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15 April 2011

You don't need to be working with a listed building or museum to join but it helps...

During the last couple of months, myself, Jon England, Lucia Harley, Simon Lee Dicker and Hannah Bishop have been meeting up as a part of a professional development opportunity created by SAW. Please read the following extract from the SAW web page which explains why the opportunity was created,

"A recent survey of our artist members confirmed a need for continuing professional development support and increased opportunities for work for post graduates. This programme is threaded through all aspects of SAW's overall programme.Creative Pathway 2011: SAW’s Professional Development Programme for Artists Somerset Art Works is testing a new pilot professional development programme."

In order to part take in this all artists working/lived in Somerset or locally were eligible to submit their proposals for projects and how they would like to use the opportunity and support network to further develop their practice. The four artists mentioned above and myself were then selected for this opportunity in which,

"Creative Pathways aims to provide tailor-made support to artists in Somerset to develop their practice and to deliver high-quality work. Artists in the programme will be offered a 6 month tailor made programme including:- a block of five coaching sessions with external advisers and Reveal partners- a small bursary to develop a project for Somerset Art Weeks 2011- Curatorial support of their Somerset Art Weeks 2011 project/exhibition/event- unlimited usage of digital equipment in SAW hub, including all the film and image editing tools on a 24” Power Mac computer."

As the months leading up to art weeks 2011 draw closer I will be posting more detailed information about each of the artists individual projects, but for now I wanted to give you as concise, yet brief as possible overview of those involved, what we've been up to so far and where you can find out more information.

Myself, (Natalie Parsley) I'm working with The Museum of Somerset, based in Taunton and set to re-open this summer. So far, I've been located in the Somerset Heritage Centre where a lot of the museum artifacts are currently in storage. There, I'm learning from the curators and researching agricultural tools from the local area. My intention is to create work in response to some of these artifacts. In terms of the professional development opportunity, I personally wanted to use it to have a support network with other artists and have the chance to work with other professionals like those at the museum to develop a more local and contextual approach in my work.

Hannah Bishop is currently finishing her final year studying Critical Fine Art Practice at The University of Brighton. Originally from the South West, Hannah is coming home to curate an exhibition titled 'Homecoming' held at the Regal Theatre in Minehead (opening 13th July from 7.30pm). In Hannah's own words,

"Homecoming is a multi-disciplinary event to celebrate the creative endeavours of graduates from West Somerset and illuminate the importance of the arts in the county. Examining the relationship between contemporary and rural, the evening will showcase art, design, fashion, dance, performance and film made by over 15 graduates originally from the area. In exploring where this talent is nurtured, and the potential for imaginative arts projects in the Regal, the event will utilise every space within the theatre. From the dressing rooms to the bar, the stairwells to the balcony, the evening will transform the entire building into a journey through the theatre and the live installations of the inspired work created by young people form West Somerset. Including; Leanne Anderson, Helen Arnold, Elizabeth Banks, Hannah Bishop, Louise Body, Joseph Buckler, Elizabeth Crossman, Jacob Daley, Sarah Dawes, Ben Dean, Theo Hawkins, Jac Husebo, Amy Lewis, Carl, Lewis, Sophie McCarthy, Amanda Quartly, Jennifer Reed, Adam Ridler & Tom Stephens. Curated by Hannah Bishop. Image by Jacob Daley. Event Support, Adam Ridler."

"Jon England’s latest work responds to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Engineering Department’s pioneering restoration of WWII Grumman Martlet AL246. Through a process akin to ‘forensic archaeology’ the team are painstakingly removing the plane’s entombing layer of 1960’s gloss paint, at once unveiling its Chameleon–like wartime camouflage schemes and revealing traces of the accumulated history of people and places associated with it."

You may have read previous posts about Jon's work on this blog such as the 'POW WOW' event held as a part of art weeks last year.

And Simon Lee Dicker's curatorial project 'Under a new sun' for Somerset Art Weeks 2011:

"An exhibition of new work showing the range of creative talent at work in Somerset today, at two venues: Lanes Hotel and the Old School Room. The exhibition's title Under a new Sun relates to the Anglo-Saxon naming of Somerset - Sumorsaete - as 'the people of the summer lands', when farmers would bring their livestock down to the peat rich levels to graze, only to retreat to the hills during the flooded winter months. Although still a predominantly rural county, with flooding and extreme weather high in the public consciousness, this exhibition reveals how contemporary artists make connections with, and are connected to, the world around us. Featuring artists, Simon Lee Dicker, Megan Calver, Angela Charles, Michael Fairfax and Lucia Harley"

No stranger to the SAW blog, Simon is on this project, investing his energy into developing curatorial skills. As he is an artist, from my point of view I think its really interesting to learn how that experience as an artist will translate and feed into Simon's role as curator on this project.

Finally Lucia Harley who is also one of the artists exhibiting at the Lanes Hotel and School Room. Lucia Harley’s work delves beneath the surface of day-to-day life and explores the entanglement of thought, memory and emotion.Her intuitive drawings using objects and mixed-media explore the space in which they are made, creating pathways and plateaus of clarity or reflection.
Lucia has spent a significant amount of time in Brazil, where she has family and studied at the Art School in Sao Paulo. This has influenced both her life and creative practice. She maintains strong links with fellow artists in Sao Paulo. In this professional development opportunity Lucia is returning to her own practice seeking to develop it further.

Ok, essentially that's what everyone is, to put it very briefly, interested in. I hope to soon give you in their own words what they feel about the professional development opportunity and what it is allowing them to do. Already, it has been useful to myself as an individual, but when we meet up as a group its really helpful to have the group to talk to and in beginning to learn about their projects how there are parallels and similarities that help reinforce/challenge our practices. The, kind of, discipline of writing an action plan or a SWOT analysis (as we've done so far) are, on one hand quite tedious exercises done mostly by businesses, but are in actual fact useful means of planning your practice in a way that keeps you motivated and provides goals and aims to strive for. Its these sorts of skills that aren't entirely new to me, but I've never really used them in the past, and that I am now picking up again with reason.

There's really too much to tell about all of this on one post so please keep reading regularly as I keep you updated on the latest meetings and progress from each of the artists involved. For some reason all of us are either working with a museum or in an old or listed building which certainly makes interesting conversation! Look forward to telling you how things develop. Thanks for reading.

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