During my stay I have found it really difficult to see other performances, do my own work and balance spending time with the family. Even though I have this amazing studio it doesn’t stop me from hearing my baby cry and a natural want to comfort him to sleep. My partner has been amazing looking after baby and sometimes it’s hard to let go, step back, focus on the full day ahead. As an artist mum sometimes I feel guilty for concentrating on my work, then I have to remind myself that we are here because of it. Baby is having a wonderful time and we are all really experiencing a bit of the Finnish lifestyle in Tampere. My work plan has changed and I have taken the opportunities to make contacts in the moment. Markus introduced me to the director of the Workers Museum that is similar to Peoples History Museum in Manchester. We took the bus to Pispala where the Moose House is although there was nothing on that night but round the corner we were invited to an open party at the Pumpkin House. I met artists and locals mixing together over food and soft drinks. At the house they grow there own food, use the space for exhibitions, performances, cooking and discussions although no one lives in it. I didn’t stay long as I had to get back to the residency house, tired after a long day.

On Saturday I located my banner in the city square next to the small circus tent. I was surprised that I was allowed to be so close to the tent, however there were no performances happening in it during the day. Again, I was taken aback at how quiet the city was for a Saturday. On reflection I think Friday would have been a better day. This made it difficult to get a constant buzz of people around the banner. People attract people, but when there’s no one around this made it difficult to engage with them. I did consider moving, although it was quiet everywhere. Popular themes that kept coming up was food, drink, music and football. For some people the question was just too challenging to come up with a quick answer. I am interested to see what the artists will come up with when I do my talk on Monday. This evening I have been setting up the studio space for the talk. I’m not sure how many people will come as it is the last week of the summer holidays here. I dropped in personalised cards to everyone’s studios and I am looking forward to meeting some of the artists this week.


As always with public engagement projects I was quiet nervous about displaying my banner and what response I was going to get. I put out a message on twitter to meet me at the bridge at 1pm. When we arrived at the location it was very windy which I didn’t account for and had only punched holes in the top of the banner. Unfortunately this meant that it was blowing around so I decided to place it on the floor flat. We were located in a really busy spot where bikes and pedestrians travel past, faced opposite a road crossing. As soon as we started to put up the banner a couple and there two children were interested in what we were doing. I felt a bit behind with the set-up and had my mind on talking with the family and trying to get all my materials out at the same time. I have to say it was not the ideal start, however people were interested in the message taking the time to stop and read it. My Lancashire Eccles cakes were the best way to engage adults into conversation and colouring in the crests worked well with children. I had seen market researchers in the city and felt I wanted people to get involved out of there own interest rather than the hard sell or using gimmicks. During quiet periods I coloured in small areas of the crests, again seeing someone ‘making’ attracted people and made people curious about what I was doing.

My intention with my banner is to find out people’s ideas and also identify myself as someone who wants to make connections between the two cities. I met a woman called Mikko who works for the city council who is particularly interested in cultural exchange. The previous night I had been researching art contacts Anne had suggested and I really wanted to meet the artists who run Hervikatu, the Moose House in Pispala. Coincidentally Markus Petz from the house introduced himself to me as he was passing by me after finishing teaching that day. Markus was full of information and contacts of who to speak to in the city. I was a bit overwhelmed by his detailed knowledge considering he is originally from the UK, went to uni in Manchester, had lived here and is now living in Vienna. Unfortunately the rain came later in the afternoon and Markus kindly took us to the library to talk more. He seemed genuinely taken aback that I had just turned up with my banner, although if you don’t ask questions how do you ever move forward with ideas? This was a man full of answers and wanted to question me more about my motives.

Since having a baby my view is constantly changing about my practice and where I see myself heading in the future. I co-curated the biggest exhibition I have ever done this year with Pool Arts and Alison Kershaw. During the process of this it was important to me that we all co-constructed and I had intentionally planned workshops with this in mind. From this experience it has encouraged me to try and be more ambitious with projects. However working independently of a well known studio or attached to a gallery it has been difficult to get partners interested. Why is it like this? Meeting with Markus and learning more about the work at the Moose House I was encouraged to hear that they have an open door policy to everyone to attend meetings and get involved. I do feel this open culture is missing in Manchester. The only experience I have had of a democratic and supportive artist group was at Pool Arts meetings. I feel the artist and performance community needs to wake up as I feel open networks are the future.




Today I had a full day of work which is a real treat for me since having a baby in January. I met with Anne the residency co-ordinator at the Maltinranta Art Center to settle the rent and collect the projector for my artist talk. The art center is run by Tampere Artist’ Association and is located in the Finlayson area. It is a beautiful red brick building that was once a water refinery and houses two galleries with a graphic workshop. The building was renovated by the City of Tampere and has been rented to the Association since 1983. Tampere Artists’ Association supports artists in the Pirkanmaa area to promote and exhibit work. Members can apply twice a year to exhibit. The gallery offers art lending services, art courses and maintains the upkeep of the building. International activity between artists and the Association has become an important aspect in developing artistic networks. Currently showing is Sampsa Indren and Anu Halmesmaa who is currently the artist in resident. Anu will be engaging with the public asking them about there emotions which will be released in a made ‘shout’ badge at the The Great Nocturnal Happening.

I really wanted to find out more about the non official art scene in Tampere and Anne recommended Hirvikatu and Gallery Rajatila. Rajatila was very close to Maltinranta and is a contemporary art space with two floors and a shop window front onto the park. The location is very close to residential flats which is refreshing to see instead of hidden away or within enclosed artist studios. In the basement is a blacked out space suitable for installation and video work. Exhibitions change every three weeks although occasionally the space can be rented. Upstairs is showing a sculpture show by Ville Kirjanen and downstairs drawings by Markus Luiro. I particularly liked the drawings and how they were presented as an installation in a blacked out space. The organisation which runs Rajatila is another Association which has an age limit of 36 to keep its views fresh for the future. I hope to speak to the Vice President during my stay.


Finally after many emails I got to meet Emmiliina one of the festival production assistants. I was given an artist pack and I had the chance to get more information about best places to hang my banner. I was a little disappointed not to have made the festival paper listings however I do feel social media is the better way to promote my work. I was told that I wasn’t listed as it was a research piece and because it was roaming there was no specific location to print. Looking at the other performances and response to programming it seems that my piece is not the usual thing you would see here. However, this doesn’t really bother me as I want to engage with a wider public and it is being promoted on the festival website. I was keen to get my piece promoted on Facebook and Twitter as I feel it is the best way to spread the word of were I will be in the city on the day.

I have to say that the whole festival has been well promoted across the city on banners, boards, posters, papers and flyers. I decided to do my research performance on Thursday and Saturday 1pm – 5pm as these are the busiest festival days. On Thursday The Great Nocturnal Happening is on all day and night and depending on the response to my banner I may work longer on Thursday. Being part of events always makes it difficult to go and see other performances. In the main programme I really want to see ASH & MONEY that is a documented film about the Estonia theatre NO99 who created a new political party. The party had a conference and 7000 people arrived. I am pleased to see that this is free event although most theatre shows are around €30.

During my stay here I want to see how the fringe events are programmed, managed and the artistic content of them. Both OFF and The Great Nocturnal Happening have an open invitation to performers, individuals, groups, associations and local business’s. I wonder whether non professional artists really participate in these events? From my experience of audiences here Finnish people seem quite reserved but maybe I’ve got this wrong and given an open invitation are all wild performers. I guess I will find out soon enough…




We arrived at the residency house at the end of the day on Friday very tired after two taxis, two planes and two buses. Baby Cassius managed the best whilst mum and dad were struggling, hungry and wishing we packed biscuits to tied us over until we found the nearest supermarket. We were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful green surroundings and massive studio. The accommodation is basic although everything works, it’s clean and tidy. Baby is fascinated with trees so this is a lovely experience for him. Living in our small flat in Manchester there is little greenery and we are making the most of being outdoors. On Saturday we made our way by bus to the city of Tampere. Particular locations to hang my banner were recommended to me and we managed to see two spaces. Both locations are close to each other, one place being the park and the other railings on the bridge across the canal. I like the idea of the park more as I feel people may spend more time engaging with it than on a busy bridge. For a Saturday I was surprised by how quiet it was. I asked why this was and it was said that people are most likely to be in their gardens or the forest. I get the feeling that Finnish people love the outdoors and shopping is not the main leisure activity.

Later in the day people started to line the streets and I wondered where everyone had come from. A samba parade was dancing its way through town. I wasn’t sure what to make of it and the public didn’t seem to engage with it apart from reaching for their phones to take a picture. The carnival costumes were well made and performed professionally, although it did feel like we we’re being performed at rather than with. Do people really engage with large public spectacles like this? We visited the TR1 gallery which was showing photographer Marja Pirila, Carried by Light. Her work focuses on light and how it enters a space. The exhibition was a mix of photography, sculpture and installation my favourite being hanging steel buckets with lenses in the base that you could look through. By using traditional photography techniques she creates photoshop type effects in real time and space. It is Sunday today and I have been struggling to access wi-fi on my iPad. This means that I will be writing my blog on my iPhone which is not ideal but do-able. Tomorrow I meet with OFF to discuss further best locations for my research performance which will take place later this week.