I have never been to art school. I always wanted to go to art school. I was told by my art teacher when I was 11 in Somerset that I wasn’t good at drawing; I’ve never quite forgiven the system. I joined a radical youth theatre and went into performance, but I have often wanted to pick up from that place left by Miss Garland – to go back to ‘school’ to make, to be among others who are making, to experiment, in a learning environment.
I completed an MA in 2001: it was good, but it wasn’t art school. I worked as a Lecturer for nine years at the internationally renowned Dartington College of Arts in Devon teaching contextual and devising arts practices. It was a University but it was really an art school; at times I wanted to be the student and not the teacher. I learned about Black Mountain College, and the Immaculate Heart College in LA led by Sister Corita Kent – I would love to have attended both!
These are Sister Corita’s ‘Rules’ for her Art Department. These rules are something I turn to again and again, both when I’m learning and when I’m making (and I always handed them out at my classes); they always help me somehow. They were the first thing I sent around the Prospectus group. The one perhaps most held in mind is: ‘consider everything an experiment’.
That was my starting point for Prospectus. How could I be awake to new ideas, other materials and experiences? What could I learn from other artists? How would I use these five precious days – the space and time to make visual art? And go back to ‘school’ without Miss Garland.
I worked in and from Somerset as an artist and project manager for many years until 2009. Then, for 7 years I lived and worked in London, returning to live in Frome in November 2016, ready to contribute again to the town and Somerset. Prospectus is a chance to collaborate, to try out, to immerse, experiment.