Bilston Craft Gallery Invaded By Hamfisted Experimental Arts Group

By Roz Tappenden | 25 January 2006
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Shows a photo of four people in hard hats and a teddy bear in a wooden crate

Johnny O’Hanlon, director (centre back), with performers Gavin Allen, Jenny Lockyer and Rachel Priest. Courtesy Renaissance West Midlands

Birmingham-based experimental arts group, Hamfisted, began their invasion of museums in the region when they descended upon Bilston Craft Gallery in Wolverhampton.

The arts group began their West Midlands escapades on January 17 2006, collecting ideas from museum visitors and staff through a week-long series of workshops and activities with local school children and museum visitors.

Shows a photo of a man and a young boy in hard hats. The boy is holding a piece of green paper

Luke Bayliss aged four with actor Gavin Allen. Courtesy Renaissance West Midlands.

Information gathered by the group will be used to develop a series of tailor-made performances for the forthcoming Footsteps of Giants festival, due to take place in May.

The unusual guests arrived to undertake ‘action research’. During their week-long residency they led art activities, helping children make badges and screen prints relating to objects in the museum.

Footsteps of Giants will celebrate the scientific, artistic, technological, cultural and sporting achievements of the region. Hundreds of events will take place including live performances, exhibitions, activities and interactive workshops.

Shows a photo of a woman in a hard hat with three school children at a table with brightly coloured paper on it

Children from Villiers Primary School.

Hamfisted were commissioned by the West Midlands Hub of Museums – which includes Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Wolverhampton Arts & Museums, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust – to produce a series of performances to tour all five venues throughout the festival.

This week the troupe will visit Ironbridge George Museum Trust and The Herbert in Coventry before moving to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Stoke-on-Trent Museums between January 31 and February 4.

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