Being Well: Taking Stock

I wanted to take this chance, while I have it, to take stock, gather together the threads of these last few months, and make sense of where my work is at, before I take time off over the Summer. I’m not taking the whole Summer off, but I always find it hard to look after our son and have space to think, and this is one of the last free days before he breaks up for the Summer.

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I’m running a few workshops over the Summer, with Chapel Arts Studios in Andover and Salisbury Art Centre, engaging with local people and supporting them to share their stories of life in Andover, or explore their local environment in Salisbury.

In October I begin a part-time MA in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, and before that I begin a new piece of research with a bursary from Ginkgo Projects Ltd and Bloor Homes as part of the Kings Gate Public Art Scheme. I’ll be developing new, experimental sound and video work in response to Marden Henge, a neolithic site a few miles from my home.

So, plenty of exciting stuff to come, and I need this time to stop, look back, and see the value in what I’ve done so far, before I rush off down new pathways.

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I recognise a tendency in myself to want to over-deliver, to do the best I possibly can, to the best of my ability. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing does it? But it can leave me feeling burnt out, waiting for recognition or appreciation that may not come. I need to get better at recognising the value of what I do for myself. So I want to make sure I build in time to fully reflect on my participatory practice and to develop my individual work, and develop my understanding of the links between the two, rather than accept more and more work, finishing a project one day, to move onto the next one soon after.

I’m hoping the MA will give me an opportunity to reflect on what I do and the language to communicate its value to othrs who work in different contexts. I want to ‘own’ my practice, to stop and recognise exactly what it is and why I do it, taking my learning deeper rather than stretching myself to the limit.

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The connections between pieces of artwork and different projects aren’t always obvious at first. They all relate to artful engagement with place, but the way they unfold and what  learning occurs depends on a largely intuitive process. There are plans in place and discussions are had, but once we begin each session it is about each individual being supported to pay attention to they bodies, feeling and environment. It is only after stopping, letting things settle, and then joining the dots that I can be sure of the impact of this work on myself and others.

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