Document followed six East Midlands artists for two and a half years as they pursued their practices and reflected on their careers and motivations, capturing their thoughts and experiences through film, writing, photography and discussion. Featuring Andrew Bracey, Geoff Litherland, Jessica Harby, Kajal Nisha Patel, Tim Shore and Tracey Kershaw, Document sought to shine a light on the artistic process and present an honest portrait of pursuing a career as an artist, from the artist’s point of view. Each artist was also able to identify an intervention specific to their individual professional development.
During the process visual and written documentation of the project was regularly produced and shared with audiences, here and on social media and in our newsletter. A short film on each of the artists – Six Artist Stories – was commissioned from award winning filmmaker Bill Newsinger and as a group were the subject of a series of free public events held across the region. They were also used in workshop sessions with Fine Art students in the region’s art schools.
In depth responses to and reviews of the project were produced by artist and writer Tom Hackett for a-n The Artist Information Company and by CVAN EM Director Elizabeth Hawley-Lingham and University of Leicester Research Associate Dr Paula Serafini for Arts Professional. Papers were produced for presentation in an academic arena.
In November 2018 an exhibition of work by the six artists – On Being An Artist – was produced for display at Artcore in Derby, bringing the project to an official close. Over the course of the project we have accrued an enormous amount of rich and varied material, which presents a candid, first-hand account of being a practicing artist at this time in the East Midlands.
The project has invested in the careers of the participating artists and raised their profiles, reached audiences across the region and nationally, and created a set of materials suitable for use in education settings and for advocacy purposes, helping position CVAN EM as a contributor to professional development within the student body, as well as to the production of pedagogical resources. It has also established a strong partnership with CAMEo, the University of Leicester’s research institute, which embraced the project as a valuable contributor to its research on employability and career progression in the creative and cultural industries. We are delighted that this has led to a successful application to the Midlands 4 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership for a research post in 2019.