Still Looking: A Zine by the Tate Collective Producers, Tate St Ives
CATEGORYAccessibility | Diversity/ Inclusion | Participation
DURATIONZine Production with young people from February-April 2021. Resource made available in the galleries at Tate St Ives in August and October 2021
TARGETTate Collective Producers are the young people’s group at Tate St Ives. They meet up regularly to work alongside artists, create art, devise workshops, social events and exhibitions at the gallery as part of Tate Collective. The Zine was available for all for audiences at Tate St Ives but targeted at young visitors aged 14-25yrs.
Still Looking included interactive activities, artworks and poetry for audiences to enjoy as they explored the galleries at Tate St Ives. The Zine explored the benefits of stillness and creativity in relation to mental health and wellbeing and encouraged engagement with art and cultural spaces after lockdown. This was the first time a resource aimed at young audiences aged 14+ was also designed by the Tate Collective Producers for the main galleries at Tate St Ives. During regular online sessions, the Tate Collective Producers worked with artists and the Tate St Ives Young People’s team to explore how voices could be shared when in-person meetings were not possible, and how audiences could engage with the ideas that they were generating through their discussions. Tate Collective Producers were particularly interested in expressing their ideas on wellbeing, increased time spent in domestic spaces throughout lockdown and the positive experience of art and making. They wanted to advocate for looking after one’s mental health and the role that creativity plays in building self-esteem and resilience. All different forms of contribution to the Zine were valued and content and layout were co-designed. Tate Collective Producers were guided to work in a way that also provoked them to consider their role critically and consider how different audiences might engage with the Zine. This resulted in a resource that was open and active, explored themes of slow looking, encouraged closer looking with prompts to sketch details from artworks, prompted the participant to transform their reflections on stillness into poetry and consider their emotional responses to art, all interspersed with creative writing and artwork exploring these themes by the Tate Collective Producers. Tate Collective Producers found the process of bringing together the Zine an important creative outlet and an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences during a challenging time. The Zine was very well received and gallery visitors responded positively to the themes highlighted by the Tate Collective Producers. The resource was part of Making Absence Visible – a project showcasing the creative voices of local communities, whilst the usual workshops and events for children and young people were postponed during the pandemic. Making Absence Visible questioned hierarchies, empowered young voices, and considered how young voices could consistently be present in museums, not restricted just to workshops and projects. The project also considered how best to use a blended approach to increase the visibility and power of young creative voices, and what changes the museum sector needs to make in order to support that.
Following on from the project, Tate St Ives has developed the Zine resource into a different format to have as a permanent offer. Three activities were selected from the Zine and developed into A5 Still Looking activity cards that will be available alongside other paper-based resources at Tate St Ives.