Inbetween Pontypool


Inbetween: Cultural Regeneration in Market Towns is an academic research project being led by Intersections, a research unit based at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The project is looking at the role of visual arts and regeneration in the market towns, using the towns of Dumfries in South West Scotland, Hexham in North East England, and Pontypool in South Wales, as case studies. Intersections have identified research questions that are pertinent to each of the locations, so for Pontypool, the research is focusing on Policy and Strategy and is considering: Can visual arts practice in market towns learn anything from broader urban regeneration practices? What are the idiosyncratic challenges posed by ‘inbetween’ contexts? Are artistic practices and cultural strategies a viable option in their regeneration? How do different political and cultural infrastructures impact artistic practice in market towns?

The project is investigating these questions and facilitating interactions between key stakeholders by supporting the following activities:

  • Networking, through the facilitation of both online and face-to-face encounters;

  • Two-day symposium events held in each of the three market towns, which are intended to inform the academic research, and to provide practical and useful development and learning opportunities for the participants and the towns;

  • Artwork interventions in the public domain commissioned as catalysts for discussion, engaging the public in wider debate around the research questions. These commissions are being developed or have already been developed by the key stakeholders in each of the market towns.

What Addo Did:

Addo were engaged to manage networking activities and a two-day symposium event in Pontypool as part of the In-between research project. We did this by establishing a Steering Group of local stakeholders, engaging with local residents and community groups and organisations (such as Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, ArtRegen, Pontypool Museum, Pontypool Market, and the Neighbourhood Learning Centre), and organising and facilitating regular consultation meetings.

Outcomes & Legacy:

The Inbetween activities in Pontypool culminated in a two-day seminar in the town on 12th & 13th September 2012, which comprised of a tour of Pontypool on Day One led by people who know the town well sharing their knowledge with the group in order to stimulate discussion, followed by a more conventional symposium discussion on Day Two held in the Jubilee Hall above the Indoor Market that enabled participants to reflect on Day One’s activities and their shared knowledge and experiences of culturally led regeneration and the issues effecting small towns in the UK. The discussion will be catalysed through presentations from Professor Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Alexia Mellor (Pontypool‘s AIR) and architect Matthew Jones (Coombs Jones Architects + makers). A copy of the full symposium programme can be downloaded here.

Alongside facilitating the Inbetween: Pontypool symposium, Addo continued to work with Torfaen County Borough Council to progress and raise funding for an artist residency project that would contribute to the Inbetween research project and the Council’s future strategy for engaging artists in the regeneration of the town. Artist Alexia Mellor began the residency in February 2013, further details of which can be found here.