Graeme Pulleyn – Nicho

PORTUGAL

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Artist statement

Graeme Pulleyn | NICHO is an artistic platform based in the city of Viseu in the interior Beira region of Portugal.

Graeme Pulleyn has over thirty years of experience in participative, community and site specific arts and founded NICHO in 2006 as a structure for creative projects in the areas of theatre, music, dance and new writing with a particular vocation for community and site specific work, that join professional and non-professional artists in participative and collective processes that lead to performance pieces that are presented in the most varied of spaces and circumstances from large scale events with hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators to small scale intimate performances that put audience and artists on an almost one to one level of meetings.

The organisation has made shows with urban working communities and shows on ships, shows with immigrants and shows with ethnic minority groups, shows in isolated rural communities and shows with special needs groups. International work has included community projects and work with young people in many Portuguese speaking cities and countries including Benguela (Angola), Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), Mindelo (Cape Verde) and the city of São Tomé (São Tomé).

The underlying values and the artistic and human principles of the work are however always constant and centre on the ideas of empowering local communities through the arts and through processes of artistic creation in which they discover and develop their capacities not only as performers, but also as the creators and authors of their work.
The overall objective is that the arts become a tool through which local communities can give voice to their opinions, worries, priorities, needs, dreams and through which they can celebrate their existence past and present and project their hopes and aspirations for the future. The work is about celebration, about creating processes through which people look at their individual and collective lives and identity with pride, but also with a critical conscience and in which they use the arts to explore and express amongst themselves, but also for a wider audience that which is important to them, that which is special about the community they live in and the physical, cultural, geographical, and historical space they belong to.

Almost always the starting point for this work is the local community itself. Be it biographic narratives, or a physical space, or interviews on a specific local theme. The creative process involves professional artists in residence in the place where the project is to happen for a longer or shorter period of time, with the intention of getting as close as possible to the local community, building trust and empathy and getting to know about the context in which the work will take place. Above all the work is about dialogues, dialogues between professional and non-professional artists, dialogues between artists and the physical and human space in which they are working, dialogues between artists and their audience.
In the end, work is a kind of closed circle beginning and ending with the community. The community is the starting point, providing the inspiration, the content and the impulse that drive the creative process. The raw material so produced is processed and transformed in a collective and participative manner through an encounter between local and non-local, professional and non-professional artists and finally returned to the local community and audience as a piece of art which aims to be both specifically local and simultaneously universal appealing and speaking to local and outside audiences.

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