Polesworth is a large village in North Warwickshire on the river Anker. Sites of significant interest around the village include Polesworth Abbey and Pooley Country Park.
Abbey Green Park in the heart of the village, is frequented by families and dog walkers. The park has a nature reserve and a poetry trail, as well as several walking trails that encourage children to engage with nature. A small car park off the main road allows easy access for visitors.
When residents were asked for their thoughts about Polesworth - which then formed part of the artists’ brief for this project - they said how proud they are of their community spirit, and active volunteer network, which has only been strengthened through the pandemic. Residents expressed concern about the village expanding too quickly.
Coventry based artist Edie Jo Murray has designed a structure for Abbey Green Park which invites people to meet, rest and appreciate the location- there is no ‘correct’ way to engage with the piece.
‘You belong here’ will be located near to the play area in Abbey Green Park, with views of the park and main road bridge across the river into the town. The different materials used throughout the structure have been chosen to provide a variety of tactile experiences and invite playful sensory exploration.
To embed this piece in the community, the artist is using a creative domestic setting to gather sentiment about belonging and identity. I belong here is a transportable temporary installation created as an extension of the site specific installation You belong here, situated in Abbey Green Park, Polesworth.
These have been designed to gather a ‘bag of words’ from young people within the community. These words will be developed into a special poem for the town which explores the themes of identity and belonging. The words will be crafted into a poem for Polesworth by the Youth Poet Laureate for Warwickshire in partnership with Warwickshire Library Service.
I belong here comprises various household furniture items and decor, brought together to create a mini domestic living space that can be installed in a public location. The installation is intended to appear out of place, whilst also representing a space of comfort and belonging. Vibrant colours uncharacteristic of traditional furniture, combined with a series of photos depicting an alien family, indicate that this living space may not belong to beings of this planet.
The intentions of the installation align with those of the main piece, You belong here, which was designed from a consciously neurodivergent perspective. The work hopes to speak particularly to those with lived experience of feeling like they don’t belong and exists as an emphatic celebration of being unapologetically different and beautifully alien.
The installation will launch at Polesworth Dickens Night, Polesworth Library, on 19 November and will run until 1 December 2022 where it is hoped the project will continue with local schools.
'You belong here' is part of the Our Spaces initiative which features many projects to reinvigorate the town centres across Warwickshire. View the other projects within the Our Spaces initiative.
While sensitive to its natural surroundings, the structure is not meant to blend in but be, as the artist says, “beautifully alien”.