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Make Mistakes: the New Work is Now / 3 May 2012

Art House Board, Staff and Advisory Group debating during Away Day

Art House Board, Staff and Advisory Group debating during Away Day

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We’ve been talking a lot recently about artist’s studios. What are they for? How do communities work when people are different? How do you create a space for individuals and groups? We’ve been talking to different people and supporting them to talk to each other: artists, architects and staff.

Whilst our conversations are still in progress, it reminds me of the importance of discussion, dialogue, discourse. It is part of the creative process: understanding how we think, why we think what we think- creating that moment where we realise what else we could think. I’ve remembered that Art is not just about the act of making, but the preparation of the maker to act.
One of the conversations we have had is about being rational and if this is the most important thing in a conversation that will stimulate change:
  • Is being rational the same as being professional?
  • What if you are less able to communicate with someone, should they or you be excluded?
  • Is challenge from other people a problem in an artist community?
  • Is the challenge an individual or the result of two individuals coming together?
  • what is normal communication?
  • What type of differences will be accepted/not accepted?
  • How do we listen to challenge that feels irrational?
  • How do we negotiate difference as part of what creates our work: artist and non-artist?
For me it is about how we find a place for disruption in our lives- embrace challenge as part of a creative, development experience. It may feel out of control at times, it may even make us angry. Change does have an emotional element and believing in equality is not the same as being ready for what it throws at you.
The word ‘quo’ means ‘said’: status quo means: what we say the status is. We can all say where the status lies, if we choose to do so. So it is up to us all, disabled, non-disabled and undefined, to define status through our interactions with each other. Easy said. Hard won.
My experience of building inclusive communities tells me that we can’t just drive ahead, planned and focused on our track- knowing what we want inclusion to look like. Steaming ahead is not progress. Innovation and creativity don’t steam ahead, like Ivor the Engine climbing the Welsh Valleys. We have to listen, roll back, steam forward, divert, roll forward and this makes progress. Equality is not defined in advance, it is a passionate aspiration. Equality doesn’t happen because we want it to, it happens because we take risks , make mistakes and find new ways to work.