16 October 2014
Digital public art project to create unique maps of the UK as part of Parliament’s 2015 Historic Anniversaries programme
Jon Adams is to create maps of the UK based on user-generated content as part of a major digital public arts project Democracy Street supported by a £41,000 award through Arts Council England's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts programme.
The project also has funding from The Speaker's Art Fund and from the Houses of Parliament as part of Parliament's 2015 Historic Anniversaries programme Parliament in the Making. It is also supported by Mozilla and Big Local.
Democracy Street centres on the creation of new and unique artwork for an exhibition celebrating the long history of UK Parliamentary democracy. The street themed artworks will be exhibited during Parliament Week 2015.
Jon, who is a Research Fellow and Artist in Residence at the University of Portsmouth, will collaborate with commercial digital expert Joseph Cavalla to develop an interactive platform to create the maps. Project participants will upload content that is based on street names such as Gladstone Villas and Churchill Way, names synonymous with Parliament and democracy.
Democracy Street celebrates the UK's democratic heritage. Coinciding with the 750th anniversary of the Montfort Parliament, the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta and the 2015 General Election, the project sets out to use a digital channel to develop participants' creative skills and view their local communities in a wider context, inspiring a greater interest in today's democratic processes.
Jon Adams works across platforms using sound, drawn image, poetry, photography and 'art in public'. His work references his Aspergers and Dyslexia, weaving fragments of autobiography, science and hidden metaphor.
After graduating from King's College, London with a degree in Geology, Jon worked as a natural science and archaeological book illustrator. In 2005 he joined the University of Portsmouth to develop his contemporary art practice with an arts and science focus.
He has won prestigious awards such as the ArtPlus public art award, a Wellcome Trust award and the Levehulme Artist in Residency with the Institute for Cosmology and Gravitation. In 2012 Jon was commissioned to map the Cultural Olympiad in the SE of England, receiving two inspire marks from London 2012.
Jon was awarded a Fellowship to the Royal Society for the Arts for the quality of his public engagement and positive disability projects. He is also a member of HEFCE Disability Working Group.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'Our Grants for the arts scheme is all about supporting a range of projects and giving as many people as possible the chance to enjoy a great cultural experience. This project has the potential to create an outstanding piece of collaborative and interactive art and will impact strongly as the first digital commission funded by the Houses of Parliament Speaker's Art Fund.
'Democracy Street has public engagement at the very heart of the project. It's an empowering concept and we're delighted to be supporting it.'
Speaking about the ambitions for Parliament's 2015 Historic Anniversaries programme, of which Democracy Street is a part, Sir Peter Luff MP said: 'It is a welcome coincidence that we mark these historic anniversaries in an election year. 2015 is the 750th anniversary of the Montfort parliament when representatives of the towns and shires were first sent to Westminster to discuss matters of national concern on behalf of their communities. As we see the people of countries around the world fight for their democratic rights, it is fitting that we in the UK take the time to reflect on our very long democratic history and what that history means for people today.
'As Co-Chairs of The Speakers' Advisory Group for the 2015 Anniversaries, Lord Bew and I are delighted to be overseeing such an extensive programme of public engagement to commemorate these significant historic events. We hope that the programme will help the public appreciate the history and work of both Houses and, in doing so, make our democratic heritage and the parliamentary process more accessible and interesting to a wider range of people.'
14 October 2014 marks 100 days until the launch of Parliament in the Making.
During the year-long programme of special event and activities National portfolio organisation New Carnival Company will be presenting their Magna Carta Masquerade, a spectacular street parade for the Isle of Wight Mardi Gras on 27 June 2015. Starring local schoolchildren and community performers, music, dance and colourful costumes, the parade will celebrate the journey to freedom and democracy of the British people.
For more information about the full programme for Parliament in the Making go to http://www.parliament.uk/2015