The first rule of blogging is never promise blog posts. I could tell you how sorry I am and reason that I have been busy, but that is the intro to many of these posts. So let’s change the record…. HAPPY ( Belated) NEW YEARRRR!!
Four months and that’s it. It will all be over. I have been with Craftspace for eight months and in my final weeks I will be posting a recap of my journey as an apprentice and employee. (There I go breaking rule number one again!)
But it wouldn’t feel right moving into 2016 without having a look back at all the amazing things I’ve done in 2015. So as a compromise and to make up for the gaps in posting, I thought I would share ‘ My top 3 highlights of 2015 that didn’t get the opportunity to become blog posts (in no particular order)’ I know such a snappy and memorable title!
Top Highlight number 1 – Graduate Shows.
Graduate shows are amazing! Not only does it allow you to talk to students about their course and see the quality of work a university encourages, but if you’re interested in investing in upcoming artists … it’s the perfect place to start!
I got to visit three different shows during the two days that Craftspace sent me to London. My tour started with Central Saint Martians – UAL. The sleek architectural design, complimented the high quality work produced by the graduates. While textiles underwhelmed me, the range of technology and craft crossovers was exciting to see, with well thought out concepts and execution from the jewellery students.
Day two gave me my first experience of New Designers; a graduate show that takes referred students from across the UK and hosts the graduates and their work in the London business design centre over a four day span. While there I got the opportunity to approach students and tell them about In:site and encourage them to apply to the application process. The event was as inspiring as it was overwhelming, my favourite piece was by a student who had interpreted the different zodiac signs into handmade pieces.
Top Highlight number 2 – Learning Lab
Shelanu is a social enterprise that is supported by Craftspace. The group (made up of migrant and refugee women) sell beautiful self-made jewellery as well as giving workshops in different community centres around Birmingham.
The Learning Lab sessions evolved out of a partnership between Craftspace, The Embassy of Sweden, The British Council. Etc . The event aimed to discuss the value in making when telling stories, in particular ones around migration.
In addition to Shelanu , Swedish social enterprise- Livstycket, who also works with migrant and refugee women attended the session. Both enterprises had examples of past work and pieces that were available to buy.
It was a great experience (after spending a few events with the shelanu members) to see the work of another organisation in a different country. Other guests included a transcriber, the arts and cultural officer at the Swedish embassy and leaders of other social enterprises.
After a brief session of networking, the room settled in to hear talks from people such as Craftspace director – Deirdre, livstycket’s entertaining founder Birgitta Notlöf and editor of cultural threads, Jessica Hemminngs.
All of the talks were very informative and engaging. While it was hard to choose a favourite Jessica’s ability to articulate the link between academia, art and a county based on colonisation (England) proved to be refreshing and interesting. Her book cultural threads is available to buy.
Top Highlight number 3 – Making digital work
When my boss told me about this event I wasn’t the least bit excited to go, I readied myself for long talks that were uninteresting and heavy with sector specific terminology. However the opposite was true.
Making Digital Work is a programme that promotes the exploration between a digital age and The Arts. For example using technology to create and store data that helps art organisations to find and retain audiences. I was inspired by Deborah Bulls keynote speech on the importance of failing. Additionally, I enjoyed Tom Grinsted’s theory that our constant access to technology makes us modern day cyborgs.
My favourite part of the day had to be the talks around using technology to make the arts more accessible. Through talks from different participating arts venues we were shown a range of outcomes from the collaborations. From artists in wheelchairs parasailing though the sky, to apps that allowed the visually impaired to navigate themselves around a cultural and arts venue, this event completely changed my attitude to how I would curate in the future.
2015 was great, but 2016 will be even better. Between the launch of Making for Change, an end to a life changing experience and all the other great things Craftspace will be doing, it’s set to be an amazing year!
I will also be launching a new blog in spring 2016 which will be a log of my journey within the visual arts world, along with vlogs of my travel experiences.
I know it’s all very exciting!