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Big Blake Arts' Fourfold Vision

The creative life of the imagination was William Blake’s salient subject – making Blake, and his troubled three-year patronage by William Hayley in Felpham, Bognor Regis, valuable points of reference for what community art organization Big Blake Arts represents.  A central part of our ethos is a deeply held respect for the pragmatic and esoteric benefits of the creative process for individuals and communities.

Big Blake Arts was born from www.thebigblakeproject.org.uk, an organisation formed by members of Greener Bognor in order to encourage the regeneration of the area through highlighting its artistic and literary heritage.  A Sculpture Trail, which has “Cold Frames” by Richard Slee, kindly donated by the Cass Foundation, as its centrepiece in Bognor’s Hotham Park (opposite the University of Chichester Bognor Campus), was launched with a series of events on July 21st 2013.  Big Blake Arts was formed in order to encourage grass-roots engagement with and bring further attention to the local environment through creative opportunities.

BBA has since worked with around 150 families, schools and other community groups to create a palette of creative events and workshops.  120 panels for The Big Blake Mosaic have been made (to be created in situ on the Rife Bridge over the A259 in July 2014 with the approval of WSCC), signage and other creative endeavours for the local Community Orchard are being produced with the help of The Aldingbourne Trust, and a community Labyrinth has been designed on commission for Worm’s Wood (Felpham) from ADC Parks and Gardens to be created next May.  A year-long “Angels” project is underway for 2014 in which schools, organizations and businesses are invited to create a Blakean “angel” from any media and of any size for random and quirky display around the area.

The centrepiece of  BBA’s work next year will be “Fourfold Vision”, a radical creative writing project, in association with Pallant House Gallery’s award-winning www.outsidein.org.uk, www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk www.artsaveslives.org.uk and the University of Chichester.  “Fourfold Vision” is an opportunity for self-defined “marginalised” writers to develop and publish work through outreach workshops held locally and nationally within relevant organizations.  Participants will have a personal blog site hosted by “Outside In” to which they can upload unlimited material, which will be entered for an e-anthology of thirty poems and three prestigious prizes, one sponsored by the University of Chichester and the others by Disability Arts Online (two residences at DAO to develop an individual collection and publication by Waterloo Poets). 

It is hoped that a symposium on “Blake and his Fourfold Vision” will be held in Sussex to further explore the correlations between Blake’s successful creation of his own cosmology – “[seeking] a system to explain the nature of mental phenomena, which was possibly in part due to a wish to understand his own visionary experiences” , the uniqueness of the “Outside In” approach to creativity, and the ‘Spectre’ of psychiatry.

1 Mark Ryan, “William Blake’s Analysis of Melancholia” Modern Humanities Research Association