Summerhill Blinks on Major’s Hill is a social practice project inspired by the free school movement of the late 1960s, A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School, as well as other alternative schools. Artists Adam Brown and Genevieve Cloutier facilitated community meetings, events, workshops, and building/planning sessions in order to create a temporary arts-based democratic school built upon participants’ needs and ideas. Through art and pedagogy as social practice, Summerhill on Major’s Hill events centred on the creation of space inspired by a spirit of friendship, adventure and collaboration; questioning and pushing the limits of freedom was, in effect, a large part of the project.
Summerhill on Major's Hill: The Zipline
Hopewell School Project 2016
A collaboration with Carleton University Art Gallery educator Fiona Wright and two classes of grade 7 students at Ottawa-area Hopewell Elementary School. Together we designed and built a small structure in the public space of the school. During this project we went through a complete collaborative design process - from concept mind mapping to site planning and maquettes. The students were able to build and realize a space that reflected their own interests and sensibilities - a riotous and colourful critique of their institutional environment.
Sailing Residency 2015
I invited local artists to propose artist residencies to be completed on my small sailboat on Lac Deschenes near Ottawa. Each applicant furnished a brief description of their proposed artistic project, applying the broadest possible definition of "art". Ultimately four residencies were completed - all of which might be defined, in retrospect, as collaborative performance. In the course of these residencies we read poetry, discussed art, asked each other personal questions, swam and explored Aylmer island.
Friendship Library 2014
I invited members of the community to contribute artifacts that reflect in some way on the theme of friendship. These objects - books, photos, blankets, hangings and other ephemera - were housed in a temporary pavilion on the grounds of the arts court. By assembling this diverse collection, the library testified to the ramified nature of ‘friendship’ in society, literature and politics. Situated in a site used by very diverse populations (eg. of art-goers, tourists, office workers and street-involved people), the library was used as a space for reading, relaxation and discussion, as well as a shelter for people who simply wanted to drink, sleep or get out of the rain.