TILLYDRONE - a community with a reputation
Tillydrone, a community of 4000 inhabitants, is one of seven so-called regeneration areas in Aberdeen - an area with high concentrations of social housing, unemployment, drug and alcohol misuse, crime and anti social behaviour in short a community with a reputation.
During a six months artist residency Eva Merz experienced the community close-up; researching regeneration plans, meeting local people, photographing, interviewing and making friends...
The big question is: What can an artist possibly do to make a difference?
I was standing in my kitchen, doing something, when a young man with bad teeth knocked at the window.
- Hello, I heard you're an artist
- Aye, that's right
- So, eh... could you maybe make a drawing of a Rottweiler?
I said I could take a photo of a Rottweiler, but he wisnae really into that...
The thing is, most people expect an artist more in the traditional sense, thinking you must be great on the crafts side, painting, drawing or making sculptures. Popular community projects often include things like public sculptures, for example totem poles or big murals, where local groups participate in the making. I was planning something different, still I wasn't at all sure what to do. First I had to meet the people... and then there were all these No Ball Games signs. No Skateboarding, No Cycling, No Golf Practising, No Dog Fouling, etc; this community was overcrowded with prohibitions. I had never seen so many signs in one place and it made me really aggravated. No no no, something had to be done about that.
Eva with crashed bike outside the artist residency flat in Tillydrone, May 2007
funded by Scottish Arts Council and Aberdeen City Council