Kim Wide is a curator, with a strong interest in socially engaged projects and access for all to the arts.
She is currently working with the Plymouth communities of Efford and Barne Barton in their regeneration.
Originally from Canada, Wide worked as the Museum Manager at the York Museum at City of Toronto and the Assistant Curator at the Government of Ontario.
Following her relocation to the UK in 2003, she found that her Canadian studies of Museum and Gallery Management and Curatorship were not recognized and began to seek out community/audience arts based projects.
Wide has worked at ArtSway, New Forest which is an arts centre used to discuss and engage with contemporary art and Kaleido Arts, an arts organisation in the South West, with 85% of their Board made up of deaf and disabled people.
In 2009, following Plymouth City Council’s go ahead in 2006, for the regeneration of Efford Take a Part was developed in partnership with the Heart of Efford Community Partnership, Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Arts Centre. Take a Part is a public realm arts project, encouraging the community to come together using creativity to support the regeneration of Efford.
Initially, Wide found that working on the Take a Part project was challenging because the community were perhaps a little hesitant and doubtful about trying something new. She recognised that the people had to be eased in to these ‘new’ ideas slowly, so that she could gain their trust and hope they would become open to more diverse projects and experiences in the future.
The arts activities started as quite simple projects including cob-sculpting and stone carving but gradually moved into performance art – including the community arts group Crazy Glue. This group has been involved in numerous projects including Grow Efford, a project that was created by environmental artist Anne-Marie Culhane and involved collecting local fruits in the Efford area to make jams and chutneys. This led on to the development of the Shed on Wheels – an interactive hub of activity for people to share their creativity.
Crazy Glue also presented a plain-speaking guided tour of the British Art Show 7 to other communities in Plymouth.
Another artist involved with Take a Part is sculptor Peter Randall Page who created a sculpture set into an old dry stone wall in Ham Woods in 2012 entitled In Praise of Trees. After selecting Page, Efford community members visited Page’s studio to gain a better understanding of his work. This again was an interactive, engagement project between artist and community – helping to give a sense of ownership.
Take a Part is an ongoing, long-term project in the regeneration of Efford and now the Barne Barton area is receiving the same treatment under the name BBROOTS commissioned by Barne Barton Partnership, Plymouth City Council and Take a Part.
BBROOTS is in the early stages of development, but projects discussing Barne Barton’s history and relationship to the River Tamar and waterfront have already begun. This has allowed the community – young and old to engage with artists and also engage with parts of Barne Barton they may have not been able to access previously.