Engagement Network, a new project with artist Sovay Berriman, launched on 20 April. Working with eight Exeter based volunteers Sovay is investigating how the spaces in which contemporary art is displayed affect our tendencies to engage with it. The research forms part of her ongoing artwork Symbol Archive www.sovayberriman.co.uk/Symbol_Archive
As part of the first event, the contributors were asked to walk for 10 minutes in a specific direction from the gallery to observe the infrastructure of the city centre. They were asked to look in particular for rostra, platforms and shelters and to think about how it feels to sit, stand, or walk on or under them.
Over a three-month period, the contributors will engage in dialogues around contemporary visual art and language by responding to specific prompts, sites, spaces, artworks and experiences. For more information about the project see the Projects section of the website.
Spacex is forming a new group for young people aged 16–20 interested in making, experiencing or finding out more about contemporary art. Members will steer the direction of this new collective with the support of Spacex staff.
During the last session we went to Arnolfini in Bristol, to meet the young peoples group there and see the current Arnolfini exhibition, Version Control. We would like to say thank you to the group for being so welcoming and giving us so many ideas for the future!
If you are interested in joining us, come along to Spacex for our next meeting on Tuesday 26 March at 5pm. Please let us know in advance if you plan to come, on 01392 431 786 or email@example.com
Last week our team of volunteer Gallery Assistants met with Katy Dove, for a behind the scenes look at how the exhibition was coming together. Katy gave an informal tour of the works that had been placed, and talked about how music, geometry and rural Scottish landscapes influence her work.
Thought Becomes Action is now open to the public !
The installation of Katy Dove’s solo show Thought Becomes Action has been going well over the last ten days. Looking forward to the opening this Saturday – Katy will be in conversation with artist and curator Andrew Bick from 4pm.
Here’s a sneak preview of some of the stock for The Travelling Text Kiosk, which will be out and about in Exeter in February to coincide with exetreme imagination 2013, a festival of writing for and by young people.
Badges made by Stand Up Speak Up: Children in Care Council for Devon
Hannah Toohill got involved with Spacex initially through the Recipe Exchange, an offsite project in East Devon in 2011. She began volunteering and has recently been doing some freelance work for us. We asked her about her experience as an ‘early career’ arts educator:
What have you worked on at Spacex?
I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with both art education aimed at children and professional development sessions with adults. Recently, I have been assisting with the Collective Praxis workshops were led by practitioners from a variety of arts backgrounds. These workshops were a platform for art professionals to engage in discussions surrounding socially engaged art practices.
What has interested you about Collective Praxis?
Hearing the experiences of the five practitioners, the variety of the attendees’ responses and the discussions that stemmed from the conversations. By the end of several of the sessions the chalkboard wall was covered with colourful, creative and interlinked mind maps, which was great!
Why are you interested in working with contemporary art and education?
I think one of an artist’s main objectives is that their work evokes a response from people of some sort: to appeal to them, conjure a memory or spark an idea or discussion. Children use art for creative exploration, to express themselves and learn about the world. I think art education serves to develop imaginative and inquisitive young minds.
I am interested in how people connect with art on different levels. Whilst I was running the Creative Café at Spacex in the summer, a visually impaired man came in with his friend. She explained the work to him and described it in detail; the shape and the colours. He was permitted to touch it carefully too and I remember thinking that his experience of Michael Samuels’ work was unique.
Do you have previous experience of gallery education?
Since graduating in Art and Art History I have built up experience through working (paid and unpaid) in a variety of art centres, galleries and museums. At the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff I was a gallery assistant for a touring exhibition. It was held in a museum (a place where you cannot normally touch objects) but it was an art exhibition that encouraged children to play with the exhibits, so really different to other projects I’d worked on.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this sector, for you?
I think that the biggest challenge within this sector is the opportunity for long term paid employment. I would encourage young people like myself to volunteer and take any opportunities that arise if you can, because not only will you enjoy yourself and meet new people but you never know where the opportunity might take you.
Volunteering as a gallery assistant at Spacex is a great way to meet new people, learn about contemporary visual art and gain some insight into how arts organizations work. It could also enhance your employability or feed into your research.
If you’re interested in volunteering or would like more information get in touch with Martha@spacex.org.uk
John Court speaking with A2 Film and Video students in the gallery last week. The students, who are taking part in Digital Reviews, will be creating their own work in response to The work between the lines, so this was a great opportunity to meet the artist in person. Some of the digital work they produce will be uploaded to the website in December - Click here to see some of the work by students on the same project last year.
Fine Art student Cat Mullan has been working with us over the summer through the U.W.E. undergraduate internship scheme. Fran Wright, gallery assistant, spoke to her about her internship:
What have you been doing during your internship?
This was a general gallery internship, which has been great as it’s allowed me to work with everyone and across the different departments. I’ve helped with the launch of the new website, helped out with workshops and events, research based tasks and with the running of the Creative Café. There is of course the very important role of gallery assistant at the front of house – I particularly enjoy this part. It’s always interesting engaging with the visitor’s and hearing their feedback and perceptions of the work.
What has been your favourite exhibition/event?
A particular highlight for me was working with Louise K Wilson, who was part of the previous Topophobia exhibition, on her contact microphone making workshop – I learnt a lot and it was just a great day. This past week we’ve had a number of Summer holiday workshops for families running alongside the Creative Café and they’ve been so much fun to help out with. So I can’t really choose just the one event!
What motivates you to want to work in an art context?
I think it’s exciting and rare to work in a field that offers so many opportunities, challenges and networking on a daily basis. Working within the arts often relies heavily on communication and collaboration with many different individuals and organisations – I think this is one of the most attractive qualities that makes me want to work within an arts context.
A huge thank you to Cat for all your hard work over the last two months!