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In our previous meeting together, back in September, some of the artists mentioned their own experiences of being part of other peer groups or crit groups and possible formats that could be adapted for this group. Some individuals spoke of the difficulty in showing everyone’s work and managing time. One suggestion was to use a Pecha Kucha format for our next meeting together as this would provide a fun and informal way of all members being able to introduce their art practice.

Pecha Kucha is a form of presentation where, traditionally, those showing their work present 20 slides for 20 seconds each (see http://www.pechakucha.org/faq). The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Within our group, we adapted this format showing only 5 images though still only talking about each image for a maximum of 20 seconds.

Ahead of the event, artist Julie Turner very generously let us meet at her place. Five artists attended from the group: Julie, myself, Rachel Bailey (Prune), Anna Arbiter and Anna Sikorska. However, three other artists put forward their work for discussion even though they were unable to attend themselves (Sarah Heenan, Mary Heagney and Flor Ferraco). Prior to the night, all artists submitted 5 images which were then collated as a video (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZP2yGKaRkM).

Having the artists talk briefly about their work using this format was really useful, both from my point of view and, I hope, from theirs as well. Some artists chose to use the Pecha Kucha format to give a whistle-stop tour of their art practice up to now, whereby art works were sequenced chronologically and their accompanying descriptions alluded to how their work had changed over a period of time or since leaving formal education. Oppositely, others showed images in a randomised order and welcomed opportunities from the group to discern common threads which pulled their body of work together. Even artists who were unable to attend had their work shown and discussed and it’s hoped that this will naturally lead to other conversations, in the future, perhaps amongst artists of similar artistic disciplines or interests.

For me, presenting my work in this way was great in terms of consolidating my artistic practice and getting me used to thinking and talking about it as something that was continuously moving and changing. It was great to revisit older works from my first degree and my MA, but I also enjoyed talking about how my recent work had been coloured by my training as an art therapist. The presentation also provided a perfect opportunity to present a new piece I’d been working on, loosely titled ‘Self’. The image was generated from one hundred photographs I’d taken of myself over the course of about year which were layered together as a series of transparencies in Photoshop. The resulting image seems ethereal, I’m undecided what to do with it next. For instance, could it simply be a stand-alone image, or a series of images, or could it be developed into some form video montage. Who knows. Though I’m really glad I had the opportunity to present the work publicly and to gain feedback from other like-minded artists, rather than it simply being an idea that I wrestled with on my own.

Our next meeting together will be in January 2016 whereby artists will have an opportunity to revisit ideas and artworks that were presented as part of this event.


It’s been 5 months since my last post. I’ve been stuck for things to write about and away for a lot of the summer. Now seems to be as good time as any to resurrect the blog as I now find myself practicing art therapy, following three years of training at Roehampton University, though still trying to make sense of what it means to be both an artist and an art therapist. With this in mind I spent part of my summer putting together a funding proposal to set up an art/ art therapy peer mentoring group to determine whether there were others like me wrestling with similar concerns.

The function of the group was primarily be to create a forum for individuals to talk about their own artwork and art making process, and to foster discussions about the relationship between art and therapy. And, whilst the funding proposal was unsuccessful, there was enough interest from other artists to suggest that there was need for a group like this (even if it meant meeting on an ad hoc basis).

The artists who were identified as being suitable for this group are primarily artists and art therapists and most are either currently training as art therapists or have completed their training within the last 8 years (though not all). Having met together for the first time last month, most people said that they hoped being part of the group would primarily enable them to develop their art practice, citing that despite making artwork, either at home or within a studio context, they felt isolated and needed to be ‘backed up’ by other like-minded artists. Others identified a need for honest feedback when presenting their work and clarification that what they were expressing visually made sense.

Our next meeting together will be in mid-November where we’ll be running a Pecha Kucha event out of someone’s living room. Pecha Kucha is a form of presentation where, traditionally, those showing their work present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. This promises to be a great opportunity to get to know one another a bit better and to learn about each other’s art practice.