One of the primary aims of this project is to facilitate various types of public engagements and performances designed to ignite critical dialogue between and among artists, scientists, and local community members around relevant issues. To this end, this first phase of Transportation Transformation: Migration, Teleportation, and Railways has achieved some important milestones. First, narratives from the African Caribbean community of Chapeltown and from physicists at University of Oxford Department of Physics were collected. Next, these narratives (from African Caribbean community members of Chapeltown, Leeds and from quantum physics researchers at the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford) were brought together with key historical moments in the history and cultural of Leeds Central Railway Station to create the backbone for the performance script. Simultaneously, video footage was gathered from the Leeds Central Railway Station and from the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. The footage collected was edited for insert at critical point into the live performance and a short video was compiled as a part of the performance experience. Along the way, two local community artists, a dance specialist and a theatre artist – both with lifelong history in the Chapeltown community- a photographer/videographer and I participated in a day-and-a-half immersion in the life of quantum physicists at the University of Oxford. This immersion experience allowed the artists and me to have explicit and tacit information to draw on in the construction of the characters embodied in the performances and the videos. The performances and videos serve as the catalysts for the critical public dialogues that have taken place, which the most explicit manifestations of the project’s aim.
Importantly, this website, as a first point of public engagement, was erected within the first two weeks of the project’s commencement. The site is designed to provide information, serve a log of varying types of face-to-face researcher and community engagements evolved during the project’s initial phase, offer a touch stone for local community members and engage a virtual community.