I’m a Freelance Visual Arts Producer who has been working across the visual art sector since 2005. I began my career at the award winning Bristol based public art producers Situations. From my base in Southampton I produce independent projects and I am available to undertake client-based work across the UK and internationally. See ‘HOW I CAN HELP’ for more details on my skills and experience.
I established Host Productions in 2013 following a year of professional development on the Visual Art South West Leadership Programme. This career break enabled me to reflect back on working in the visual arts since 2005 in order re-establish my independent practice and develop my freelance portfolio.
Read a review of The Falmouth Convention in Art & the Public Sphere Journal and a discussion between Katie Daley-Yates and Bristol’s Public Art Officer Aldo Rinaldi about the temporary commissioning programme northcabin in a-n Magazine.
I started working in the visual art sector in 2005 and quickly specialised in working one-on-one with artists to produce new artworks rather than curating more traditional forms of exhibitions such as group shows or re-showing existing artworks. My early projects included working both in gallery settings (‘Responses: three approaches to one space’, 2008) as well as in more unconventional contexts such as public parks and an operating cabin as part of a historical bridge in Bristol (‘northcabin’, 2008-2009). Alongside these early independent projects, I began working for Situations, the award winning and ground breaking public art producers based in Bristol. As part of the small team, I played an instrumental part in realising a series of iconic public artworks such as: Heather and Ivan Morison’s ‘The Black Cloud’, 2009, the permanent public art series ‘Wonders of Weston’, 2010 and Alex Hartley’s ‘Nowhereisland’, 2012. My training at Situations under Director Claire Doherty was crucial in shaping my understanding of how you approach working in the public realm, moving beyond the traditional models of “public art as decorative enhancement” to a more “dynamic understanding of place”.
My practice and approach as a producer has been shaped by an early interest in the moment curatorial practice shifted from an institutional scholarly pursuit to a creative act in itself. Early exhibitions such as ‘Xerox Book’, 1968 and ‘The January Show’, 1969, both by Seth Siegelaub plus “When attitudes become form”, 1969, by Harold Szeemann were instrumental in laying the groundwork for exhibitions to be recognised as artworks in themselves. It was experimental exhibitions such as ‘This is The Show and The Show is Many Things’, 1994 by Bart de Bear and ‘The show must go on’, 1997 by Jens Hoffman which influenced my own early independent projects ‘Just for a week’, 2007 and ‘Responses: three approaches to one space’, 2008. Both these projects aimed to investigate the act of artistic production by establishing alternative exhibition formats. For example ‘Responses: three approaches to one space’, 2008 made visible to the visiting public the process of building an exhibition including the artists’ creating the artworks. ‘Just for a week’, 2007 was about investigating the role of the artist and curator through the residency model whilst experimenting with display methods for a range of different artworks.
Crucially these cultural references and my early independent experiments reinforced the idea that curating didn’t have to be ridged, but it could be experimental and temporal and not only refer to a curatorial practice that was gallery based, but encompass working out in public space too. Public art didn’t have to equal static sculptural works in public squares or parks, it could mean temporary projects, which addressed the current needs of a community or particular pertinent issues to society at that moment in time.
Today I am inspired by organisations such as Grizedale Arts, Future Farmers and My Villages who strategically work through recognised structures, which are familiar in everyday life, to deliver artistic programmes or artworks and consequently reach broader sections of society. For example, My Villages explore cultural production in rural space, so co-opt familiar motifs such as the village shop, market and fair as systems through which to present projects. Grizedale are regenerating what was the Coniston Mechanics Institute to establish Coniston Institute Library, delivering education and creative activities whilst reestablishing an important community asset. While Future Farmers specialise in projects relevant to time and place surrounding us, like ‘Flat Bread Society’, 2012, which uses urban food production and distribution as a means of facilitating social exchange.
Although I can trace the trajectory of my practice back to more traditional forms of curating, I now make the conscious choice to use the term ‘producer’ to describe what I do, which is to work one-on-one with artists to support the development and delivery of many different types of projects from visual art works to professional development programmes. To me producing means believing in an artists’ initial idea and committing to realising that idea, whatever it takes.