I am wondering this morning, whether Liverpool has the most volunteers per exhibition/event for any city in the UK? It seems that way.. especially as the Biennial depend so heavily on them. The Bluecoat also have plenty of them and even have them wearing t-shirts with ‘volunteer’ on instead of staff, which always seems a bit sad to me. I’m glad institutions make room for people to get experience, but they also have a responsibility to recognise when to stop don’t they? The biennial generally gets new volunteers every time, who work intensively for a short time, but for the really valuable experience within the organisation they look for full-time volunteers for six months and seem to be able to pick and choose from plenty of candidates.

I saw an advert this week for the new section of the new museum, which is looking for volunteers (aged 16 – 25) for invigilation. It seems this ‘excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience’ is intended as an alternative to paid staff; pretty bad for all the new graduates etc when you take into account that National Museums Liverpool (NML) already pay the least of any cultural institution in the city.

Talking to a couple of colleauges in the Tate yesterday made me more frustrated – but you have to volunteer to stand a chance of getting a real job -they said. Perhaps that is true, but isn’t volunteering in the arts to be done while at Uni, or soon afterwards and then only for a short time? I know people who have been volunteering for the Biennial for two years now (£20/day) and now get a mix of voluntary and paid work from them, counting themselves lucky. Is it just me that is baffled by this??

Enough voluntary rants for now.

Next: all the valuable things I have learned from Dumb Objects and how artists may benefit from unpaid exhibitions.


June seems to mainly involve waiting to get paid from various jobs done long ago, trying to catch up with my life and also holding back from making any plans whatsoever as other people make (very last-minute) decisions about where I will spend the summer….

I am also putting together a hefty list of resources for careers advice and ways to make money/improve career/be more efficient etc. This will be an entry on the http://www.intute.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/ blog at some point this month. Will let you know as hopefully there should be something of use to most people..

Also in June – Merseyside ACME/Liverpool Vision are organising a stepclever networking event at Royal Standard on the 30th.


Should be a good chance to meet some more people working in Liverpool, perhaps in other areas to visual arts. As it is also in my studio building it is extra easy, bonus. The event is hosted or facilitated by David Parrish, who I have had some good advice from in the past. It seems living/studio-ing in L3 is a good thing as I am now entitled to futher free business advice from David, and will be gladly taking him up on it soon!


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This is interesting: http://mashable.com/2009/06/15/google-artists-work…

Should illustrators give Google their work for free? They will regardless I think. Interesting that Stan Schroeder who wrote the article says,

“There’s a reason, however, why they aren’t offering monetary compensation for skinning Chrome. Google didn’t set the price for such work at (nearly) zero; the community did.”


Struggling to reach deadlines at the moment. Life feels thinly stretched and time to apply for other things has been squeezed out.. Hopefully I may manage the two that close next week…

Exhibition (Dumb Objects), up. Opening, fantastic. Lots of people showed up, including creative director of Tate Liverpool, Art head at the Uni, loads of artists whose work I really like… oh, it was nice to feel rewarded after all the hard work. Visitors have also been coming after the opening too, which doesn’t normally happen to be honest…

Yesterday I zoomed to YSP for a presentation and realised that although receptive, some of the teachers I will work with do not trust artists (read – me) to deliver workshops. They were a bit baffled by the talk on my work and its conceptual content I think. Regardless of that fact, I’m sure they will leave me alone with the kids while they go and get on with other things. Hmm, is that very cynical of me? Met a few really great people though, who had tons of enthusiam about working with me, looking forward to those parts of the project at least!!

Today, a workshop with Everton group at Tate. Not the most successful we’ve had, but still progress and it makes clear how much support from Youth Workers can transform these things.

Tonight: a night out! Can you imagine? I have nothing to do tomorrow (apart from aforementioned proposals) and I will be off on the same day as my wonderful husband. Plus it may even be sunny!! It seems to good to be true, so no doubt we will get over excited, end up with horrible hangovers and spend the day crying or similar.

Tuesday I am off to Venice to see the bienniale and to drink over-priced wine with my mum. Really looking forward to not taking much, including my diary (I didn’t want to pay Ryanair for a hold bag!), turning my phone OFF and just wandering in sunshine. Needless to say I will be practising my Italian on anyone who gets too close :) Can’t wait!!

Paying for everything this month on my credit card as no payment for work will be through till the end of June or July. The waiting kills me.

Ciao Bella + Sto andando a Venezia…


exhibition text continued…

"We live a companionable life; myself, the chair, the chair, the little red table; the dining-table, the window, the waste-paper basket; the horrible curtains and the houses across the street. We conduct no conversation, but our silence is amicable. And this is how it is with the things that surround us. We look at them, but we no longer see them. They do not speak, and we do not hear them. They are dumb objects – their forms, which are their souls and very voices, obscured by function, worn away by familiarity.

And sometimes they grow old and tired and frail, and we forget that we had loved them and cast them away, for a new one can always be bought. And sometimes we lose them, or perhaps they leave us, slipping mute and invisible away; and we seek for a while and we pine for a while – but a new one can always be bought.

But what becomes of our old things? What are the after-lives of objects? They, scattered seedlike, take root in a state between being and not-being; a strange, penumbral space. We understand that a broken mirror is not a mirror. The naming of objects is truly the naming of uses, which glare upon the surface, so that we cannot reach nor even see the solid thing beneath the name. When a mirror is no longer a mirror, what is it? We might call it useless.

The exhibition Dumb Objects unpicks the relationship between use and identity. In liberating broken and commonplace things from their usual contexts, the artists permit them to speak in new voices, to take on new forms; to fledge, to emerge, like butterflies or birds. A reminder that all things are mutable, all things are possible; that even the most solid or broken of things may shift its shape; may live again: an act of ordinary magic."

Jo Moore

Thanks Jo!

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