To carry on from the previous entry, as part of the a-n funded meetings, Helen Sloan came some days later in a rather different capacity. Helen approached me with the offer of mentorship coincidently at a similar time when this bursary was offered and has a particular interest in certain aspects of my work, particularly my explorations into social media and video. The session with Helen concentrated much more on the work itself, formulating a plan to select two or three ideas and purposefully develop them towards an exhibition. We talked in depth about artists she felt I should look at and about how to obtain a commission or funding to free up a large enough period of time to develop these ideas successfully. I found her input invaluable and with a clear plan to move forward we put the next meeting in the diary for autumn when we could look at taking the next step.

I said there were positive and negative aspects of the meetings, the negative were that bringing in two curators so close together with slightly different areas of focus on my work meant that once or twice advice conflicted and each had varying recommendations with regards to other colleagues.

The only other negative was that there was so much information I was a little overwhelmed and it will take a while to sieve through it.

What I will say though is that the reason why relationships have built up with these curators is mostly through the age-old advice of keeping your getting your work out there. Over the past few years I have emailed one or two links to videos/work as it was completed and invited curators to shows without really knowing whether they paid any attention or not. Quite often though, I am surprised to find out that someone has mentioned that they have been watching work my develop over the past few years when I was under the impression that my efforts which is disappearing into the ether. So the one thing to be learnt I guess is to keep at it.


You know what they say about buses, well, it looks like the same can be applied to curators. After a number of cancelled and delayed dates for meetings, eventually they both came one after the other. The one thing that struck me reading through all the Re:view bursary AN blogs is the diversity of situations and relationships supported by the scheme. What has gradually been reinforced in my mind is that each artist’s path is entirely unique and there appears to be no one blueprint to a successful or satisfactory career. In other words, we each have to find our own way.

In my case the route to choosing curators to work with was a little bit more left field. The two women I have been working with this week do not have galleries as such to show work in. They are not solely the head of organisations although that is, at times, part of what they do, they are not names which many of you will know. They have however worked with some extraordinary artists and supported some respected and groundbreaking work.

Currently Judy Adam is working on Art South http://www3.hants.gov.uk/artsouth, a collaborative project involving artists such as Jordan baseman and Mel Brimfield both of whom I find incredibly interesting practitioners. Helen Sloan is director of Scan http://www.scansite.org/scan.php amongst her many other roles and again works with some artists I have great respect for.

Unlike other Re:view recipients, I am not working on one major project, funded and formalised, although that may evolve out of this. I’m not looking necessarily for practical and technical support. What I am building, I hope, are relationships. A mentoring which will encompass critical dialogue, information and understanding of the possibilities that lie ahead.

In this first post I will look at Judy Adam’s visit. There were positive and negative aspects of having the two curators so close together at the same time. Judy Adam concentrated largely on opportunities, looking at potential relationships and people who could helpful in my career. We looked at the work itself, at the strengths and weaknesses of past exhibitions and of whom Judy felt amongst her contacts the work would connect with. We looked at how the network of curators, head of organisations, and the academic community in the area and beyond are interlinked together and how, somehow, to break into that and retain your integrity as an artist. We had an interesting discussion on the value of practice based Ph.D.s and how often that opens up routes for funding and can make your work more visible within that network.

Judy took a lot of notes as did I and left to consider some points and get back to me at a later date. We agreed to meet up later in the year and I have already followed up one of her leads and will hopefully be having a further studio visit with another curator as a result.


No news is good news as it were, and I have no news. A sort of dance of communications took place between myself and one of the curators, who like certain people, has a sort of ethereal relationship with e-mail.

Not everyone I can appreciate, has my obsession with e-mail, which has arisen from the fact that being constantly in and out of the house taxiing children everywhere on top of work, combined with the fact that we have no mobile reception in our village, means that the phone is more or less useless. E-mail however is my saviour, meaning that I can get my message to the person at 10 to midnight when I finally have a minute to write it but when phoning someone at that time would be just plain weird. They can then read my message at their leisure over morning coffee. Speaking to a friend though I discovered they had just withdrawn contact with someone because they found the fact that they would e-mail and never phone was just plain rude. Oh dear.

Anyway, dates to take the Re:view process forward with all three curators have progressed somewhat and July, touch wood, should see some activity. In the meantime I have been pushing forward, (gently due to a hugely busy period with three children all about to change schools), on a project which has lain dormant on my computer desk for quite some time. It is difficult to know just how much detail one should go into as I am hoping that this could ultimately evolve into quite a far-reaching project. Should it ever be exhibited, to an extent I want to ‘keep my powder dry’ as it were. My interest however lies in the complex and ambiguous world of online and off-line relationships, how they operate, evolve and intertwine with everyday life.

As part of this research I have invited (roped in) some local actors to take the online world into physical and tangible space. I have never worked with actors before and found the whole process enthralling and strangely special. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved with what they can do with just a handful of words. What I will do with footage gathered I’m not quite sure but another session will complete this stage of the project.

While all this is going on I am also in the process of working towards a film connected with Salisbury Plains and the World War I Centenary approaching next year. Invited as part of a larger project, funding has yet to be confirmed, but if we get the go-ahead this will expand into a quite a nice little chunk of work.

Writing about why video has become such a pertinent medium for me in the funding process I realised just why I find it so rewarding. Somehow when making work I am constantly searching for a lightness of touch, a process where tools merely tease out the essence of the piece with minimal intrusion into the material. Video gives me just this hands-off quality as it were, the ability to pick up materials (images or sounds) with the most delicate of tools and subtly slice and stitch them together, allowing the work to almost make itself. In a sense I am standing back, hand in hand with the viewer and watching the work evolve. Let’s hope I get the chance.


ah, another cancellation. One thing I am learning already from this Re:view bursary is patience. Good things come to those who wait. I hope so. In the meantime I am plodding on developing ideas and stepping well out of my comfort zone.


…The meeting turned out to be a really enjoyable couple of hours in which the time flew by. At the end the curator said she had come to the meeting not knowing what she could offer me (and to be honest neither had I) but actually she would like to make a proposal. Would I allow her to mentor me? Not only that, but that she had a contact (who turned out to be curator B) who she felt she should also get on board to offer me a different angle of support. At this point I explained about RE:view, how I may be able to pay her for her time and how I had coincidentally left a message with curator B quite some time ago, asking whether she would like to be involved in a mentoring role.

We left with an agreement that she would contact curator B, that I would attempt to get the RE:view funding re-directed to support sessions with both of them, and that we would arrange some further dates to meet. I was then surprised to find, when I got home and looked at my e-mail , that during our meeting I had actually been contacted by curator B, who had apologised for the long delay, being abroad at the time, and who would be happy to offer some sessions of critical support with whatever payment I was able to contribute.

So in the end, by a rather wiggily and organic pathway, I have ended up with the three curators I wanted to engage with in the first place.

Unlike other recipients, I do not have a specific project to work through with these mentors, but rather I feel it will be a much more intuitive and organic process, leading me to where I’m not quite sure.

In one sense though, the process is already bearing fruit, as the first discussion I have had with curator A has reignited my enthusiasm for some quite ambitious projects that I had cast aside and have now taken the first steps to bring them alive again. This also coincided with a chance meeting with a much younger artist than me, discussing how difficult it was to take that first step with a project that took you right out of your comfort zone, but how important it was to get on and take it.

What all this has taught me, and what Re:view is revealing, is just how essential engagement with others is to constantly moving your work forward – that relationships need to be worked on and developed, and that of all the tools you can have as an artist, people are perhaps the most vital tool of all.

You can view ‘In my father’s house…’ at https://vimeo.com/66062510