Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last blog post… but a lot has happened in that time. I’ll try and be concise and keep this short enough to be readable but still keep the detail (although my usual philosophy is, why use one word when you can use ten?!).
Using the Re:view Bursary, I have organized meetings with Liz Hawley to discuss the professional development aspect of my practice. Through these, we identified some specific needs that I could address, in particular we highlighted the necessity of giving value to all aspects of my practice, not just the making side but also the research, administration and marketing. To me, this has more than proved the value of having an independent viewpoint – it’s easy to see how you can become too narrowly focused without an external perspective.
Gaining and maintaining confidence was a big area for discussion. A large amount of my time is spent considering how to describe my work and my practice (verbally and textually), and along with this, how to do so eloquently and succinctly. Liz and I talked about the benefits of preparing a language ‘toolkit’ which would be a useful resource and help negate any apprehension or concern when asked about my work. This would also have the added benefit of freeing up time to concentrate more on creating work.
Having a theoretical context for “tell me about your mother…” is something that I continually revisit, and after talking this through with Liz, feel this would unquestionably add gravitas and ‘currency’ to the project. We spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of inviting input from external contributors, and alternatively how I could develop my own critical language to underpin the work. We talked about balancing the involvement of others, while simultaneously retaining ownership and ensuring my artistic engagement.
An especially encouraging aspect of these mentorship meetings is that I am now ‘thinking bigger’. Through discussing my aspirations (long and short term), Liz has encouraged me to try and realize my ambitions. One consequence is that I will be co-curating an exhibition centering on my specific area of interest. Working with curator and artist Sam Rose, the exhibition, titled: ‘Artist as Mother as Artist’ will incorporate not only my work, but that of eleven other national artists. Alongside which we are planning a number of associated social and artistic development events. A much bigger event than I have undertaken before, regarding scale, organization, and cost. For this we have submitted an Arts Council England application and are now eagerly awaiting the outcome of that!
This post follows that ACE submission which has involved numerous conversations and meetings with other artists, curators, creative professionals within the locality, Arts Council advisors and my Re:view bursary mentor, Liz Hawley, all of who offered guidance, suggestions and help. Completing this application, which requires information not only about the intended planned event, but about your practice in more general terms, has enabled me to think with clarity about my work and how I see it developing.
The other area of my practice that I wanted to address through the a-n Re:view bursary was artistic critique. However, due to the time constraints associated with the ACE application, I have primarily focused on my professional development. My next blog post will cover this in more detail when hopefully things should be a little more complete.