Our Team; Our Research; Our Ideas and Our Manifesto

The first time we sat down as a team we discussed which roles we thought we would be good at and came up with a rough overview of who was doing what. We identified that Laura would be very good at research as she has a methodical approach, and Tom was particularly interested being the editor. We chose Bethan as the project manager as she is quite organised  and would help keep everyone on track. However, after our  the ‘identifying team roles’ session, some roles were re-arranged. Whilst most of our decisions were affirmed, we decided that Jo fit the description of exhibition co-ordinator the best as she is the out-going came up with many ideas during this session, and that Sian would be best suited to the role of Head of research with Laura, as she demonstrated that she too is very methodical. This is the list of our revised team roles: Bethan Davies – Project Manager Laura Johnson/Sian Morgan – Head of Research Daniel Silverwood – Creative Development Manager Thomas Reynolds – Editor Joanna Piech  – Events Co-ordinator Rebecca Harrison – Exhibition Co-ordinator Here are some examples of  group members’ previous work:

Bethan Davies

Bethan Davies.

Jo Piech

Jo Piech

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

We then started to think about how we would work together as a group. We came to the conclusion that although we all had assigned roles to avoid overlap, during group meetings we would all contribute to the discussion if it would be helpful to the group.Having a strong group structure and underlying theme allows us as individuals to choose our own path of inquiry whilst still responding to a shared theme. After we had all done some individual research about Belle Vue, we came together to discuss the areas we were most interested in. It became apparent that we all liked different things about Belle Vue: this varied from the circus, to the zoo and the animals; to the music and bands that played there. However, we noticed that we were all interested in the the fact that Belle Vue no longer existed, and a lot of our research came from people’s memories. A website that is dedicated to Belle Vue has a section for people to write in and tell their stories. We decided that we wanted to explore the memories of Belle Vue further, and that having the theme of ‘souvenirs’ would allow us to do this, whilst letting us choose the area of the gardens we were each most interested in.


Souvenirs from Belle Vue, studied during the object handling session.

We meet as a group regularly, mainly Mondays and Thursdays to discuss how our individual research and designs are coming along and get feedback. This helps our ideas progress and develop as we critique each others work and suggest ways to improve designs, explore new research paths and generally support each other in our projects. We also keep in touch via social media so we can discuss the project and other issues outside of university hours. It also helps create effective plans for extracurricular visits to research venues. As we are working as individuals under the same title, our research is quite individual. The Manchester Histories Festival is putting on many different events about Belle Vue, and we will visit the ones that are personally relevant to us. For example, both Laura and Rebecca are particularly interested in the circus acts, and are planning to listen to Pat Pearson who was a trapeze artist at Belle Vue. Dan however, is more interested in Maharajah the elephant, and is therefore spending quite a bit of time in the Manchester Museum, studying it’s skeleton. The next step for us as a group is to start making connections between from 2D research and designs to 3D objects and materials. Our Manifesto The theme of our project is ‘Souvenirs’ and how people remember a place like Belle Vue. We will design and make ‘souvenirs’ as a response to the information and stories about Belle Vue’s past. We will produce work as individuals which allows us to express our own independent interests , whilst working working under the same theme so our work fits together. We feel that while the general view of Belle Vue is positive, perhaps ‘rose-tinted’, we will try to portray all aspects of its history; good or bad; through the disciplines of craft and design. The members of our group are drawn to different materials and techniques; and the objects we produce will be both functional and/or decorative.


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