I went over to The Arthouse in Wakefield today with my Dwell Time co-curator Lenny Szrama. We met with the other YVAN micro bursary recipients and presented/talked about each others’ practices. The format was a 10 minute overview of practice and what we were using the mircogrant on. We presented our Dwell Time at Community Rail in the City, Sheffield, May 2019 which Vanessa, Lenny and Rowena made at a rail event introducing our project. Most of the recipients are either disabled or making work with/about disability and it was really good to see the crossovers and potential scope for collaborations.

Lenny and I chatted on the way home about the socially engaged practices and increasing need to make work that addresses massive inequalities. We talked about the format of sitting in a room talking and the type of language this encourages. Jo suggested that we do a walk and talk meet up which encourages a different type of communication which I think would be a great idea. Lenny suggested we have a meeting with food/drinks as this creates a completely different dynamic and sociability as well.

Reflecting on our own Dwell Time meetings, we tend to hold them at our homes (mainly Vanessa’s as she the least able to get out) and we tend to have snacks or a meal. Our dialogues tend to start with a wellbeing check in to see how we each are and will also often digress off agenda into politics or philosophical musings that are related to our subject matter and/or personal situations. Each dialogue is a ‘dwell time’ in itself.

Also at our YVAN meeting, Tom Hopkins presented his PGR questions centred around perceptions of being a Northern artist and invited artists to get in touch for conversations about this. I’ve invited him to come and present his research and instigate a dialogue at Art Lab which he seems keen on.


Last night at Art Lab at Dean Clough I presented a very brief overview of my current interests in dialogue, briefly tracing previous practice development to this point. I then opened the conversation out to the group and invited input about their own usages and focusses on dialogue starting with the two artists who had just presented before my slot; Robert C. Clarke and Jane Walker.

Rob talked about the crossovers between poetry and visual art and referred back to the collaborative work he and Jane have made interweaving Rob’s poetry and Jane’s line based works. He also mentioned the difference between dsylexic unedited versions and the edited versions he publishes.

We talked about the difference between monologue and dialogue and the nature of communication including non-verbal communication.

Chris Czainski talked about the constant dialogue with the canvas and iconography/ancient graffiti.

Literature studies being reduced to comparative literature was mentioned and the critical role and demise of arts education heavily discussed.

The notion of spectator as the opposite of engaging in dialogue was discussed in considering and defining what we mean by ‘dialogue’: Active engagement in a two-way conversation as opposed to someone spectating in a hierarchy.

We reflected on Art Lab being mainly artist-to-artist dialogue (although not exclusively as the event is open to everybody) and that artist-to-public dialogue is often lacking as well as artist-to-institution often lacking as well.

The democratisation of art, public engagement, the spaces we present art in, the oblique language often used in art and not calling art ‘art’ were emerging themes.

There’s lots here to consider already and it was a really lively and engaging conversation with everyone present contributing. When I set up Art Lab I had in mind that these open dialogue conversations would be part of the programme, but have recently been scheduling mainly artists’ presentations with Q&As. I think having a themed or ongoing discussion slot in each month’s programme might be the way forward. Perhaps this could be a “Talking about Talking” critical dialogue or theory slot.

Robert Donald’s regular slide archive presentations also do this to some degree (Robert has the most incredible slide archive and he selects a few each month to present on a theme or artist). Last night he presented some slides of graffiti and Basquiat and each month we focus on the work presented as well broader issues that come out of discussion about the work and artist/genre/art history.

Last night’s discussions and themes interwove and complimented each other creating a dialogue between the respective artists and themes evident in their work.


Tonight is the July edition of Art Lab! I’ve so far shied away from putting myself on the bill but I thought I’d like to have a group disucssion about dialogue-as-subject in arts practice after the two other presenters and before our regular slide presentation from Robert Donald.

I’m planning to present my initial ideas and my proposed schedule of work which includes:

• Conversations with other arts practitioners centred on the notion of dialogue as subject in arts practice.

• Visiting arts/linguistics events in West Yorkshire eg performances, lectures, etc.

• Theoretical learning

• Practical training

• Daily blogging

• Possible outcome(s): publication/talk/performance?

After very briefly outlining the above, I’m planning to ask for a conversation about dialogue in arts practice with any recommendations of practitioners to research/meet or useful links in this area.


On Friday night I performed a brand new piece recycling old ideas/work in a mash up with new ideas about dialogue. I usually prefer scripted public presentations/performances as I struggle with nerves on stage but this one was a bit of an improv/experimental piece with keywords and ideas interspersed between inflated a balloon, pausing for thought and letting it go. I was really nervous beforehand but once I got up on stage I think I was fine. I actually enjoyed it, I think.

I had no idea how the audience would repsond. Some people laughed. I think they expected a longer piece but it was really short and talking to friends after I think the consensus was I could definitely expand (pun intended) with this piece and build it up.

I had some really good conversations with a few people before and after and this was encourgaed by the format of the event having decent intervals between the acts. I was on last and we went for drinks in the pub over the road after. Post-show drinks are the best. I had such a good time talking about our respective practices and emerging ideas.