I feel safe when I hold your hand

How is care manifested in public space?

2024- ongoing

This artistic research project explores the concept of care in urban public spaces through walking and clay as an artistic, research and critical practice. Community walks in Balzan and Birkirkara, Malta, aim to understand how we express care in public spaces, how care is manifested and materialised. Are actions of care a means to reclaim our right to the city by fostering vulnerability and openness?

Through a socially engaged artistic process, the project investigates how pedestrians experience urban care, fundamental to creating relational infrastructure in cities. Participants walk with clay, reflecting on care as an integral part of the pedestrian experience. This research process aims to document and highlights how these moments serve as a catalyst to reclaim a nurturing city, based on caring communities rather than consumers, commuters and co-producers.

This research process forms part of the “Far from Somewhere” collective co-curate dby Margerita’ Pule and Elyse Tonna in collaboration with Prohealth. I feel safe when I hold your hand aims to address the theme of mental wellbeing, not just from an individual standpoint but as an intertwined concept connected to our surrounding urban landscapes and communities. It promotes a holistic perspective, blurring the boundaries between art, research, and community engagement.

In line with Far From Somewhere metaphorical use of ecotones, I draw a parallel between these ecological transition zones and the emotional and psychological states encountered in urban environments. My aim is to propose urban care as an essential relational infrastructure of the pedestrian experience, an ephemeral moment, often overlooked, that connects people, places and communities.

These transitional moments hold the potential to enhance mental wellbeing, offering an opportunity for individuals to establish a harmonious connection with their environment and their communities that is considerate of their personal and psychological needs and desires.