Sandra Hall Portrait

Sandra Hall

Co-Director & Founder, Friction Arts

Sandra Hall is a ‘Google Earth’ practitioner working strategically with grassroots communities. She is the founder and co-director of Friction Arts, a Birmingham-based artist-led organisation with a focus on constant research and development to generate new ideas. Sandra has been influenced by many writers and worked with extraordinary practitioners such as Augustus Boal. 

Creative, ethical ways of working and engaging grassroots communities in place-making, challenges

A presentation that describes a number of interventions/projects undertaken by Friction Arts hyper-locally and internationally – demonstrating/sharing creative, ethical approaches to engaging with and for so called ‘poor’ communities in the context of ‘place-making’.  


  1. ‘Brief Encounter’(BE), a project with communities in Leeuwarden in 2015. BF was a co-collaboration with citizens of Vriesheidswijk. BE brought this group of citizens from the ‘poor’ neighbourhood in their own pop-up space, to a privileged community – offering ‘brief encounters’;  essentially legitimising and providing a space for conversation between different classes/demographics.  BE has created greater confidence, new connections towards different solutions for citizens of Vriesheidswijk.
  2. 1 Mile Squared programme, (British Council); investigating a square mile, central Johannesburg ‘mapping’ the cultural, aesthetic and bio-diversity. We challenged ourselves to invite white people from the edges of Johannesburg back to the centre, for the 1st time in 24 years. We succeeded – through a series of interventions and dinners.

This paper will explore the position of the creative with communities in the context of change – are we brokers/storm-troopers for a regeneration agenda? Are we employed for ‘Art Washing’ or genuinely supporting people to activate and participate in their own change?  Are we diplomats? Are we there to activate or placate? How do you genuine find a language for shared change and ownership? How can this operate effectively in complex partnerships/hierarchies? How do you seduce with integrity and help others to be heard and seen?

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