Introduction and welcome to StudioBook by Jack Welsh and Mark Devereux

During this morning session each StudioBook artist had an opportunity to introduce their practice to the peers in a 5 minutes presentation followed by 5 minutes for questions and constructive feedback. What a great way to start!

Fundamentally art is a means of expression, but also a form of entertainment.

Art has need of a podium for the exchange of ideas and of time for experimentation with a variety of forms of expression.



There is a story about a Native American Indian who was hitchhiking across the USA and kept asking the driver to stop after every two hours of driving. They would stop and the Indian would sit by the side of the road in silence for a while before he was ready to go back into the car to continue the journey. Only after a number of times of stopping the driver asked – why are we doing this? Indian gave a simple reason – we are travelling too fast and I need to stop to let my soul catch up.

Just like the Indian, I feel that I need to stop and catch up with all that happened during last StudioBook ‘session’. This was the inaugural weekend of the In Nothing Flat exhibition in Manchester, organized and curated by Mark Devereux Projects, which brought together artworks by twelve artists who took part in the StudioBook2017 programme.

We met again after three months that flew past and were busy for all of us. It was an intense experience, in spite of the cold gallery space. No need to mention that refreshments and the crowd of people who came to the opening made it warmer, as did the mutual appreciation and special connection we, the StudioBook2017 artists, shared. But, it was so short and intense and my feelings were raw. I felt that I did not have the chance to speak with everybody as much as I would have loved to.

I felt overwhelmed but, at the same time, so grateful I had been chosen for such a unique opportunity that will feed into my artistic career for years to come. And, I do feel extremely fortunate with the ongoing support of my new, extended art family – Mark Devereux Projects and my StudioBook peers.

My feelings continue to be a wee bit raw but time will help me process this intense and positive experience.

Everything is going to be alright, I’m sure.


For me the central experience of the StudioBook programme 2017 in Manchester, to date, is about relationships – building and creating new relationships and finding ways of maintaining and nourishing them. At the same time, it is also about being in and discovering places I have never visited before – Salford and Manchester, which are in a constant flux with rebuilding all around. There is the juxtaposition of traditional redbrick buildings and shiny new 21st century architecture.

Since the StudioBook fortnight finished, I have been going through my notes, through all the stuff I gathered – impressions, memories and printed matter. My notes were very useful for putting together a proposal for a “StudioBook Commission to Collect” opportunity with the University of Salford Art Collection and for another proposal for a group exhibition that we, the group of twelve StudioBook artists, had in November 2017 at Old Granada Studios in Manchester.

Amongst the many words in my notebook, I found these: “Start with a theme or a topic and develop it into a project you are passionate about, …think of a group to work with.” What appeared to be a simple advice turned out to be highly relevant.

The experience of a group of artists coming together during the StudioBook fortnight and getting to know each other had a huge impact on me, both emotionally and professionally. I experienced ‘togetherness’, sharing, mutual understanding and a surge of creative energy. The stream of new experiences had a enormous effect on the way I thought about my artwork for the November exhibition. I wanted to bring this fabulous group of people together again to enrich us with yet another joint experience that could form the basis of an artwork to be shared with an audience. This idea was the theme of our collaborative work: RELATION(S)intertwined immersed lasting – a performative reading at Chetham’s Library, which took place just before the opening of an exhibition in Old Granada Studios – In Nothing Flat – which showcased works by all twelve StudioBook artists.


Two months ago we got together in sunny Manchester, in a hot room at Old Granada Studios. The fans were blowing the heat away but there was no remedy for the internal heat each one of had to deal with in anticipation of the 5-minute presentations about our work we had to give.

Happy memories.

The format of our presentations wasn’t determined nor was the number of slides – very soon we realised that 5 minutes meant 5 minutes! Timekeeping was strict and many of us were interrupted without saying all we wanted to say. A lesson learnt the hard way.

Only once before did I have to give a 5-minute presentation about my work. This was half-way through my BA (Hons) course and, it wasn’t that I didn’t have much to say about my art then, but it just felt different, certainly more nerve-wracking. This time around, without doubt, our nerves were tested but, because it felt like ‘we were all in it together’, the presentation was more like a starting point for a two-week long conversation between people with much in common.

In the course of presentations, while listening to other StudioBook2017 artists’ presentations, I acted on the spot: I knew that what I had prepared was too long and I had to devise a way to make it more concise. The performative bit – I planned to do at the end – had to be forgotten and not performed. I settled for a bit of reading at the beginning of my presentation.

Happy to say – it went well.

Looking back, even on the same day, I would have done it completely different. Conclusion: I learned something within the first few hours of being a StudioBook2017 artist.

On the same day, Kate Jesson, the Manchester Art Gallery curator, told us that we shouldn’t really use the word ‘practice’ when talking about our work. Good point. No need to say that describing our work as practice is slightly alluding to an action that enables someone to gain certain skills and suggests not necessarily being confident at what he or she does.

Art, or being an artist, is what I do – this is my work, my ‘job’ and my whole life is about that (a bit of pompous statement).

When we ask a doctor what she or he does they would, without any hesitation, say “I am a doctor.” We may ask: “What kind of doctor?”

We want people to ask us: “What kind of artist are you?” and then we could tell a story. The story may be about our art but it also might be a different story. It could be a story that is remembered, one that makes you be remembered – as an artist.

Thank you Kate, for telling us this story – I will remember it well.