On 24-26th June 2016 CAER Heritage Project Lead artist Paul Evans, artist and film maker Jon Harrison, local film maker Viv Thomas and historian Dan Jewson attended the Utopia Fair at Somerset House London. Over the weekend, 35 representatives from contemporary utopian movements from all over the UK took up stalls and fill the courtyard, celebrating the pockets of utopia that are flourishing around the country from Newcastle to Cardiff, Sheffield to Scotland, Brighton to Doncaster plus a range of London sites.
Presented in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Connected Communities programme, the Utopia Fair showcased the creative outcomes from 25 AHRC-funded projects, including the CAER Model Village Project, alongside 10 additional initiatives that have been hand-selected by Somerset House. These projects work to bring together local community groups, researchers, activists and artists across the UK to explore how utopian ideals can be used to benefit the environmental and social future of our communities.
Young and not-so-young visitors to The Model Village stall were invited to design their own character or scenery to feature in our amazing Model Village Theatre – created in laser cut plywood by MAKERS Sheffield.
After designing their characters for the theatre, our visitors were given the option to further develop their own individual cartoon characters – inhabitants for our Utopian ‘Model Village’
They also worked on scripts for their characters. These characters were then scanned into iPads and imported into a user-friendly app that allowed them to create short, scripted animation sequences. iPad photographs of Somerset House were used as backgrounds or scenery for these sequences.
In all over 15 animation sequences were created over the duration of the festival.
The film that we developed during the early stages of The Model Village project (see Dusty’s First World War, The Model Village :: Part I and The Model Village :: Part II) also received a special screening as part of the Utopia Fair film programme.
The Model Village film can be viewed here: HERE.
Members of the team also had lots of fantastic conversations over the weekend and made some great new friends. Although we were very busy, and it was difficult to get round to see everyone, we especially welcome the connections that we made with the Life Chances Project and with our neighbours at the Middlefield Dig.
All photos © Viv Thomas 2016.