Projects

Transforming Guns into Goods

Location
Manchester

Project Summary

Run events highlighting the processes involved in turning guns into goods inculding an opportunity to create peace plaques using casting methods and draw with light sources. 

Project Partners

Name:
Sam Ingleson
Role:
School of Art and Design, University of Salford
Role Description:
Project Manager
Name:
Erinma Bell
Role:
CARISMA (Community Alliance for Renewal for Inner South Manchester Area)
Role Description:
Community Partner
Name:
Peace FM
Role:
Community Radio Station
Role Description:
Community Partner
Name:
Greater Manchester Police
Role Description:
Community Partner
Name:
Stretford High School
Role Description:
Community Partner

Benefits & Impact

  • Positive new links between School of Art and Design and School of Computing, Science and Engineering, the delivery of joint activity worked well and we would like to build upon this in to future public events.
  • Audience feedback from questionnaires was positive and also evidenced by amount of time spent on activities.
  • Reached new audiences to disseminate CARISMA and Guns into Goods message
  • Opportunity for Salford undergraduates from Visual art , Physics and journalism and postgraduate students from Physics and Creative Education to work on a live project.

Quotes

“This is Physics? It’s not like the science at school. I didn’t know you could do Physics at University” Teenage boy observing the Metal Vaporization Experiment

Lessons Learnt

Creating an event that had science and art activities at its core enabled us to reach a wider audience than just putting on a dissemination event to promote the guns into goods project.

The combination of practical activities, experiment and information sharing gave the event a more collaborative feeling than other arts workshops I have led.  The ability to chose and move between activities meant that participants stayed for longer than I expected.

Whilst this event took a lot of time out of the bigger project (building a model of social enterprise and create a social enterprise selling products made from gun metal) it was definitely worth doing.  New ideas and discussions were generated by having all partners in the same room together.

Background

This proposal builds upon an existing AHRC collaboration between the School of Art and Design (University of Salford) and CARISMA. For this Manchester Beacon project the partnership was extended also including the School of Computing, Science and Engineering. As well as promoting alternatives to gang culture we were also looking at widening aspirations and generating enterprise through the arts.

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this event was to engage audiences from inner city Manchester with the scientific and technical processes that are undertaken when removing a gun from circulation.  Hopefully this increased knowledge of both the physical changes to the metal and the drawing and rendering techniques undertaken to realise a new product will add extra understanding and support from within the community.

Approach

The event took place on a Saturday between 10 and 1pm at Stretford High School. The event was attended by approximately 65 people, with most people staying for the whole event. Originally we were going to pass a current through objects in order to melt them using Joule’s second law. Unfortunately this proved impossible to demonstrate within the confines of a public space due to the strength of the voltage needed.  We compromised with the Metal Vapourisation experiment instead that sent a lower current through copper wire within a vacuum jar to coat slides prepared by members of the audience. Stick on letters and shape worked as a mask that prevented those parts of the slide from mirroring. Once the slide had been mirror coated the letters lifted of to reveal the glass.

In order to demonstrate the traditional casting methods we employ in casting the melted gun metal into the Wearpeace badges, an artist worked with participants to work designs and press shapes into pre prepared plasticine moulded plaques.  Plaster of Paris was then poured into the moulds and participants took away their finished plaques.

A continuous photo slide show enabled the participants to see the process of melting guns in the foundry, which led to audience discussions.

Artists set up an activity that enabled participants to draw with torches and light Sabres. Using a camera set on a slow shutter speed these light drawing were photographed and have been uploaded to facebook – gunstogoods to download.

CARISMA  launched this year's Peaceweek theme – peace across the generations and were on hand to answer questions, as were the police.

Before leaving participants were asked to write a message of peace on ceramic tiles- these will be displayed in Peaceweek in the following March.