Site Verify

Site Verify: a directive to compare plans/blue prints against the physical location before and during construction.

Site Verify was an artistic dialogue about regeneration, history and community. This dialogue was framed in the context of an evolving exhibition in the centre of Sunniside, Sunderland. Sunniside is an area undergoing extensive regeneration. Site Verify’s objective was to bring local voices into the discussion about the history of the area as well as create a vision for the future.

The first question and response raised in this dialogue was the artwork created by artist Dawn Felicia Knox which spoke to the history of the workmen’s trades that forged this region. Her work focused on J. F. Wilson’s Shopfitters which opened in 1918 and closed in 2008. At its peak, the shopfitters employed over a hundred people and had outfitted numerous buildings all over the country. Her work uses materials salvaged from the building including ninety years of blue prints upon which the mandate to Site Verify was written. The artist’s work was exhibited in thePlace gallery for the month of October, 2009. Every Saturday during the exhibition, the artist held community workshops in the gallery asking people to come and make art about the history presented and the future as they wished to see it.

The building was demolished while the exhibition evolved and grew just streets away. Each week the exhibition added in more and more of the community members’ artwork about the future as the work about the past was slowly taken down. This act of removal, destruction and creation mirrored the regeneration of the area.

This project was funded by Art’s Council England and Sunderland Council.