We are so pleased to welcome Sophie Gresswell as our first My Story, Artist in Residence. Sophie will be taking up residency at Hitchin Library this Autumn.
An exciting and new aspect of our work with Hertfordshire Libraries, this new initiative is generously supported by Arts Council England and sits well within the Let’s Create Strategy to ensure great art is made available and accessible to all communities, supporting everyone to develop and express creativity throughout their life.
The team at Hitchin Library are delighted to be working with Sophie and are already working on an exciting engagement programme.
‘The Hitchin Library team and I are delighted to be welcoming Sophie as our Artist in Residence; Sophie’s art and work celebrates identity, diversity and community, three things of such importance that we are honoured to host Sophie and very excited for her to engage and collaborate with the Hitchin community’
Rebekah Nicolas, Library Manager at Hitchin Library.
Sophie Gresswell is a multi-disciplinary artist using spoken word, painting, audio and digital technology to explore identity and belonging and her work sits perfectly within the participatory ethos of My Story and cocreation of artwork inspired by lived experience.
Sophie works internationally and has more recently been working with local communities to create public artworks, which include a responsive public art and audio installation entitled ‘Luton Journeys’ along building hoardings in Luton and developing projected art installations for The Dunstable Centre library space.
In late 2019 Sophie wrote, animated and starred in a short film exploring mixed heritage called ‘Where are you from?’ commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England as part of the New Creatives program, the film was first shown on BBC 4 in March 2020 and has since been featured in the Fringe of Colour arts festival. BBC iPlayer
Enjoy the insightful piece ‘Where are you from?’ tackling the questionable question, where are you from?
This video contains challenging content and strong language
In 2020 Sophie was commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts council England to develop an experimental audio piece with musician @Castelmango to develop poetry written in hospital whilst recovering from a major spinal operation. Played on BBC Radio 6 music in July 2021, ‘Recovery’ celebrates the characters and humanity she met along the way – the care, the sparkle, the inspiration and warmth of those that shared her ward reach out of the story.
Share in Sophie’s journey through pain, morphine and exhaustion as ‘sleep devours the hours’ of her recovery.
Sophie’s first relaxed session is set to take place on the 2nd of October as part of the national Fun Palace’s weekend.
‘Every envelop tells a story’ drop-in workshop invites participants to make interactive letters and artworks please contact Mystory@hertfordshire.gov.uk or Kerry@nysa.co.uk
Sophie will continue to run regular sessions on the first Saturday of every month until the end of the year and you can find Sophie developing her own practice in the Library every Monday. A further poetry event is planned for the end of October, more information coming soon.
More about My Story
In 2019 Nysa Projects and Herts Libraries worked with partners across Hertfordshire to deliver My Story project.
The project was comprised of a series of artist-led, creative engagement sessions that worked with participants to translate stories of adolescence, transition and change into new works of art. The stories are the precious cargo of the project generously donated by the people of Hertfordshire willing to share their pleasure, laughter and pain to be used as inspiration for a new body of work.
Sessions were situated in the community which allowed artists to support project participants as co-creators working to develop their practice and realise their own creative ideas. Through working in Libraries and having a presence over a number of sessions, direct feedback from library staff and Library users alike informed the project team that an artist in resident could be a good addition to the My Story Programme
Herts Libraries and Nysa Projects are dedicated to ensuring creativity and culture is at the heart of communities and we are so excited to see how this residency unfolds.
The team are also delighted to be welcoming the wonderfully talented Artist Sheila de Rosa, esteemed printmaker and passionate arts educator. Sheila will be sharing insight into printmaking process as she incorporates stories into the creation of print works for exhibition and to inspire workshop participants.