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All Eyes On Culture

Words: Rachel Horne

Photography: Various Businesses

“Artists Thrive Together. They manifest ideas, share, advocate and grow culture. So if you want to know where culture is in Doncaster, find an artist, musician, writer, poet, dancer or activist. Support their projects, dance at their gigs, learn the words to their songs and sing it back to them when they are on stage. Doing any of these things will literally change the lives of the artists or creator and, in that moment where you are celebrating their art, you are in fact making culture happen.”

from Art In Action, issue 30

Doncopolitan Crawl is an alternative evening event taking place on Tuesday 23rd July from 5pm onwards. In partnership with DMBC, Cast, Frenchgate, The Point, local businesses and now Arts Council England, it is a free night out for Doncastrians aimed at celebrating some of the many creatives we’ve featured in the pages of the mag. One thing we’ve learnt over the years is that it can be really difficult for artists to develop and fund what they do. Arts Council England is helping us to commission artists to develop their amazing ideas and share them at Doncopolitan Crawl.

Here’s a taste of what’s happening:

Doncopolitan Pop-Up Shop
the Frenchgate Centre

Based in the former Garage Shoes unit near Debenhams you’ll be able to purchase prints, cards and original artworks from artists that have graced the pages of the magazine.

Art at the Deli & Mamma Wheatley’s Yarn Bomb @Scicluna’s

Doncaster’s favourite deli Scicluna’s is hosting an exhibition of artwork by Penny Cawley and outside there will be a huge yarn bomb featuring hand knitted and crocheted items from Mamma Wheatley’s and music from Laura Kelly.

“New Beginnings” at C-View

At Doncaster’s former Art College there will be a mixed media visual art show featuring the work of BA Fine Art and Craft students and lecturers from Doncaster College. Resident artists studios will also be open.

“On Earth To Make the Numbers Up” Photography Exhibition
Doncopolitan Studios

Based on the name of the book by Doncaster writer Evelyn Haythorne, first published in 1987 (although currently out of print) the exhibit charts Evelyn’s life growing up in Doncaster in the 1940s and 50s. This exhibition will feature contemporary photography from Broth Tarn, a Barnsley based 35mm photographer, and the nationally acclaimed photographer Jim Mortram who has featured on the front of British Photo Journal for his work that documents the lives of people living on the front line of austerity.

Broxholme Lane Block Party

Many residents love the splash of street art and colour that has started to appear in the town centre. You’ll be excited to hear that SPZero76 will be painting again on Broxholme Lane as part of our Block Party with other phenomenal creative pioneers such as FiveFive, and Breaking Beats.

Cara McHugh
The Jam Horse, Scot Lane

Cara McHugh is an emerging visual artist and illustrator who will be showing her comical horse themed illustration for the first time at the Jam Horse. Madame Zucchini will be on site providing child friendly activities.   

Katy Carr & Helen C. Stark
Dreambakes, Priory Walk

Katy Carr featured in issue 6 of Doncopolitan – she’s a London-based folk musician and singer songwriter keen to collaborate and perform in Doncaster due to our strong Eastern European community and her dual Polish/English heritage. Katy’s previous albums have explored themes such as the Polish Partisansduring the Second World War and songs such as Mala have had over 398,870 views on Youtube. She’s even been described as the ‘Polish Bjork’. Helen C. Stark is an extremely talented illustrator who specialises in brush calligraphy and will be running a drop-in workshop on the night while the fabulous Pinch and Pull will be outside serving some delicious nosh.

 

“Silent Style” – Fret by Fret

Make-up artist Rebecca Gathercole has designed a make-up look inspired by the art and drawings of Imogen Carline who we have featured in past issues of Doncopolitan. Instagram influencer and model Lindsay Marie McGlone, along with photographer Shane Peagram are collaborating with Rebecca to create a photographic series on display at Fret by Fret on Priory Walk. Imogen will also be showcasing work on the night with live blues music from her dad Frank Carline and Al and The Geriatrics.

“The Geranium Project”
13 Scott Lane

Visual artist Ian Latham will be showcasing his Arts Council England supported mixed media installation. Recent MA student graduates Andrea Berry, Lisa Goodwin and Amie Frost will be showing work alongside.

Wonky Planet Take Over featuring Fluid/ity at Cast

Wonky Planet and Doncopolitan have been working together for the last 4 years developing a space for exploratory music and performance art to develop.. If you are making edgy, experimental work in Doncaster Wonky Planet is the place to collaborate and share what you do.

Nightlife Museum

We’re collaborating with Doncaster Museum to bring elements of club culture into the Museum. From 8pm onwards you’ll be able to grab a drink from our pop-up bar, listen to house music from our friends at Vision and see a special performance from Cast Associate Artist Ryan Harsten also known as Urban Concept and Melt Trip.

Alongside this incredible array of creative talent we have a wonderful production team helping and supporting the event. This includes Gemma White, Claire Boswell, Jo McQuade (DMBC), Danny McMillan, Joe Powell, Vicky Prior, Beth Prior (Doncopolitan) and Rosie Clark at Cast.

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Wonky Planet And Fluidity’s Takeover

Wonky Planet and Fluidity are taking over CAST, are you brave enough to join them?

Words: Vicky Prior

Photography: Fluid/ity & Wonky Planet

Another day, another fascinating look at one of the events that make up Doncopolitan Crawl. In part 6 of our blog series, we are going to a Doncaster institution to interview some bonafide Donny celebrities taking part in an avant-garde musical experiment.

 

If you venture into CAST on the 23rd of July, you’ll enter an unorthodox club night. Music pioneers Wonky Planet are releasing a new album Animal Bitrate which they will be performing on the night. To add some extra glamour, the wonderful Bipolar Abdul will be bringing her troupe of drag kings and queens from Doncaster’s popular Fluidity nights to dance alongside Wonky Planet. I was keen to find out what inspired Bipolar Abdul in her performance art, and this is what she had to say:

‘It took me a long time but now I’m incredibly inspired by the North and especially Doncaster. It’s pushed me to be exactly what Doncaster is missing and to embrace the fact we have a chance to start our own regional drag. I love being part of the Crawl cos all other obscure subcultures have been exposed and pushed together to really showcase the spectrum of creativity the not so grimm Donny has to show.’

 

As for Wonky Planet, their work defies description, so I thought it best to let Craig, one of their musicians, do it for me, ‘We are a South Yorkshire based trio, myself, Tim and Frankie, risen from the foundry ashes of wonk-prog outfit Mangabros. We forge our twisted monstrous sound from dismantled modular synths, rewired electronic toys, theremins and junkyard percussion, fed through a crooked mile of guitar pedals and FX. We’ve mostly dropped the vocals and narratives this time round to have much more fun with sonic exploration. Here at last, is dance music for the chronic wallflowers who daren’t dance.’

Intrigued (and a little bewildered), I asked Craig what inspired him and what it meant to be part of the Doncopolitan Crawl. His answer made a bit more sense to me, ‘Pulselovers is a musical project which takes inspiration from half forgotten TV themes, 70s German electronic music and radiophonic experimentalism. In the studio, this takes the form of uncomplicated rhythms and drones which are accompanied by simple melodies. When performing live, a more improvisational approach is taken incorporating tape loops, found sounds and a multitude of gadgets and effects.

 

It’s a great honour to be asked to perform as part of the Doncopolitan Crawl. Donny has a great tradition of underground music and I’m proud to be playing a small part in its development.’

 

In conclusion, I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen at CAST on the 23rd, but it’s bound to be an interesting experience.

 

All events as part of Doncopolitan Crawl are free, and take place on Tuesday, 23rd July from 5pm till 9pm.

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New Beginnings @ C-View

Start afresh with New Beginnings at C-View.

Words: Vicky Prior

Welcome to the fifth part of our blog series on Doncopolitan Crawl, taking part on Tuesday 23rd of July 5 till 9m. This time round we are exploring New Beginnings exhibition at CView.

Doncaster’s beautiful former Art College, Church View, resides in a building behind the Minster. It was first built in 1913. Having fallen into disrepair it was then taken over by the Doncaster Community Trust who began repairs in 2009. Rebranded CView, it is now a thriving hub for creative businesses and regularly hosts art exhibitions.

As part of the Doncopolitan Crawl, although it opens today this Saturday, there’s a new exhibition showcasing the worm of local degree students. I spoke to Kim Farr, one of the artists on display and an organiser of the exhibition.

Kim told me ‘We are a collaboration of eight artists whose work varies from abstract, portraiture, textiles, ceramics and sculpture. 6 amongst us are just about to start our third year of our Fine Art and Crafts Degree at Doncaster College and feel that the time is perfect for showcasing Doncaster’s existing and emerging artists. The Doncaster Crawl is a perfect opportunity to do this as since starting our degree doncopolitan has features quite heavily in discussion and around College. We want to be a presence in the Doncaster art and culture regeneration.’

Well, Doncopolitan welcomes any and all to get involved with that regeneration, so please come along on the 23rd for what promises to be a wonderful evening of culture.

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The Perfect Combo @ Dreambakes

Dreambakes hosts the perfect combo of food, art and music.

Words: Vicky Prior

Photography: Dreambakes & Helen C.Stark’s Instagram

This is the third in a series of blogs exploring events happening as part of Doncopolitan Crawl, an amazing night of culture in Doncaster on Tuesday, 23rd July.

The Dreambakes cafe on Priory walk opened last year and quickly established itself as a top venue for the Doncopolitan Crawl. The cafe is taking part once again on the 23rd of July, this time hosting an exhibition of work by Helen C Stark and a gig by folk musician Katy Carr. While Dreambakes will be on hand to provide cakes and coffee, they’ve also invited Sheffield’s Pinch and Pull to cook up fabulous wraps and tacos.

I know the food is fabulous because I gorged on it last year. I spoke to Danny from Pinch and Pull who explained ‘We serve toasted tortilla wraps and corn tortilla tacos using a fusion of flavours. We try to give our food vibrant colours, rich flavours using spices, pickles and cooking methods from around the world. We were involved with the Winter event last year and got asked to return by Dreambakes for a second year. We think it is great for people to immerse themselves in culture and art so fully support the project and are really happy to be involved with it.’

Frankly, it would be easy for me to just be excited about food but the Crawl’s purpose is to celebrate Doncaster culture so once again I’ve been on YouTube to have a listen to the event’s musical option. Katy Carr is coming up from London to play her music, having been drawn to Doncaster by our strong Eastern European community and her own Polish/English Heritage. She plays Polish folk music songs that she writes herself in a mixture of English and Polish. Katy is well worth seeing perform as all her work has a vintage tinge and she often wears outfits inspired by the 1930s and 1940s.

Katy told me that although she was born in England, she lived in Poland for the first five years of her life. Her album Paszport (Youtube Link HERE), a tribute to those who fought in World War II, won Best Concept Album from the Independent Music Awards in 2014. In 2016 she was given Poland’s Pro Patria Medal. She went on ‘it’s exciting to be performing for the first time in Doncaster and I’d like to extend a big thank you for the performance invite friend and colleague Rachel Horne. I hope to learn more about Doncaster’s rich historical and cultural heritage with a view to creating future projects in Doncaster with Rachel.’ You can read a review of Katy’s songs in The Guardian, who said he new album Polonia ‘shows her strength as a writer of grand, upbeat melodies.’

One person who ‘can’t wait to listen to Katy Carr’ is illustrator Helen C. Stark. Her artwork takes two forms, brush calligraphy, and landscape sketchers. Helen says ‘I’ll be running a drop-in workshop on how to draw buildings at Dreambakes. I’m inspired by what makes every day a little bit sweeter. Architecture, botanicals and wise words inspire me lots. I love to soak up atmosphere in coffee shops. I wanted to get involved because I love Doncaster and I love culture.’ 

Her love for her former place of residence, Edinburgh, resulted in a delightful colouring book and I am launching a private campaign for a Doncaster version to be sketched. Perhaps if we all attend the workshop on the 23rd we’ll be so good at drawing buildings that we can have a Doncopolitan collaboration?

Keep checking the Doncopolitan blog for more on the many events that make up the Doncopolitan Crawl, 23rd July, 5 till 9pm.

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There’s a Block Party happening in Broxholme Lane, and you’re invited

Words: Vicky Prior

Images: Warren Draper

If you go down to Broxholme Lane today you’ll see a futuristic vision of Doncaster complete with tigers, stags, and ladies on motorbikes. This incredible mural was painted by spZero76 as part of the last Doncopolitan Crawl and he’s returning on the 23rd of July for more.

To celebrate, Doncopolitan is hosting a Broxholme Lane Block Party with music and art from some of Doncaster’s finest creatives. The lovely Breaking Beats, responsible for the series of murals around the side of Waterdale, will be on-site alongside FiveFiveDesignz. Breaking Beats have been creating work with young people since 2014 and will be hosting a street art workshop for the evening. 

FiveFiveDesignz, aka Craig, started out playing hip hop records at school and in 2007 started playing drum and bass and UK garage. Having worked out from Donny to clubs around the country he then decided to concentrate on his artwork and FiveFiveDesignz was born. Craig still does the occasional gig and will be playing at the Doncaster Caribbean Fun Day this summer. He told me he’s excited to be involved in this year’s Doncopolitan Crawl, where he’ll be spraying brand new artwork, because ‘it’s another part of the cultural shift that’s happening on Doncaster’s timeline right now…It always feels a bit more grim in Donny, especially when I’m painting, maybe that shows through with my surrealistic animal/character type stuff, but I kinda like it like that anyway.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNQ2_Nxh2jM
Kannan and MistaKay – Round Ere

Providing the music is local grime duo Kannan featuring Mista Kay. Alongside making extremely catchy songs (I know the bare minimum about grime, but I got quite into their stuff when doing a bit of research on YouTube!) Kannan features Doncaster locations prominently in his videos. He says ‘I’m inspired by all sorts of things, mostly music – listening to and creating. Watching videos or filming them. We want to be legends in Doncaster for our music. We wanted to be involved because we really like everything about the Doncopolitan & they have shown us a lot of love and support.’ 

So please come along to Doncopolitan Crawl on 23rd July, from 5pm, and show Kannan and all our other artists even more love and support.