Pool Arts members worked with artist Alison Kershaw in Victoria Baths for two months during 2000 in a Year of The Artist Residency, funded by Arts Council North West.
The theme of the project was “Mind Body and Environment” Chinese five elements theory was used as a framework for looking at the building and the responses to the theme. A Shiatsu practitioner, Roger Howard, worked with the artists during life drawing sessions and gave interpretations of their work based on the elements of Fire, Wood, Water, Metal and Earth. At this time, Victoria Baths was aiming to become a “Healthy Living Centre” and alternative ways of looking at health and well being were high on the agenda. But the Pool Arts responses were far from the expected, ranging from text work No Bottles or Glass in the Pool by Tess Lomas dealing with self harm and ritual, a luminous child at the bottom of the basement stairs, Born as Shadows by O’Creadog, referencing the abuse of Victorian child labour and a vast installation of enormous tear drops suspended as they fall into the pool, by Grant Fitzgerald.
Each artist made their installation after a period of research and development on the site and often collaborating on each other’s projects. The exhibition attracted hundreds of visitors and was widely publicised in Manchester.