I’m adding to this blog very much in a train of consciousness kind of way, to help me clarify my thoughts. I’ve hit some bumps. The museum is proving to be a harder nut to crack than I anticipated, and will be pushed more into the medium term rather than short term. I have more boxes to tick. New community engagement opportunities have come along, with local events that I can join in. These will hopefully give me valuable feedback and evidence that I can use for successful funding applications. Various summer festival-type events will be great for me to set up a display, with the Poetry Salmon on show, and invite participants to create haikus from a deconstructed river poem, to be glued onto the salmon.

This slight diversion from my initial idea, more of a broadening of the original idea, needs a fresh overall vision. The Art of History, as well as installations sited alongside museum artefacts, will also include art installations about the landscape, including its history, its present and its future. Community involvement will be embedded into every project. I will site the artwork not only in museums and heritage sites, but everywhere that it is feasible to do.

The Art of History: A form of installation art about local history and landscape, which uses found objects, texts, film, recycled materials and anything else which has relevant meaning as itself as well as in how it is shaped and decorated. The artwork will incorporate its surroundings as part of its meaning, whether alongside artefacts in a museum, in the landscape or in the community. The artist, as facilitator, will offer others a role in its making. 



This is a new beginning.

Having recently finished my Fine Art MA, I’m keen and eager to get cracking on my career. I have a project idea that I need funding for. installation art about local industrial history, sited in a museum alongside artefacts, telling a story and asking questions, linking different parts of the museum together, joining the dots. I’ve met with managers, applied for funding, have had some positive responses, but this is Not a Done Deal.

So, as a physical aid for my pitch, I’m making a large papier-mache salmon. This, along with similar salmon, will swim and leap around a museum-displayed Victorian salmon trap, that looks like a large conical open weave basket. The salmon, according to my plan, will be covered in poems written by local groups, about the local rivers as they are today, compared to the salmon-rich days of the long-gone past. It’s my hope that the labour (and enjoyment) of making the salmon will be a good investment of time – a kind of loss-leader.

This blog will trace the progress of the salmon, and the project. It’s my wish that it will eventually serve as a day by day account of an ultimately successful project, and an inspiration to art graduates in the similar position of having to carve out a career from scratch in a highly competitive market. It may alternatively serve as a warning, should things go wrong, as inevitably some things will.


April 17

Helen the salmon is now covered in the King’s English, ready for some river-related poems. Meanwhile I wait in hope for funding for this project. In the meantime I will find other things to do, such as use an old school desk to create a diorama relating to Warren James, the leader of the Dean rebellion of 1831.




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This is more of a question than a blog.

As a funding deadline approaches, I’ve finally had some feedback on the draft application I sent to an institution that has to submit the funding bid. They like my project and want it to happen, but they have told me it doesn’t show enough evidence of demand from disadvantaged groups, and advised I set up some unpaid workshops to demonstrate demand for my project. A community arts organisation that had agreed in principle to partner the project, has been on leave for the whole month and not available for discussion.

As an unpaid freelancer who can only fund projects if they involve community participation (which I’m quite happy about), I find myself knocking on the doors of institutions that themselves feel underfunded and understaffed, and having to do all the legwork with no guarantee of success.

Does this situation resonate with other artists, and how do they cope?