What Love? Our time in Marseille

In May 2018, our directors, Karen, Jon and Nicola and board member, Alan Dunn, took a trip to France to the signing of Nomad Clan’s latest large-scale mural, the culmination of the collective’s creative residency with La Couvant as part of MP2018.

Initiated following the success of Athena Rising, a mural commissioned as part of our A City Less Grey project with LeedsBID, Nomad Clan’s new piece adorns the Friche La Belle De Mai building, which is a former tobacco factory and current creative centre.

On the theme of What Love? the piece was supported by us, Atelier Juxtapoz, Electron Libre and Hip Hop Society. It was also curated by Manon Keraudren who has just completed a six-month placement with us here at East Street Arts.

While in Marseille, the group visited various organisations and collectives in the city, which is fast becoming a thriving creative hub. One of our meetings was with Marseille Expos, which runs a visual arts network of almost 50 artists, galleries and spaces. Coordinating events including guided city tours, the organisation acts as a representative for visual arts within the city. Its work is key especially as Manifesta will come to Marseille in 2020. Marseille Expos will be a central point for communication in the preparation for and during the festival.

We also visited Triangle France to hear about its residency programme and the various activities in its spaces. With two sites, Triangle France, has a space in the tobacco factory, where Nomad Clan created its mural, and also a space in the Grands Carmes area of the city.

Other highlights of the trip include meeting up with Jon’s nephew, a young filmmaker who lives in the city, and hearing about how he finds life in Marseille, particularly in the lead up to Brexit. We also explored Videodrome, a small independent cinema on Cours Julien, as well as the nearby second hand record stores, of course! (Check out our new weekly Instagram feature, DJon Selects, to experience the fruits of this visit in the coming weeks).

Nicola waxed lyrically:
“Nomad Clan’s mural was extremely impressive and told a real story about the history of the city. It was great to be there to see it completed in the heart of Marseille. We were very lucky to be able to meet with various creative collectives and organisations during our visit too; it certainly provided lots of food for thought. There’s lots going on in the city and we look forward to building strong links with Marseille despite Brexit and the city’s bid for capital of culture.
“One of my personal highlights of the trip was when a street of residents compiled a list of their favourite songs and sat as a collective to listen to them. It was beautiful.”

Karen mused:
“We had some really interesting experiences in Marseille and it was particularly insightful to see another city’s approach and network. It was also great to switch off from work for our last evening and, knowing that we had a 4am start the next morning, relax in a fantastic recommended cafe/bar while passionately discussing the pros and cons of goal line technology in football. This completed a nice cycle as Marseille scored their winning goal as we arrived two days earlier, beating Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa cup.”

Jon just carried on shuftying through vinyl…

You can find out more about the mural on Nomad Clan’s Instagram, along with some fantastic footage from Studio Bokehgo.

Other things!