At our 2017 Annual Event Make.Practice.Perfect. on 24th March at The Collection in Lincoln, we considered how artists make art and maintain an art practice, where they turn for help in the process and practice of making art, if they are looking in the right places and whether they need look at all.
We had a fantastic audience featuring artists, students and academics who discussed how, where and why artists produce art, what the barriers to production are and how they may be overcome through working practices, accessing networks and creating communities, resources.
Our Document artists Andrew Bracey, Geoff Litherland, Jessica Harby, Kajal Nisha Patel, Tracey Kershaw talked about things that have helped them in their careers, things such as residencies, employment in the arts, DYI activities, creative communities and mentoring. Other contributors Joanne Lee, Daniel Sean Kelly, Roma Piotrowska and Conohar Scott discussed what prevents us from acting: procrastination, doubt and lack of resources, and what can help us: peer support, productive relationships, collaboration, audiences and engagement.
95% of respondents to our event survey said that they found the event useful and, or inspiring, commenting that it gave them a sense of belonging and was an excellent opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones.
They said that the most useful or inspiring elements of the event were:
- hearing from other artists’ about their experiences of making work and maintaining their practice
- meeting other attendees and networking
- the speakers’ presentations
They identified the biggest challenges to making work as being:
- not having the time to practice alongside other commitments
- a lack of money
- lacking suitable workspace and/or facilities and deciding on a direction or an idea.
They said that what helps them most in making work and pursuing their practice is having:
- a community/networks
- Audiences and engagement
They would have liked:
- more time for discussion and hearing conclusions from others
- more opportunities for small group discussions
- more on artists’ intellectual/personal motivations for sustaining a practice
- an opportunity to debate as a whole group content from the breakout sessions
They commented that what had emerged from the event that would help East Midlands’ artists pursue their art practices were:
- more networking events
- a visual arts map
- advice, case studies and experiences from professionals
- cross collaboration between studio groups
- peer mentoring and crit groups
- more opportunities to find like minded people
For future events we will aim to:
- create opportunities for networking, discussion and debate
- present a spectrum of experiences and perspectives
- create a supportive environment where attendees, regardless of experience, profile and age, can contribute to the proceedings
Our next Annual Event will be held in Northampton, in March 2018.