Alternative Selection processes

I must mention the selection process for this scheme, as it was quite unique. We were 11 artists, a group of venue curators/gallery managers, a publisher and the Shape of things team. I can’t remember the name of the method used but basically the venues presented themselves one by one, followed by the artists. I went last and was extremely nervous by the time my turn came, having seen a whole range of amazing work…. Though I was also aware that my practice, which is intensely interdisciplinary and interactive had its own place as I am not someone with a long history of making, like many of the others who had mostly mastered one or two particular forms of applied arts. I guess I am coming firstly from a conceptual/metaphorical place and so hopefully this complimented the mix of practices presented.

After a break there were two rotating, round table, speed-dating type sessions, the first was 10 mins (?) on one general subject each, e.g. aims of the scheme, marketing, etc. We had badges with different colour codes, as did the tables to ensure everyone got to talk to everyone. The second one really w as like speed double –dating as one venue hosted each table and two artists met with them to discuss how a possible partnership with that particular venue might work. It was all incredible intense but very holistic and I did feel inspired and like I had had a chance to express everything I wanted to. But then I like to talk about my work and the issues related to this bursary are close to my heart….This process might not suit someone whose primary focus is on making and not also on the discourse surrounding their work.

It must have been hard to select from 11 artists to 8 and I don’t yet know who the other artists are as nothing has gone to press yet but would have loved to have listened in on the conversation after we left and the venues/organisers had a discussion together. I think we were all pretty exhausted and blown away and it understandably took a few weeks before a decision was made as there was the complex business of matching up artists with venues in a way which worked for everyone.

If you want to know which the other venues are you can go to ‘The Shape of Things’ website which gives full info on the scheme and those involved. It is a three-year scheme and myself and the other artist selected for Bristol – Rosa Nguyen- are the first to show (Feb–April 2010)


This blog contains 2 months of backdated entries as the programme has only just launched publicly. I will begin with a passage from my own outline based on what I proposed when I applied.

‘I would like to develop a large scale installation using woven, bound and wrapped objects in response to Museum collections, location histories and with the input of BME communities accessed through the venue. I am interested in the crossover between anthropology, intercultural identity, social psychology and the metaphor of the woven/crafted object to create intensely interactive ‘live’ work within a public context.

I wish to investigate the ancient ritual of wrapping and binding objects which denote power and meaning within both ancient and contemporary societies, using this as a channel for individual and collective self-reflection.

The objects and their stories contributed would be of personal significance and become transformed through the wrapping and sharing process. These objects would be something the ‘Giver’ was ready to let go of and represent a narrative they were happy to place within a public context.

I would use workshops to explore issues hands-on through textile media and writing, generate the seeds of the finished work with them and then do finishing and structuring work myself to create a major floor or wall work within a large space. I would also consider the second stage of the work to be a live event open to a wider public who extend the piece through offering their own contribution fro transformation.

These objects will speak of ancient and contemporary identity narratives and be a powerful metaphor for the connection between the artist, the space and the community. I would have overall aesthetic control of the work and the wrapping materials used to transform the objects could range from materials which have been donated, found, recycled and selected by myself. The transmission of the memory/narrative associated with the object would be the ultimate ‘gift’ that these objects would represent within the context of the piece. I envisage these donated narratives to be written or drawn and to be wrapped around the objects, as well as recorded onto sound before this was done’.