The Works Gallery- Mapping the Metaphysical
This participatory exhibition offered lighthouse themed print making workshops. The public had the opportunity to learn about Chance Brothers Glass Works and exhibit their print alongside the works of professional artists. Together we populated a world map of lighthouses with Chance Glass lenses.
Exhibition and Talk for the Friends of Sandwell Library
In this talk the Friends of Sandwell Library learnt about Everybody’s Story, Chance Brothers Glass Works and the intention to raise the profile of this important part of our history. Ex Chance Glass worker Arthur East spoke to the audience about his experiences of working at the glassworks. An exhibition of newspaper cuttings and Chance Comments magazines were displayed at the Community Archives Service.
M5 Mile: a circus of creativity under the motorway
Under the shadow of Chance Glassworks, we displayed a work relating to the opposition of a skip hire firm, a discrete show of solidarity. ‘Eleven ribbons for Chance’. We also made exclusive Chance Glass Works Trust souvenir badges.
On the morning of Saturday July 16th 2017 stood a neglected and forgotten strip of land under the M5 motorway alongside the canal and in the shadow of the iconic seven storey Chance Brothers Glassworks building. The space was transformed into a buzzing hive of creative endeavour as part of MADE’s M5 Mile project.
MADE selected 6 local artists to undertake a day-long commission, their brief was simply to respond to the site. Diverse in their practice and proposals these artists were chosen so that collectively they provided a varied programme of activities and arts forms throughout the M5 Mile.
The aim of the commission was to give the smallest of flavour of what a place which is ‘taken-over’ by creative communities may look like. The inspiring, yet often overlooked space under the M5 Motorway to the west of Spon Lane, Smethwick was temporarily enlivened and animated by the artists at work.
Before the event the site sat empty, save for the odd cyclist and dog walker, just like on any other day. This Saturday was different, Artists Danny Griffin-Hayes, Nita Newman, Bryan Hancox, Jayne Murray, Fusion Dance Company and Samuel Rodgers all came to transform it, to create the M5 Mile.
Danny, a street artist pasted images of some of the most famous midlanders – and adopted brummies like Malala, onto the columns either side of the canal. Nita Newman’s work referenced the Chance Brothers Glassworks building and the recent campaign to save the building from the skip hire business operating from the site. Bryan Hancox sent the entire day sat a a desk between the canal junctions creating a bespoke animation about a troll who lived on the M5 Mile. Artist Jayne Murray strung oversize bunting between the giant columns – exploring ideas of scale, shelter and trade. 6 dancers from Fusion Dance Company animated the site through bespoke choreographed pieces and finally Samuel Rodgers developed an installation/durational performance working with field recordings gathered on site and in its immediate vicinity.
The original concept for the M5 Mile came as part of a vision for a Black Country Garden City which MADE developed as an entry to the Wolfson Economics prize. MADE are now working with the Black Country LEP to deliver part of this vision.
In our Black Country Garden City proposal this ignored, neglected, unused section of land, under the raised section of the M5 motorway between junctions 1 and 2 became the M5 Mile an ‘edgy canal-side happening of shops, cafes and bars in shipping containers, performance areas, boat trips, skate-parks and other attractions, in the unique and stunning canal-side environment under the motorway’
The event in July was a fleeting, unique, bespoke curiosity, providing a snapshot of potential of forgotten, neglected and unused spaces inspired by the original idea of the M5 Mile.
The exhibition was documented and also featured at the Flatpack Film Takeover in August.
This event was funded by Creative Black Country who MADE would like to thank for its support as well as Highways England for helping to make the M5 Mile happen. Finally a huge thank you to Rich Franks and Matt Lloyd of Infamous Community Arts for devising and delivering the event alongside MADE.