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Even after all these years I still feel that every time I make a piece of work or undertake another project, I learn something new… about myself, about my practice, about the way I make my work.

Now at the end of the Once In A Universe project I’m attempting to address those pithy Arts Council activity report prompts:

– what you achieved, compared with the original aims of the activity

– what you learned, and how the activity has helped you develop

– any longer term impact the activity has had

though I’m not sure that some of the answers are necessarily what they want to hear. Of course I can write about the practical skills I’ve learned, the new partners I’ve made, how I’ve scaled up my work, increased my networks, built my audience…

But what I feel has actually happened is that I’ve finally managed to find some sort of balance between research and making, between content and process. In the past I have struggled to reflect my research in my work, grappling with the question “but how do I make artwork about this?” Now, a happy thing seems to have happened – I’ve come to understand that I can allow the artwork and my instincts to lead the way and my research resources are deep enough and broad enough to be able to draw out content and context that will attach itself seamlessly to new work. In the past it’s been a painful process – trying to conjure up work and wrestling with it until it somehow “fits” the research.

Is this making any sense? I’m sure that many artists probably experience this problem too: the issue of “content”, so stimulating and productive when it naturally evolves, so paralysing when it doesn’t.

So happy days. Could this be a breakthrough for a slow learner?

Below: some images of work made during the Once In A Universe residency, some of which have been waiting to be brought to life for far too long.