art on streets flyer

Brighton lecturer’s documentary to be screened at CineCity film festival

Art on the Streets by Dr Harriet Atkinson, a Senior Lecturer in Design History and a member of the Centre for Design History, is showing at Fabrica at 8.15pm on Thursday 16 November as part of a triple bill of shorts from local filmmakers.

Dr Atkinson, who will be at the screening, said: “I’m really happy that Art on the Streets has been selected as part of the excellent CineCity film festival 2023, to be shown as part of an Open (Docs) event at Fabrica, and excited to see the other two films it will be shown alongside, also made by people with close connections to the city.”

Art on the Streets, which was co-created by filmmaker Jane Dibblin and narrated by poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, tells the story of an exhibition mounted in 1943 by a radical anti-fascist artists’ collective in the bombed-out shell of the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street. Many of the Artists’ International Association, as the group were known, were refugees from central and eastern Europe, and by taking the exhibition out of the gallery and onto the streets they hoped to share their hopes and dreams for a better society with people who might otherwise never have had the opportunity to engage with art in this way.

The film is a distillation of Dr Atkinson’s research for an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, The Materialisation of Persuasion, which investigated how exhibitions mounted from 1933 to 1953 in public spaces were designed to communicate messages of propaganda and resistance. Just as the Artists’ International Association hoped to bring their message to a new audience, Dr Atkinson believes that sharing her research in a new format has been transformational in the way people engage with it.

“The experience of making Art on the Streets has been revelatory in opening up a new channel by which to be in-conversation through my research,” she said. “Having the freedom to tell stories from archival research, through collages of speech, sound and image; to embrace affect, as you can through film, is incredibly stimulating and I’m already planning the next one.”

As well as appearing at CineCity, Art on the Streets has been shown in gallery exhibitions in Germany and the UK and was selected for several international film festivals, winning ‘Best Short Documentary’ at both the California International Shorts Festival 2023 and Lulea International Film Festival Sweden 2023.

Watch a trailer here.

Find out about studying art and design history at the University of Brighton.

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