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Moving Portraits

Created by Carolyn Defrin with filmmaker, Winstan Whitter and Hammersmith locals: Sagal, Emma, Ben, James, Colin, Rayan, Howard, Mariana, Revell, Kate, Daniela, Ryszard, Shirley, Miku, Nick, Asia, Ron, Azelle, Clea, Daisy, Toni, Lucy, Agnes, Del, Elizabeth, Mila, Kune, Labake, Darren, Sara, Dylan, Abrahim and Melanie.

'Moving Portraits arrives at the research’s initial questions about what kind of art should or could be funded by the     charity. Having examined the relationships artistic practice can have to the charity’s housing remit, and its wider understanding of local community needs, this final piece in the series investigates how artistic practice can inform processes for funding art.


The thirty three participants, framed by their own artworks, or artworks they have chosen to place in their own homes, share an idea for a new artwork they would make or commission someone to make. Additionally, each portrait turns the question back on the viewer and asks: ‘What would you create?’ Participants’ circumstantial vulnerabilities intra-act with ontological vulnerabilities within the vulnerable apparatus of artistic expression here, delivering nuanced additions to the concept of intra-vulnerabilities' (Chapter 5, p. 110).

These portraits were shown around Hammersmith throughout summer 2018, including at Hammersmith United Charity's 400th anniversary party at St. Paul's Centre, in Ravenscourt Park as part of Unity Day and at Westfield London Shopping Centre.

In situ at Westfields Shopping Centre London, July-Sept 2018

'The choice for a ‘moving’ portrait as opposed to a static one supports a resistance to fix communities. As the images faded in and out, starting and ending with a blank sheet of paper, each participant moves with their ideas, demonstrating that creative ideas come and go, and different artworks can be considered for different moments in time'  (Chapter 5, p. 138).

'While some of the works speak directly to socio-economic vulnerabilities in the area, attached to dilemmas raised in Moving Between, they equally evidence socio-aesthetic and creative ideas that speak to a need to be seen beyond socio-economic needs'  (p.140).

'Do I see vulnerability? No. I see confidence, assertion, ideas you might not have associated with those individuals, ambition... it gets away from “need”, makes it more personal, makes the ideas less boring but most of all gets away from an idea of “deficit” and  moves much more towards an asset based approach – so not ‘we could make life less worse by e.g.: an advice service but could instead make life better by e.g.: a ballet for my mum’ – that’s quite a subtle but quite an important distinction. Its back to let’s bring joy to peoples’ lives rather than slightly ameliorate their misery.' 

                                              –Melanie Nock, Director of Community Partnerships and Grants Manager, Hammersmith United Charities, 2019

'Vulnerabilities exposed in expressing artistic ideas entangle with circumstantial vulnerabilities tied to socio-economic need,  entangles with vulnerable acts of listening on the part of the service provider.  Through these intra-vulnerabilities, there is the potential, if the works were funded, to co-create culture in a new way' (p.140).

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