Artists take up residence to work with community

Eight dynamic local artists are setting up shop across libraries in Wigan Borough as part of the exciting Imago arts project.

Monday, 17th July 2017, 4:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:31 am
Imago Wigan Artists (top - Jess Rotherham, Paul Scott Bullen, Elizabeth Skull, Helen Mather - bottom - Louise Robson, Anna FC Smith, Kate Bufton, Amy Burdon

Artists-in-residence will have their own individual workspaces on the Mezzanine Floor of Wigan Life Centre, creating a variety of inspiring public art pieces and performances, and travelling across the borough to host workshops to raise awareness of the depth and quality of art in Wigan Borough.

Funded by Arts Council England and Wigan Council, artists will engage with local communities through dance and performance, multimedia, portraiture, digital installations, book sculptures and much more, giving residents of the borough the opportunity to meet the artists in person and take part in their projects.

Over 70 applications were made for the artist-in-residence programme, with the following eight emerging talents successfully funded.

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Amy Burdon: Dance

Inspired by art that tells people’s stories in an authentic and identifiable way and ‘Wigan Wakes Weeks’, Amy will be working on a mass movement and dance performance project, exploring dance across Wigan, Leigh and Blackpool.

Working with three to four dance artists, Amy will use photography, film and sound alongside historical evidence from Wigan and Leigh Archives, exploring the heritage of ‘Wigan Wakes Week’ to re-imagine and recreate the coming together of the town in celebration and relaxation.

Amy will be hosting a mass movement performance in Leigh Civic Square as part of Wellfest and Wigan town centre as part of Wigan Arts Festival.

To get involved contact [email protected]

Anna FC Smith: Multimedia artist

Anna is driven to seek ways in which people are connected to the past and what history can tell us about ourselves.

Inspired by history, folk culture, customs and traditions, Anna will be researching the origins of Wigan’s Boxing Day fancy dress custom and its similarities to ancient traditions.

Using the input of anyone from Wigan with a tale to tell or pictures to share, Anna will build a picture of how and when the custom began.

You can meet Anna at Wigan Library to share items, photos and stories.

To find out more, follow @annafcsmith on Twitter.

Elizabeth Skull: Visual art and portraiture

Drawing on inspiration from her local community, Higher Folds, Elizabeth will be creating a series of mixed media portraits of individuals.

She will focus on the resilience of her community and how people come together in the face of adversity.

Elizabeth will run workshops with residents of Higher Folds, reaffirming their connection with the town’s milling heritage, environment and each other.

Elizabeth’s work will be exhibited at Leigh Library and Shevington Library.

To get involved contact [email protected] or follow Elizabeth on Facebook @artbyelizabethskull

Helen Mather: Visual arts

Inspired by a discovery of her late grandma’s belongings, Helen began to think about personal archives, legacy and lives in the local community.

In a series of public workshops, she will be exploring everyday archives and engaging people to produce their own personal and community archives using textiles, an important link to the historic industry of the area.

Anyone can take part in her workshops in Ashton and Wigan Library.

Visit for more information.

Jess Rotherham: Sculpture, collage and drawing

Ambitious and large scale, Jess’ projects are inspired by big ideas and people’s different interpretations of the world around us.

She will be working on large, imaginative design drawings for future art projects.

These will be big, detailed pencil drawings, overlaid with collage that will fill her ideas and research in full. Jess will be hosting workshops where you can use 2D and 3D collage to creative impossible images and imaginary scenarios on top of our towns.

Jess will be hosting drop-in workshops in Wigan Library. To find out more contact [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @JessRotherham

Kate Bufton: Book art and sculpture

Focusing on the Dewey Decimal System, the system used to catalogue and shelve books, Kate will develop a series of work based on sculpture, photography, printmaking and painting. Kate works with old unwanted books and papers and is inspired by their musty smells, the colouration and markings within the pages and their unique textures.

You can visit Kate at Leigh Library and view her documented work at Wigan Library.

For more information follow Kate on Twitter @BuftonKate

Louise Robson: Digital installation

Combining people and their environment to become part of an artwork, Louise will be introducing ways of using technology creatively to people in Wigan Borough, providing an insight into digital and interactive artwork.

She will engage young people in Wigan who are looking towards the prospect of college and university to inspire them to explore new paths and possibilities within art.

Louise will work from Wigan Library, but her installations will be popping up throughout the borough.

Paul Scott Bullen: Performance art

Drawing on inspiration from memory and experiences, Paul will create, choreograph and direct a conceptual art performance live before an audience.

His solo will be made up of expressive movement vocabulary based on his research into the experiences of the 300 imprisoned men during the Battle of Wigan Lane in 1651.

Paul’s solo will take place at the Old Courts on a date to be confirmed.

To find out more and follow Paul’s project visit