Value: appreciate, rate (highly), esteem, hold in high esteem, hold in high regard, hold dear, have a high opinion of, think highly of, think much of, set (great) store by, attach importance to, respect, admire, prize, cherish, treasure.
Values: principles, moral principles, ethics, moral code, morals, moral values, standards, moral standards, code of behaviour, rules of conduct, standards of behaviour.
In preparation for the first Clore residential, which starts on Monday, each member of the cohort was asked to write up to 300 words under the heading what matters to me, with the responses being circulated to this year’s Clore cohort and the Clore staff. Choosing to complete the exercise as a list complied over a couple of days, I started to think about the relationship between my what matters to me list and my values.
Values are intrinsic in helping us to identify what our direction of travel will be and indeed how we will travel. It helps us to focus and informs how we will approach all manner of domestic and work situations, personal and professional relationships. We all have values, and far from being fixed entities it is entirely natural that values will form and reform as we ourselves grow and develop and the world around us changes. Some artists choose to share their values though their work, some overtly, some covertly. Some are communicated through aesthetics, others through process or context. The distinctly personal nature of values means some may feel contradictory, others complimentary, and some we feel at ease sharing while others perhaps less so.
Could values have more of a role to play in art practice, and particularly in the selection of artists for specific advertised opportunities? Values may be implicit in CVs, artists’ statements and project proposals, but what if there was a clear request for our Top 10 Values that we draw out from a exercise similar to what matters? If both artist and commissioner are clear about their values from the outset this would lead to more fulfilling work and better working relationships.
During the Fellowship interview I spoke to the panel about the importance of autonomy for artists. More recently I have been considering how when we, as professionals, have the opportunity to develop ideas free from over-stipulated project boundaries we are able to bring our value set into play alongside our skills, knowledge and experience. It could take more time to work in this way, but relationships between artists and arts organisations / commissioners would be strengthened through having more honest and therefore more productive conversations, resulting in work with more integrity.