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Encounter Festival Celebrates Unique Collaboration with Charity Shop Artist in Residence

26 October 2023

Shedding light on an inspiring project in the local community.

Encounter Festival, the annual celebration of art, culture, and community, is proud to shine a spotlight on an inspiring project that has added a new strand to this year's festivities. The 'p/reloved' initiative, led by the talented artist Joseph Doubtfire, has captured the essence of creativity and connected with local charities, charity shops, and the Preston community.

This pilot project was conceived as an exploration of how materials purchased from charity shops could be transformed into captivating artworks. It aimed to create meaningful partnerships with charity shops, initiate customer conversations, and delve into the interesting stories behind preloved items. The project stands as a testament to the power of art to uncover the hidden narratives that surround us. 

Joseph Doubtfire launched this artistic journey with a vision to discover the distinctive charm of second-hand goods and the sentimental value attached to them. His engagement with customers and donators revealed a treasure trove of memories and emotions, highlighting the impact that preloved items can have on our lives. 

One of the outstanding supporters of this endeavour has been Emmaus Preston, a charity that champions social inclusion. Emmaus Preston not only opened its doors to Joseph Doubtfire but also shared its philosophy and facilitated engaging conversations with customers. They generously offered their window space for the display of the artist's creations, further enhancing the connection between art and community. 

Emmaus Preston provides a home for people with experience of homelessness and meaningful work in a social enterprise. In Preston, this involves the sale of preloved items and some new goods at three charity shops in the city. 

One of the people supported by Emmaus Preston, Lee, became homeless after he was forced to close his business in event photography during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee said:

"Emmaus Preston is more than just a charity shop, it is a charity helping people in Preston to build back from homelessness.

We all work together in the charity shops to raise money by reusing what other people no longer need. So, it was a pleasure to welcome Joseph and his artwork, in-store to help us explain what resonates so much with Emmaus Preston supporters."  

In addition to Emmaus, Joseph Doubtfire collaborated with Integrate, a charity specialising in recycling wood and supporting adults with learning disabilities. Integrate played a crucial role in crafting the base frames for the artwork, aligning with the project's sustainable and inclusive ethos. 

Joseph Doubtfire, the Charity Shop Artist in Residence' for Encounter Festival, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, saying:

"It's been a fantastic opportunity to test the idea of being a 'charity shop artist in residence,' and as well as new work made with preloved materials, it's been wonderful to connect with local charities and charity shops — who have all been really supportive of the project. I'm looking forward to developing the project and continuing to turn my frequent browsing of bric-a-brac shelves into a more productive activity!"

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture atPreston City Council, said:

"The innovative aspect of this project lies in its commitment to charity at every stage of the art-making process. By sourcing materials from charity shops, collecting people's stories and interests, and finding ways to make art that reflects the rich history of preloved items, Joseph Doubtfire has not only created brilliant artworks but also contributed to the charitable ecosystem in Preston."

Joseph Doubtfire's vision for the future as the Charity Shop Artist in Residence is equally inspiring. He plans to continue collaborating with charity shops to acquire materials, gather people's stories, and create art that resonates with the spirit of second-hand treasures. The project is set to expand, welcoming other artists who share a passion for working with charity shop materials. 

Furthermore, the project aspires to make every stage of the art-making process charitable, from sourcing materials to selling the final works. This approach reflects the project's commitment to creating art with a purpose, one that enriches the community and supports the valuable work of local charities. 

The 'p/reloved' initiative by Joseph Doubtfire stands as a shining example of the transformative power of art and collaboration, Joseph has created a zine about his experience, which you can see at Joseph Doubtfire - p/reloved.

Encounter Festival is honoured to be a part of this remarkable journey. 

Mark your calendars for Encounter Festival, 20 - 22 September 2024, a celebration that brings together heritage, art, and community in an extraordinary fusion of creativity. Stay tuned for updates and announcements!

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