Recent ACG Events
Saturday 22nd October 2016
L’Abri for Beginners
L’Abri (’The Shelter’) was founded by Frances and Edith Schaeffer in 1955 to answer three burning questions:
- Is Christianity true?
- If so, how does it engage with the modern world?
- Is Jesus Christ paramount over the whole of life (cinema, the arts, science, politics, philosophy, the social sciences) – or just some narrow religious sphere?
This day lifted the lid on a unique organisation, which has always welcomed artists.
Pat Harvey interviewed key players, explored core concepts; and asked, ’How valid is its legacy today?’
The day began with reminiscences of the start of L’Abri and memories of Francis Shaeffer with Deirdre Ducker, Barry Seagren, Kim and Cynthia, followed by Marsh Moyle explaining the big ideas of L’Abri: If Christianity isn’t true everywhere, it isn’t true anywhere. Secondly, Christ is Lord of the whole of reality - not just the religious parts.
Nigel Halliday gave a talk about Professor Rookmaaker a Dutch art historian: ’All of reality belongs to Jesus; all of life is worship; we serve God in everything we do, including the arts.’ Rookmaaker helped Schaeffer develop a visual sensibility; and, most certainly, to mitigate the typically American Evangelical averseness at that time to art of any kind.
Nigel Goodwin described the influence that Schaeffer had on him, helping him to ’re-shape his foundation’, and to ’think Christianly’.
Three artists Kaori Homma, Alistair Gordon and Steve Turner shared the part that L’Abri and Schaeffer’s books had played in their creative journey.
Jim Paul, director of English L’Abri, confirmed that artists need l’Abri and L’Abri needs artists more than ever. It is still ’a safe space’. There is even more fragmentation and disintegration of our culture than in Schaeffer’s time. For example, people are deeply suspicious of ’ideas’. Many even have no notion of doctrine or history. We, particularly young people, are also increasingly emotionally driven: witness The X Factor. There is a hunger for the transcendent.
What is the role of the Christian artist? Is it not to ’re-transcendentalise’ the transcendent; to discern what is good in culture, and to subvert what is not with a prophetic voice?
Finally there was a panel discussion led by Julia Bicknell. There was general agreement that L’Abri continues to be relevant in the 21st century. Nigel G had the last word: ’You can flee technology but it’s here. How can you embrace it – but not be embraced by it? Christ did not look at His Rolex and say ’Three weeks to Jerusalem.’
The programme is available here.
14th May 2016
Jack Clemo Centenary Poetry Awards
ACG marked Jack Clemo’s anniversary with a special day event to celebrate the life and work of the poet.
To start the day, Norman Stone introduced his film about Jack Clemo which was originally shown on BBC TV in 1980. The film consists of interviews with Jack and dramatic reconstructions of events in his life.Despite working to a tight budget, it turned out to be a very fruitful enterprise. Norman talked about getting to know Jack and his wife, Ruth and he described Jack Clemo as the closest man to God that he had met.He gave fascinating background insights into the film’s making such as one particular day of filming it had been raining and there is a scene in the film where Jack (played by Robert Duncan) examines a butterfly which is resting on his finger. Because of the rain the butterfly didn’t fly away whereas on a sunny day this would not have happened. A magical moment was enabled by a favourable turn in the weather.
The keynote address by Luke Thompson complemented Norman’s film and he filled in some of the background of Jack’s life. Luke has done extensive research looking at JackClemo’s diaries and interviewing those who knew him.
Poets Steve Turner and Stewart Henderson joined in a panel discussion,looking at Clemo’s legacy. His work was held in very high regard historically and ranked alongside the biggest names in the poetry world. However, after an initial period of success, he became somewhat forgotten. This was partly due to his communication difficulties.
The winners of the competition were: Alwyn Marriage (1st prize) , Lynne Chitty (2nd prize) and Rob Powys-Smith (3rd prize).
L to R: Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Alwyn Marriage, Rob Powys-Smith, Tony Jasper
One of the attendees Joe B. provided the following reflection on the day:
I had not heard of Jack Clemo before the ACG informed me of a poetry competition they were running this year in his honour and even after hearing of him, I must confess that I did not make any effort to seek his poetry out.
Though my attitude was one of ambivalence toward Clemo, I was sufficiently interested in poetry to buy a ticket to the Centenary Celebration being run by the ACG, and I am glad I did.
The content of the day was varied and engaging; there was discussion about Clemo with a mixed panel of experts and poets, a lecture given by Luke Thompson who had just finished a PhD focusing on Clemo, poetry readings both of Clemo’s work and that of the prize-winners of the competition and, most exciting for me as a film-maker, a biographical film by Norman Stone focusing on Clemo’s formative years; including his experience of going deaf and blind and his conversion from-- as Clemo himself put it-- ’natural mysticism’ to Christianity.
As a result of the day I am now decidedly unambivalent about Jack Clemo and am keen to explore his work in more depth. What is more, I am grateful that when I read the work, I will not come to it in ignorance,but with an informed appreciation of the man who wrote it; my thanks go to the ACG for that.
Our thanks go to Tony Jasper who organised the competition and all who took part in the day. Our best wishes to Luke Thompson for his newly published biography Clay Phoenix of Jack Clemo.
17th December 2014
Focus: Susanne Scott and Ayala
It was fascinating to hear the story of Susanne Scott’s journey through the arts at the ACG Christmas party.Interviewer, Pat Harvey drew out some very interesting facets of Susanne’s life. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Joan Milford, who was a very successful opera singer in Australia, Susanne embarked upon a singing career after getting to the grand final of an event in Australia, similar to today’s X factor. Her early career was spent singing in Australia. Later her family moved to England and she began to establish herself in her new country. In addition to being a singer, Susanne trained as a teacher and it was in this role that she developed her song writing skills which she used with the children that she taught. More recently she has released the Aussie Carol which has been sung in her home country of Australia. She has also written a children’s novel which is awaiting publication. She joined ACG shortly after coming to England.
Later in the evening, one of ACG’s newer members, Ayala sang 5 songs including her most recent single. It was a great evening overall and it was good to welcome a number of visitors who had not been to an ACG event before. There was ample opportunity for people to mingle and chat over mulled wine and mince pies.
Thursday 23rd October 2014
DRAMA AWARD PRESENTATION
The awards were presented by Peter Moreton, actor and playwright .
ACG held its second playwriting competition this year with two drama awards for innovative play and creative play scripts, 40 to 50 minutes in length. The winner of the Under 30 category (Julian Battersby Award) was Emma Rogerson for The Sad Truth. Just 16 years old her text thrilled the judges. In the all-age group (Jasperian Award) there was almost a unanimous decision in awarding the first place Award to Katrina Ffiske. Her play If Only Every Day was seen as funny, relevant and quirky. It was well constructed and entertaining.
More details can be found here.
Saturday 21st June 2014
VISIT TO ANN BRIDGES OPEN STUDIOS
A small group of us visited Ann Bridges’ open studios in the delightful village of Otford, near Sevenoaks, on Saturday 21st June. Ann is now based there having moved from Wales. She was a very hospitable host,talking about her work and giving a demonstration of her painting process which involves using oil based inks to create striking vibrantly coloured paintings. It was great to see some of the original works whose images have graced the pages of e-info over the years. Ann also has quite a collection of sketchbooks (top shelf of bookcase in photo) which act as a visual diary of her life. It was fascinating to look through them and see how they capture all sorts of moments ranging from visits to the theatre, time relaxing on holiday, drawings of friends etc. Drawing and painting are obviously in Ann’s bones and her sketch book an almost constant companion in her travels.
To see Ann’s work please visit: www.ann-bridges.com
Saturday 11th January 2014
MENTORING DAY WITH ALASTAIR GORDON
Alastair Gordon provided the input for a fascinating mentoring session at Departure Arts Café, East London. He talked about his journey as an artist and how he came to be director of the Husk art gallery at Departure, and also director of Morphé, an organisation which mentors recent arts graduates. He covered aspects of the contemporary art scene including how to approach galleries with a view to exhibiting work and also some of the pitfalls to avoid. After a look at the current exhibition at Husk we visited Alastair’s studio where he showed us both recent work and work in progress. A number of pieces appeared in his recent ’DanishDeparted’ exhibition. Inspired by Departure’s history of once having been a Danish seamen’s mission and using a style of illusory painting called ’quodlibet’, Alastair’s work displays both observational skill and a thoughtful sensitivity to the surrounding locale.
You can hear Alastair talk about this exhibition here: blog.lcm.org.uk/danish-departed-at-husk/
Alastair’s input prompted a lively discussion and all who attended thoroughly appreciated the day. www.alastairjohngordon.com
26th September 2013
Focus: Lynne Bradley
A number of ACG members and guests came to
the Autumn Gathering where the focus was
provided by Lynne Bradley who talked to us
about lesser known stories behind the musicals.
One thing she mentioned was the economic and
political symbolism behind the original Wizard of
Oz story. Another was the strenuous working
conditions that the actors had to endure in that film
and also in the film Singing In The Rain. The insights gleaned from her
thorough research were fascinating and we could have listened to her for
much longer. Part of the evening was given to socialising and it was great
to see old members, our newest member, and one or two who hadn’t been
able to get to an ACG event for some time.
18th July 2013
Focus: Kaori Homma & Art Action Japan
A good number of ACG members and guests met at Café Eterno for ACG’s summer gathering. Old connections were strengthened and new ones were made over a glass of champagne with strawberries and cream.
The focus of the evening was a presentation of the work of Art Action UK by its director, Kaori Homma. This charity is run by Kaori and Meryl Doney, who was also present. Kaori talked about how the vision for the charity developed out of her contact with Japanese artists who had been affected by the tsunami, earthquake and resulting nuclear fallout in 2011. A number of artists found their way to Kaori’s home and as she interacted with them and learned more about the situation she began to think about ways in which she could help. She came up with the idea of raising funds to enable Japanese artists to come to the UK for a period of respite. At the same time they would have the opportunity to exhibit their work and highlight the situation in Japan. .
This ’Respite Residency’ project has turned out to be more successful than could have been hoped and Kaori emphasised how God’s grace had opened doors and enabled the project to gather momentum. .
Kaori expressed her thanks to ACG for its help in managing the funds and she said that it would not have been possible without such support.
This year’s artist, filmmaker Hikaru Fujii, was involved in a number of very successful events. One of these was held at the Japan Foundation in London and it was their best ever attended event. In addition to the success of the events in the UK, enormous interest was generated in Japan with coverage in the press and media. A similar event has now been organised by an institution in Tokyo inspired by the Respite Residency project. .
Kaori highlighted the difficulties being experienced in Japan. The effect of radiation is an unknown but very real danger. As well as the danger to health it has also produced social problems such as ’nuclear divorce’ where, for example a wife decides to move far from the contaminated zone but the husband decides to stay because of work. .
To support the work of Art Action UK you can donate online at www.everyclick.com/artactionukresidency
18th April 2013
Open Forum: Changes Afoot for ACG
Venue: Café Eterno,
opposite Tomcat Leather
34 Neal Street,
London WC2H 9PS
Report by ACG Chair Susanne Scott
Our Spring Gathering was a true expression of the ACG spirit and spread of arts disciplines. We had thought to offer the opportunity to members to come with their questions about future plans. However, as it turned out what was really discussed was how those who were present could be involved.
We sat around in the lounge area of Café Eterno and when we were joined by new member, ballerina and dance therapist, Kate Snowdon introductions were made. Journalist and PR man Bill Shaw had come to talk about a Twitter feed for ACG; writer, Chris Norris was discussing the development of a ’collective memory’ site on ACG website; architect, Ray Hall was encouraging new developments and has joined the Board with this in mind; TV producer, Gordon Adams who kindly organises all our events was able to join us after a day in the studio; long term member and former dancer, Jane Burton drove up from Sussex to join us; singer, Jennifer Moore arrived fresh from a photo shoot for her new album launch set for July (she is leading our web development team); our administrator, Colin Burns spoke about his new CD of original songs and guitar pieces; Rosemary Bird who keeps us in line financially manages our office and keeps us all well fed at events brought her enthusiasm to the conversation; installation artist, Kaori Homma spoke about this year’s Art Action for Japan in which ACG partners with her and to complete the group, I was present this time not as a singer but as a writer ready to publish my first book, generally drawing the conversation together and to answer any questions, none of which seemed necessary and all of which were answered in the general conversation anyway.
15th April 2013
ACG DRAMA AWARDS
Venue: Café Eterno, 34 Neal Street, Covent Garden.
The two plays from last year’s ACG Drama Competition were given public readings.
Postcards from the Edge touched on the dilemmas faced by the family of ’Dad’ who has dementia and the daughter caught in the middle. This was directed by ACG member Felicity Wilson for the writer Kit Walkham and the cast included experienced actors Trevor Danby, Tessa Gallagher and Nadia Ostacchini.
Writing to the Queen also exposed the tensions raised within a family by the pursuit of Dad’s desire for justice by taking a wider look at the failings of the current legal system in terms of financial redress. The writer Danielle R. Corgan provided her own Director and cast.
13th December 2012
At this Gathering Tony Jasper organised a great evening’s entertainment.
Tony interviewed Julie Rayne, Lynne Bradley, and Colin Burns about their latest work and gave them an opportunity to entertain us with songs, poetry, and guitar solos. The evening was interspersed with some quick-fire comedy from Tony Jasper, sketches partnered with Julie Rayne, and even a musical quiz. The evening ended with a rendition of the Aussie Carol, amongst other carols, and it was closed with a reflection on Advent shared by Chris Norris.
July 12th 2012
ACG Summer Gathering
With entertainment by JENNIFER MOORE.
Venue: Café Eterno, Covent Garden.
On 12th July we were treated to an evening of entertainment from singer and ACG board member, Jennifer Moore. Jennifer’s excellent voice was accompanied by Chris Hill on double bass and Jamie Salisbury on keyboards. Her set featured a number of original jazz flavoured, contemporary songs in an intimate setting and all who came thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Jennifer has a CD available of her songs. If you are interested in purchasing one and hearing her music please visit her website.
Before and after there was the opportunity for friends to catch up and for new friends to be made. It was great to see a number of new visitors to the Gathering.
22nd March 2012
ACG SPRING GATHERING
Members and Friends were invited to this Gathering for a time of fellowship. This was a free event.
The evening commenced with a chance to socialise, drinks and nibbles provided. Later in the evening Andre Radmall gave an interesting talk, provoking some discussion and questions, about his recent play Dance Class and how he came to write it.
21st March 2012
ACG AND ART ACTION SUPPORT FOR JAPAN
A Year After the Tsunami - Silent Art Auction
This project is supported by: Arts Centre Group, Morphé, Meryl Doney (independent curator) and Art
Venue: Flatplanet, basement of cafe 39 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JG Nearest tube - Oxford Circus , On the corner of Carnaby Street, just behind Liberty.
Featured artists’ works included; Gaia Persico, Andrew Bick, Tina O’cornell, Julia Haysom, Marguerite Horner, Kaori Homma (pictured), Alistair Gordon, Kanako Inokuchi, Peter Glasgow, Keiko Sugiyama, (and more).
One year after the Tsunami and the Fukushima Nuclear disaster in Japan, the media coverage in UK has emphasised the stoic nature of the victims and the financial and logistical capability of the Japanese government; however the reality is far from these portrayals. While the number of dead or confirmed missing is approximately 20,000, 260,000 people are still living in temporary emergency accommodation and the number of people committing suicide is sky rocketing, predicted to reach 50,000 by the end of this year. And Japan has yet to find out the long-term effect of radiation exposure to the younger population.
As a result of this, Kaori and other artists have been trying to find a way to help with their limited means as artists.
Your support through this auction will help our immediate project in summer 2012, which is to establish a residency in London for young artists who are affected by the disaster.
29th October 2011
Frank Field MP was interviewed by Norman Stone, TV Director & ACG member
Venue: LICC (St Peters) Vere Street, London W1
This evening event, arranged for us by Norman Stone, was an interview with Frank Field MP. This fulfilled more than our greatest expectations as Frank gave us an insight into his unique approach to a life in politics not so much led by the party line but by his own conscience and innate faith. Those of us who remember the last days of Maggie Thatcher as Prime Minister were mesmerised by the very personal account given to us by Frank about the night she resigned. Would that more politicians could approach their careers with such empathy and understanding of the needs of their constituents and the nation as a whole. Norman then took questions from the floor.
Our thanks to Norman for leading such an informative discussion.
9th September 2011
The Arts Centre Group 40th Anniversary Lecture by Nigel Goodwin, Patron and Founder
Still Crazy After All These Years?
Creating a World That Ought To Be?
Venue: All Souls, Langham Place,
London W1B 3DA
In September we were delighted to welcome many members past and present to celebrate our 40th anniversary with our very special guest and founder, Nigel Goodwin, who was accompanied by his wife Gilly. Nigel regaled us with stories of ACG beginnings intertwined with thought provoking and challenging quotes from the great literary minds that had most affected his own development.
The lecture was followed by discussion to which we invited two future leading lights of the music and arts world, Jennifer Moore and Daniel James.
Of course everyone relished the opportunity to catch up with each other at the reception afterwards.
13th August 2011
MENTORING GROUP - Douglas Rickard, Visual Artist
An exhibition of Douglas’ work
Douglas Rickard has successfully navigated the course from part time to full time artist over the last few years, particularly by making use of online social media such as Facebook to market his artwork. Douglas spoke about his path as an artist, about the business side of being an artist and how he relates his Christian faith to his work.