This is an as yet unrealised project for a regeneration-based commission that has been turned down by 6 galleries and agencies so far. Nevertheless I am still very keen to get it made one day and take their rejections as an indication of its critical edge. In the meantime it exists as a proposal.



THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
Five-a-side stakeholder football tournament


I propose to stage a 5-a-side football tournament with teams representing the various stakeholders and groups involved in this commission.

The growing use of the arts within regeneration and economic revitalisation has created a whole new array of statutory and voluntary organisations, local government departments, consultants, specialists and experts. All sharing the common goal of “regeneration”.

It is almost inevitable that tensions will arise between these groups, and particularly between those for whom regeneration is a job - a salary - and those members of the general public who will be most affected by decisions made in council offices. Consultation is the way that these tensions are usually eased, but sometimes it can be just as productive to let people express their fears and doubts in a more physical manner.

I propose to stage a 5-a-side football tournament as a piece of performance art. The teams will represent the various interest groups and stakeholders in the proposed regeneration – the council, arts organisations, consultants, funders, planning dept, residents and so on. Through playing the national game all the relevant parties get to meet each other in an informal way and experience their shared commonality, defusing suspicion and creating camaraderie. At the same time, the competitive element of each match and the tournament as a whole will serve as a healthy expression of existing antagonisms.

The tournament would be held on a single day at a nearby park, leisure centre or football pitch. This would be to all intents and purposes a full scale 5-a-side tournament, complete with team kits, referees, an audience of friends and family, bunting, oranges, refreshments etc.

The tournament creates a large colourful spectacle, and attracts interest, publicity & participation from a wide range of local people. As well as the players, many more people can be involved as supporters and spectators.

Initial meetings, the development process, and the matches will be recorded on video but the whole process from start to finish should be considered as a piece of live performance art.

The winning team will be awarded a trophy.