Greater Manchester announce Peterloo commission

Greater Manchester announce Peterloo commission

Joshua Sofaer

Artist Joshua Sofaer

Greater Manchester Arts commission award-winning artist, Joshua Sofaer, to deliver Peterloo legacy project.

Following the wide programme of events commemorating Peterloo this summer, Greater Manchester Arts have commissioned award-winning artist, Joshua Sofaer, to deliver a unique art project marking the impact of Peterloo and the journey to political reform that followed.

From Bolton to Bury, from Rochdale to Stockport, from Oldham to Trafford, thousands of people from what is now Greater Manchester, marched together for political reform on the day of Peterloo.

Celebrating this spirit and responding to the themes of freedom of speech, democracy and protest, the project will unite the ten districts of Greater Manchester, in the same way that Peterloo did 200 years ago.

The project’s journey begins this Autumn, when Joshua begins the creative process and makes the artwork, which will be a collaborative process with local people. Once completed, the artwork will tour Greater Manchester, visiting each of the 10 districts in Spring 2020.

On appointing Joshua for the project, Greater Manchester Arts said: “Our vision is to bring the arts to everyone in Greater Manchester, so we were looking to collaborate with an artist who could bring this vision to life. Engaging people in the making process is part of Joshua’s approach as an artist, and we’re excited about his ideas on how he will collaborate with the Greater Manchester public to make this piece.

Joshua has vast experience of public art and creating work in public spaces, which is key to the brief. It’s important that the work goes into the heart of communities and creates opportunity for people across Greater Manchester to enjoy and engage with the high-quality arts on their doorstep.”

On being commissioned for the project, Joshua Sofaer, said: “There’s almost no art that isn’t collaborative and ultimately this artwork is about the people. I’m looking forward to working with local people as part of the creative process and talking to them about what matters to them in their community today.

It’s exciting for me as an artist to be given the challenge of creating a work which connects with 10 different places, each with their own history and identity. It will be fascinating to explore and decipher how they can be united through one distinctive and unifying theme. It’s a fantastic project with so many possibilities, I can’t wait to get started!”

Speaking about their local involvement, Lesley O’Halloran, assistant director for customer service and culture at Wigan Council said: “We’re privileged to be a part of this project, which will bring together all local authority areas in Greater Manchester to acknowledge a key part of our history.

“We look forward to encouraging residents to get involved in the Wigan element of the project and we support the approach to working collaboratively with local artists to create a piece of art that will tour the region.

“This way of working is a commitment outlined in our five-year plan, The Fire Within, which aims to make arts and culture accessible to all. In 2019, we’re focusing on ‘Wigan’s Future Artists’ as a theme, so the inclusive Peterloo project is one we’re excited about being involved with.”

Joshua Sofaer is an artist, who creates social sculpture, performance and installation art. His art and performance have been seen across the UK at galleries such as the Tate Modern and the ICA, festivals including Manchester International Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Hull City of Culture and internationally in Stockholm, San Francisco and Portugal. Find out more about Joshua and visit his blog (external link).

As the making of the piece and the creative process unfolds this Autumn, further announcements will be made. More details about the Spring 2020 tour will follow.

The project is produced by Rules of Threes. The commission is funded by GMCA as part of the Great Place: Stronger Together Programme.

Posted on Monday 19th August 2019
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