I am a multi-disciplinary Artist interested in conversations, language and power, in questioning whose voices are heard, and in the access and spaces that can challenge or facilitate this. Over the past six years I have been awarded six project grants from Arts Council England to run projects focused on making more voices visible in and around my local community as well as nationally.
Research is a huge part of my practice and I have been investigating how social engagement can form the basis of research for practice, especially a ‘local’ practice. Also how Social Engagment or Social Art impacts the artists who work with it.
Engaging with people, organisations and audiences, the dialogues that come out of this are not only far more illuminating than research solely being an abstract element of practice, but they can also inform further debate, research and potential social change.
I am very interested in access into the ‘artworld’ and into art practice, with a focus on class. What barriers are still in place? How do we challenge these? And how ultimately do we do things differently to restructure what is considered the art world and art practice?
The Woman Up podcast that I produce with Amy Dignam is another example of this area in my work, raising the profile and experiences of women and non binary artists and campaigners as a long term archive free to access.
Originally from a village near Hull in East Yorkshire I grew up in a small town by the sea to a stay at home older Dad and a full time working Mum (usually with at least two jobs!). Feminism was part of my upbringing even before I knew the word. As well as being a Northern feminist artist my background is in Sociology and British Sign Language (BSL). I studied both areas at the University of Durham where my dissertation considered ideas of language and labelling in the Deaf community.
I have Interpreted between BSL and English professionally for over 17 years including several years of Performance Interpreting. The use of visual communication often features in my art practice and the position of being ‘inbetween’ as an Interpreter, as well as a working class queer woman, have begun to interest me greatly.
Key to my work is: language, it’s use, conversations, the spaces that allow these to happen, the voices that are hidden and how we access these; power and how language affects and is effected by this; and access, how we hear other voices, who hears our own, how art reaches audiences and how do audiences reach art and artists?
I have exhibited nationally and internationally, performed at Colchester Arts Centre, Toynbee Studios and Leydon Gallery and my residencies have included the National Archives, Platform 1 Gallery, Floating Island Gallery and Chapel Arts Studios. I have been awarded 6 project grants from Arts Council England since 2017. I am an associate Artist with Chapel Arts Studios in Andover and in 2019 began the Woman Up! podcast series with Amy Dignam and in association with the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths.