Who Are Friction Arts?
Friction Arts make what we call ‘art where you live’. We aim to make quality, contemporary arts in real world settings, outside and alongside arts and cultural institutions and along with a diverse range of people. We do not make traditional community arts, though we always work with people and encourage participation in all kinds of ways. We work with diverse groups of participants and artists to make our work. We recognize that, as professional artists of over fifteen years standing, we have gained the expertise to create the artworks we wish to produce and are recognized internationally as experts in our field. So through discussion, listening and dialogue with a whole range of people we aim to interpret and create contemporary arts, interventions and performances along with the people we work with, including other artists, experts from other fields and members of the communities in which we work. For a full history of our work and links to our projects please click around.
Friction is led and managed by Sandra Hall and Lee Griffiths, whose thinking and approach drive the core of the company, it’s values and the work it makes.
Sandra has been making participatory arts projects in the region since 1992. As director of Friction Arts she has worked with all kinds of communities from offenders to allotment gardeners, from the US to Australia. Sandra is an acknowledged expert in the field of participatory arts and regularly delivers projects and seminars internationally, including regular appearances at Arnhem’s Popkunst and IETM. Sandra first trained with Geese Theatre Company to confront offending behaviour using drama techniques and has taught on a range of courses for artists working in social contexts. Sandra is also a founder member of West Midlands Creative Alliance and also designs and mentors on a number of the independant training company’s programmes. Last year she represented Friction Arts in the Birmingham Post’s ‘Power 50′ list and received Edgbaston Foundation’s Community Award for Friction’s ‘Curio City Shop’ project. She is an honourary member of Handsworth Uplands Allotments Domino Club and shares her own allotment in Balsall Heath.
Lee Griffiths is an artist, producer and director of Friction Arts and Creative Alliance, as well as mentoring on CA’s ‘After Hours’ and ‘Morning After’ programmes. After a ‘life-changing’ meeting with Malcolm X at the age of six months, Lee embarked on a lifetime quest for something or other, working as a commercial scuba diver, refrigeration engineer, farm labourer, bookseller and nursery nurse. He then returned to his beloved Brum and emerged with a desire to make the world a better place through making art accessible to as many people as possible. To this end, he has produced multi-artform performances and site-specific work in allotments, car boot sales, in shopping malls, on the street and in pubs and clubs, with Friction Arts. He is currently working on a performance (as Dr David Ethics) attempting to discover the Shape of Time, while developing a new outsider art venue in Birmingham, ‘The Edge’. Lee helps keep the Friction in Friction Arts.