Launching Shieldfield Art Works

Shieldfield Art works was officially launched at a celebration event on 7 June 2019. This marks a significant turning point in the life of a project; nine years after launching Holy Biscuit in May 2010, from May 2019 our work will continue under the new name ‘Shieldfield Art Works’ or ‘SAW’.

In September 2018, Holy Biscuit team took the decision to close the gallery programme and to set aside quality time to review our purpose and vision. We called this period PROCESS and it was an important process of re-examining all of our activity, motivations and values as an organisation.

We are excited to share with you the story of Shieldfield Art Works, from the initial transformation of Shieldfield Methodist Church into the Holy Biscuit, and all that we have learnt leading up to our new identity as SAW. Our launch exhibition celebrates the community and stories of Shieldfield, firmly placing SAW within and for this community. The companion Shieldfield Art Works publication both examines our last eight years as an organisation and sets out our manifesto for our future as SAW.

Understanding our new name:

Shieldfield We are deeply committed to the community of Shieldfield and its wellbeing. Shieldfield, an estate in the east end of Newcastle in which we are located, has so often been left off the map. We believe that we should be working in solidarity with community members and organisations to give a platform to voices that have not yet been heard. We feel it is important that we place ourselves explicitly within the context of Shieldfield and commit ourselves to explore the issues faced by this community.

Art Art and creative thinking is integral to who we are as an artist-led organisation. Art is an articulation of lived human experience and is able to express often-hidden aspects of human life. We believe that art in particular is, and should be, an integral part of human life and flourishing and we are committed to embodying this in all aspects of our work.  

Works  Art works as a tool for enquiry, allowing us to examine our personal and collective experiences differently. It can work both as self-expression and a call for a response from the world. It can nurture empathy, promote imaginative thinking and new ways of living, expose and challenge injustice and have a transformative influence on society. We believe it has a place in contributing towards social change and social critique. We also believe strongly that art works in helping us expand our understanding of theology and our relationship to God.

SAW Our shortened name ‘SAW’ is more poetic and offers the idea of ‘having seen something’, of bearing witness to something, to be present in something, to testify, to serve as evidence of. For us this is important because it signifies a deeper meaning for us as a Christian organisation.