Playing Field

An installation made with young people in 6 schools in Eritrea, India, Trinidad and Manchester – 36 photographs, 36 speakers and 1 kilometre of cable.

How we made it

Playing Field was an opportunity to experiment with new (for me) forms and to work with young people again.  I don’t usually work within formal education, finding the often contradictory demands just too difficult to negotiate.  I was happily surprised…

The initial idea was to use the internet.  In reality, I carried out tasks set by the students and became an in-person courier for people’s questions:  Do you have carnival there?  What do you do for fun?  Do you have to get married?  What would you like to change?  Is your country cold or hot?  How was your name chosen?  What’s important?

We recorded sounds, took photographs and found ways to recreate the smells of our lives from traffic fumes to the herbs Grandma would use.  All our conversations and research were brought together in 1 installation exploring young people’s hopes and ambitions from Tamil Nadu to Whalley Range by way of Port of Spain, Eritrea, Didsbury and Wythenshawe.  

It was a wonderful project to work on – of course it was.

Renny O’Shea, Director