Artist-in-Residence Placement – A Matter of Mould

Hello again, it’s been around a month since my last blog post and I’d like to update you with what’s been going on in my artist-in-residence placement with the Theatre Collection, because lots of amazing things have happened!

When we last left off, I spoke about the discovery of an incredible series of photographs taken by the photographer John Vickers. Upon finding them, I have undertaken extensive periods of research to specifically pinpoint the dates and locations of the work, all of which will serve as groundwork that I can build on artistically when creating my final public installation. Alongside this, I have been working closely with Assistant Keepers Jill Sullivan and Laura Dow, who have provided me with invaluable expertise in the world of archival research and analogue photography. Although carefully catalogued and stored within the safety of the John Vickers archive, the re-discovery of this glass plate series has caused quite a buzz in the Collection as the incredible details and colours of the mould-fill glass plate negatives have come back into the light.

After such an intense and well-needed exploration of the glass plates in the archive, I have now entered into my experimental phase: a period of time where I try out a range of ideas and concepts. In any project that I work on, this period of time is both incredibly exciting but also quite unnerving, especially working with such a wealth of source materials. My time in this placement has really allowed me to reflect on some of my own practices as an artist and to be critical about how I engage with elements like problem solving and generating ideas. It’s something that would not have been nearly as poignant to me if it wasn’t for this connection that I feel for the archival materials that inspire me.

Moving forward into a more hands-on production phase, I’m bringing in ideas and plans to encompass the world within this series of photographs. There are ideas of bold splashes of colour in the form of mould, once on the photographs and now going to be digitally presented in the installation to emphasis its beauty and incredible composition. I plan to bring in projections to display Vickers’ work in a much larger scale and, after careful curation from myself and the incredible video editing talent of another freelance artist, I will show this photography series in a completely new light.


Early concept art of the installation space. Image Credit: Bobby Joynes

I’m incredibly proud and excited of the work that has been going on recently to begin to tie everything on this project together and to reinvigorate glass plate negatives that are over 100 years old, so that you can also see the beautiful images that originally captivated me. I have every assurance that the big ideas that I am bringing to this project can be realised with the support of the incredible technical team in the Wickham Theatre, and the continued guidance from the Theatre Collection.

The last month hasn’t been without its twists and turns, but the journey has been really positive and productive, moving me ever closer towards curating a powerful installation that will be open to the public very soon.

In my last blog for this project, I will reflect on my placement and offer my final thoughts about my work with the Collection. But, in the meantime, I hope to see you at my installation in the near future!


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