My name is Katie Smith, I am a socially engaged artist and researcher and have been commissioned by Transported to develop the project ‘One Summer in Swineshead’.
People are often confused by the term ‘socially engaged artist’ and ask me exactly what it is that I do; it’s often easier to explain what I don’t do – I’m not the type of artist who makes a living from selling my work or from running workshops to teach a particular skill for example. I work with people, communities of people who have either a location, need or interest in common. I build relationships with people and use creative activities to better understand them in their private, family, community, and working lives. Much of my work explores trust and friendship and I generally tend to use photography, collage and low-tech printing techniques.
The communities that I work with are all very different; some are to be found in the workplace or in schools or colleges others come together because of health issues and some are defined by their culture or nationality. Sometimes I bring people together to form a new community and this often involves taking my work online and exploring digital environments. The creative output of any project is always a collaboration between myself and the people I work with and authorship is shared.
When I am commissioned by an organisation I am usually expected to work towards a goal that brings about some form of change or transformation within a community and my work for Transported is no exception. Transported is funded by Arts Council England, who through their Creative People and Places Scheme, invest in parts of the country where people’s involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average. It is Transported’s mission to get more people in Boston Borough and South Holland enjoying and participating in arts activities and it’s my hope that One Summer in Swineshead has contributed to this mission in an exciting and innovative way.
If you would like a flavour of my previous work with Transported you might like to watch this film about my Moveable Museum of Found Objects