I will always have you - Knowle West Media Centre

Friday, July 04, 2014
Nowadays, most people have a tattoo somewhere, whether hidden beneath clothes or a full sleeve of colourful designs proudly on display.  Tattoos have been around for generations and now Knowle West Media Centre are launching an exciting project called 'I will always have you', exploring the rich tattoo culture of Knowle West.  We caught up with Melissa Mean, centre producer, to find out more about the project and the call out for collaboration with local artists...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell about what you do.
My name is Melissa Mean and I'm a producer at Knowle West Media Centre. I run the art programme here, looking after all the commissions, exhibitions and residencies.
Can you tell us a little about the Knowle West Media Centre? 
Knowle West Media Centre is a digital arts charity and I'm really delighted that just yesterday we won another 3 years funding from the Arts Council as an NPO (National Portfolio of Arts Organisations) to support our work. We think of ourselves as a living lab, experimenting with new ideas, technologies and seeing what happens when you get them out in the real world with real people. We work a lot with different communities and a whole range of artists, filmmakers, live performers, photographers, makers and like exploring new ideas that might make a difference to people's lives.

Can you tell us more about the project 'I will always have you'?
I Will Always Have You is about the rich tattoo culture of Knowle West. 1 in 5 adults in the UK now has a tattoo and we're scratching below the surface to understand its growing popularity- why people are increasingly turning themselves into walking works of art. We've got a mobile tattoo parlour that is out touring the neighbourhood touring the neighbourhood collecting people's tattoos and stories behind them, and we are working with artists Stand & Stare and Play Nicely to turn those stories into an exhibition and online gallery. 
Why tattoos?
With tattoos people are telling an illustrated story of themselves- the tattoos hold fond memories, lost loves, raw regrets, and hopes for our better selves. Tattoos are a really fascinating way to explore ourselves and share really interesting stuff. 

We hear you are on the look out for local artists/makers to join you. Can you tell us about that?
I'm really excited about the next part of the project- taking some of those tattoos and amazing stories and turning them into 3D objects of desire- like jewellery wallpaper, dress fabric- you name it- anything you can do with a 3D printer, laser cutter etc. We are looking for local artists and makers to work with local people to create some amazing objects, that can go onto be sold in shops and markets. We are looking for experienced artists/makers in different disciplines, such as fashion & textiles, graphics & print, product design and jewellery 
The deadline is pretty close, when do they need to apply?
We are recruiting this July- we've extended the deadline to Wednesday 9th july at 10am. full details are here: and on our website or get in touch with me on: melissa.mean@kwmc.org.uk

Thank you Melissa, the project looks set to be an interesting one. For more information on the project or if you are interested in applying please do get in touch with Melissa.

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