Place Based Practice and the Urban Rural Divide

This blog post was first published on my A-N blog on 29th March 2019. I’m posting it here as a follow up to my initial blog post on my Urban Rural Exchange collaboration with artist Karen Wood, and to share my plans for my AN Artist’s Bursary.

I have an existing blog on Art, Ecology and Learning on wordpress, and am starting this one to focus on the work that stems from my a-n bursary.

This is an introduction to me, and the work that I am planning on carrying out through the bursary, and the exciting things that emerge from that.

So what am I planning?

Firstly I am going to use the bursary to extend my existing collaborative practice with London based artist Karen Wood (I’m based in a small village in Wiltshire). You can read more about our work together here, and follow @UrbanRuralExchange on instagram, or search for #UrbanRuralExchange on Twitter. Karen and I are both Associate Artists with CAS (Chapel Arts Studios) in Andover.

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Secondly I’m going to be having a couple of 1:1 sessions with artist/curator Rosalind Davies, exploring the relationship between my largely rurally based practice and artists making related work in cities, developing opportunities for exhibiting/collaborating in more urban settings. I also met Rosalind through CAS when she was invited to come and speak at an event we ran at Winchester School of Art.

Thirdly I am going to be taking joining the Rural Assembly conference in June at The Whitechapel Gallery and Wysing Arts Centre. Wysing was one of the first places I was employed as a professional artist, running a series of workshops there in 1997/8, so its good to be going back.

Here’s how I described the intended benefits in my bursary application

‘As a rurally based artist I can feel disconnected from wider networks and exhibition opportunities. My collaboration with Karen Wood will help combat the isolation and lead to an exhibition in November at Spitalfields Studios. The bursary will enable me to work with Karen in London/Wiltshire, rather than it remaining a largely online collaboration.

I want to build on this initial opportunity, by extending my network to include London based artists and curators, which is why I approached Rosalind. I have spent 20 years since leaving college investing in my socially engaged practice and now want to build my profile as an exhibiting artist.

Lastly, I want to explore how work made in a rural setting can be shown and understood more widely. The conference will enable me to consider how to frame my practice, by placing it within the wider national and international context of rural arts practice.’

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Underpinning all my work is an ongoing exploration of how art can enable experiences of continuity and connection, ways and being with the world that are about perceiving it and us as a whole.

I recognise that seeing the world as divided, through inherited ways of seeing and being, leads to us damage the very systems on which we depend. You can read more about this in my blog post Beyond The Binary, and how my work relates/responds to the current climate and ecological crisis here.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that this bursary brings, and excited to be starting out on a new adventure.

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