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The Start of Something: Network: artists peer support in Derby

Network: artists peer support in Derby was held at QUAD in Derby on Saturday 16th June 2018 to explore the value of offering peer to peer support and a critique group for visual artists based in and around Derby. An open invitation was extended to artists in Derby and Derbyshire to come together, present and critique each other’s work in a relaxed and friendly environment, hear from outstanding professionals in the field, and to discuss the issues that affect them, including funding, exhibitions, and what it’s like being a visual artist in Derby and the East Midlands.

Network was made open to artists working in any media, at any stage in their career and the attendees at this first event were artists and practitioners based locally, practising a mixture of artistic disciplines. Conceived and led by Tim Shore (Derby-based artist, lecturer and former CVAN EM Document artist) and Peter Bonnell (Senior Curator, QUAD) the event was planned to be full of conversation, information, talks, pecha kucha style portfolio presentations from the attending artists and guest presentations.

The first event featured an illustrated talk by Olivia Punnett, an artist, curator and lecturer based at Haarlem Studios in Wirksworth. She holds an MA with Distinction in Fine Art. Punnett’s practice is diverse, encompassing a range of media including printmaking, installation, film, and projection. In 2013 she was the recipient of the AHRC award for her Masters, and in 2015 was awarded the SIA commission from Sheffield Institute of Arts. Olivia is a member of The Editions publishing group, and her work is held in the British Library, The Tetley, Leeds, The Ruskin Archive and the Tate Library and Archive, Tate Britain. For a further selection of images of Olivia’s work, visit: http://www.paper-gallery.co.uk/olivia-punnett-every-point

The participants were enthused by the opportunity to hear about each other’s practices and gain critical feedback in a supportive environment. The group felt that the format of attending artists and a guest speaker, plus the presence of the two curators (one a curator, one an artist) established a good template to go forward and there was a keen appetite to repeat the experience of sharing and working together in the local artistic community.

Tim and Peter plan to grow the Network events – initially on a 2-month basis, possibly moving to monthly meetings – as well as to tour the events to other Derbyshire and Derby organisations, with an intention to grow the group and establish it as a permanent on-going entity the viability of which will be clear after a number of sessions have taken place.

The next Network event is being held on Saturday 6th October at 2pm, for details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1988894051198503/


All images are courtesy of the artist and QUAD.


Network: artists peer support in Derby was proposed to CVAN EM’s The Start of Something project, which, through conversation, sought to bring people in the East Midlands together to explore a common goal, share experience and work collaboratively, ultimately to make things happen. CVAN EM supported proposals from groups based in the region, that it considered would benefit the widest community and make the greatest difference within the region.

Find out more about The Start of Something and the conversations that we supported.