Through my mental health research I have been reading ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel Van Der Kolk, attended the Collective Trauma Summit 2020 and studying a second Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health. I am also part of the Creative Well programme run by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance for arts and wellbeing practitioners. This research feeds into my practice as a curator for Dwell Time, board member for YVAN looking at the impact of Covid-19 on artistic practice and my ongoing artistic practice ‘talking rubbish’.

‘Talking Rubbish’: So many colleagues and friends are struggling with processing thoughts and emotions into speech, and me too. What we’ve been through and going through is huge. We’re experiencing collective trauma of a pandemic on top of individual traumas. When our executive brain function is compromised through a trauma response, the speech part of our brain (Broca’s area) shuts down in part or fully as we go into flight, flight or freeze (survival) mode. Hence the terms ‘speechless’ and ‘lost for words’.


Monday 5 October 2020, 8pm
Presenting: Becky Atherton & Michael Duckett

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Meeting ID: 739 2169 5271
Passcode: 4c26sH

Becky Atherton

Through my work I want to explore the mythological representation of women and how stories have been influenced and reengineered by patriarchy. How women have been written out of folklore and how stories have been changed to fit in with this ideology. I will look at how great historical attacks on female power have been made into folklore and fairytale such as the attack on women through the great witch hunts. I want to look at the demonization and sexualized aspect of women in mythology such as Lilith from Jewish folk law and the Harpy.

How great female characters such as the Norse Valkyries with all their power being intermediaries between humans and gods, guides for the dead, and means to rebirth, have through time and telling of different stories such as the Valkyrie Brunhilde reduced to being stupid and weak and passed between men.

How great female qualities and strengths have been attacked and subdued to ensure the domesticity of, and undervalue of women’s work through History.
Using a surrealist /fantasy style I want to challenge the materialistic patriarchal society we live in, by providing an alternative. The intent is to encourage people to think beyond the limits of religion, domestic lives, money, and wealth and explore stories and other possibilities and ways of being and thinking. I want to visually intermingle female mythological characters with modern day and historical scenario’s, issues such as the Pendle witch trials, Suffrage, Me Too movement. I also want to have a strong connection with the natural world, which historically seemed to be a female power base.

Michael Duckett

I am one of those myriad grassroots and community based artists who appear sporadically in public with work and then get submerged in their obscure social worlds for a while before reappearing again. My work focusses on group events and the outdoors, and I have been a committed participant to the culture of zines, zine fairs and related events for over 20 years now (producing dozens of zines in that time as well as collaborative contributions).

With work and travel projects cancelled I was thrown into territory I would not have chosen, much more domestically bounded and screen reliant – while living in a basic rural cottage without broadband or computer (or TV, or washing machine, or fridge, etc..).

I’ll present some of the work that’s come out of this experience. This will briefly include (a) drawings of my home village, (b) zoom portrait events and (c) a ridiculous amount of online lifedrawing. And for each of these forms of creative production the second part of the story each time is what to DO with these, which in my case has typically taken a book-related form: (a) printed booklets for local fundraising, (b) diaries & scrapbooks and (c) personal library building. Or library destroying, depending on your point of view.

The project I will focus on is (d) the Bothy Zine. It’s a project that relies on being out and about in wild areas, to visit and draw each of the English bothies (remote shelters to which the door is always open, a sort of anarchist version of the youth hostel association with no mod-cons or sense of control).

Planned and begun before lockdown, this project has been alternately blocked and returned to as the 2020 story has continued. Right now I am tantalisingly close to finishing, with 3 bothies remaining to visit. My rural location has helped play a part in this, as I have been able to ‘deputise’ myself to check on the local bothies that the usual MOs (Maintenance Organiser, = like a caretaker) have been unable to travel to. In other ways covid has disrupted the project. The aim was to present and distribute a zine of these drawings at the bothy association’s AGM on Saturday 10th October, but of course this too is now online whereas I and my work is committed to papery objects.

So I now visualise myself going with backpack and panniers from bothy to bothy and leaving in situ these physical little reflections of love for the buildings that I and others share. And those illicit visitors (all bothies are ‘closed’ for covid but the door is not locked and people are still moving through) might get to encounter something different.

About Art Lab: Artists’ Presentations & Critical Dialogue
First Monday evening of the month 8pm

Art Lab is a monthly meet-up for artists and art practitioners to discuss their work, concurrent ideas and critical thinking. It’s open to anyone who would like to attend and contribute constructively. Art Lab is for sharing ideas, mutual learning, peer support and networking.

The format is two presentations by artists / practitioners about their work / ideas / interests: 20-30 minute presentations followed by Q&A.

Art Lab welcomes all art practitioners at any stage in their career and operates a safe space policy. Art Lab is coordinated by Halifax based artist/curator/writer Alice Bradshaw.

If you would like to present at any of the upcoming Art Labs please email / message Alice:
[email protected]