I am beyond delighted to be able to commence a project I’ve been longing to properly undertake, after successfully receiving, on the third attempt, funding for Developing Your Creative Practice from Arts Council England.
The green light came in late April and I have a year to develop this self-initiated project focused on my nearby local park – Sutton Park – which is an incredible, historic, 2200 acre urban park, about 7 miles out of Birmingham. Sutton Park is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, abundant in diverse landscape and life. As a local park it attracts many people for a wide array of reasons and did of course (as it continues to do) take on a new significance to people over the course of the pandemic.
I have conceived a project in two parts, each of which aim to drive forward new skills, confidence and opportunities as I seek out diverse ways of working in and around photography.
Twenty years ago I graduated with a photography degree from Nottingham Trent University. I am hugely grateful for the experiences I’ve gained since in photographic curating, particularly working in museums. Yet I’ve long wanted to take some of that inspiration found in the thousands of photographs I’ve cared for and worked with and inject it into my own work see as I purposefully pick up a camera again.
So, my project is two fold – firstly, to experiment and generate my own photography, as a step change in my overall professional practice, and secondly, to curatorially research historic photographs of the park as evidenced in public collections and archives, looking at the who, where and why.
The last couple of months I’ve spent equipping myself, making connections with the archives and venturing out with a renewed sense of purpose, knowing that I really am going to have some justified time and resources to take this forward.
I am exploring numerous themes and aspects of the park as a way into creating my work – paths, edges, boundaries, gates, trees, pools, history, patterns, people. There is of course so much. I aim to work digitally and on film, attempting to use my 5×4 Intrepid and medium format, as well as try out sustainable alternative processes such as cyanotype.
I hope to share the research into the public collections aspect somehow, will be posting individual images as I go along on Instagram, and playing around with a work in progress portfolio page viewable here:
I don’t have a set objective of ‘final’ images or an exhibition. The goal is to learn and expand skills and knowledge to see where that might lead for the future. So let’s see.