I am super excited to announce that Arts Council England have awarded me with a project grant to investigate how to make interactive art without touch over the next year.

As you’ll know I love inviting the audience to touch and interact with my work, with Covid-19 this just can’t happen. The project gives me the time and resource to spend the next year figuring out how to still make really playful, interactive work but without touch.

I’m going to be working with MK Gallery, Culture Coventry (Herbert Art Gallery & Museum & Transport Museum), Coventry Council’s event team, Art in the Park, Artscape Management and the BALTIC. With them I’ll find out how art organisations are responding to Covid-19 and I’ll be doing some of my own research too. I’ll produce a PDF and do artist talks in the Spring to share the research and most importantly how it effects artists, artwork and audiences.

After the research phase I’m going to spend time developing my digital skills with Ludic Rooms to gain the skills I need to make interactive art without touch. With my new skills I’ll make a small installation that will be revealed at Random Stringin the winter 2021.

To keep up to date with the project keep checking my blog, Twitter and Instagram. It might be a little quite from Christmas until March as I’ve got a little one on the way. I’ll still be working hard, watch this space! My play blog will continue to grow as I read Michael Rosen’s Book of Play, keep an eye on that page too.

This project is made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


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For the last week of February the Spark Conference took place and I really enjoyed it and actually love that it is online. Last year it was one of the last events I went to before Covid-19 became a thing, the speakers were great, the company brilliant (I spent a lot of the day with Dionne from Live & Local) and the lunch was fantastic. This year it’s been online everyday and I’ve been enjoying it from the sofa and loving that you can watch the talks back at anytime. I’ve taken part in The Pandemic & Brexit, Outdoor Arts and Place Making. I might go back and watch some of the digital talks next week.

I really enjoyed the Outdoor Arts talk. It reflected on how different arts organisations have overcome the challenges of the pandemic and had brilliant outdoor arts in 2020. Angus from Outdoor Arts UK began the session, he reflected on his visit to Greenwich & Docklands International Festival in summer which he visited by bike. It happen later in the year than usual and was ticketed (for free). Slits was a great way to have performance happen, the performers were 2m from the audience as they were 2m in the air! Chorus by Ray Lee was an installation that took place which is made up of tall light sculptures that support spinning arms that have red LED lights that orbit and deliver a sonic spectacle. I’ve never seen Ray Lee’s work but I would love to. For the installation simply less people were able to see it at one time. I think the towering scale of each sculpture would make people stand apart to be able to view them and take in their magnitude. Angus also spoke about a document that Outdoor Arts have put together about the road map out of lockdown, I will be giving this a good read later on.

Hannah Moore at the RSC spoke about the creation of and running their 2020 summer programme. They created a stage in the gardens close to the theatre and safe spaces for the audience that they created by spray painting hearts onto the ground for people to sit within. The hearts were inviting, pretty and self explanatory. Some were big and some were small to allow for different sized households and bubbles. They created a great atmosphere, as Hannah quite simply put it; celebrity – easy to access – entertaining. Her top tips are:

-Make it site specific and really know your space,
-Manage expectations of everyone involved including the audience,
-Set your sights and be realistic,
-Be honest with the audience,
-Create something joyful and bold,
-Let the audience know how to stay safe,
-Create a detailed risk assessments and share it with everyone.


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I want to talk to talk about an art trial that was in Coventry during October had term 2020, Coventry Monsters. Throughout the city where eight massive, inflatable monsters in bright colours and bold designs perched up high on buildings for the public to find and admire. The monsters were designed by artists, Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas and were organised by Coventry Council’s event team who are partners on this project.

I think the monsters were fantastic along with many other Coventry residents who got to enjoy them. In October we were in the ‘rule of six’ so I visited with my friends Jen, Rich and Jess and Jess’s mum and teenage son. We visited during the evening once it was dark. The great things that came to my mind immediately was firstly how intergenerational it was, Ben was the youngest in the group at 13 and Nula the oldest (I don’t want to ask her age, she is a lady who has many years of experience behind her). Secondly how well it fitted in with the rules of the time, all the monsters where on buildings that could be viewed from wide open spaces, we could keep 2 meters apart to enjoy them, we didn’t need to go into a venue to enjoy them. It was incredibly accessible as it was free and my friend Sarah pointed out that it was great that you could go at anytime. If you were trying to stay away from people and wanted to see the monsters you could go at 2am – I’d like to know if anyone did go at 2am for a bit of midnight art viewing! You could visit during the day and at night and see them from both perspectives of light and dark. My group was all grown ups, I know people who took their toddlers and young children to see them and they loved them too. The monsters were visually great, big, bold, bright colours in fun, playful designs. Each one was different and a joy to discover. We had a lot of fun that night.

I think they were probably great for the city too. It brought people into the city centre, people might have been tempted to get a take away after or buy a coffee to keep them toasty warm as they went round – I think Jen and Rich went for a drink and dinner after (it’s hard to remember the days that you could go to a pub!) It might have helped build peoples conference back up about going into the city centre after having a long time of not visiting. These are things I’ll have to ask Jon at the council. The monsters were on a trial, this got people walking and gave them some fresh air which is great for their mental health after being inside a lot. Perhaps following the map might have helped some of the children with their geography home work.

It created a great social media buzz, there was lots of pictures on my Instagram of the monsters by fellow Coventry artists and residents. It created a feeling of positivity during the pandemic and dark winter. That feeling of positivity is so important at the moment. As an artist I need to create work that makes people feel great, fills their spirits with happiness and takes their imagination far away from the pandemic.

The monsters has made me think about the distant that people view my work out. I usually invite and encourage the audience to get up close and personal with my work and each other. I had imagined even with not inviting people to touch the installation that comes out of this project that they would stand 2m away from it. The monsters where viewed meters and meters away, the scale and brightness of them allowed for this, at night they were lit up making them fun visuals in the night. The interactive element of the monsters was the trail, having to find all eight of them. I don’t feel overly inspired by trails, I’m more interested in the interaction being directly with the art work. I chatted this through with Jess, my critical friend and we thought a way to do this could be digitally. Could people use their phones to change something about the artwork? The audience could change the lighting and patterns on Janet Elechman’s 1.8 London in Oxford Circus which was part of Lumiere in 2016 (my second favourite light festival, my first favourite is Amsterdam Light Festival because you view it by boat). It could do something like that, let people effect the design, movement or sound of an installation. It could be done with sensors. I should play with these ideas when Lottie next decides to have a big sleep – I should get the tools ready for when the moment comes!


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Since my last blog a lot has happened. 2021 has begun, I’ve had a little girl, we are in our third lockdown and we’re experiencing COVID variants. Having a daughter is a lot harder than I thought, I imagined I would be reading through my research, watching videos about play and chatting with the project partners. I’m pleased to say that some of this is happening, I am in-touch with all of the project partners, my critical friends Ruth and Jess and I’m reading Michael Rosen’s Book of Play but I don’t have much time to reflect in blogs on it yet. I’ll get there! 

The changes to the pandemic are making the project more challenging. When I began the project I thought we’d know what the summer was going to look like and the partners would be planning towards their festivals, exhibitions and installations over the summer. As you can imagine none of them know what the summer will be like so they can’t plan yet. Some partners are on furlough and others are waiting until Easter to making any decisions which I think is wise.

Today I spoke with Ruth my mentor from STEAMhouse (if you’re a West Midlands artist you should join, it’s great) and we talked through the project and my feelings of guilt for being slightly behind schedule. Ruth made a very good point, I need to do the project well. The current circumstances aren’t making it easy to do so. For now I need to stop feeling guilty, enjoy being a mum, do research around play and let the future unfold a bit before doing my COVID research with my partners.  

Things might be a bit quieter around here than I planned for, I promise I’m still working and thinking about my practise all of the time.


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When the project idea began it seemed relatively straight forward; find out what arts organisations are up to in terms of Covid-19, how they’re protecting their audience and what they want artists to do to help. At this point Coventry was in the medium tier and very high seemed worlds away! After lockdown part 2 Coventry is in very high, my project partners have the same problem too with MK Gallery and ArtScape Management being the exception in high. Of course this can all change, next week we could all be in high or very high could stay, who knows! It certainly adds a new challenge to the project.

The other element I need to consider is the vaccination. If everyone is going to be vaccination by Easter does his make the project invaluable? How ever much I want to believe Borris I don’t think that everyone in England will be vaccinated by Easter. I think it will take longer but by the end of 2021 I am sure we will have been. With this in mind will people be confident about touching art work and will arts organisations want them too? I think the answer is initially no, as a nation we will have spent a year maybe even a year and a half practising face, space and hands. It will take a long time for people to have the confidence again to interact the way we used to.

As nobody knows when we will be confident again to interact with the world the way we used to I think the project is still valid and I should crack on! I feel my research needs to be fluid, I need to discuss these points with the arts organisations and how it effects them and what they plan to do throughout 2021 and into 2022 and beyond. 


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