CollectConnect started with an exhibition in 2010 at Gallery 89, Barnet, London. The exhibition was organised by artists Alban Low and Dean Reddick who were working with people living with and recovering from mental health problems. They devised a simple exhibiting structure that eliminated many of the common stresses and hindrances for those wishing to display their work to the public. This  way of exhibiting not only appealed to those with mental health problems but to a huge swathe of the art community who wanted the chance to share their work.

Following that first exhibition, they joined with fellow artists Bryan Benge and Stuart Simler to share more ideas and events.  Over the last 13 years, they developed an open and flourishing relationship that is flexible and spontaneous. This means they can take advantage of exhibition spaces or funding that comes available at short notice, as well as current trends in cheap internet printing and the growth of internet and mass communication. Together they have organised many exhibitions, showcasing more than 3000 people’s work, and bringing more than 6000 artworks to the public’s attention.

Translocation and Dislocation 2024

Alertism 2023
On Sunday 23rd April 2023 at 3pm the UK government sent a nationwide Emergency Alert test message to all those people with a mobile device. Emergency Alerts was a new government service that warned you if there is a danger to life nearby (e.g. flooding, fire, and terrorist attacks). At CollectConnect we asked a group of writers and artists to create work on the theme of Alert. These alerts were sent to responders, who recorded their reaction to the alerts. The work and the First Responders reaction were published on the CC website. 
See the Alertism work HERE.

Urban Bonsais: Real and Imagined 2021
Part of the fantastic Urban Tree Festival 2021. Trees were a feature of our lives during the lockdowns and social restrictions of the Covid pandemic. Walks in the woods and parks, fields and streets provided much needed relief from the pleasures and demands of digital living and the boredom of restricted social and cultural contact. The concept of Urban Bonsais owes much to our love of the urban trees that surround us and to trees' ability to adapt and survive, as we have, in difficult and unsympathetic terrain. 

Sentinel Trees 2020
Part of the Urban Tree Festival 2020, Sentinel Trees was an exhibition of miniature art works from 13 artists and 9 authors. The title for our exhibition was discovered by Dean, Alban and Bryan during walks together where we noticed and admired the many varied trees found in parks, woods, streets and gardens. We came to see these trees as Sentinels, guarding and sheltering, standing silently for centuries as our busy lives rush along.

Art of Caring 2020
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic St George's Hospital asked us to postpone the onsite postcard exhibition. To help support the incredible work our Nurses and Carers did at this difficult time we ran an online exhibition during May 2020. Each day during the month we featured the work of 4 artists on our blog/website. This was the last Art of Caring.

Impossipebble 2020
We first encounter pebbles in childhood, selecting them, chucking them in the air, stacking them as piles, selecting colour, pattern. Later in life we select again, look for the flat ones, the right weight ones, the ones that skim across the water, to disappear. Humans selected Pebbles as tools, they are among the earliest known man-made artefacts, dating from the Palaeolithic period of human history.
Now they have been selected again, to make paintings, sculptures, repurposed images, placed and perhaps rediscovered by others, to hopefully beckon the minds eye, what, how, why.

Tolcake Heroes /  What if 2019
Alban Low, Dean Reddick and young artist Sam Tout created a series bench plaques for their street art exhibition Tolcake Heroes. The plaques were installed on benches along Tolworth Broadway in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Sam created haiku/poems inspired by his love of cakes that were eaten in cafes along the Broadway. Alban and Dean wrote about inspiration people who lived in the area. A special thank you to Robin Hutchinson and The Community Brain who has made this project possible. 
What If was a series of whimsical posters that we exhibited outside Tolworth railway station. The first posters were from Alban Low and Sam Tout, later joined by Bryan Benge with his own What Ifs.

Love Tokens and Bad Pennies 2019
Does love endure forever? Does a bad penny always turns up?
Both the Love Token and the Bad Penny are part of the currency of life, two sides of the same coin. These everyday objects are defaced or distinguished to help us remember those who we hold dear and those who we would rather forget. After the success of the Small World Futures exhibition in 2018 we returned with a new inclusive art project Love Tokens and Bad Pennies at the #unsettledgallery in 2019. We placed artworks from 17 artists on the London streets during each day of February. Artworks were accompanied by new written works by a poets or authors here on the CollectConnect blog. The artworks were placed in or beside fountains and sacred waterways in London. 

The Art of Caring 2018
The ART OF CARING exhibition opened with strength and passion with more than 150 guests greeting the unveiling of consistently strong artworks at St Pancras Hospital. On show was original work from 30 artists as well as postcard art from around 100 worldwide artists. The Art of Caring has grown over its 3 years at St Pancras and St George's Hospital and is now one of the cornerstones of our yearly schedule. 2018 offered us a glimpse of political awareness and tender moments of reflection. Elaine Harper Gay's triptych of pencil drawings reflecting on the powerful faces of the men who shape our global health. Contrasts this with the work of our youngest artist Lily Mooney who drew inspiration from the power of mermaids, and you'll understand what a brilliantly eclectic exhibition this is. 

Small World Futures 2018
Small World Futures was a collection of 38 miniature sculptures depicting what life could look like in years to come. Each of these small artworks were placed in public spaces (#unsettledgallery) around London Bridge. Every day throughout February 2018 we featured one of these worlds here on the website. A writer also used the worlds as inspiration to create something new and fresh, their words describing the shape of a new world.

The Art of Caring 2017
The Art of Caring came to St Pancras Hospital once again with a fantastic summer show. The exhibition started as a postcard show at St George's Hospital way back in May 2017. St Pancras curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay brought together many of the postcards again but also a healthy slice of original work by the artists involved. There were many eye-catching contributions, including David Marron's Fentanyl Dreams, and Mark Carr's two paintings from his Cup of Life series. Two sculptural pieces which captured the attention of the Private View revellers were Louise O'Boyle's glass domed world and the Melanie Ezra and Graham Parker hand that reached out from beyond the a mirror. Once again Herbert and Harper-Gay had engineered an artistic exhibition that broke boundaries, creating a new exciting physical space but also an emotional world that talked of compassion and shared experience.

Retrospective 2010-2016
We presented 6 years of CollectConnect projects at a special exhibition at Kensington and Chelsea College in the winter of 2016. Bringing together more than 1000 artists and 4000 artworks in one gallery was a tremendous challenge but one that gave us a unique perspective into the work we do  for you. Here's a video of Catherine Wynne-Paton talking to Alban about the exhibition. - https://youtu.be/myH2oC0lmgk

Postcard to My Future Self 2016
If you could write a postcard to your future self what would it say? Are you having the best time of your life or perhaps you're struggling and need some help? Over 70 people contributed their thoughts, hopes and fears to this project, and we’ll be sending back their postcards to them in 5 years time on 15th November 2021. We displayed all the messages in the Foyer at Knights Park Campus, Kingston University during November 2016 to raise awareness of Self Care Week at Kingston University.

Chapbooks 2015+
The tradition of chapbook publishing in England is a long established one and here at CollectConnect we think it’s the perfect format for our most exciting authors and artists. Although small (A6) and relatively brief (16 printed pages) our punchy publications share their ideas with the reader in one delicious sitting. The publications we have created with Sampson Low are an effective and popular route to reaching a wider audience. The ISBN or International Standard Book Number which is attached to each book is the kind of low cost (£3) application that gives artists the chance to reach across the world. Each ISBN is automatically given a listing on websites like Amazon, and copies are stored in the British Library, Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, The National Library of Scotland, The Library of Trinity College Dublin and The National Library of Wales for future generations to discover.  17 Authors / 18 chapbooks  www.sampsonlow.com

Relationship Map 2016
The Relationship Map is an artwork which charts how different people make connections and relationships between fundamental concepts - like Mum/Dad, Me/You and Heart/Mind. It is inspired by the map and tube lines of the London Underground. The map features submissions from 50 contributors who charted how they felt about each of the concepts. It was exhibited in the Rickett Quadrangle at Middlesex University, Hendon as part of the MDX Let's Talk event for Mental Health Awareness Week 2016. Kevin Acott, Director of Programmes and Senior Lecturer (Mental Health) at the university, looked after us for the day and helped create a film of the map, recording the narrative. Juan Maria Solare created the score and it was premiered at the FACADE Video Festival in September 2016, where the video was projected onto the walls of houses in the old town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  50 contributors   Map ISBN - 9781910578346

The Art of Caring 2016
Once again we brought together hundreds of artists, authors and artworks together for International Nurses Day at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-upon-Thames. This year we exhibited 330 postcard size artworks from 180 artists from around the world. Alongside Professor Karen Norman we ran a haiku writing workshop and printed these literary nuggets on prescription sheets. We also published a chapbook with a selection of the haikus called Resilience: 28 Poems for International Nurses Day.
We were offered the opportunity to exhibit a large percentage of the work in St Pancras Hospital for a three month exhibition curated by Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay. The hospital hosted a fabulous exhibition and organised a series of events throughout its run where the mix of original work and postcards garnered critical acclaim.
180 Artists / 330 artworks  www. caringandcare.blogspot.co.uk   www.artofcaring.org.uk

The Art of Caring 2015
International Nurses' Day 2015 didn't last a mere 24 hours - in fact those of us in Kingston-upon-Thames thought all those health professionals and carers deserved at least a week of appreciation and celebration. We started on 12th May 2015 (International Nurses' Day), which is Florence Nightingale's Birthday, with the private view of The Art of Caring at the Rose Theatre. It was a wonderful night and many of the 133 artists came from far and wide to see the 252 postcard size artworks on the walls of the Circle Gallery  The exhibition was part of a inspirational event on Friday 15th May called Nursing's Got Talent which was a celebration of nurses and nursing. The day included talks, book recitals, drama and plays, poetry and live art with music.
133 Artists / 252 images    www. caringandcare.blogspot.co.uk   www.artofcaring.org.uk

Dwell - Book of Nets 2015
The latest publication from CollectConnect artists was released in February 2015 by Sampson Low Ltd. Dean brought together artists from around the world to publish a book of 30 practical nets. Each black and white page is easy to photocopy and ready for all readers to build. The nets are graded with completion times and building tips. It is a magical book about 2D plans with the potential to become 3D dwellings that can be adapted and coloured by the reader. We launched the book with a month-long exhibition of our small paper dwellings on the streets of London. 29 Artists / 30 images 

On The Map 2015
In March 2015 we held an exhibition of artists' maps at the Sunbury Embroidery Gallery in the beautiful setting of the Sunbury Walled Garden. 14 artists created maps which could be walked throughout Great Britain. Some are factual, others conceptual, but most of all they give readers a new perspective to the world outside if they choose to follow the artist's instructions. All of the maps are published by Sampson Low Ltd and can be bought for as little as £2: one of the criteria for the commissioned maps was that they should be affordable to all. The artists were asked to consider 3 criteria; their map should be set in the real world, somewhere in the UK; that it should include a route which could be walked and the walking of the map shouldn't cost more than £10 (train fares, entrance to museums and lunch).  14 Artists / 12 maps

Fab Fridge 2014
Our intrepid band of artists donned their waterproofs and took the plunge into Bath's cultural melting pot on the 24th May 2014. We placed 320 magnetic artworks on railings and benches along the towpath between Pulteney Bridge and Churchill Bridge as part of the Fringe Arts Bath Festival. It was a welcome return to Bath and we even found a magnet from our last visit in 2010.
124 Artists / 320 images    www.fabfridge.blogspot.co.uk

Jawspring 2014
On the 21st March 2014 we celebrated World Poetry Day with an exhibition at the Village Hall Gallery, Wimbledon, UK. Poems from the Merton Poets inspired 26 artists to create new artworks for the occasion and the poets themselves treated everyone to a performance of their exhibition poems as well as one or two extra treats. Keith Drake in particular made a big splash with his homage to Marcel Duchamp. The Gallery was packed out with artists, poets and culture vultures from all over the UK and further afield.  Danish artist Eskild Beck and Nexus gallery owner Kent Lauritsen were the furthest travellers from Aabenraa but as always celebrity splicer Melanie Ezra and sushi laureate Daniel Leek made the long journey from Swansea to be with us.
We ran an open haiku submission so everyone could get involved. These literary nuggets were printed onto toy sushi and exhibited in the gallery.
81 Artists /  26 artworks / 35 sushi haiku       www.jawspring.blogspot.co.uk

Cambridge Blue Plaque Walk 2014
The Cambridge Blue Plaque Walk is a two hour circular walk that includes 21 of Cambridge’s blue plaques celebrating famous names like John Maynard Keynes and Sir Jack Hobbs and notable achievements such as the discovery of DNA. This walk was originally created as part of the Art Language Location festival in 2014. Alongside the 21 established blue plaques, CollectConnect invited nominations for everyday plaques that celebrated the unsung personalities and events of Cambridge. We printed these as magnetic plaques and placed them throughout the city with help from a keen group of walkers and art enthusiasts. Art Language Location (ALL) is an art festival taking place over two and a half weeks in locations throughout Cambridge, featuring 50 innovative and experimental contemporary artists from across the UK and beyond who use text in their work.
50 Magnetic blue plaques
Cambridge Blue Plaque Walk Map - ISBN 9780953471287

Cardboard City 2013
'Cardboard City saw the UK's largest collection of homeless people gather in the underpasses of Waterloo, London. Using whatever they could find to house themselves, individuals created a space that would temporarily house them in the short term. As a result of this and because of one common purpose they had become part of a community. Whether this was a cohesive one we don't know but it raises the question of community spirit and oneness within societies everywhere and never more so than in the glittering chaos that is our lead up to the festive season.'

Artists were asked to respond to the excerpt above and address the main theme of ‘Social Advent’ and to consider the wider ideas of  'Community & Society...a sense of Belonging' and ‘Cardboard City - a throw away Home'. Each artwork was printed onto a waterproof substrate and housed in a cardboard frame with a door that invited the viewer to open it up. Every day between 1st December and Chritsmas Eve 2013 Stuart and Alban left an artwork along the South Bank in London. Eventually these created a trail that began near the site of the original Cardboard City and ended at the doors of the Tate Modern. 25 Artists

Future Bound 2013
The students at UCA Epsom's Diploma in Art & Design - Foundation Studies and the Pre-U Level Diploma - rounded off their academic studies with a published book, in addition to their Final Exhibition in June 2013 .  Working together with the 4 artists from CollectConnect - Stuart Simler, Bryan Benge, Alban Low and Dean Reddick- the project was created to give the students an early experience of working and submitting their work in a professional capacity. As the students were moving onto bigger and better things in the years to come they were asked to submit artworks inspired by the future. We asked the artists and designers at UCA Epsom to imagine what the future holds for them personally, the concerns of creative people and even the whole human race.
68 artists   The Future Bound book, 72 pages, ISBN 978-0-9534712-2-5

Art Jazzed Up 2013
The Art Jazzed Up exhibition at the Shaw Gallery in Croydon showcased the artwork of 80 artists whose work was exhibited in CD cases on the gallery walls. Before the exhibition 8 short pieces of music were released for artists to listen to and be inspired by. The exhibition commitee shortlisted 24 artworks for special consideration and a winner, Chris Holley, was chosen by curator Alan Carlyon Smith. There was a fabulous launch night where musicians Mike DiRubbo, Duncan Eagles, Max Luthert, Dave Storey and Bill Mudge performed for the appreciative crowd and CollectConnect’s Alban Low painted along to the music on 3 large paper canvases. Once again this was a celebration of our creative community and a truly international event with artists of all ages from England, Wales, Scotland, Serbia, USA, Portugal, Germany, Austria, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Ukraine and Bulgaria participating. It was only fitting that the Private View climaxed with Mrs MacDonald, the Trinity School potter and Chris O’Brien from the Upper 6th joining Alban for an encore as the band played out.  80 Artists / 250 artworks 

Patternotion 2013
We launched the Patternotion book in style on the 9th March 2013 with a Blue Plaque walk around North London, starting and ending in the Books For Free NW5 bookshop in Tufnell Park. Artists and authors who started the walk were Bill Mudge (with Gina and Harriet), NCRIPT (Steve and Victoria Cohen), Alban Low with Jessamy, Effie and Natalie, Mike and Gail Watts, Ella Penn, George and Sally Low, Peter S Smith, Melanie Ezra, Daniel Leek, Harvey Wells and Geraint Evans - and not forgetting Jacquelyn Guderley's BFF group. The route took us up hill and down dale and through some of the smartest corners of London. We picked up people and artists along the way including Tanya Kreisky, Katie Stone and Dawes Gray. We placed 50 magnetic blue plaques along our 9.5 mile route.
Patternotion was the first ISBNed book for our publishers Sampson Low Ltd and heralded a new era for CollectConnect. It was another way for artists to reach a mass audience for a small cost.
Patternotion Book - 60 Artists / 72 pages  ISBN 978-0-9534712-3-2
Blue Plaques - 50 magnetic plaques

FreedBook 2012
One small step for artists, one giant leap for CollectConnect! On the 24th November 2012 we released our first publication, FreedBook, into the world. We launched this collection of 68 one-page stories from 50 artists and authors by visiting all 7 libraries in the Books For London network. Our intrepid band of artists reached all 4 corners of  London's transport compass, covering over 80 miles on foot, bus, train and a tram. At each stop we left one of our FreedBooks. We started at Acton Central, then visited Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Enfield Chase, Charlton, Coulsdon South and Wimbledon before finaly reaching Raynes Park after 6 hours of travelling.
True to the spirit of CollectConnect we encouraged readers to release the Freedbook back into the wild once they had read it. Since 2012 the book has been picked up in some far flung places;  Hopkinton Town Library (USA); Concord (USA); Warner (USA); Christchurch (New Zealand): Dubai Airport and, of course, all around London.
50 Artists / 68 artworks   www.freedbook.blogspot.co.uk

MagnetBird 2012
100 Magnetic bird images were exhibited on the streets of Walthamstow as part of the E17 Arts Trail in September 2012. 50 artists submitted images and also exhibited their 'birds' on the side of the Hidebird in Barrett Rd. 50 Artists / 100 images

Hidebird 2012
In 2012 Dean Reddick and Alban Low created a 24 hour-a-day public art exhibition that celebrated their love of birds, art and the local environment. Hidebird was a bird hide in the front garden of a house in Barrett Road, Walthamstow, London, UK. They created a 'Spotters Guide' so that viewers could find, spot and tick off the different birds in the true tradition of British birdwatching. It was also an opportunity for us to consider what the birds may think about humans. After all, they inhabit the gardens and streets around our houses, and must see much of our unusual behaviour - what must they think! The birds escaped from the hide too onto front windows and ledges, creating more of a challenge for Art Twitchers trying to spot the birds on the E17 Art Trail.
15 artists / 30 birds    www.hidebird.blogspot.co.uk

Rarities 2011
Following on from the successful Brighton Open we moved along the south coast to Hastings and St Leonards for the Coastal Currents festival in August 2011. We were supported by The Hastings Pier charity as we exhibited on the gates of this famous landmark. The charity was set up in 2011 to take ownership of Hastings Pier in order to restore and run it for the benefit of the people of Hastings and St Leonards and the wider community. Although artists from around the world responded to our theme of Rarities it was the hard work of local artist Sinead Codd that made the difference. She collected sponsorship from 19 local shops, organisations and individuals to help fund the exhibition. The day itself was a huge success with collectors flocking to take home the magnets in under an hour. Sponsors included Pearl & Quennie, Little Larder, Claire Hamill, The Love Cafe, SoCo, Thomas Jervis Photography, The Old Gallery Hastings, Who's Wearing What Boutique, Smiths Cafe, Plenty, Bodywisdom School, Skylon Interiors, Post Office Tea Rooms, SuWarren, Alex Moffat, The Black Shed Gallery, Xanadu, Stuff By The Sea, and Hilary Totah Yoga.
116 artists / 257 images  www.rarities2011.blogspot.co.uk

SMartwalks 2011-2012
A SMartWalk is the act of taking written comment from the ephemeral world of Social Media (Twitter) and posting it back into the real world, or placing a 'restreet' in the public realm. After choosing a location, SMartWalkers - Darren Atkinson, Harvey Wells and Alban Low - trawl Twitter, find content from local people and transform it into magnetic artworks. The 5 x 7cm vignettes are posted along a route, photographed, GPS located and then tweeted once again. The three artists’ aim is to initiate a real dialogue with 'friends' from the internet, to reinvigorate public spaces with thoughts from local people and to make art accessible to all by giving the magnets away for free. The dialogue is not only an exchange of messages and addresses but one which explores the boundaries of what is public property on the web and society. SMartWalking is a positive force, giving a voice and affirmation to local people with something to say. SMartwalks have completed 9 walks; 6 that spelled LONDON and 3 outside the capital in Bath, Chorlton and Cambridge.   198 contributors / 198 images    www.smart-walks.co.uk

Brighton Open 2011
In May 2011 we embarked upon our largest ever magnet exhibition as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. We exhibited more than 500 magnets along the seafront in Brighton on a warm spring day. The public came out in their hundreds to join other keen collectors and snapped up the magnets in under an hour. This was the first exhibition with a private sponsor, the auctioneers Tooveys, whose name appeared on the magnets. The exhibition made a splash in the national news with Brighton Open featuring in The Independent and other news outlets.
241 artists / 539 images   www.brightonopen.blogspot.co.uk

Lightbite 2011
Light Night Festival, Nottingham
On February 18th 2011 we exhibited 250 magnets on the lamp posts of Nottingham as part of the Light Night Festival. For one night the city stays up late so that its attractions and symbols are seen in a bright new light. The spectators get to see the unusual in a familiar environment and 'lose themselves' in the city, which is transformed into a stage for the night.   118 artists / 250 images    www.lightbite.blogspot.co.uk

Unblank 2011
An exhibition of over 100 mini magnetic canvases at the Golden Square:Blank Canvas exhibition in the centre of London.  Our Unblank magnetic boards included 100+ mini magnetic canvases for the public to draw on and exhibit themselves.
60 artists / 220 magnets  www. unblank.blogspot.co.uk

Freezchester 2010
Hazard MMX
In July 2010 we exhibited as part of the Hazard MMX Festival in Manchester. Artists were invited to submit work which responded to the theme 'Modern Hazards'.The festival had  arranged for us to place the magnets in the Arndale Centre, where shoppers picked them up for free.  53 Artists / 115 images  www.freezchester.blogspot.co.uk

Fab Fridge 2010
Fringe Arts Bath
In June 2010 we exhibited directly on the streets of Bath as part of the Fringe Arts Bath Festival. Every artist received a thank you magnet of their image in the post. Each magnet had a serial number and the website address. Members of the public were invited to pick the magnets up and take them home.
93 Artists / 200+ images    www.fabfridge.blogspot.co.uk

Open Fridge 2010
In March 2010 we started our first magnet exhibition at Gallery 89, Barnet, London. We worked closely with the gallery volunteers and students recovering from Mental Health problems to find a structure that eliminated many of the anxieties associated with submitting artworks. The exhibition was totally inclusive, free to enter and had no submission panel.  106 artists / 600+ images   www.openfridgemagnets.blogspot.co.uk

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