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A very good day – magical, playful, a feeling of childlike excitement. Actual glee.

Just home, feeling exhilarated and animated after a first day of collaboration with For The Love of People, who are artists Caroline Hick Jez Coram I’ll be working with Caroline and Jez , experimenting with performance and collage, on WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN in Fabric Arts Lab (… in central Bradford, which we have taken occupation of for the next four weeks.

Before I post on today’s (amazing) session I just want to chart how we have gotten here.

The collaboration came out of my a-n Re:view bursary earlier this year (…). Caroline was one of the selected artists I chose for my peer review, and after discussing my work with her in two sessions from May – July, she invited me to work with her and Jez in their new collaborative project For The Love of People.

So I met with Caroline and Jez in August to talk about the project and how they might want to be involved. From the beginning there were good vibes – open – ness, trust, mutual respect, synergy. With me it’s often a matter of instinct for collaborators – a gut feeling. There needs to be an essential feeling of trust. It felt good from the start.
Jez and Caroline’s role within the project is one of facilitation; supporting and collaborating with me to develop WE ARE ALIVE AGAIN. Between them they offer much in the way of skills, knowledge and experience – and I’m very happy to be working with them.

We had several meetings over the summer – at each of our houses, lunch involved, exploring the different aspects of the project and what we could do together, which were bonding, convivial and illuminating: In our first session, in Caroline’s lovely garden, we shared family archival materials, and personal memories attached to them. At the second session at Jez’s house, we did a visual mapping of my work with family photography to date, which was a very valuable exercise and helped to cement and clarify the many aspects of the project (from research to practice, individual and collaborative) to date. On the third session, at my house, I showed Jez and Caroline my studio table and discussed my method of colllaging (which use images from family photographs as well as found images) which was I was seeing as increasingly provisional, moving, dynamic. Not sticking down, or committing each element, but keeping each free to roam, to make and re-make new meanings,

We talked about this method as a potential tool in working with others on their own family archival material, and agreed to dedicate some time to collaborating and testing it out, together and with potential other groups/individuals.

Since that time we have all, coincidentally and serendipitously, become interested in exploring these ideas of unfixed-ness and fluidity through animation and performance. Me, via discussions with Pippa Oldfield and Melanie Friend at my recent portfolio review at Impressions Gallery (discussed in post 78) and Jez, inspired by an audio-visual performance he had recently seen which utilised a zootrope structure and cut outs to make live performance.

So that brings us to today.

I will post over the weekend about this. Till then I’ll just let it settle, think, enjoy, dream, and give myself a little time to find the words for what it was, and what it could mean.