Introduction to MashUp
Harold Offeh with Glass Hill, Leila McAlister, Robert Hylton and Nous Vous.
Pursuing Independent Paths (PIP) is a Westminster charity promoting independence and choice for adults with learning disabilities. The ICA’s learning team has worked with PIP since August 2007 to develop a series of collaborative projects that bring both students and staff into the ICA, creating opportunities to work with artists and practitioners, and to develop a relationship with the ICA, its programme and its staff.
Our projects have taken PIP’s informal learning strands as starting points for work with three key artists: Jessica Voorsanger explored independent travel, Sonia Boyce encouraged confidence building, and most recently Harold Offeh investigated a series of strands: Friendship, Art & Design, and Healthy Eating.
Harold met the students and staff at PIP’s Westbourne Grove centre in September 2009, and over the course of six months worked with a group of students towards a final public event held at the ICA in March 2010. Our title for this project, MashUp, came out of Harold’s conversation with the students: an interest in culture clashes, the idea of taking one element and mixing it with another. This presented a way in which we might bring our themes together, encouraging exchange and dialogue between the three groups.
Harold brought on board a number of artists and practitioners who would work with the students to develop workshops and events to explore our themes. Food practitioner Leila McAlister looked at ideas of healthy eating; furniture designers Markus Bergstrom and Joe Nunn (who work under the collective name Glass Hill) explored tableware design, while choreographer Robert Hylton and designers Nous Vous investigated friendship.
Each of the strands was brought together in MashUp, a nightclub event held at the ICA with performances, a social eating event and a temporary shop selling t-shirts, a fanzine and tableware designed by the students.