I have been neglecting this blog since my bursary period ended, although my plan is to continue writing on here in some form. In the meantime I have been doing a little bit of reflection about the bursary and its outcomes.

The key benefit of the bursary has been the opportunity it has afforded me to think about my work and to see this from different points of view. Of course it was the money that enabled this – allowing me to travel and meet people who I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

I have spoken to a mixture of artists, learning from their experiences, and curators working both within public realm and gallery settings. This has involved a total of 8 sessions including some review/mentoring and some where I questioned artists about their work.This has allowed me to think about contexts for my work and working methods, to try and make being an artist more sustainable. I have expanded on these meetings in my previous blog posts, where you can read about the process of the bursary and the conversations I had with different artists and curators. With a bit of hindsight I have been thinking about outcomes and influences that the bursary has had, including the following:

– My mentoring relationship with Gill Park led to me showing some of my videos at Pavilion’s Christmas scratch night. Gill has also agreed to continue occasional mentoring meetings with me.
– For the first time as an individual artist I made an application for arts council funding. This was rejected but I now feel confident about applying for this funding and will do so again.
– Showing other people my work made me more conscious of how I present myself as an artist. I updated my portfolio, reorganised how I list my CV and most recently have updated my website (www.ameliacrouch.com).
– I have become more confident at discussing my work with other people and find myself more actively seeking advice from those around me. I am also plotting a continuation of the type of meetings the bursary allowed, I am drawing up a list of curators and artists I would like to meet. The process has made me better at asking for this!
– The series of meetings has helped galvanise me into getting on with and finishing certain projects. Knowing that you have a meeting coming up with someone provides a good deadline! I think this has been partially responsible for me making some new videos and book works I had been planning for ages. The videos have been exhibited in a few places already and the books will be having an outing at Leeds Artist book fair in March.
– Getting the bursary has also made me open to other professional development opportunities, engaging with this type of thing more. I felt an element of validation from getting the funding and it has made me feel more part of a community of artists than just my local one.

It is a difficult time to fund being an artist and the bursary process hasn’t given me specific answers or methods for sustaining a practice. However it has given me some new ideas, tools and new contacts. Moreover it has encouraged me to carry on, to feel part of a community of artists who believe in the value of creativity and who will persist!


No Funding

Here’s a post I wrote a couple of months ago but must I must have failed to click the final ‘post’ button as I reliased it hadn’t gone live.

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts then you may have seen that my mentor Gill Park, from Pavilion, assisted me to put in an application for Arts Council funding. The bad news is, I didn’t get it. Frustratingly the feedback was that within my application all criteria were ‘strongly met’ but there is just too much competition for funds at the moment. So I am taking stock and thinking about putting in another application. However it will have to be revised since a lot of what was included in this one was time based and including support-in-kind that has now passed. So I need to put some more support and opportunities in place before applying again.

Over the period of this bursary, I feel as if I’ve made quite a lot of progress with my work and some decisions about focussing more on developing some new work in print, artists books and video. This is as an alternative to the route I was tending down over the past couple of years of making temporary site-responsive commissions and projects with a participatory element. This is still something I am interested in and a way I will continue to work if the right opportunity arises. But it has felt good to spend some time on my own in the studio without the pressure of specific commissions. I have made some new work for a recent exhibition in Leeds and Ghent and made a couple of videos which I am now touting around various places (and there are more video ideas in the pipeline). Importantly the work hasn’t been defined by these particular exhibition opportunities and it is work that could be exhibited again elsewhere. I am also making things that are potentially saleable, which I haven’t done before. I guess in the long term I am trying to diversify the way that I work so there is potential to have my work seen in lots more ways (publications, video screenings, exhibitions as well as temporary projects). Also I hope that this will diversify the way that I can make income from my work. But at the moment it has meant stopping earning for a little while which has been quite unnerving. Without getting some arts council funding it’s hard to see exactly how I will get any income from my work in the near future. I feel like I need another a-n bursary to talk to people specifically about fundraising and selling work!