Q&A: Anna Francis

Q&A: Anna Francis

Anna Francis is an artist from Canterbury, England, who now lives and works in Stoke-on-Trent, England, where she is Director at AirSpace Gallery. Her practice examines private histories, public space and civic languages, using forms of intervention, drawing, mapping, performance, consultation and photography to investigate the impact that artists can have on their environments. Anna's work often uses kits, instructions, guided tours and manuals to get people looking at places differently.

How would you describe what you do?
I am not a maker, but someone who makes things happen. Sometimes this does mean that I make things, but it isn't my first thought when considering what I do. I am more interested in creating space and situations where other people can make things with me.

What tools and materials do you use in your work? Do you have a favorite material, and is there a tool you couldn't do without?
I use what can be found in a place -- what the people there identify as being needed informs how I work.

I also like to use plants and flowers. As a child, I was obsessed with pressing flowers, but didn't make many pictures with them. I liked collecting the flowers and looking at them instead.


What do you feel the role of makers, designers and artists is today?
I think it's to help people think differently about their lives, help them think about how they use and consume, and to show them how to make and do things themselves. That way less is wasted and people will begin to recognize what resources they have around them so they can live more sustainably.

Can you tell us what you're presenting with SMP at LDF?
I am leading an urban nature tour to help people find nature in urban settings, to begin thinking about how green space is present in the most urban of settings, and to think about how we can all support the development and diversity of ecology in cities. This will act as a launch-pad for the Urban Exploration Field Guide that I am developing with SMP, which I'm really excited about. It uses the traditional 'Language of Flowers' as a secret code for unlocking the hidden messages in public space.

Why should people come and get involved?
People should come and explore the city with me and discover how they can begin to look differently at, and make sense of, their own surroundings.


Images courtesy of Anna Francis or by Marina Castagna

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