SUPER DUPER ST. ANNE’S F.C.
Jonathan Kelham, recipient of a WEVAA R&D Bursary, reflects on Super Duper St. Anne’s F.C., a project created during a residency at Bricks.
SUPER DUPER ST. ANNE’S F.C.
St. Anne’s is an inner-city parish of South East Bristol. It has a population of around 6000, deprivation in the third lowest bracket, a historically significant well, one condemned changing room, a single (non FA compliant) football pitch, and no football team since 2015.
The WEVAA bursary supported the production of a fictional football team as part of a residency for Bricks based at St. Anne’s House. This pilot project utilised performance fictioning, along with the broad appeal and highly audio-visual qualities of grassroots football culture. This was a catalyst to discuss social and geographical barriers, but more importantly enthuse the identity, ownership and community action found in St. Anne’s.
THE LAST KNOWN ST.ANNE’S TEAM: ‘JOLLY BOYS’ FOLDED IN 2015
One part of the project and residency focused on understanding the rise and fall of the local football scene in St. Anne’s. Former players, managers and referees, alongside current Gloucester FA, non-league enthusiasts and local residents, were invited to add to the narrative; mapping a history of those who have played on the hallowed turf, and highlighting the issues a football club in St. Anne’s would encounter.
Former players discussed the ‘welcome to hell’ banner, which is now entombed inside the disused St Anne’s changing rooms, and the incredible number of lost pitches. Others recollected calling in favours and the financial challenges of surviving a season on pure goodwill.
BEFORE THE FOOTBALL CLUB CAME THE MERCH
The second part of the residency focused on utilising the paraphernalia, clichés, language, humour and DIY qualities of a community football club to hypothesise about the formation of Super Duper St. Anne’s F.C. The residency and bursary supported a process of genuine ambiguity between the fictitious and ‘real’ elements to heighten the tangibility of a new St. Anne’s club.
St. Anne’s based companies and invested community groups became ‘sponsors’ of the season’s dazzling kit, which can be purchased through the official club shop along with a ‘graphic heavy’ football scarf. A doc/mockumentary podcast took listeners to 2040 during the meteoric rise of St. Anne’s F.C. (after the slow demise of local football in 2022); and flags and pennants referenced projected future league successes and historical testimonial fixtures.
Since the residency concluded, due to other commitments, the momentum and impetus of the project has shifted. In the interim the St. Anne’s F.C. scarfs were shown alongside others including EBC, Guerrilla Girls and David Shrigley in The Art of the Football Scarf at OOF gallery - “the world's first cutting-edge art space dedicated to football and the culture that surrounds it”.
The pilot allowed for a playful space to begin conversations about how local residents visualise and take ownership of a communal space. It’s a project that’s not really about football, but is also about football. The documentation has led to some funding for the project in 2023, which will support the production of a free limited edition ‘supporters pack’ for local residents, to be launched in conjunction with an edition of community newsletter BRIZ.
As a local resident, the anecdotal conversations continue to suggest that Super Duper St. Anne’s F.C. might survive another season. Maybe it’s time to design another shiny coach/player/historian/kit person/shop assistant/foosball player tracksuit…
Official Club Shop https://superduperstannesfc.bigcartel.com/
Super Duper St.Anne’s https://bricksbristol.org/2022/04/super-duper-st-annes-podcast/
The Art of the Football Scarf OOF Gallery https://oofgallery.com/current-exhibition
And Van Gogh scores! What happens when art, football and fashion collide https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/nov/25/art-football-fashion-lowry-world-cup-van-gogh-beautiful-game
Photos: Ruby Turner
The West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA) is a three year programme of activity that aims to transform Bristol and the West of England into a place where the visual arts can thrive, providing critical opportunities and support to enable artists, curators and young people to develop their careers and achieve their potential. Find out more about the programme and opportunities here.