I’m starting this blog a little bit later than I would have liked but it’s taken me a while to get to a point where I feel ready to focus on this project and use the bursary from A-N.
My original proposal for the money was to fund a print-based residency at the Bluecoat in Liverpool which I applied for at the same time however (unfortunately) this residency is no longer taking place in 2016.
My back-up plan was to conduct my own self-directed residency by choosing a location at random, travelling to it, exploring the area using a series of rules, tasks and activities and documenting this process in order to build up a body of research to work from. The work will be print-based with the aim of improving and developing my print-making skills primarily focusing on screen-print, etching and drypoint, monoprint and (maybe) waterless lithography.
As well as using the bursary to support the learning of practical processes I also want to use the opportunity to establish new connections and expand my creative network. My intention will be to make contact with other artists or artistic organisations in the location that I choose and include them in the project in some way – it may be that they offer feedback about the work, contribute thoughts or opinions during the research stage or their involvement may just be showing support for the project by making it visible to their network and audience through promotion and engagement.
In addition to making connections with the local area that I randomly select I would also like to extend and develop my network in Manchester where I live and work. I studied in Manchester at Manchester School of Art (MMU) graduating in 2010 and have since worked freelance as an artist and illustrator alongside a number of part time (none creative) positions. Although I have been involved in a number of creative projects in Manchester I do still feel like a bit of an outsider at times. Achieving a sense of integration in the artistic community or scene seems to be quite a difficult task – the reasons for this are varied but this is something that I’d like to change during the course of this self-directed residency. It’s difficult at the moment because I’m not sure exactly where my work is heading or what type of category it falls into anymore. The main reason for wanting to undertake a residency is a desire to dedicate time towards discovery and exploration within my practice. Having worked on so many projects for other organisations or with very specific aims and outcomes I feel as though I’ve reached a stage where I need to work out what I want to say as artist – this is a big task, one that at times I feel quite overwhelmed by. Time to reflect and question is very rare but hopefully having an extra boost of funding will allow me this time without having too many worries or feelings of guilt.
This sounds like a lot to achieve with one single bursary but I’m determined to make the most of this opportunity. It may just work out as the beginning of a bigger project, conversation or expansion of network and practice or it may have a shorter lifespan and be wrapped up by the end of the year or sooner. Either way there are ample opportunities for personal and practical growth which I’m determined to seize. Writing this first post has been something of a challenge – I’m lacking in confidence in my ability to make comment and evaluate in an effective and mature way and it feels like a big step for me to publicly document a project in this way. I’m hoping during this residency period that my written outputs will improve and I’ll feel comfortable continuing to blog or write about my own work and about art and culture in general.