17.07.17 – 22.07.17

The week began with a morning of presentations to introduce ourselves and our practices – watched and commented on by Manchester Art Gallery curator, Kate Jesson. So no pressure.

I’d practiced what I would say in the limited five minutes, and as I like talking about my work (and talking in general!), this was actually quite enjoyable once I got up there… it was the rest of the week which seemed to send me into a spin.

The sessions ranged from making connections / the “right” opportunity / writing proposals / public engagement / writing about your work / documenting your work – in a variety of talks, seminar-style and one-on-one sessions from arts professionals.

It was amazing to have the insights and opinions (often opposing and contradictory!) from such a range and calibre of speakers. It helped to demystify some of the things about the art world that I find intimidating or confusing. But, it made me realise that everyone has his or her opinion, and really, you must decide for yourself what is best for your practice. The writing in the 1st or 3rd person debate lives on!

It was a lot to take in, and even by the end of day 1, I was exhausted. Day 4’s schedule was shifted, to give us the morning off as we had an evening dinner and talk with keynote speaker, Mariele Neudecker. A 9-hour sleep and a swim were most welcome, followed by the opportunity to read over the notes I’d taken over the past three days. I thought I would begin researching some of the suggestions I’d received but realistically, it was just a few hours much needed processing time. Even the different format of the day felt refreshing.

The Wednesday afternoon writing workshop with Laura Robertson (founder of The Double Negative) was really memorable. She was such an energising and positive force – just what I needed at that point. We all came away actually excited to re-write our artist statements.

That the first week was so exposing was what I found so exhausting, I think. If I’m honest, I didn’t quite know what to make of anything anymore, having had such an insane amount of information and opinions thrown at us. It all felt really positive, just a lot to deal with, make decisions on and change. It was definitely the wonderful group of StudioBook participants (what a group of women to bring together), the supportive environment everyone helped foster… and the food (Liz West – insane culinary skills to go with her art credentials) that kept everyone going and so positive.


I applied to StudioBook’s open call in April 2017 having moved up to Manchester from London six months earlier. This relocation was largely to enable more focus on my artistic practice – something that was never fully possible in the capital – barely being able to afford somewhere to live, never mind a studio and time to actually think and make.

Having had a little time to settle into the north once more (I’m from near Manchester originally so it was more of a homecoming than the unknown), I realised how needed some external input into my practice was. Additionally, to meet arts professionals and other artists – thereby developing my network alongside my practice.

A good friend and fellow artist, Sophie Lee had completed StudioBook the first time MDP put it on in 2015-16 and spoke so highly of it, when I saw the opportunity come up, I knew I wanted to apply.

The programme began in May 2017, with a one-to-one mentoring session with Jack Welsh (of MDP) – I don’t know what I was expecting, but Jack’s outside perspective on my practice was incredibly insightful. For the first day afterwards, I was so inspired, with all these new ideas and possible directions coming from the meeting… and then quickly after, I felt really overwhelmed and that I actually didn’t know where to begin. So if this is what an hour did, who knows what state I’ll be in at the end of the two weeks!

The StudioBook two-week intensive programme begins on Monday (17th July) at Old Granada Studios, Manchester. I haven’t had quite as much time as I’d have liked to prepare (in a calm manner at least – finishing my day 1 presentation at 2am on a Friday night wasn’t exactly ideal!) However, this coming two weeks I’ve dedicated to solely to focus on StudioBook, so hopefully a more concentrated approach to come.

That all the selected artists are women artists is very interesting to me. I do know Lucy May Schofield from when I was a student and she taught me at Manchester School of Art, so it will be great to reconnect with her. Also, Anna Columbine and I have been in touch and writing to each other in the run up to StudioBook which has felt really supportive before I’ve even met her – so a lot, but not quite all new faces (or voices).

Mostly, I’m excited to see what the next two weeks brings, but, of course, I’m a little apprehensive too. As with all new things and the beginnings of change, this is expected and a healthy part of growth.

To have my artistic career progress and develop in a sustainable way that is true to my work and myself is, I suppose, my main aim. Also, to grow my professional and artistic support network and gain insight into areas of the art world I find daunting or intimidating.

Lets see!… Updates to come…