Local artist returns to roots to explore Roman Fort afresh

Tuesday 03 June 2014

Manon Awst at Segontium Roman Fort

Manon Awst at Segontium Roman Fort

Community groups and partners today (3 June) attended a workshop at Segontium Roman Fort, Caernarfon, with the newly appointed artist in residence, Manon Awst, to learn about the work she’ll be undertaking over the next six months as part of her residency.

Manon has been appointed by Cadw and the Arts Council for Wales as an artist in residence at Segontium Fort, Caernarfon until December 2014.

The aim of the residency is to combine the practice and appreciation of art with an understanding and interpretation of heritage, and as part of this exciting and pioneering residency Manon will be building links between the arts and heritage, as well as contributing to community life and the regeneration of Caernarfon.

Manon was born in Caernarfon and following the completion of an Art Foundation course at Coleg Menai she studied Architecture at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. She returned to Caernarfon in 2007 to establish her interdisciplinary arts practice, and has since travelled far and wide to undertake various artistic projects and activities.  

Segontium is one of the most important Roman sites in north-west Wales. Overlooking the Menai Strait, the fort was one of a network of forts linked by a strategic road system which controlled the newly conquered Welsh tribes. Throughout the Roman period Segontium was the military and administrative centre of north-west Wales.

The significance of the fort in terms of its archaeology and history has been a focus in previous years, but an artistic interpretation will help shed a new, more creative light on the site. Manon will be applying her creativity and expertise in the fields of architecture, sculpture, public art and performance to develop new works and events linked to Segontium. She also aims to work with the local community to gather feedback, opinions and ideas to bring the site to life and generate a sense of understanding, appreciation and pride by local residents.

Manon will be based at the recently refurbished visitor centre at Segontium, and visitors and local residents are encouraged to stop by to see her work progressing. She’ll also occasionally be taking her workshop out to the community, and her work and activities will be captured and promoted online through her twitter account, twitter.com/SegontiumArt, and blog, www.segontium.tumblr.com.

On her appointment Manon said: ‘I’m delighted to be leading this exciting and innovative project in my home town of Caernarfon, and am particularly looking forward to working and engaging with local residents and community groups to learn about their thoughts and feelings towards this important historic site, which happens to be on their doorstep.’

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport added: ‘The artist in residence programme aims to encourage a different, creative interpretation of historic sites in order to increase the appreciation and understanding of the monument, and to connect with new and different audiences.

‘Wales’s historic monuments have inspired famous artists over centuries, and by inviting an artist to work with the local community in Caernarfon we hope to inspire more people to enjoy and learn about the fascinating stories behind this Roman fort.’

Manon is the second artist to be appointed as part of a three-year programme developed and funded by Cadw and the Arts Council for Wales. Lucy Harvey was the first artist appointed as part of the project in March 2013, who carried out a six-month residency at Valle Crucis Abbey, Llangollen, north-east Wales. An exhibition of Lucy’s work is now on display at the abbey.