SO yes this is off topic and possibly not the place: when I give the link to my lecturers what will they say when they see something that is not directly MA related.
Well I argue that this is during my MA so it is in fact relevant.
As I have previously mentioned I created, organised and ran a big art event over 17 venues this year and I have been busy planning a massive ARTS FESTIVAL for next year, encompassing all of the arts not just “art”.
Anyhow I’ve been busy networking and the like and this morning I had a meeting with the local council who I won a grant from for this year’s event. Anyhow I really impressed them with my previous work apparently and they love my ideas and [drum roll please]…………..
THEY ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO BE PRACTICALLY INVOLVED AT SOME LEVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!! (with next year’s big Arts Festival)
There is even the possibility they will become full on partners running a lot of it with me but still with me as the head honcho.
Yes I have a huge amount of work to do and yes with the council working with me I will be constrained but I can’t help feeling this is an amazing thing and I am feeling really quite proud right now.
So this week has been a bit of a manic one for me….mostly through my own doing.
In my attempt to bring one of the ideas for my MA series to fruition I started yapping to people on twitter last week and things kind of snowballed. It seems that there are people who “get” my idea and who are willing to strip off in the name of art and awareness of the sexuality of visibly disabled people and I am already accruing the input and help of a motley crew that includes disabled activists, bloggers, journalists/presenters, transgender academics, feminist activists and a charity campaign…. all very exciting stuff. In fact though I am as south coast based as you can get I am making my way up as North on England as you can get in the Spring to shoot people and seem to have quite a lot happening between London and the Midlands.
I also had a meeting last Thursday with a dementia champion. I am working on a piece for a touring exhibition to raise awareness of dementia and bettering our highstreets to help sufferers. I decided it made far more sense to interview someone who had experience of dementia and who lived with it day in day out, than to create a disingenuous piece just to further my own profile. I spent over 3 hours talking with this woman and came out inspired; knowing exactly what I would produce and luckily the charity are excited by my concept too.
The added problem with all of this is of course my own illness and disability; in fact I am writing this very blog post from my sick bed having been forced to leave University after 1 hour yesterday due to the severity of my relapse. Though illness does give you a unique insight it does make life almost unbearable sometimes as it does tend to get in the way of well, having a life and doing what you need to be doing to make use of this gift we were all given: life.
I was meant to be teaching an art course for families where children have developmental disabilities today but my illness has incapacitated me to the extent that I cannot leave my bed and I should not, in truth, really be writing this even. It is depressing when I think about it so I try not to and anyhow I have a meeting with the council tomorrow morning about further art projects I am working on and trying to get their support, a meeting I am sad to say, I cannot postpone: you can’t trust councils it’s taken me 2 months to arrange this meeting.
Still as I always tell myself, there are always people in a worse predicament and to get where you want to go in life you have to be willing to put in that extra work.
Firstly I would like to start by saying that my husband thinks that I use that word far too much. But I do feel that it is warranted. Whilst doing a lot of reading for the research part of my MA project and watching a documentary about degenerate art I finally understood what I want my MA to be and my work to say.
There will be 3 parts to my project: a sound and video (of a kind) installation; a photographic exhibition and an installation that launches a full on assault of the senses.
The work looks at ideas of the other and invisibility , with specific reference to disability in all its forms.
This work is extremely personal to me as someone with a physical disability (through illness); a mental illness (Generalised Anxiety Disorder, possible panic disorder) and a son who has autism and a physical disability. I feel that we inhabit a world where we treat disability with the same attitude we have to death. There are acceptable faces of disability and those which fill people with disgust and fear.
We approve of disability only when it is removed from ourselves; only when it is clean, and neutral and sanitized. We do not want it shoved in our faces. We want a backstory; that epic X Factor moment when we discover this person’s harrowing story and we view them as hero: it helps if they are attractive and if they can walk.
Our entire view of disability is wrong. We view those with physical disability as mentally incapacitated (when sat in my wheelchair I am often overlooked as people speak instead to my biped husband) and those with mental disability (whether through mental illness or that horrible term of intellectual disability) as being well and able and if they do not act as we deem necessary as miscreants. We fail to see what is really in front of our eyes.
Through this project I aim to tackle this head on, to produce a multi-sensory project that makes us question who we are and our assertions about what disability is and why we view it in a particular way.
So this has been a pretty big week in my professional world and I am feeling pretty excited about it all.
Firstly I found out my tutor could put me in touch with someone at the Uni who works in sound which is excellent as I cannot do one of the installations I plan for my MA with the knowledge I hold alone…. yes I am reading up on thinsg and doing copious amounts of research but actually there are some things that still make you go “hmmmmm” and want to smack your head against a wall….. so this was great news and in fact I am meeting with the said person on Tuesday during my lunch break at Uni… YEY!
Then on Tuesday I also discovered that I have been shortlisted for The News’ (a Portsmouth and south west Hampshire paper) Woman of the Year (Arts Category); which is pretty, bloody great. Well that is apart from the fact that they expect the nominees to still buy a ticket, which I think is a tad unfair really but there you go.
On Wednesday I had my Artist One to One. This is a session I get once a year as part of being an Aspex Associate (the main contemporary gallery in Portsmouth). This was surprisingly great; I had some great advice about my multi installation idea for my MA. Lots of useful advice about funding for my much bigger arts festival I am launching next year, off of the back of the success of Fareham Art Trail this year; and a huge boost with regard to understanding my worth as an artist and arts organiser. I was also pretty glad at how impressed my adviser was by how I manage to do it all, including run arts courses for disabled children and artist networking evenings.
To cap it all off the call outs for Fareham Arts Festival went live tonight which is fantastic news. To find out more about this you can visit:
So it’s a bit of a cheat putting this here as it is not directly linked to my MA. However if you are like me and believe that art is life then it is indeed appropriate to post here.
As well as my MA and running an art based soc ent (still in the early stages); I am also a bit of an arts organiser: I launched Fareham Art Trail earlier this year — a spin on the usual art trail; no open studios, more a group of exhibitions of art in unusual places, appealing to the masses and not necessarily art lovers. Plus other arts events during the week. Although a success, next year I have much bigger plans with an entire arts festival taking over the entire borough.
Anyhow I digress……..
It occurred to me that there is very little chance for artists to meet and properly network with other artists. Obviously you have private views, conferences, shared studio spaces etc but what about when you’re not currently in an exhibition, you’re new to an area; you work alone? How then do you meet your contemporaries?
Regular small networking meet ups are common in other industries so why not in art? Also ,why if you are going to do it ,do most people pay money to host it through the large profit making US based site: “meetups”?
I, being who I am, decided against this and so……………..
Saturday saw the first artist meet up/networking evening based in Fareham and it was great success. There were 13 of us in total; including one member of my new MA course and her friend. The conversation was not patchy and everyone found it really beneficial. We even have a couple of collaborations likely from it already!
Art is about communication and reaching people and I feel with every time we get artists talking to each other we are a bit closer to making arts potential powers of healing and societal change, a reality.