I’ve just had a really welcome break from work (paid and my own) in Paris.

It was totally unexpected Birthday present from my family (well, unexpected 3 weeks ago when I was told) but a really fabulous, though brief, trip.

I spent as much of Friday as I possibly could, preparing and packing up houses for the installation and put a lid on the boxes – physically and literally. That’s it, I can do no more, I was getting over stressed and fraught with it all.

Saturday, I was up before 4am and on the road by 5. In Paris by 9am and at the Louvre by 12noon.   Its been years since I was last in Paris and I’d forgotten how people actually queue for hours to visit a gallery – especially as it was Easter and people had time to spare.  To stand in line to get into the Louvre AND the Pompidou would have used up at least 5 precious hours of the 2 day trip, without even including seeing the artwork. It wasn’t worth it.

We did tourist stuff and walked miles.

I’d had several emails about the Threshold exhibition while I was away, and although I’d sworn to myself i wouldn’t read or respond to anything, a few needed an immediate response.  What can you do- wait and worry about it for a day, or just do it?

One was the draft of a press release so in order for it to go out, it needed just one simple question answering.  Sigh.


I’ve had an awful lot of publicity lately and although I should be feeling really pleased with myself, its made me more and more anxious. I feel like something wonderful is being expected of me but I’m afraid I will let everyone down.

Its just houses……LOADS of them :-(







Thank you a-n for focusing on my work over on the your Instagram account this week .  Its really given me a high :-)

I feel like I should be writing a really interesting post just now as I’m getting so much exposure and people are being directed to my blog.  But sadly I’m still living a bit of a dull life. I’ve got up in the mornings, replied to emails, made several paper houses for my installation and left them to dry while I go to work and when I’ve got home, I’ve started again.

This is how it is until next week when I can install it at the Threshold festival 

As an update on the funding for the Athens exhibition, I registered to start a ‘Grants For The Arts’ Arts Council funding application on Monday 14th March and despite them stating that it will take 5 days to validate my name, I’d heard nothing.   However… it now looks like I can access it.



A few weeks ago, I wrote a brief blog about meeting another artist by chance and how we connected through our Instagram accounts.

This week, I’ve made another connection….

It was while searching the Art Athena  website  (http://www.art-athina.gr/parallel-programme-2015/platforms-project-art-athina-2015/  ) for ideas on what work we could take, I started looking into what other UK groups had taken part in the past. There were hardly any to be honest, but I instantly made a connection with one group – Harrington Mill Studios, based in Nottingham  http://www.harringtonmillstudios.co.uk/  Although our group consists of members from several studio groups and theirs is just them, we do have a lot of similarities.   I wrote to them.

I found out that they too had taken part in SUPERMARKET Stockholm, but not the same time as we had. They too had made many connections through the experience.

Like us, they had to take work in suitcases and, well, I don’t know about them, but we certainly felt ‘poor’ compared to the artists who were able to ship massive paintings and sculptures.

They were well ahead of us with getting the work together and booking flights and accommodation etc. We’re still stuck on ‘Where are we going to get the money from?’

We paid for the booth by the skin of our teeth – having initially thought we’d raised enough through the auction of art works, we had unexpected costs – one being a £20 fee for transferring the money internationally.

I looked into arts council funding again. I hadn’t applied for anything since successfully securing funding for Stockholm 4 years ago, so I surprised to find that it now takes 5 days just to validate my name. Seriously??? 

While wasting 5 days. I’m looking onto crowdfunding again. ..

Apart from that, I’ve had a week of online interviews (look out for Instagram on Monday for one of them !!)  as well as preparations for Threshold.

That is getting scarily close and I’m still nowhere near ready .  I need time off again :-(





Saturday 5th March

When I arrived at the studio on Saturday morning, Jeff Young (one of our artists in residence) was already there, doing a sound check with Martin Heslop.

Jeff’s residency  had him placed in a shoe repair shop across the road from the studio. Frank Cavanagh was in his 80’s but had been at the shop since he was 14yrs old. Reluctant to talk to this ‘intruder’ at first, he was a completely different person on the day – handing out autographs to the many visitors to his shop.

He’d been interviewed by BBC Radio Merseyside about his involvement in the project, so this  had brought in many ‘locals’ who would never have found out about the project through the usual channels we  had used for advertising.

A woman came to the studio who had worked there in her teens, when it was a bakery. She had bad memories, but she didn’t say why.

I walked down to visit Haleh Jameli at K & N fruit and Veg store. There was already a small crowd around her, watching her videos and snacking on the food that the shop owners had generously provided.  The videos didn’t seem out of place at all, mounted on the wall above a stack of onions and potatoes. Harold Offeh, the final artist in residence, was stocking up a basket of vegetables in the shop, having wandered up from his residency at the hairdressers a few doors down.

Christine, the All Nations Hairdressers owner, was buzzing as she styled a customers hair and chatted about Harold’s photographs on the wall. At first I didn’t notice them – I thought they were part of the usual hairdressers paraphernalia , but then I realised that one of the models in the photographs was Brigitte Jurack, fellow studio member (and owner of Alternator)  heavily glammed up by Harold’s techniques.

Walking the short distance, I passed several people clutching maps – locals who had never visited the shops, but were drawn by curiosity.

I tried to catch up with my own work in the studio, but my concentration was bad. I wanted to talk to the visitors, find out about them and also ask their opinions on the project. (My job also, was to keep tweeting! @Altstudio2   )

So many people were crossing paths and talking to others that they would never normally interact with.

Just before 6pm, when all of the shops involved had closed for the evening, Jeff and Martin began their performance in the downstairs studio – chairs crammed between Brigitte’s sculptures.  They had a large crowd.

The evening ended with bowls of soup. bread and cheese being served in the upstairs studio.  It was meant to be just for the artists and a few invited guests, but there was so much food and so many people, it was served to all. Soo many people in our studio!!!

It was such an incredible day…an amazing 4 months ! I really hope we are able to do it again.

Radio Merseyside Interview with Frank Cavanagh and Sound piece by Jeff Young / Martin Heslop   https://soundcloud.com/alan-dunn/frank-cavanagh-radio-merseyside-interview-and-jeff-young-martin-heslop-a552hex

More images on the studio facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/Alternator-Studio-and-Project-Space-at-The-Old-Bakery-741308269275460/

Images courtesy of Alan Dunn and Carol Ramsay






The last week has been crazy – especially as between preparing for the fundraising exhibition and the studio event (which I’ll go into later)  I slipped and fell flat on my face, doing my back in and creating a corker of a black eye.

So…putting the injuries aside (but needless to say, making every  task, regardless how small,  labour intensive, as my American friends would say) everything went well.

It would be too much to post about the two events in one blog, so I’ll split it – starting with the fundraiser.

To recap if you haven’t read previous posts, I was invited to exhibit at art Athena in Athens, Greece at the end of May, and I will be taking my groups SCI/Soup Collective.

The invitation came through participating in SUPERMARKET,  the Stockholm art fair a few years ago.  I have to be careful how I describe Art Athena though as it isn’t an Art fair in the commercial sense – its a platform for artists. I can only compare it to the Manchester Contemporary ( with not having visited similar ‘fairs’ in other parts of the country)  at which there is a commercial side and another side which is not – a stage as it were, for independent galleries and studios groups.

OK, so it was something I really wanted to do, but there were so many financial barriers. The first being payment for the ‘Booth’. At £280, its considerably cheaper than other events, but its still an additional payment.

Rather than ask all of the artists to contribute money, I asked them to donate a small unframed A5 artwork that would be auctioned off.  We’d been given a free gallery space from a studio group in Liverpool City centre, so 2 of us spent a day pinning the works up (probably could have done it quicker if I hadn’t been hobbling everywhere, but it was done and it looked great)

Auctions are always hit and miss and many works go for so much less than they are worth. We therefore started all bids at £10.  It was slow to start as everyone was a bit nervous, but soon got into full swing.

The atmosphere was fantastic and the bidding was quite addictive. I’d highly recommended it! The exhibition stayed open over the weekend with the remaining works staying at £10. We raised over £300, which was fantastic.

I’m going to be setting up a crowdfunding campaign this week to try to raise airfares.

I’ll post about the Studio / artist in residence weekend in my next blog…

Some links about the auction :

Images on our facebook page…. https://www.facebook.com/Soup-Collective-210185756241/

and a bit of blurb…http://culture.org.uk/2016/02/postcards-from-the-soup-collective-at-roadworks/

There will be a write up/ review  soon as well…