5 May 2022
Futures of Care is People United’s collaborative, multi-arts programme exploring radical care, taking place now across East Kent and online.
Through listening and collaboration, the programme will collectively examine what taking care of ourselves and each other means in today’s changing world and imagine new ways of caring.
As part of Creative Estuary Co-commissions – the initiative which aims to showcase 60 miles of the North Kent and South Essex region as one of the UK’s most dynamic and creative areas in the whole of the UK – People United are commissioning five socially engaged artists from a range of lived experiences and backgrounds to creative brand-new artworks exploring the theme of care.
This series of small commissions will kick off with a work by Henry James Garrett – with more artworks to be announced soon.
We Keep Each Other Fed by Henry James Garrett – From 5 May
As the UK is gripped by the cost-of-living crisis, writer, illustrator and creator Henry James Garret (This Book Will Make You Kinder) explores the notion of community and interdependence in his work We Keep Each Other Fed.
Using his signature subversive, yet humorous, illustrations, Henry James Garret’s work acknowledges the rising rate of food poverty whilst offering a signal to the power of mutual aid. Focusing on the benefit of reciprocal ecologies of care, We Keep Each Other Fed will see cartoons adorn open-access fridge spaces in East Kent – Our Kitchen – Our Food Club, (from 24 May) Thanet, Canterbury Umbrella Centre’s Social Health Café (from 20 May) and Dover Pantry (From 18 May). These organisations all have dynamic approaches to community building, offering affordable/free healthy food and place making and have all collaborated in the project.
We Keep Each Other Fed asks whether art can be both practical and beautiful. Artist-designed enamel tokens will encourage donations and involvement in these local organisations, leading to the positive and reciprocal cycle of caring within our local communities. The artworks will also feature online.
Henry says “I couldn’t have come up with a more fitting commission, and organisation to work with, had I sat down and tried to wish it up myself. All my art is aimed at making the world a kinder place, and I’m energised by the opportunity Futures of Care presents – particularly in this moment – to look forward, and to locate and imagine building on those practices that might make for more caring, resilient communities. It’s from community practices of mutual care that I believe the political possibilities we desperately need, will grow.”
Following the release of these artwork’s during Spring 2022, a series of ‘Care Labs’ will invite artists, producers, researchers to collaboratively create a blueprint for what caring practices in the creative sector could look like.
Clare Callan, Creative Programmes Producer with People United, says “The voices and partners contributing to and influencing our Futures of Care programme is enabling an imaginative exploration of new ways of caring. We’re so happy to be working in partnership with Creative Estuary, who have made it possible for us to bring a variety of exciting artists to work in East Kent.”
Emma Wilcox, Creative Estuary Project Director says, “We are very pleased to support this innovative project that examines such a pressing issue – what taking care of ourselves and each other means in today’s challenging world – whilst once again drawing attention to the creative possibilities and potential of the Thames Estuary.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Henry James Garrett is an illustrator, author and screenwriter. He stumbled into a peculiar cartooning career after dropping out of a Philosophy PhD due to anxiety. Since then, he’s created an illustrated op-ed for The New York Times, cartooned for Buzzfeed, The BBC, The i Newspaper, and many charities. The driving theme of his work is the need for an expansion of empathy, and an examination of the socially constructed barriers to the knowledge that would engender that. He is the author of This Book Will Make You Kinder: An Empathy Handbook, a peculiar mix of accessible metaethics and his cartoons. www.henryjgarrett.com
People United is an arts charity based in Canterbury. The organisation works collaboratively, using creativity to practice and promote kindness that is strong, systemic, and transformational. Their vision is of a thriving, creative society where we are kind to ourselves, each other, and the world. Working collaboratively, they use creativity to grow the conditions for radical kindness to flourish and make change happen. People United believes that together we explore and champion the impact that kindness can have on our lives and society. Find out more at www.peopleunited.org.uk
Creative Estuary Co-Commissions supports a wide range of cultural projects with new commissions for Estuary-based producers and artists, from activity for emerging cultural activists to large scale commissions with a diverse mix of partners. The Co-commissions raise widespread awareness of existing creative talent across the region and support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work. We are committed to engaging our local communities to contribute to their creative identity and will give artists, organisations and creative practitioners opportunities and support to help them realise their creative ambitions. The Co-commissions create opportunities for creative innovation and new cultural production – we want to capture imagination and provide opportunities for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. For more information visit www.creativeestuary.com.
Creative Estuary has a vision to forge a new future founded on creative energy and innovation, along the length of the Thames Estuary. The project is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and led by the University of Kent on behalf of a consortium of public sector and cultural organisations. They include the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent and Essex County Councils, the Greater London Authority, 11 local authority areas represented by Greater North Kent and Opportunity South Essex, South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), University of Essex, Locate in Kent and cultural organisations Metal and Cement Fields. In early 2019 the University of Kent was awarded £4.3m from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund on behalf of the partners. DCMS Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS AND IMAGES
Tracy Jones, Brera PR – firstname.lastname@example.org / 01702 216658 / 07818 061503 / www.brera-london.com