This blog is a space for me to share my experiences as an MA student in Bristol. I’ll be documenting research and work related to my practice, tracking the developments and sharing my progress both in and out of university. I’d like to use this blog as another platform for building my creative network and welcome comment or feedback so please get in touch if you feel inclined!
In July I travelled to Collemacchia, a tiny village situated in the National Park of Abruzzo in the Molise region of Italy, to take part in an artist residency with The Museum of Loss and Renewal.
I’ve never had the opportunity to participate in a residency before, the closest I’ve been previously was a couple of day trips to Nelson and Colne in Lancashire in 2016, so this was a fantastic new experience for me.
I entered into the situation with various to-do lists related to how I would structure my time and a vague plan to try cyanotype printing, due to the bright sunlight. I carried out very minimal research about the area and its history opting instead to enter the space quite blindly.
I had a naive idea that upon arriving in Italy, myself and my practice would transform into something else, more confident, experimental, intuitive. Even when I applied for and was offered the residency, I had outlined a proposal that involved interaction from the residents of the village, despite being unable to speak Italian and being quite a naturally introverted person.
This proposal gnawed slightly at the back of my mind in the run-up to and throughout the first few days of the residency and I felt an underlying sense of guilt that I had not prepared or even attempted to reach out to any of the residents. Thankfully I moved past this guilt (for the most part) and came to a point where I accepted what I made, observed, documented and noticed, as unique to myself and my outlook as an artist. The two weeks were important in offering consecutive days to make, think, read, draw and have demonstrated that this may be an important part of my process of making work although how I continue developing the work and expanding my research will also determine how useful the time was as a model for the future.
I’m aiming to slowly document my experiences in Collemacchia alongside the continuing explorations into themes and research topics that came out of the residency period. As I head into the second year of my MA I’ll be continuing to expand this body of work and this blog will accompany the progress.
A brief update on my investigations into Drumcroon so far; through the call out, I’ve managed to arrange five interviews (three of which I’ve completed) and track down the location of the Wigan Schools Loan collection. I’ve also been loaned resources and sent the names of artists and staff that were involved with Drumcroon and the Artists in Wigan Schools scheme.
The interviews so far have been fascinating and hearing about the work of Drumcroon and those involved with the centre and the scheme in Wigan has evoked a range of emotions. I’ve found links between the research and my own practice that I didn’t anticipate and had conversations that I feel will inform ideas and decisions beyond this extended essay project.
Once the essay is complete I’d like to find some way of recording my findings and the key points about Drumcroon that I feel will feed back into my own work. I’m not in a position to share everything that I have found but I’d like to document my understanding of the centre and its work and find a way to provoke further discussion about it.
I want to thank Wigan Archives for sharing the call out on their network and everyone and anyone who has shared the initial posts made on A-N and through social media.
This blog is quite overdue! I’ve now been studying the MA in Multi-Disciplinary Print since September 2018 however my documentation so far has been very much offline. In time I will update this blog to reflect the work that I have been making and the things that I have been learning. Right now though I have chosen to reconnect online as I need some assistance.
As part of the Masters, I am undertaking research for an extended essay and my chosen area of interest is the Drumcroon Education Arts Centre that once existed in the town of Wigan in the north west of England. I have attached a call out for artists who worked with Drumcroon or were part of the Artists in Wigan Schools scheme that operated in the area in the 1980s and 90s.
If you were involved in this or you know of anyone who was then please get in touch and share this call out!