The chill in the air together with the mistyness and running unknown roads put me in mind of Riga.  I am in Köping, Västmanland where I will be running a workshop today in conjunction with the official opening of the installation at the train station – Departure and Arrival, part three.


Yesterday was the opening and workshop in Kungsör.  Only a few people joined the drop in workshop but several were keen to chat and there were interesting conversations about making, artistry, and materiality.  It was great to meet Sarah Vegna, a local artist, author, and all round creative person, who was there to assist with the workshop.  Her passion for recycling and her ways of engaging people in thinking about it were/are truly inspiring – she has written and illustrated childrens’ books where the children recycle materials into new things that they need.  I can easily imagine her running great workshops based on this idea.  And it reminded me that workshops can be really good ways of getting people thinking about a whole range of things at the same time as developing and exploring their creativity.


It strikes me now that I too have been running workshops from a sustainable perspective.  For the past two years the main material for the summer schools I ran was waste cardboard from the deliveries of new books to the library.  I have also frequently used old books which were on their way to the recycling centre.  My vision for the creative workshop in the proposed culture house (in Enköping) was that it should have sustainability at its heart – a proposal which seemed to fall on deaf ears.


One person who certainly picked up on what I was saying was Simon – who worked with me on the Creative Saturday programme in Enköping.  I think that was why he invited me to a meeting for people working with and interested in art/creativity and sustainability.  The day (last Sunday) turned out to be far better than I had expected … experience has led me to be sceptical of network meetings where everyone save the artists are in paid positions and the network building is a part of their employment … research … funded project … academic role.  This was quite the opposite – a group of mostly freelance or part-time people with broad interests and experience looking to develop new ways of working recognising that pay and/or financial compensation for time and expertise are vital. I was pleased that my point about the increasing demands for the instrumentalisation of art in the service of political agendas actually does very little for either the artist or art other than provide short term income/employment was taken on, and that there is an arguement for looking at how we use existing art space and institutions as well as for taking art out of these traditional venues.  There was also discussion around how little rather than how much we can do … participate … contribute … for a network to function and be meaningful – which is a very attractive way to approach things!






Working in Enköping already feels as though it was the distant past, it is actually only two and half weeks ago that my sabbatical began.  I enjoyed the three day week that I worked there in late July though it wasn’t as I thought it would be.  The colleague who is taking over my role and I had spoken about … agreed(!) … that we would spend time together going through things – both practical and administrative during those days, however when I arrived to work Wednesday through to Friday I learned that she was on holiday.  So no real ’hand over’, I had already written a hand over document and we had spoken briefly but that was when she asked for more time together as she was overloaded with other things.  Two other colleagues were working that week but I hardly saw them – nothing unusual about that as both keep themselves very much to themselves.  After a nice quiet week of sorting, tidying, and cleaning I left.


It feels absolutely right to be taking a break … a long break.  I have become aware of how I had come to have a constant … persistent … nagging … low level frustration … irritation … stress(?) – I can probably only allow myself this recognition now that I am no longer in the situation causing it.


Being at the studio is an absolute pleasure and I am truly enjoying the company of other artists … as I have said before it feels like I am at home there.