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.