Periscope – who are we and what do we do?

Altering the traditional workshop format to create…

Accessible, immersive events

Open, exploratory environments

Ways of seeing and experiencing things differently

Periscope is Alison Cockcroft and Emily Joy. We are practicing artists who have worked together for 9 years facilitating workshops and events. We both also teach independently but share many common interests in their practices which inform our Periscope projects and workshops.

Through our work we have experienced many people afraid to participating in creative acts, people too self aware to relax and have a go, many people voicing their negative self-image when it comes to being creative… so we have been moved to develop a new template for accessible, immersive workshops for all ages, abilities and backgrounds, in which participants are encouraged to play creatively with no set outcomes. Sounds like most workshops? Well no, we’re using our years of teaching and workshop facilitation experience to plan out a deeply considered and very sensitive way of encouraging unselfconscious participation, letting go of the traditional workshop format and developing something different.

The underlying aim of the projects we organise is to encourage creative participation using methods that are not explicitly art related or concerned with an aesthetic result. The projects and events encourage participants to engage with an environment that is themed and often theatrical. Inviting participants into an immersive, sometimes pseudo scientific environment in which material is already displayed (rather than into a blank space that ‘waits’ for their input) contributes to the sense that all actions within the workshop are of equal importance and part of ongoing research. Having material already displayed as part of the environment also enables those who do not wish to take part or do not feel initially comfortable taking part to engage with the workshop in a non-physical way. As these workshops are drop-in there is no time limit and no step by step instruction. Actions within the workshops can be fluid, repeated or one action focused upon for a long time. Autonomy of the participant/s (whether as an individual or as a collaborative group) is crucial. The events aim to give a sense of contributing to a bigger thing, whether that is through the space that can be altered and added to, or the presentation of hypotheses that can be explored, proved or disproved.

The workshops primarily encourage looking and how we see things differently through various methods of observation, through exploring objects physically and through manipulating objects and materials. The results may include textual recording, 2d mark-making, 3d construction, mechanics, printing etc. By focusing on technology, science and construction (Using machinery, tools, pseudoscientific equipment, intriguing and mystifying objects that demand investigation and time) and not focusing on getting an aesthetic result allows participants to be creative work in a non-pressured way.

Periscope events:

Are immersive, often theatrical

There are no blank canvases

There are no time limits

We encourage autonomy of the participant

We encourage a sense of ownership over the space

We encourage the breakdown of the usual teacher/student hierarchy

We create a sense of contribution to a bigger project

We encourage participation on many levels

There are no expected outcomes.

 

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