this blog post is brought to you by the word … unexpected.


makes a change having a word to focus on, quite the surprise.


the session i facilitated today was at pickfords house – my first time working as a facilitator there.   the range of conversations was unexpected.

using natural materials the invitation was to explore the patterns of the museum and recreate them.  an unexpected surprise was an appearance by the easter bunny.




in the on going research into generative visuals for the skin and bone trio i’ve begun playing with freeliner.  it’s made by a multidisciplinary artist called max and he’s built it using processing.  i have to say i’m seriously impressed by max’s work.




i looked back at my post of about a year ago.  i remember that time and my disappointment.  did i get stronger because of it ?  probably – i’m still here.


i am still waiting to hear from doc fest about shimmering place.   it feels different to applying for something to do something.  if the non linear documentary doesn’t get selected i’ll at least be able to take off the password protection and start to share the project on line.  i am competitive – so not being selected will feel like a loss and with that will come disappointment.

i take a moment to reflect back to last year.  i did push myself to do things out of my comfort zone and o’ve noticed when i do this the outcomes are ok.

i do feel more confident to do this than a year ago.  in taking time to check i have some grounding – i see there is grounding and upon it more work can be done.


personally i feel there is still something i need to work out or work through.  my monthly outing to the mens circle meetings are yet to connect me to something so it might not be there.  its like i sense something behind me and when i turn to see what it is there isn;t anything there.  by staying there the sense reappears behind me and the cyclic momentum continues.

writing that i reflect that i didn’t expect to write about that when i sat down.




medical emergencies happen and remaining calm, focussed and in the moment are factors that will help the patient.  at the start of day two of my first aid course we discover one of our girls is unwell and i need to stay at home to oversee her recovery.

before the course i felt there was a foreboding dark cloud over me.  i wasn’t looking forward to the course i felt there would be a point when i had the big sense of relief – i pause to find an analogy – maybe like when you are told the car has got through the mot with no work required.


at lunch of the first day i had that feeling.  the cloud was one connected to the cpr practice – it had been worse on my first course during my training.

for me the cpr training connected to unhappy emotional memories connected with my father.  yesterday doing the cpr training i remembered those memories yet the impact was less than the time before.

the block i was feeling about the cpr practice – unaware that it was the block – has now been released and the rest of this week doesn;t now feel as dark.

my first aid ticket is still valid as i was renewing it many months before i needed to, so i’ll negotiate if i can complete this course another time or if i need to book another.

it may seem a little off subject to write about first aid training in my blog here —-  the thing is though that one doesn’t really need to know a lot to be really helpful in an emergency.   for example there is now a groundswell of defibrillator installations in villages, towns and cities across the country and they are easy to use.  doing a first aid course is as much about building confidence as it is about what to do.

the clouds are lifting, bluesky, sunshine and lighter nights are on the way.


snow ! again !  there’s a bitter wind blowing too.  i had to get out into it with the dog to get some perspective on my week and my weekend.  i take a customary moment to stare out the window to try to collect my thoughts and i’m distracted by cars driving past with quite deep snow on their roofs.

one aspect of my practice this year has been the conscious transference of skills between settings.  the most recent is with the young coproduction network (ycpn) at derby museums.  in its pilot phase funded by the artist rooms bursary, the network met again yesterday and i’m there to help facilitate, link to the museum and generally do my best to be involved.

the last action might seem an unusual thing to say however as its the network for young people – i’m still negotiating how i am part of it with out being over baring.  the result is i’m getting to hear honest views of the museum and what the young people in the network aspire to seeing.  credit needs to be given to the tate and the v&a as these three locations are doing for young people what the young people of derby want to be part of in derby.

i’m transferring into my practice at the network training from a mentoring setting and in a few weeks i’ll start to see if my theories are working.

i’ve spent parts of the last 24 hours reflecting about the session.   i think everyone in the room is getting to know everyone else and i’m doing my best to feedback to the museum staff about what we’re learning and flagging potential areas in which the museum can help and support the actions of the group.

at a personal level i do wonder just how easy the current societal position makes it to be a young person.

24 hours on and i think i have more feedback for the museum staff involved with the project – yes email written and ready to be reviewed.



my weekend is sandwiched between a couple of emotional times.  on one side was the leaving do for a member of staff of the museum and the other – tomorrow – a two day outdoor first aid course.  a necessary part of my forest school practice.  it’s emotional because it puts me into a learning environment where i get anxious about what information i can retain – given my learning difficulty.


the ycpn has expressed a lot if interest in getting hands on with collections and interacting in some way.  a question i had for myself earlier was at what point do i take in components of interactivity i use on my own projects ?  this is where i think we get to explore what the co-production aspect of the network means.  its something i’m still exploring and i think once the group have had some weeks to settle in and get to know each other i can start to bring aspects of my practice that i think might help the network.


maybe its easy to underestimate how important it is to make time for comfort and trust building at the beginning of a project with young people.


having written this post and my email to the museum – i now feel happier about about i can do better next week.



post dinner and we’re all sat solitary in the living room, our faces lit by our devices, the dog sleeps.  i glance through the curtains at the last of the daylight backlighting a chimney and digital arial.  this day has an emotional one.

when i write a post my usual preference is to select and process the images i want to include.  tonight i’ve mixed it up a bit and have taken to writing without the image accompaniment – so there’s no telling what might be in store.

starting with the last thing of the day – an unexpected opportunity to talk to the man next door who insists on burning plastic in a bin at the bottom of their garden.

i suspect that the man has an underlying condition – of which i have no idea.  when i spoke with him he told me that he needs to burn the plastic because they have abig family and generate a lot of it.  i told him that we don;t want to live next door to fires with plastic in them and if we need to get help with their recycling i’m sure we can sort something out.

i have been waiting to have that conversation as the amount of plastic being burn has slowly been escalating.

stepping back from the difficult relationship at home i’d like to reflect upon the end of a relationship in derby today.

we packed up the cornish stone ellipse by richard long –  the artist rooms exhibition that has been in derby since december.

i don’t mind sharing with you that after leaving the museum at lunchtime i had to have some tears to help me get through the feeling of loss.

the drawn from the land exhibition has been one that made me feel good.  the works on show i got to know better through the activities connected to the exhibition.

the tears at lunchtime was part of the mourning of the passing of the time i was lifelong learning assistant at the museum.  in that role i was part of the conversation about what activities to provide.

i didn’t anticipate how i would feel closer and more understanding of long’s work and how the activities i ran made me feel so good.

last week i had the opportunity to show a group around the exhibition.  it was another first for me and …… …… ..


i pause.


as i came home this afternoon i had feelings about how i might keep the feeling alive and how to set up things i can do that revisits the times that i felt so good about.  i recognise that this is likely to need to be offsite from the museum because the museum is on a continuous forward momentum.


sandwiched in between dismantling the long and i’ve remembered how the technician from tate gave me a quick pep talk about how to handle an art work even though he didn’t actually say howto –


sandwiched between this morning and this evening, my afternoon was with the skin and bone trio – a cancelled session elsewhere freeing me up to attended the trios rehearsal.

they work as a trio and are looking to make it a quartet – with my inclusion.  words or reality ?  time will tell what it is.

i tried out some visual ideas made prior to today as well as coding some in real time.  the proposition made by the trio is anything but conventional so many things lay up for grabs and discussion.

i left without discussing much as there was talk of cd’s and album cover artwork.  the biorhythms  being somewhat out of sync today.  there’s time for this – another time – that is me and what i’m doing and what my needs are. oh the dynamics of a performing group.


having experienced the feelings i did made possible by the drawn from the land exhibition, i pose myself the question of how might i revisit them – recreate them ?

confidence and context seem to be the areas of concern.  confidence coming from context.  the exhibition of some of long’s work forming the context in the last three months.  so – how do i generate the context to frame the things i’d like to do – going forward ?

i want the context to include the participants in whatever the work is – the work existing because of those participating in it.

and what of life at the museum ?  the legacy of the exhibition – the young coproducers network is running until may and there are other upcoming exhibitions and activities – so life and love continue – slightly different context and materials.


i reflect at the confidence from context realisation.


i glance around the living room.  the dog is dreaming and whimpers and muffled growls break the silence.


my voice can be stronger if i know why i’m saying it.


this is something i need to work at.




out of the window i see natures marks place upon a foggy canvas.  the recent extreme weather affording time to eat, relax, tidy piles of paper and spend time with the family.  my fingers tingling with excitement as i compose my thoughts ahead of this post.

i pause and listen to a bit of depeche mode, i watch the cursor flashing – slightly slower than the beat of the music.

on my mind is the close of drawn from the land, the beginning of the derby museums young co-producers network and my evolving view of my own youth.

my own youth currentlu in my thinking due to re-watching the bbc programme synth britannia.  i’ve watched it before many times and finding it late last night spent time revisiting it.  i’m glad i did as it was much more of a pleasure to watch than before.

i’ve been reflecting why this might be.  one thing i’m sure of is that i feel happier so its easier to watch the documentary that covers the time of my teens.

in 2007/08 during the second year of my degree i was surprisingly haunted by my teens.  it got so difficult to manage i sort help through student services.  my problems were further exacerbated by the diagnoses of my dyslexia at the end of that academic year.

watching the programme last night i saw again how music had been a large part of my life in my teens.  the advent of the synthesiser creating a sound that i got and felt at one with.  music was an easy art form to access.  in ipswich there were many other creative / artistic endeavours happening – i assume there were – and i wanted to be connected with more than i was, there was a niggling something i couldn’t put my finger on.  align that to a family life that was contradictory and viola i found solace in the theatre.

before watching the synth documentary i watched
Tones, Drones and Arpeggios: The Magic of Minimalism

the combination of watching this programme and the experiences of being involved with drawn from the land  places me in a new space – it might be a threshold to something new.

the cross over from emotion led response to intellectual enquiry.

sonic composition vs fine art – maybe ?



as drawn from the land closes, its legacy is beginning –

derby young co-producers network :



the network has met twice and the project begins next weekend.  i’m involved as a link to the museum and if needs arise as a mentor too.  the opportunity presented by the museum is extraordinary and over the coming weeks i look forward to seeing what the network explores and where they take it.


its interesting to note how writing this post has calmed the excitement and leaves me in a place where i need some lunch and to wonder how i take forward the feeling i’ve had this morning.  again it feels like a moment of connecting to why is it that i make things, express things, show things, share things.

agh – its because these are things that make me feel good about myself – even though they rail against deep routed conditioning.  interesting isn’t it how the past presents itself in the future.  i can control this.