learn from each other and bring different experiences and knowledge to the table for this project seemed like a great idea.

Together we’re facilitating a two week residency with 3 artists and a collaborative duo, culminating in an exhibition at the Wakefield Artwalk on the 31st January. WE ARE and The Art House selected the artists for the residency with help and insight from Nicola Freeman from The Hepworth Wakefield’s curatorial team. I think a collaboration like this is important for these kinds of opportunities as the variety of organisations involved can each bring different opinions and knowledge to the table, which in turn brings more to offer to the artists taking part. 

Selected artists

Holly Rowan Hesson is planning on creating an installation which captures interesting sculptural forms which take inspiration from her walks through Wakefield. The work will focus on highlighting the things most people take for granted or don’t notice at all, such as old railings and shop shutters.

Holly Rowan Hesson

Image: Holly Rowan Hesson

Joseph Jackson will be taking his audience on holiday to Pugneys Country Park. He’s interested in the idea of holiday advertisements and how ‘fake’ or unattainable they are. He’s creating a large scale sculpture using images of Pugneys lake to break it down and give the illusion of a vacation at home.

 Yoke is artist duo Annie Nelson and Chris Woodward, they plan to construct test sculptures and maquettes which celebrate the historic importance of the Aire & Calder navigation to Wakefield, and those who use and enjoy it today. They’re using this opportunity to test out ideas which will feed into a larger future project.


Image: Yoke

Wakefield Artwalk

2018 marks 10 years since the Artwalk first started in Wakefield, and to celebrate the occasion we’re working towards making this year’s events extra special. We hope there’ll be lots of exciting projects coming up and we’re really looking forward to seeing more projects from the other WAP members’ commissions in March too.

The upcoming Artwalk is on 31st January 5pm – 9pm, our artists in residence will have their new work on display at The Art House during the evening and there’ll be more information on their practice to see too.

Other great exhibitions to see on the Artwalk include The Art House’s current artist in residence, Rich White, who will be exhibiting work created during his month long residency.

At Neon Workshops, Black Hole by Richard William Wheater is the third installment from the artist’s ongoing rooftop neon text series called ‘Things People Say’ and Unity Social Pop Up Cafe Bar will be presenting the work of local artists Dave Foley and Jamie Oldroyd. You can find out about all the events taking place this January here.

We hope to see you there!