Audiovisual Cultures episode 103 – Remembering Sally Madge automated transcript

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hello and welcome to the audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of arts and culture I'm polo player and in this special episode I have the privilege of presenting memories of artists Ali match who we sadly lost in November twenty twenty Sally was a prolific practitioner educator and mentor across many approaches to making and parking he was embedded in the art world in the north of England as I mentioned later on Sally featured in episode forty off this podcast and that episode is linked in the show notes asses the repository of the oral remembrances from some of Sally's friends and colleagues that you're about to hear justice Ali presented a portrait of herself an aptitude for day we have attempted to produce an aural collage of our memories of Sally her transgressive nests her supportive encouraging way her mischievous presents her energy her intellect and what she has meant in our own lives and our ways of working the voice is Europe bites here in order of appearance R. Alexander Hughes and data alley co words Simon Murray Richard James whole Clara ward Adam Phillips and Joe way ties with Scott black satin Allana Mitchell myself polo player Sandra Johnston and finally a poetic prose reading from Michael Tucker my huge thanks to each contributor into Sally's partner Tom Jennings he is making tremendous efforts to ensure Sally's legacy and has been instrumental in the production of this episode's I would like to dedicate this episode to Tom as well as to Sally they were quite the team for those of you listening he knew Sally I hope the memories to fall hello will raise some smiles and for those of you who didn't know Sally I hope this provides some motivation to look at her work thanks for some of which are also in the show notes I will not hand over to Alex and data to lead us and remembering solid match sure wind wind swept hair only energy yes open invitation handles questions asked S. discoveries exploration discerning women's eyes that read me ask you what the trees warm can you cancel this zero tactile play fire she won a Latin she style style yes style easy equal in in a tent is free spirited not not very encouraging me to relax reassurance downed trees hi strong celebration and see and the kitchen table T. clay from the side weeping her have some high thinking busy talking to caring for rule breaker sure it's made me feel like I worry too much about doing the right thing and they are saying once the older you get the less you care to do more of what you want to have the same feeling all that the best thing you can do this let go okay well she said I just think inicia even simple sometimes it gets into trouble but you just have to say what you think there must be at the time where we technically broke into her old home this was one like remaining in the house of Commons yeah then forwarded across and we ponder over the fence and then we met at local kind of consulting totaling out this is John Choate yes I remember attending a story in our slightly saying she had every right to be students down lights and stuff typical solid she when I think of her as a sort of way in way of thinking about her is reminding me to not worry so much or two everything things but just to do what I feel I want to do which sometimes can be harder than it sounds to reading this into yourself and just do what you want without thinking about what does it mean are and will not be good enough just to throw that one out the window and just to do it anyway yeah I think this will be the strongest things on tape from nine Tony is to just try and it's my life the way I want to the way that feels right try to kind of not sweat the small stuff No Way Out in cat Simon Murray and I'm responding to the invitation from Tolman pulling to contribute to a short put costs to these various commemorations system he would really remembrances of Sally I was so delighted to do this it's take me a hell of a long time to think how what I would say and how much I would do it and even now I've just written a few notes and I hope this won't be too incoherent hope there will be two restructurings my wife went to cook up who knew Sally as well as I did %HESITATION will be contributing to the stop and shop event that you and your team %HESITATION so would be contributing to this particular little put cost a new study socially Newcastle ferries mutual friends and apos crossed in those ways but we also taught together at the university of Sunderland between two thousand and two thousand four and bonded around that experience it wasn't a dreadful experience for me but I never felt fully %HESITATION so signed up to the most of a conventional practices that were being taught on that program and I think somebody was the same I came from a sociological cultural studies and theater background and Sally from the visual arts but we met in the engage through performance through experimental theater you know it's weird a merry out possibilities I left the northeast where I spent much of my adult life from being a student in two thousand fool to take up the job director theater Dartington college of arts and it wasn't until I moved to Dartington but I fully realize how much %HESITATION territories of interests overlapped and once again I kinda regretted not articulating that tool enjoying that overlap of interest when I actually worked with somebody at Sunderland what I particularly appreciated about Sally's work because it's playfulness making me every day the %HESITATION regarded in the ordinary extraordinary how lack of interest in the commodified world of contemporary %HESITATION lack of interest is a bit mild sometimes it verges on contempt I think the eclectic range of her practices how lack of worthiness preciousness note to standing the strong shed political commitment I'm not sure if somebody ever soaring counted Tydeus controls work cuticles known about Cantel but I sent strong connection filiation between them through found objects the every day through collage assemblers sure what come to all cooled on but I should through rubbish detritus through quick human under the ultimate political commitment a commitment to make the local the particular national and international and of course they both allowed myself came from a background in visual arts I checked out issues of my notes on cancel his work I teach at the university of Glasgow and %HESITATION the couple could someone to refer to here and in the book the righteous is running through controls into %HESITATION %HESITATION of Mrs fascination with what he cooled reality of a low order and council says hello world %HESITATION which continuously to months of examined and express issues through base materials the basis possible materials that up pool deprived of dignity and prestige defenseless and often downright contemptible I like that done right contemptible I do see connections here %HESITATION what I understand to be somebody's thought practice inside because I was away from Newcastle for the last seventeen years much of a more recent work I never really sold are encountered I think the last time I saw somebody was it a wonderful seventieth birthday party celebration in time not to the same club than that around that time we had some exchanges by email in the conversation about ruins and this was in relation to the book I was researching and writing which ultimately was published last year and it was cool performing ruins %HESITATION the connection particularly walls the shelter that she first directed on Linda's phone in two thousand and two and then it's regular ruination either through natural or human forces this fascinated me and Sally's retrospective designation of the whole story here %HESITATION the whole %HESITATION Shelton as a public artwork in this site specific installation tickled my imagination I so wish I'd written about this in the book I was going to and then for various reasons it didn't find its way into one of the chapters I regret battled there are so many conversations I wish I'd had with somebody I sometimes have them in my head indication he rehearsed them when I'm walking the dog I love to Spock a human the great in the oyster and a playful refusal to accept the boundaries of Alton performance practices disinterest in the labels of community also socially engaged practice if the word boundaries they were there to be gleefully transgressed and ignored I love that's appreciated that's about somebody in her life and in her work as one to finish with a couple more %HESITATION quotations from come to %HESITATION which somehow connect us in a very literal way but the connect with Sally and her death and what we all feel about that and these two quotes make me think of Sally and where she is now these are the little statements which came from performance work the tattoo had written and performed very close to his own death and I think he was aware of his impending death because he was in the well mine and at one point he says I'm on stage again I think I'll never fully and clearly explain this habit to you or to me actually it's not the stage but the border and in his final production much leverage tune which is in nineteen eighty eight he actually acted as well as being the student really quirky on the stage director orchestrating conducting his performance and this makes me think of Sally and where she might be in a kind of speaks his lines the motion of a return in a moment I went into shabby and disreputable pub I've been looking to it for a long time at nights sleepless I've been going to a meeting I don't know with whom either with phantoms or with people I think that's what I've got to say thanks very much I've seen Charlie about because I was friends with Carol Luby festival I thank the first time we got introduced properly and actually started talking was she was doing some artwork the legend Phil where she was gathering like the dust from the library itself and putting it into little bags and just discussing what will discuss reconstituted out well to be fragments of meteorite dust skin %HESITATION bats I could tell she was somebody who really fought about the history of things she put importance on stuff but she also understood that there was are you made to the mundanity aswell there was however in the things that people didn't often see and as the years went on I would see Sally here and there she was one of those sort of faces and people who you would want to gravitate to interest say hi and just check out the way I talk about what the hell is actually going on because I think men have had our soldiers suddenly respect about the factor of sometimes the occupants then we would go to west so by the Daddy one of the performances that are really remember head doing once the one where she would have little intro let and eight she was dressed in the usual sort of like black trousers black jumper but she also had like a white coach John and she would ask people who were wearing like Satan like knitted fabrics so whenever she would actually ask if she could grow the lint roller on and have it as actual sort of piece of evidence of what people carry with them day to day on the surface level goodness me it's so subtle and so minimal and yet it has so much impact on what it actually holds one of the times I did see it do this she was in like a more obscure and the Baltic baby nine near the stairway near where the restroom facilities was and I never saw or complain about anything like that I think she enjoyed the suppleness of fangs chest and tried to sell she enjoyed what she did but if she thought something was crap she would just say scrap and now the phones that I think I remember had doing it was a loner Simpson symposium about memory and I think they actually have videos of this on the Baltic website and she was exploring some that's the realist elements of performance and memory she was even discussing her interests and Freud and Freud museum and the objects stuck to it occupying the museum and how even subtle interventions could do so much to change the environment thanks Ali was like that she's known for a installation work she's known for her work as an educator and she's one of those artists who I think she should have been given more credence and anytime but she was happy actually being slightly in the background for people to discuss happenstance really turned a corner and suddenly you're you're encountering Saudi mileage piece of work and I know when I was helping her out with the school workshops and all that one of the first things I would remember that waiting for a full open is sitting in a kitchen actually looking at like an hour's PCA bad clock just being intrigued by it and we which said that this kitchen table and just try to win the Cup of tea and then get ready for to go out Sally was the type of person who if you knew somebody somebody probably knew Sally I've got a good friend of mine who had hair as a teacher and she said she was one of those teachers who has told you to keep going because she recommends that you have the talent as well as just being this inspirational artists who I really at my end and also being my friend I think she took turns with some of us being mental I think that was part of a gift in a way once the sense of she can see potential promise in people she tried to hold it out ever so gently just to like make you see that you're not chest what you think your limits are I miss Sally really do and I think Newcastle will be lacking from absence but on the other hand I'm hoping that her legacy crew out the people in this city and the region and beyond will extend fairgrounds hello I'm class I guess some of multi media artist nowadays living in what way but I lived in new castle and focus on live up to a long time a new satellite for about eighteen years when I matter I just started on the MA in fine out at Sunderland unix and because I was interested in live up they went for her to be my personal check to even though she was actually teaching on the performing arts degree course not the MA I have a very clear memory of the first second I saw her striding through the doors to the studios towards me with that mischievous Clinton ally and a handout stretched saying you must be class and I instantly thought it's not a version of me but then I also got to know her I got to know she was only someone you could double this by it to be like she had so much energy most alive I think sometimes when you meet someone you can recognize something in them before you even know them that might be very similar to something in yourself I think myself and suddenly had very similar ways of thinking about things in life and each approach our own work processing ideas in a very similar mama even if the results came out very differently %HESITATION member conversations with both was going and I don't have a cat I was shocked by anything we see in the art world easily we once went see cirque de soleil together in new castle stadium there was a lot of anticipation as the tickets were expensive so we saved and then went it was great it was everything you'd think it would but it was sent to somebody what what was funny was with both sides and while we did notice what was going on on the stage of course but we were both a lot more interested in how they convict the lighting or how that does not affect built that sent except we were both a lot more interested in what was going on offstage well the known and sat discussing it all the way through the show I think Sally probably had a bigger influence on my creative life than I will ever really be aware of and I don't think she'll ever ready stop influencing me I was in a particularly tricky situation but the gallery recently when I found myself thinking what sunny side which help me respond in Amman %HESITATION I ended up feeling quite proud of the last time I saw her sometime in December two thousand and nineteen I was over in new castle for a few days so as usual we have to catch up session in the kitchen and went downstairs to his studio and she wanted to show me what should be market now which was complex it was always fascinating going inside the studio as there was all sorts of stuff everywhere and so many ideas hello she's the only person I've known that it was normal for her to always have a freezer full of dead birds and actually I've been collecting on the multi for her no never have identified what kind of animal that from being funding through the lock down to a low marks in the written about now well I live but when she explained what she be making the frogs from scraps of fabric that had washed up on the beach and thinking about the process of making the money what that involved exactly it just made my head explode I've been interested in recycling and my own work a long time but when she told me about what she's been doing a lot she's just taken it to a whole other level completely I was and still am and all of the whole idea and I couldn't have asked for a better shooter on the imac she was always there whenever I needed to talk to my work or life I didn't find out for you yes until it came out accidentally in conversation with her one day that she had she took me for the entire idea of the cost and has spent time for free I think that alone shows how much of a special person she was I don't always felt a content coming up for the and when I asked why she just said she was interested in what I was doing because it was a lot closer to home work and ending on the performing arts degree I used to get questions Aussies hope on the degree cost sitting in with the students and I think she probably got the most performances out of many that I've ever done in those classes the program modeled on the make some anonymous Sir my name's Adam Phillips I work with IBM foundation at university of Sunderland can start in two thousand and nine and then I think something else was a document some performances and from that point it quite a lot of collaboration with Sally specially around some of the Linda's found shelter things two thousand twelve thirteen fourteen maybe yes I am I am thanks I'm trying to remember the year I mean so they both work together but it would be a couple of years before all the mom foundation I guess I went in there to teach initially then I became the course leader and Sally joined us which is amazing it worked out really well for a very good times Sally had obviously worked at Sunderland full sometime before the US cannot shift I think she might have retired the full I think she joined the foundation in the performing arts degree with a performing on us until in two different molecules and and toward the foundation prior to that as well so I'm used to ceramics at some point as well I think so she told CNN influence at all of different courses and was ready at apple and I guess to a certain extent this is why she was such an awesome foundation you know bit of assists hello more parallelism of reasons that machine physical Wilson said the course was a very good match for her as well yeah when I started it was I suppose I just do my P. G. C. so that's when I first met Sally it was is a doing teacher training and already know what you're doing but it was really nice to have a range of different people the festivities but yeah Sally was very helpful and encouraging the students listened Colin she spoke it seemed from my first teacher training so new pass and when I remember how to on an isolated as well she was just quiet in the room with why she settles things yes very nice use she wore a thirty very lightly and %HESITATION I guess it was naturally born from a lot of experience and she was an amazing teacher as well that was the thing she could do research on a little bit because we were thinking about some of the projects you've been involved in that her ability to switch take on different roles is as you push students when needed %HESITATION Sydney be hugely empathetic when needed as well and %HESITATION who also talks a little bit to make in your world at different stages of %HESITATION teaching halls practices and all of that and %HESITATION and the nice thing about the study which was hugely respectful open to new ideas looked out to conversation you know the conversations in the stockroom how we develop projects together and reflected on what we've done we do an awful lot of team teaching at the time and you're right you'd sit down with Sally and a student I never listen to Saudi and you could almost there's a nice dialogue wasn't enough rain what you couldn't often the conversation between the staff and the students would hopefully you get swept along with one of the other or both of us but it was a really nice way to show students that we weren't really that vehicle is still not as you know this of course where you know so I'll wear hold a highway it's the if there's lots of different approaches you can take the best thing is to have a discussion about those and see which one excites and motivates and connects and Sonny was obviously huge asset as an office bringing the restless kind of imagination and multi disciplinary approaches in a real interesting different things as well I think you know so one thing props I learned whole attempted to take on board from site was just being interested the people are doing and creating a listing in the participate true nature of that yeah I think I remember initial team teaching tutorials that it was just very clear that she was reading skills as a communicator and she would take up time with them and I was in I think maybe slight difference now it was maybe more time to allow this now and focus on it was really good it kind of allowing space and supporting students and it was amazing sometimes to watch how much she might get out of school students in a way that I feel that sometimes I I definitely learned from that kind of takes your time and trying to find out more about the students engage with it personal circumstance of it more and I think she was that personal circumstance the empathy empathy isn't just for you and kind of really getting to the net it's you know for what is stopping people from moving forward you know and kind of reading for pay I remember being quite honest I remember yes I'm missing down one student he was clearly quite annoyed it sort of having that Utah Royals something wasn't right and I just remember I mean I was very new to the considered quite a step up from the side of god I'm sensing that something between us that you're not happy about it she rejection on history diffuse the situation through directly addressing and I think that's something that I lost teachers are great tap directly inside yeah she was reading town today a lot of times just die rechte articulate but empathetic communication yeah it would often %HESITATION confrontational and kind of in a way in a very human and I'm surprised I think that perhaps not true on the foundations we kind of end up working with some students more than others but certain ones that got to it was solid they were really invested in their own way can the critical thing with foundation every critical thing on the grease while taking on foundation you coming from school and there's a lot of expectation when you come say I feel right she kind of coming into the studio environment we're trying to encourage and open students up to experimentation but obviously that's an intimidating quite fearful thing for a lot of students this old history Cummings from school with those organizations and particularly young people at a critical stage in their development she was very finding out all seeing where you know we didn't have a problem with discussing and identifying with some of those innovations and oxide ease and I've definitely learned a lot from nothing that how important nowadays to understand anagram taken into the conversation topics students she was very very good with young people shot a very hands on different stages as well we have very mature students at this time as well to me it was fun wasn't it I think Jesse ministry a sense of fun and mischief to the place in a way that led to some really interesting she didn't work and yeah it was almost like we want to address those things so you can enjoy that's what we all want answers yeah it does sound like it's very it is difficult you know essentially she was definitely going to make it enjoyable naturally there was certainly more performance of Michael Mostyn performance work and things that was kind of being mental by Sally as well then there is actually see on the foundation today outside I think we simply influence the way we think around teaching and those sorts of roles and teaching and learning rate but like the kind of different roles people assume that it was more explicit the address when we developed a project with Saudi around these interests remember we called the project came about project full foundation students which a cross disciplinary bat game plan the project was really about he seemed to try different things for different subject areas it was really around basic strategies that you establish an office of designer in the studio to explore and to extend IT so it might be anything from seventy seven few rules around the number two is he gonna do any particular day to setting itself will performative strategies to see where they might lead incidents of fiscal outcomes that you my guess is a lot different always research course you thinking things like performance sausage grease nominal also strategies reflect society so many people in a lot of things that Sally was really really important to he doesn't practice you know so we've developed projects around the house and Senate to initiate every project we did a series of workshops which scraps you can say more about the secrets he thought Saddam all what you want cited pages as a team we designed a series of sort of Hoff day gains and the students went from space to space and what for the different member of staff and we'll kind of roughly I think mine was like a puzzle game using audio visual so projectors and computers and word puzzles and that and then it was a dressing up game Jim Boyles was just come in and we would be looking at the there was a bit of a myth around Saudis with but neither of us had she sort it this is actually what happened in this room we will see a teaching people coming out of the room which is also coming out of the room traumatized by we know that well in a positive way it said she was a came to our place for my understanding and solving sort of essentially brought the students into the room and try to see how far they could be pushed before that the pushback let's all push back in other ways understanding of it was that she had some sort of official overcoat a lab coat on maybe the clipboard I'm the reason the structure's not efficient so appearance I know this because I've also had Sonny take similar strategies it's definitely something I'm familiar with this well I know she's done this on the always teacher course where where at this kind of taking on that role so his instructions to the students I think might install it relatively mild but they would be in the position that they're in and knocked all follow out some of these incidents are related to follow until they were beginning to question the validity or lack of a sense of what it would be nice to do away with my ladies or even that pops the tire rack so wait son he was a young man to do it or dressing them it should be very strict you know since he had a meeting and should also take things quite far I think she was reading coaching students exactly %HESITATION you know to question authority question the rules are being questioned a brief question what could be passed to do I think it was a seems activities %HESITATION goals which were you know in my own way supposed to make them think about game play and we write down that that might include the roles within society %HESITATION day power play that goes on more broadly holds the power yeah it was really invented in way of encouraging kind of reflection and those kind of strategy is well we just looked at them with from gameplay I you say those sheets which I hugely invested in the work as a result but also the amount of students performance finalists graphic design is even change the show PO's of that you know will crosses was that with the kind of rights head in a business suit wasn't here kind of yeah really interesting out soon really really interesting pieces of work as a result of that kind of abuse of a lot to this kind of thinking and the strategies that some of the workshops that I use I also did the slide shows that project is when it is nothing said he brought a lot to say so fluxes Newman and remember I mean not the establishment to a case where the stands out for me studies work around the flux a show at the old Vic on the one hand you go taking on the role of this authoritative role within a teaching context and I remember taking students down to the flux and there was a lot of obscene musicological displays of fluxes wicks and Sally and been given license by the Baltics sale last final take to develop performance pieces around a sequence when in the evening then you get to this particular case remember Sally had a %HESITATION cleaning trolley the laptop again on the lock up again yeah but more like a cleaning it like seems kind of almost %HESITATION some of the visit is that she was completely invisible and for the students to go and see this show and he needs to come out the peripheral vision of a cleaner instead the like performance pieces might have been involved in my memory polishing the cases for a particular period of time all over again cordoning off areas so that the people who visit the show could only say he said it sounds all Roderick viciously so you called government yeah so this kind of power does what she was doing it in the studio and teaching is a nice photo I think of %HESITATION combat his work which fluxes X. it is but it's got a very large sort of projected bottom within the social realizing that and that's just so silent so projection bottom so quite profusely for context and time yeah I mean choked up the crooks and full of the second since the way that dialogue between yourself as an artist and a teacher thanks and the dialogue between the teacher and a student in there hello so roles and I think that was something we all took a great deal from wasn't ready with sap and all like a studio for staff alongside the students something's working that was the staff wherein you know things like hitting the press and that kind of proximity of your whip to students something to something and the importance of thought it was something that I'm very easy to say within somebody's practice each didn't differentiate too much between those things and kind of reading courage those crossing visit did you have a T. R. rated like that will ceramics workshop she used to do as well when it is essential to building utopia so it just was real nice one because I think ceramics often has this focus upon making a profit or a phone yeah I'm kind of how to do that and the technical prowess of throwing in things about India and she kind of turned on its head and put the material as a way of sort of explore and really quite magical the large interesting ideas in the students first take the wet clay and stop building a building or a home or a house or pests in our character and then he saw giant MCAT style to unfold from F. at the end and not truly a debate and in the end of the Cold goes in the bin rather than gets fired I expect for ceramics project I do news Sally's teaching history a tool but these childlike play and in a way no activities where he put his size critical judgment and you're not really you know nothing on foundation those kind of and for all this is well I mean it's a really important thing to do isn't it quite often when you want to stop stop and Sonny was a meticulous selects around assist you know the millions he made Whistler thoughtful and carefully constructed at that workshop almost seems like off which is going to check in at the end yeah so much by protecting so much other stuff comes out of some of those approaches that was being explored and yet the students again the student voice yes I'm providing coverage to the point where they just actually having a howling stable is the real life I mean Sally being that well my time with my son and his time on the foundation that I know about which between the basement aspen house which you may have join us for some of us no no crack we moved over it's a very soon to you %HESITATION and St Mary's which subsequently became known set of token now is it an office building but it was fantastic it's time because we had this kind of independence from a wider institution building to house it I might have to members who had already retired and gelled so well because she had this great sense of phone with all these it is me in the middle and you imagine for teacher training that was a real if we look back it's quite nice are you excited because it's a real light yeah you want to see that kind of exchange and people questioning things at different points you shouldn't take things too seriously publishers of jury so invest in the teaching %HESITATION yeah so you should not invest it the complete opposite really invested but not down with institutional things I think foundation great a great space well I feel you know it was a really enjoyable period for an existing McLaws drawing to a close with staffing changes she ended up no longer working with us which is a real a real shame and how many years should come back out but they were amazing we were reminiscing about trip to Barcelona trips %HESITATION lively times anyway but there's not one way but those complaints from hotel managers about noise and realized it was actually a family and I are calling Hillary was from a member of the knights %HESITATION about nights out it was definitely the strips all those memories that you go back to restructure the finding they're used to and I %HESITATION she's powered balsa loner I'm a whale of a time is because you know since the phone that Saudi role and also see since the investment and things something with Grady call off from hi my name's Ruth Scott blacks and irons I am recording this from Philadelphia in the USA that's how they get day goes by that I don't think about Sally match Sadia factions have a my work is profound would be an understatement I first met Sally aspen house the art studios at Sunderland university back in two thousand four I was studying for my MA in fine arts and she was teaching on the performing arts program by our practice was heading towards performance and video so the heads of fine arts suggested I talk with her I knew from my very first chats with Sally that she was spelling with ideas thoughts opinions and talking to her so I right now I felt more like five minutes she was a generous with her time and thoughts and also I was able to push me too hard places in my off park this while still having that campaigns and gentle touch it was hugely supportive coming from a fairly traditional sculpture degree I didn't really know a lot about performance the talking of Sally okay so I'm going to walk to be possible to me she had a nice fear courage to art and life and in some ways that rubbed off on me I start cameras to my body great people hold signs during performances kept pushing the Saudis guidance horrified that was contagious follow good night following the sense to ask a question okay talk through an idea %HESITATION just for a chat about anything really she got me out of my comfort sign I remember it was the end of the MA program she gave me some literature that was predominately terrorism related and one quite stands out but I continue to think about even useful installation I created twenty fifteen eastern state penitentiary in Philadelphia where I now live there was no trace without resistance and no action on the surface without paying for my piece at eastern state penitentiary I title that no trace without resistance this was a work where I gold leaf the walls of a south check peeling paints all throughout the penitentiary that was peeling paint but there was one specific style that I wanted to work on I was thinking was what happens if we keep scratching underneath the surface it can be very ugly but if we go a little further often something magical and beautiful can be discovered hello this is Sally yesterday actually I was doing a photo shoot having my photo taken for projects about listening that my husband is working on while pacing for the fact that I was asked think back to a train with someone really listen to you instantly I was transported back to Sally's kitchen table often she sat and listened she was a good talking to she was an amazing Wisma skillet embodies the heart and soul of a person every time I go so hard decision or challenge in my life I think to myself what would Sally do and it really is a compass in the weeks and months after her death our family would see traces of her all around background and we live in Philadelphia as I mentioned last night that she gave Bob and I my husband's as at present when we first moved in together and actually now sets and the basement winds are of my art studio a China plate that she gave me that I often eat from also a penguin puppets she secretly gifted mine now five year old daughter Betsy on our last visit with Sally almost two years ago we called the penguin style one moment I got married almost ten years ago we ask guests about wanting to make it costs each year are the best in the open the costs this past year we opened Saudis how apps it was a beautiful crown and a pair of cool paper wedding glasses spectacles one of my fondest memories from that day and watching Sally dance she was really broken up the dance floor it was amazing to see when I think back again to talking at the kitchen table I think if that happens actually one of the first things my husband robin I talked about following her passing these amazing hands that made lots of lessons in bodies everything that the Sally she was always brimming with ideas in some ways I was envious that she had so many ideas it was really hard to keep track of everything that she was working on was just some inspiring has lived in Philadelphia now for the past ten years and just before moving here I embarked on a project when asked friends to write memory that was dear to them I actually recently came across south Miami it's written on some lined paper in her handwriting so I'm gonna just read outs as a child not sure how old I am playing doctors and nurses given my dolls injections holding my mother's darning needle isolated gas waiting until it is red hot the Catholic pushing it into the dolls up arm I feel a great sense of satisfaction is the hot needle slides effortlessly through the plastic and I'm with Joe leaves a small black and whole following this operation I apply sticking plaster stolen from the bathroom medicine cabinets I finish the procedure by talking up my doll comforting her and walking out to sleep I feel very grown up and the fashions this style has many holes in her arms so many games doctors and nurses Sally S. on the third of may two thousand and eleven and as I mentioned it's hand writing sorry it's a very precious piece of paper to me you know I don't really need to say anymore about that it's got Sally but no life for us and we can see from a young age that inquisitiveness and intense curiosity more recently I've actually picked up this project again I've really been thinking about at a loss how about memory and see how we can preserve memory and I thought a backseat is five ask you many questions about life but also had many questions about that it's very age appropriate but some of these conversations really take my breath away she describes dying as being in the start it's such a vessel and match but it's really hard to race out from one's mind and I think Sally would have loved us enough to think about how shall the project since the star and sent the lands and all the elements that go with that it really felt necessary to start this project up again how we take our memories with us to the star and with this project I'm really attempting to preserve some of these nominees you know when I have ideas like this I truly miss being able to talk Sally an email telling him my plans have encouragement support always whispering in my ear from a fall maybe not that far away the garden arms %HESITATION was looking down on me from the basement window the last time I saw Sally was over two years ago I was visiting the U. K. that's how my brother's wedding as always I drop by to see Sally and she's made myself my two young daughters and siliceous watch Betsy had just turned three and how he was only four months old Sally may have dared Phyllis folksy and to my surprise my daughter with me at the time slapped up every last drop she was sorry guys with my girls and I'm just I'm sorry happy in sales that she got to meet them and they got to meet her I don't think I ever told Sally how how much of an influence she had on me in my work and I definitely didn't tell her how much she meant to me as a friends which makes me sad but when I'm saying this I also if he had a little boy from my hands that tells me that she now and then instantly and transport it back to her kitchen had devilish laugh I'm not twinkle in high I'm alignment to and I'm an artist and a person who makes all things happen with other people and I've been doing that anyhow so for twenty years also so I've lived in the castle since ninety eight so I went to the casino did my degree graduates in two thousand two never left the telephone payment and I first knew Sonny reasonably soon after I graduated there was a platform for live %HESITATION that was a regional platform that she was one of the people he was the group is set up and I was in the first one and then to come running it after that and she was one of the people on the steering grade so I've known her since then it is definitely one of the things I've literally like the most green recent blood literally left you need the year before and took on this thing because I was like yeah I'll do it not knowing what I was doing and it was such an amazing team of people who just really support that I was like yeah get a minute I mean like with totally with me it was a no huge learning space but I never felt with her %HESITATION or with any of them like I was some kind of genius I always felt like an equal which was just amazing to be like a glitch that just left me we don't don't know each other but %HESITATION just into art and have enthusiasm for this thing I know that full on Apollo assistant incredible and so generous and so I will say my double she was called willow and in the pace of Sallie Mae she was anonymous I think yes it does say that in the article artist in this age of jumble the goddess has the pack remains nameless because it does not belong to match but it is staying at home to create this must please enter it just find it really funny that this idea that my job was anonymized because that might give away too much personal information somehow if the job has been named in the guardian that someone might be able to track us down doubles two things all the time because they have teeth that never stop growing said they need to constantly two two I used to give her the inside of the toilet roll into the conflict chiefs and she would cut them and it was really cute I spent Ricky because she would sort of do it side to side and then the pieces that were left away for like little smile shape shoot me because she wasn't eating them just and then they would suit to does that become a bit sort of nest material type thing so they M. that does the animals they really shouldn't they should live in a tank to a cage though I didn't personally know the of the time and she was in a cage and %HESITATION save temples you should really have them pass minimal social who is felt that side for one she was left on her right in that case we'll see she came out of the cage as well but still I'm really not sure how the conversation came around that simply making this connection of like me to look into this but but it definitely was I think we must've been talking about it at some point and I'm not sure which came first I don't think she was sitting around waiting for someone to have a job I think that something of the conversations perhaps that we were having about I didn't maybe she might have someone else you have to jump in and just so happened that she needs the I did but let that kind of thing about how they keep touring and all of that sort of thing and like just must have been some thing of conversation somewhere along the line I quite like the call of this and this is me making up and that's how I feel about it but it's not like I'm not sure what they remember but there is some element of it that was we will have been talking at some point I'm not even talking about having a javelin some think about that which is nothing to do without nothing and then this idea came out of that and that's really nice well it's nice to think about how it happened say the book it was very specific book that Sally Chinese that was cool the new illustrated universal reference book of nineteen thirty three willow the Jebel spend these few weeks just with that as the thing that she chewed up and she checked that it was okay but it wasn't poisonous Alaska to think it was a very different way to poke the paper for you in the paper and then she's always made other things from the newspaper center that does some of the the exists in her work it was common expression it wake good this this thing at the beginning about how it was going to be in the gallery it's quite a few years ago two thousand five yes it was going to be that well I was gonna live in the gallery and obviously someone would come in every day made sure she was okay and take them out plates that were actually gonna make me just as much as anybody else because again we found the right for me it wasn't unkind and it didn't feel like in many ways knowing what space was like at the time you filled out different opinion my house something still in a cage still no I definitely didn't feel terrible but we preemptively on the gallery preemptively spoke to the RSPCA about whether it would be cruel to Dana and they advise the company would pay and is one of those things is probably like somebody would have sent it so cool they've got a job %HESITATION being doing art no just being enjoyable I don't think it's ridiculous to get them in cages so even though I and %HESITATION I had was just a funny and funny situation but anyway the RSPCA sent yeah probably down to about seven steps Ali had her at her house so she lived with Holly for those few weeks of the exhibition and they did a %HESITATION I presume it was a live stream which sounds like something a sense like so simple but in in two thousand five split little little bit more complex assembly at the X. files episodes streamed into the galleries the gallery had a video of the job of making this nest yeah and it made the guardian it wasn't front page news but it was in the paper a definite in the paper what it says is a quote from I'm just reading from the article that said the seventy two year old books and the book is an old book original editor posted to the booking neighbors the reader to have a mine of information at their fingertips the jobless mining sections from the encyclopedia to make its nest I'm sure celibacy issue we took more eloquently about that book and everything to do with it I don't know very much off of my head about the new illustrated universal reference book from nineteen thirty three but it sounds fascinating I'm sure it is useful for universal references it's quite amazing book general knowledge gazetteer sports cookery pets handyman and much more what that means I'm just reading from what trump described us on a secondhand bookshop it's funny like it's one of these works that I don't feel necessarily that like not that anyone needs to be an authority on it but what I remember about it is to do with my job rather than to deal with all of the reasons which I should know about it this isn't quite a long time ago now and think about it we live and how tough it out immediately for very long say it makes sense that it wasn't much later that day you know the facts thing she didn't live much longer so it's this funny way of being connected through friendship and conversation and then they said to memories and Glendon people things and everyone helping each other out which is just such a lovely way and I think things work in new castle a lot and I think a lot of the best things in the best bits of the art world on how things happened three conversations and friendships and and that sort of evolution and in a solid someone who was completely at the heart of the fun and made my entry into that world Mary Smith and felt like an equal and like jewelry for sharing of ideas and thoughts and Pat and whatever else you have to make things and I think that's what's so great about our city and our community I remember having this conversation with her about her thinking about making new work and she hadn't made work for really long time and then there was this she had this drive to make new work which from about the sort of time and I feel like because I was doing this platform which was about young around this and kind of we were having this conversation about with that anyone can be making me work it wasn't just about being young in age it was just about coming back to a newly making new kinds of work doing performance which I think you really haven't been doing and not to when we were talking about this I think yes it was a sort of interesting time may be a bit different to sort of things you've been doing more recently that may be a more fresh because I'm talk about conversations that I'm like that like bits of conversation that remember but it is really nice moments of her talking about doing activism and how that was like performance in the coming together of these things and she decide to do and think that she was thinking about doing and some of that being a confidence to do that and the shift of %HESITATION I could do that was a really interesting bit of time to stay like I was developing whatever I was doing at same time but it felt really nice which Sally was really supportive of I was part of like a creepy but those definitely answer mutuality and I kind of have in seeing new work being made in supporting students through when she was working at Sunderland and she invited me to do teaching with some of the mental I've still had doing that and sort of hat inspiring younger people whether students alike may email of the people we were working with and then also saying that that was something she could do and finding new ways of making what that was really exciting to see and be part of a kind of connect to them I moved from Belfast to Newcastle in August twenty fourteen and Sandra Sandra Johnson was going to be away a lot of that month's during performances here there and everywhere you know and I didn't know anybody else here and so she paid me any email contacts to Sally because Sally was planning on offense that sounds great yeah I'd be really interested in and it was a site specific screening of cul de sac right at Lindisfarne holy islands the film and it's being made in that location and getting together and watching it and not location and being able to see I think it was mark today of the shelter was there at the time so I saw the second version of the shelter it was weird because I got thrown into this bunch of people I had never met before and you know Sally had emails and such yeah come on we will have to route traffic tend to combine to number four and it was this bizarre experience fine you know good day and this person was inviting me into her home and she had a Cup of tea in the kitchen and I think that was Sally's method of seduction perhaps getting in some not kitchen Republicans say sat there for back how to chop and then packed up the car and headed up there so %HESITATION can't remember will be talks if item is in the day is an avid years ago so I think we're just getting to know each other a little banks and have the most wonderful evening and I was very stressed and anxious because I didn't know anyone and I've never been there before and it was the darkest night ever seen because I'm a city slicker and there's no lights at all like there when it gets tough it was one of those for you you knew you were part of something special on the experiences always status may end and I had taken the photos as she J. and %HESITATION that Sally was quite keen to get copies of the photos so I put them on a CD four inches for came to have me come running to high C. K. N. I was working at Newcastle University so was on our doorstep had no excuse I was right across the road anyway so I had to go around for another couple today and discover the same day after the photos and stuff yeah we just kept in touch and over that year because I was contracted at Newcastle for eleven months sundered party organized to drafting event at north Cumbria and Baltic thirty nine and that was very solid deadline scope where she was dropping us all with the roller had she just chatted away and she was collecting your stories as well as each physical traces of your shop selling is a collector of sayings as well and she was collecting us you know six who referring us up keeping a sperm deadlock haven M. U. R. Dustin are traces of ourselves and those for Colton conversations that were not recorded in anyway it was just it was part of the performance as part of thought life active collecting this physical traces she was also collecting just getting to know yelping collecting your stories you know that summer holiday of all the stuff they put an emphasis trees system keep in tough Jana sticky paper entries using French chalk I think a dusting of French chalk to connect to Salem often make sure they didn't pick up anything else so it was an act of preservation and sounds strangely fascinating the subtle colors in the palette Cindy's beautiful abstract works of art that came out of that was great so you know those are your is to provide thanks in the first year that mean you Sally and then and then I had to move away for different job so I didn't see her really a toll for about year and a half and then when I moved back to Newcastle I wasn't very well for a while but then we started to see each other regularly and twenty nineteen we probably had seen each other since but she organized a nice dinner for Saunders fiftieth birthday in December twenty eighteen and Cisco this that'll kind of S. two gas there I never understood desk side so I sound like she's the real deal why she won't dina but with me for that she was she was interested she took an interest in people and you know it was in her suggestion that we spend more time together and then track twenty nineteen we did spend quite a lot of time together and I felt very close to sublease rate that year and that was when I was quite early and twenty nineteen then when I was brave enough to ask her but she takes some time for my podcast I'd love to interview you for my podcast and two might upset the lights not only did she consent to that but she said could I do something different could I maybe just reflects on my whole career and she wrote this beautiful reflective fast safe that she ratites then we have chats and so that was fishy the facts that I just remember the experience again we recorded it in the kitchen the number four I just remember that trying because failing of setting their cold I had to stay this monitor the recording make sure she was fine reassure her a lot because she wasn't confident about it and she didn't like what she's written and sometimes things are going it's beautiful it's most beautiful thing I've ever heard you know what she thought what she thought in our mind is not going to be changed and all of that but it is it's a really gorgeous essay and really informative and our conversation after it jury a lot more items that you know we really got into a lot of the same sex marriage in her work you we talked a lot about follies things having the folly and she told me but was she containing it by collecting for years and years and years old it's a fabric that had washed off you're on the shores all right the silence it's my great provisionally to the finish off some of that work because there was a lot of it she was actively working on when she died and quite a lot of things that were almost finished but not quite and I put the responsibility but just a great joy to just finish them off don't know if that's what's all you would have to miss them I see it as a collaboration my family that I never got to have when she was alive I think she had a real defines impact on me because as I was recovering from illness and transitioning really from being at quite a theoretical academic C. embracing a more creative approach chasing king and dating things and making things and tapping into that part of me where I was always making stuff as a child and I'm so when targets and then I just went on a more academic Passeridae as a teenager and I think Sally ready problem although that I just me again so it's really nice and to be able to see that for a little bit and just assisting her with some of her pieces so I'm Sandra Johnson I'm an artist a new Sally trouble each year's earns became part of the community the pharmacists %HESITATION in new castle realizing pretty quickly her insurance I was an amazing person that she was but yeah we connected through ought to create specific that says true performance art and questioning the sinking around the purpose of everything I did was Sally was %HESITATION was upon opening the door and trying to generate trying to create opportunities for others no matter how modest you sing yourself as part of the scene sings self as part of a collective body of people like you know you can work to each other's detriment to you come up to each other's gross I hope that we showed that this idea of if you can open something for somebody else on the way better better rather than this is my projects and space limitations of photons this is the she and this is the product it was very much about how does this exponents landscape has expanded its history and how does it expand into the present moment to fix social space a lot of our friendship was about sourcing and really working through the materiality also Jackson's substances and she came back from a strained out was fast and it was %HESITATION Kerr and she actually purified and mine's a bike for the focus for me but she finds in landscape which is perfect is this perfect gift she handed me like an envelope I bought a small shovel full of yellow ochre from the Cumbrian landscape and those interesting things like me often poker from Australia and also because I don't go in the art shop probably produced in France and then she handed me because she saw seem when she was walking through the landscape she was always find a lifeguard skills animal skeletons but also she made necklaces out of Robert down to middle sorts things out of storage and the side that she spotted a seam of yellow ochre in the middle of a coastal landscaping overseas to produce Ali to mine and to bring it back and that's we talked a lot about that particular thing and it is and how is an artist your Honda materials with the you're converting them into something else as a sculpture process as an artist to conversations with Sally were so rich because we had a ripple effect except for hours about distinctions between things in space in a way what makes something art or not art causes us to that line between our life that we are both interested in I wasn't just to emphasize a an artist in north Easton somebody having a strong social identity but also very strong feminist identity a lot of our conversations would be about what is to be a woman making performance and what it is to be putting a body in front of an audience and the phone bills to sign for legacy that should be %HESITATION underestimate is how churches please she felt about this woman and to it yourself awards and to be seen and to be seen doing things that are will show signs of chords and progressive for absurd too shiny so that was tremendous humor in the work which is very very difficult to do the four months since it's very difficult to make genuinely humorous work I think some of the %HESITATION got away with it because it was never cheap there's always something very mysterious but the way that she would turn the tables on things into the audience we should keep moving perceptions of what was happening she wrote quote hopefully change the momentum or changed you know change the pace of the estrogen are suggested to her she used language she used in a way the lecture format so she's one of those performers where the use of the speech and use of text was really really critically important and I think it was an expansion of her teaching and her sense of paying to go to get motivated to that when she was performing she was also informing in a way also cruising productive misinformation that she would see performance as a platform to play with ideas and play with people's prejudices or substances I very much like the way she used physicality and really precise sections but put in conjunction with writing the way that she delivered to Texas where she spoke when she was reading a text that she'd written was formality but then she would drift into informality and shop with the audience knows what steered by the city's sneeze shifts in mood and how she would work through a body of material which is also something that we have in common it's not overly choreographed how to work with a number of things and put them into motion some of Tennessee and the chaos of science you know how long you can keep each one of those ideas into this physical ideas how long you keep them alive for and what happens when they collide and what happens when %HESITATION the diminishing you have to leave them behind she was a very very strong link between the performer and Sally the researcher and academic and desire to inspire people through ideas and that was it within that was a very strong feminist agenda that I really really admire to what was Carl and the way that they pose seemingly carelessness and honestly you know they were so %HESITATION so funny and a reference you know when you're in the company whether they were performing or not it was just like so within that this woman had such passion such meticulous on it in a call so well but a sincerity and associated with the oxytocin forming on snow working with difficult ideas was so you know so much there and everything that she did it there was a kitchen composition or performance or teaching and also the way that she was with children the way that she brought here what I mean by reference to said childishness but not in the way of course I childish which are a hundred the noxious horrible message in art it was somebody's genuinely working with the spirits of innocence and invention and this is simply for the poor the way that she would put things in motion I'm not really sure which way they would come together I think that excitement was really tangible a new watch tower known to a lot of potential I think that's what I meant about the innocence that she has enough issues and some playfulness we don't know what the test is going to achieve but you throw yourself into it one hundred percent then there is the accidents that is the beautiful thing so I think we're both cell and I was fascinated with was hard to keep our spontaneous and system and if you don't keep this level of spontaneity within it that it loses some of its life I think she was interested in was the spark you know talking with her and this was a problem solver and having a creative relationship with her I know that she did this for many many many people this is the thing that's coming so he was a mentor and a huge creative support inspiration for so many people because she was well capable of putting the elbow and north giving you the extra so knowledge of like why are you holding back why don't you do it you know why don't you just do that I do not support a sick idea what's holding you back make a phone call and I think there's a lot of people like us to consider their just for things to happen I see many artists are rates of some of the people making good art you know this is sort of jealousy around but what I loved about Sally was so close that can never be enough good art is not possible so why wouldn't you engage in some humble way with seven markers ought Sally much there she is a tiny figure in the distance sprouting along the touchline vanishing into the mist soon she will appear again at the top of the deeds of sliding down with an armful of collected material scraps shreds will down the wind dried leaves be treacle feathers clusters of dried blood arek canvas strips carton of cuts ripped and crinkled staying with oily smears right plastic Schantz rusty orange imprints on bits of tarpaulin congealed pitch loosely strips of red brick docks lives of ply so the misshapen cobbled worn down fragments of glass beautifully bent sticks reach wrapped in bundles with found brunt cold fluorescent fibers knitted into extraordinary spatial drawings sometimes she would trudge torches at others she would hurry a small front steps in the sand the fading trailed behind to a trace of her urgency etched into the land she is the figure in the landscape we note her comprehensive movement about the beach down to the edge of the sea and back up over the change with people without people people moving towards our people moving away from her or part of her performance of exploring finding and making of interpreting the broad sandy spaces adjacent to the North Sea she celebrated core of old road lugged up from the sea and they're in the genes come across an elegant loop of insulated wire perhaps just an inch long Sally ever the whole card collector alert to every creative possibility researching stimuli for the future creative actions and just alive to the delight of finding she would have a soul collecting wood for the fire and we will return to some previously agreed income until they are well done perhaps she would have already %HESITATION arise blowing into our hands ready to ignite some cross some tended to get a place going on a winter's often in the mist hanging over the sea darkness descending sparks flying in the air would smoke trailing away into invisibility children like Amy and Lucy delighted at the venture Sally would crunch over in her fur coat and there would be food all of us sitting and watching and laughing and talking and eventually we would all go home the better for it each of us with our own digital collections in emulation of her enthusiasms days later things would appear joined up constructions in the yard tiny arrangements on shelves fact collages in books hanging sent to gather the precipitation consciousness that is scattered in the toddler articulated in combines enclosures in thought in Oct other fragments peeled off the world scraped off the beach natural the toddler and buried in the sand rescued from the fire blown by the wind clutch under her arm squeezed into her pockets bundled up with strange and in the pages of sickening workbooks these found poems of fragments unexpected combinations books like sheaves feathers rags hanging out of the binding the book of the found materials between the pages are holding firm for experience this was Saturday the spontaneous wrestler's performance artist being closely observed in her practice Sally as a teacher introducing us to techniques of alfresco making engaging with the land finding and openness about material of freedom to make using anything to hand collaborating to find meanings and expression surprising alliances and alignments juxtapositions and overlaps generating metaphor and narrative Sally a tide line in your studio offering findings making urgent revelations look what I found indexical gestures look at what is possible fairies who from the sea all this from where we have worked where we have been taken hearing the wave sweeping over the sand seeing the shag flying low over the cold we'll see and it is %HESITATION spreading outwards through you flooding through your house the precious unforgettable Fulson Thomas's crescent and on and on through those of us you brought within your compass a maker a teacher of a former a divisor of activities happenings and events constructing landmarks out in the North Sea borders asserting the principles of land out engaging opening watching us encouraging us children converged on her ready to receive her praise and common tree for their own making back in the kitchen around the table celebrating with conviviality the error of the North Sea in the malls in the rivers with a glass of wine shared food inclusive talking no one outside everyone gathered together around Sally around her table around her mind around her making building in her passions an inspiration to all of us a polymath the mental and artist Sally manage rivers imagine a moderate offshore breeze when the tide begins to wane with the lapping of tiny waves blown back against the grain battles in the sun crackle as they shift this way and that while you stroll along the shoreline with Sally chewing the North Sea fast

Audiovisual Cultures episode 72 – Creative Recovery with Rachel Brook automated transcript

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hello and welcome to audio visual cultures i’m paula blair and today i’m catching up with rachel brook who i hope you remember organized a special international women’s day event that we recorded for the podcast back in march and she also appeared in the late shows episode back in 2019 rachel has been using creativity both as a means of working through trauma and in developing her career as a practicing artist and these are topics that she’s going to take talk us through today huge thanks to our members at forward slash iv cultures for your much valued support you might know that i’m managing persistent technical difficulties lately so memberships or donations to paypal dot me forward slash pei blair or buy me a coffee dot com forward slash pei blair are hugely appreciated we’ll connect now with rachel in her studio and just so you’re aware we are going to get into some tough issues as well as talking through rachel’s experience and developing body of work i hope you find this really fascinating

hello rachel how you doing

i’m good thank you and it’s lovely to see you uh i’m just um in my studio at the moment um i’ve been painting this morning or touching up some paintings should i say i’ve kind of been working on some stuff for a while that i’m kind of trying to just tweak and yeah i’m i’m setting myself a bit bonkers with a few things you know when you you’re trying to get something exactly how you want it and it’s not quite going the way you want it so i’m great but i’m also in this sort of little like oh [ __ ] space where i’m trying to achieve something and i’m not quite there we could just about see behind you you’re doing some very precise geometrical work at the moment yes i am um i’m uh yeah in fact i i obviously i’m gonna hold something up which will be on the video um obviously if you want to uh see anyone who’s listening to the podcast um you can uh check out the the youtube uh video but this is this is one example of some little bits and pieces that i’m working on so um for anyone who doesn’t know what this is it’s a tesseract um or a four-dimensional cube and so what what essentially this consists of is um there are eight different cubes that sit within this space and they share um multiple kind of dimensional space so for example there’s a cube here and a cube here but the end of that cube shares that same space um then you’ll also have a cube here and a cube here um and a cube here and here um and that yeah when the more that you look at it the more that you can sort of and this is all of the different cubes within it and what’s even more interesting and actually when i first started drawing these i um i was really obsessing over it because i couldn’t figure out how to draw one i knew what like what i wanted to draw and i understood the the kind of the the theoretical makeup of it um with with kind of access space i suppose um and it wasn’t until about a week or two ago that i realized that actually the entire thing is just squares so there’s a square here and then a square here but there’s also a square here and here and so actually what i now do originally i was drawing them in a different way but now i’d just draw square square square square square and because of the but once you get so far along it you actually the the the points that the the next squares sort of join up you you already have a reference point from the first few squares that you’ve drawn and so it’s just fascinating that the eight two-dimensional squares presented within an octagon creates this um this this tesseract shape

yeah a weird obsession that i’ve had during the lockdown period um and i think something i don’t know whether it’s something that’s come from it or it’s something that i was already obsessing over and maybe kind of resulted in me sort of learning how to to produce these shapes but being inside a flat um that’s quite small um and kind of being limited about how much time we can go out and do things um and sort of you know

feeling uh isolated or alienated by or both um and i guess maybe like somewhere in my subconscious this idea that you know like if i could actually um understand how four-dimensional space works then technically that would allow me to have more space because if if this cube here is my living room and this cube here which shares the same dimensional space as this cube is like extra space that i don’t currently have access to if i can access the fourth dimension then essentially i have more space inside the the area that i exist um so that’s kind of maybe where some of it comes from i i i’m still kind of making sense of it all and hoping that at some point i’ll have some sort of i mean i think maybe the you know the the sci-fi nerd in me is is um is hoping that you know i’ll eventually be able to understand um what four-dimensional space is but i think that’s highly unlikely um because this technically this only is a

it’s it’s a theoretical framework that helps you understand four-dimensional space but of course because we only live in three dimensions it’s impossible for us to ever really fully understand what it’s like to live outside of three dimensions because it’s all that we know and it’s all that we have the ability to experience so if i go completely bonkers at the end of this and at least we’ve documented it

it’s a i don’t know i it feels like i’ve been finding it very therapeutic actually watching your videos of you actually coloring them um it feels like you’re taking us a bit on your voyage of discovery of the these dimensions so it’s just kind of nice yeah and i mean that to a certain extent that kind of comes from i suppose from being at home and also learning a bit more about how i can use the the digital realm the age of information to my advantage in all of this um and but also to share you know it’s not just purely narcissistic but like the the you know that there’s so many platforms out there that you can share visually and and like i recognize that you have to be careful with your like artistic property your intellectual property when when you’re dealing with you know the digital realm because you know it it’s so easy to kind of um yeah put something out there and essentially lose it whether it’s you know whether you lose it emotionally or whether you lose it and it’s something i’m really fascinated about maybe it’s a conversation for another time but just kind of what it means to to kind of to be an artist within the the you know the age of information and not just a visual artist you know a musician or you know a performance artist or you know um and yes it’s definitely something i’m kind of thinking more on and would like to discuss more in a future day for sure yeah yeah yeah um so

so you’ve been you’ve been working a lot on this kind of work a lot in the past few months and um if it’s okay could you take us back to where do you think the kernels of those ideas are coming from and how that process of of the of the working uh of the creativity hi that’s uh you know what what’s the genesis of that so are you happy to take us through some of that sure yeah and i think that’s yeah really significant to what i’m doing now and and you know why i’m doing what i’m doing now um so if i’ll i’ll give you a bit of um a kind of introductory background to sort of i guess the last um the last eight months or so so up until january i was working in a part-time job and i’ve been in that for about a year and a half after being made redundant from full-time work um and basically um the um the first week of 2020 i saw out the last hearing um in a tribunal case and that had been ongoing since well since before my redundancy actually um and it was yeah really exhausting process um massively debilitating really impacted my mental health and my relationship and basically towards the end of 2019 my partner suggested that i leave the job that i was in um and essentially he said he would support me through the process um of transitioning to basically making my artwork a professional endeavor and so i’m using um this is something i’ve only come up with in the last sort of week or so but um which is influenced by a few other things as well i’m using a hashtag creative recovery um because i think that you know while what i’m doing isn’t primarily therapy i am finding this work therapeutic um or if not therapeutic at least you know i’m doing work that also feels like self-care yeah um which is very very important um but yeah like i mean i massively took a a leap of faith um and i genuinely thought that by this time i would be you know having to get a part-time job to pay bills um and that was that was kind of obviously something that’s that’s um you know been uh an issue because what i found when i when i was working my last part-time job i thought oh i’ll work part-time and that part-time work will allow me the time to focus on these you know creative practices that i’ve wanted to focus on for a while but actually um you know it’s that the job was you know it consumed a lot of my energy um it was it was a great job and and uh and i loved where i was working um and so i do want to talk today about um you know these sort of problematic work situations that i’ve been in um but i do actually i think it’s really important um to mention that the last job that i was doing i was working for um good space which sadly is is no longer um running um in the form that it was when i was there um due to covert 19 and it was a great job and i loved it very much and with that being my most recent job i want to make sure that when i’m talking about problematic work situations today that that doesn’t get um mistaken for for one of those environments because it absolutely was a wonderful place to work and i love my colleagues um and you know it’s uh it probably helped me uh transition from you know being in that kind of full-time work life that was you know quite problematic for me um to to actually come to you know to where i am now and you know i’ve been um i’ve been a visual artist my whole life like since i was a child i’ve always you know in involved myself in in in creative expression um you know and and maybe like hadn’t hadn’t ever as a child like had never thought that it was something that i could do as a you know as a job or you know and and like i think that i’ve really struggled to say the words that i am an artist essentially and like my brain has tried to sabotage this process and and like really struggle to say it out loud and then like i think oh it’s only been in the last few months where i feel comfortable just saying i’m in awe it’s like oh what do you do rachel oh i’m an artist like you know and some people it’s crazy that some people still sort of are like what do you do like you know my partner was trying to explain it to his nana the other day and and she was like so just just sell paintings and it’s like i mean sometimes i do but that’s absolutely not everything that i do and i guess there are two branches of of work that i’m focusing on the moment one being kind of community project work um and then this more personal journey um which uh you know that are crossovers um but yeah this this the painting um i do make artists film although i admit we haven’t made one for a while um photography sometimes um but yeah and creative facilitation as well i mean the last film-related project that i worked on i was facilitating a group of people to make a piece of film so um it was i definitely had some creative input into it but but it was very much about them and their work um it was with a group of people who were um living with grief um cross-generational the youngest person was 12 the oldest person was and essentially i i worked with them um and an ex-colleague of mine a girl called hannah mcpharlin who runs polaris film um and we uh yeah we spent six weeks with this group of people and essentially supported them through expressing their experiences of grief through a piece of artist film um it because of the nature of it all the film’s not available anywhere because it’s for them and it’s for their personal use and you know i think that unless they all were happy with it being exhibited um you know we won’t get to show that to anyone which is fine because you know at the end of the day when you’re facilitating or you’re facilitating creative processes it’s really hard to to kind of make sure that that process is not about you and it’s about the people that you’re working with um and so i’m trying to get i haven’t got anything else like that lined up at the moment but i’m i’m like looking for more opportunities to do that sort of thing as well um so so yeah that’s kind of where i am um was made redundant had this employment tribunal um that kind of came to an end and then i just made this decision to yeah to to transition um and you know that’s kind of brought me to where i am now um brilliant so i’m i’m really interested in that idea of transitioning in terms of life and career because it’s so similar when why i even started this podcast um

would you would you be okay with telling us a bit more about what spurred that need for change than you yeah yeah absolutely and i think the word the really important word that you use there is need um like it it wasn’t just something that i wanted it was something that i needed to do and like i think i spent i spent you know a large portion of 2019 um either conversing with my therapist or thinking about my conversations with my therapist about kind of how like i just knew that i wasn’t doing what i wanted to be doing um and that almost like i feel like in in many ways some of the jobs that i’ve worked over the years where i’ve been in like a structured working environment you know full-time hours uh you know large organizations that it can really sort of gaslight you out of thinking about you know what actually works for you and what’s best for you and what you know and and i recognize that like you know i’m in a a position of privilege in being able to do this um although i did take some big risks and you know like i didn’t know if if this was going to financially work um so you know i recognize that it’s not as straightforward as just being like oh yeah quit your job and you know do something fabulous because it’s not like that at all and it has taken a really long time to kind of you know decide what it is that i want to do and look at what i can do to make those changes and look at who’s around me who can support me to make those changes and like i mean i think one of the key things is empowerment um you know i’ve been empowered by some really excellent people yourself included paula like who who’ve you know talked to me about creativity and about all and about you know culture and and and made me kind of realize that there’s an incredible community of people in newcastle that allow me to be able to do the things that i do um and so you know i’m i’m i’m here and i’m doing it but i also recognize that like basically you know while i went through this tribunal case um which had a massive impact on me anyway it was actually like one factor in a much larger experience of work-related trauma that i’m sort of still recovering from and you know where i’ve experienced abusive management dysfunctional workplaces poor ethics outright bullying and discrimination and you know just just really toxic working environments um and i feel like i escaped my last full-time job um despite being damaged and exhausted and the irony being is that i was made redundant like it almost reminds me of you know that you i’ve been in an abusive relationship before where like i’m miserable and i hate the relationship but yet i’m devastated when it ends and that was kind of you know i used to describe this job as an abusive relationship all the time this sort of idea that like you know i was miserable every day and i hated it and and i saw things going you know i knew that i wasn’t the only person experiencing um these sort of negative things and like you know but you sort of when you’re in something like that you kind of you you you get lost in it i suppose um and like i think the thing that really shook me up was just sort of how how much my professional confidence was not you know like 10 years ago i was in london i was working in marketing um in television post-production industry and you know then moved on to uh some film festival work also in marketing and like to think that i was in a certain place 10 years ago and and then i’ve kind of found myself back in newcastle for various reasons you know first job that i got when i moved back to newcastle knocked my professional confidence so much that i just i like i still i still feel the effects of it now absolutely um and i found it really hard to talk to people about or really hard to find the sort of the right dialogues to to to discuss all the right kind of environments to discuss it because you know there’s a point where like you’re sitting in the pub or well not at the moment well or you know you’re sitting in you you’re with your friends and you’re like oh you’re whinging about your job again it’s like you kind of like i got sick of hearing myself talking about it um and so i had to change how how i talk about it and how i think about it and how how it is how that dialogue works in my life and and it kind of has to be for me it has to be a positive thing in some way there has to be something positive that’s coming out of it and it’s taken the absolutely incredible bravery of a few select people who are also ex-colleagues of mine um who are either previous or president well i think previous now uh employees of the tyneside cinema um who’ve spoken out um about how they’ve been abused and was treated and then silenced um and and that those kind of conversations that have been shared have allowed me to feel a lot more comfortable talking about these negative experiences and especially within a professional environment because i think there’s definitely you know there’s this whole i guess it’s a i suppose it’s an etiquette isn’t it that around you know you’re not supposed to talk about it you know the bad thing happens at work and everyone you know everybody knows but nobody talks about it it’s an elephant in the room and it’s always there um and actually no you know these things have to be discussed and they have to be made public they have to be brought out into the open um and so i’m really grateful to to the people involved in that campaign um for reminding me of uh collective strengths and the power of having a voice basically i’m just gonna um share with you some information if anyone’s not familiar with what’s been happening at the time side cinema and there is a website that’s been set up and it’s and that has a full overview of what’s been happening there it also has a petition that can be signed and i think some more things are going to be coming on there in the next couple of days as well so yeah um head over there to to read more about that

um yeah it’s been it’s been it has i’ve been following it closely and it’s been such a an angering very bitter disappointment um because i think especially because it’s a it’s a cultural organization that professes to uphold diversity and inclusivity and um it’s so frustrating that what should be the flagship cultural organization of the region really um has been just just to find out that not just that abuses have been taking place but they’re so intrinsic and endemic and devastating you know it’s been yeah it’s been really hurtful and you know this it’s an organization that personally and professionally i’ve tried really hard to support and you know you know so it’s yeah it’s been a it’s been a strange one and um you know it’s really frustrating that you know um even before a lot of this broke on social media um when people took to social media because they weren’t getting any answers um you know even before this you know when the closures happened with lockdown and there were the drives for funding and that sort of thing i just find it quite frustrating to see all these messages that look we welcome the gays we welcome all read we welcome all religions welcome all abilities and disabilities and all of this we welcome working-class people and and as somebody who’s sort of from a working-class background but sort of made good people i mean i’ve never felt that it’s a welcome space for working class or per people um and it’s an incredibly white clientele and you know so on and so forth you know so i i felt that there was hypocrisy there anyway that needed to be called up then just the absolute craft of stuff that’s come out um that’s so painful for people and again just the idea that it’s a cultural institution where we should be using ideas and moving forward and um you know it’s we we shouldn’t can be trying to do better but when there’s an organization that’s saying we do all these things and we’re brilliant there’s alarm bells so yeah yeah yeah and and i think that one of the one of the things that i’ve seen um within the the conversations is very much about this sort of so these things have come out in the open and and you know these people are you know putting themselves in in potentially vulnerable situations by sharing some really really um triggering information for themselves you know and other people but doing it because it’s all that they know what to do and and and doing it because they’ve been silenced and and that’s the thing that really scares me about these sorts of things happening and i know that that you know this happens everywhere or not everybody happens a lot and that you know people have these encounter these issues and they’re silenced they’re either paid to be quiet you know i mean i guess you know with my own tribunal situation like the thing about the tribunal process is that you know it’s public and you know you have a panel of experts who are there to listen to you and to listen to your voice um but but it’s also really like arduous long stressful process that you know you can do without legal representation and i entered into without legal representation and i did represent myself but that had a whole load of you know i mean i spent something like like 150 pound on like buying a printer and and sitting printing out all my tribunal documents like something like 700 pages and like sitting and putting them all together and you know putting the page numbers on them and making sure you know making little mistakes and you know i guess maybe uh you know i haven’t done anything like that since i was at university where you know when i was you know when i was uh studying um you know we still did everything on paper and you have to get everything perfect it’s just submit i’m i’m sure you you you know um in just that whole like yeah arduous awful process um but there’s so many people who have experiences where they literally just there isn’t any evidence and and i think that you know there’s something really problematic

societally when you know if somebody says like i have experienced this and just because there’s no evidence doesn’t mean that that it should be ignored um and this sort of idea that you know i i think as somebody highlighted a response in in the in that situation which was something along the lines of we’re sorry that you feel that you have been harassed or we’re sorry that you feel that you have been and that just not we are sorry that this has happened and not like you know

it’s it’s very much like we’re sorry that you feel that way but it’s not an acknowledgement of what these people are actually saying and in the use of use of words like claim didn’t claim this they you know they feel this it’s like you know does that mean that um you know that people put out uh sort of it during the the kind of the the surge of of coronavirus um from uh pretty patel the sorry that you feel you have died um you know and that that’s that that’s come to mind when seeing all of this like it’s yeah it’s it’s such a it’s such a really problematic way of apologizing and it essentially it’s not apologizing it’s a non-apology as they say you know um but it just it what that does is that puts the onus back on the person who is i don’t want to use i hate to use the word victim because you know there’s not everyone wants to be called a victim not everyone wants to be referred to as a victim but but the people who have experienced these negative things you know that lack of acknowledgement that silencing that that you know inability to make an apology what that does to people is it is it is it essentially says this is not our burden this is your burden you will hold this burden but i think you know what’s happening with this particular situation is that there’s so many people who’ve had so many negative experiences um within you know this these sort of past working environments that they’re actually all coming together and supporting each other in solidarity which is is is fantastic and and hope it empowers more people to to do the same i hope so too yes because i know in my own scenario of an abusive workplace it was very much a divide and conquer and it’s actually quite amazing to see people come together and say no we’re not going to let you divide us we are going to talk to each other we’re going to talk publicly about this and as you say it that in itself is empowering for other people to see especially if they’ve had have been through something you know um in a similar vein um yeah and i mean it’s yeah because it was all bad enough anyway and then just the the whole situation the whole the you know the pandemic happening the world going on fire everything having to shut down it’s another thing that’s used as an excuse to oh well no we can’t deal with that because there’s this whole other massive thing that we have to do um it just keeps your you just yeah growing up in a civil conflict that’s not in peace time that’s been the narrative always it’s like oh we have to deal with the legacy of this and we can’t you know deal with you know godly autonomy or or marriage rights or whatever um and it just feels a very similar kind of it’s a systemic the abusive narrative of no this is this other massive yeah and we can’t deal with that right now you know you’ll just have to yeah you know um so yeah but it’s just so wonderful it’s painful and it’s hard it’s really hard to read the stuff but i think it’s an important read with all of these different people and all of their different threads and daily they’re pushing it because they’re not letting it go and these are people who are trying to do phds they’re trying to get on the jobs they’re trying to raise their children yeah they’re trying to get on with their lives but it’s neither thing they have to do because what if there is a chance here of justice you know because it’s not not just an issue of acknowledgement it’s an issue of justice now it feels as well yeah absolutely um i’m just thinking maybe it’s important to mention that yeah that the anyone who hasn’t followed this and does go into like kind of um you know delves into it and actually you know there’s a lot of information on twitter and a lot of these people these incredible people have shared a lot of really really personal information and then yeah there is some quite um you know upsetting stuff to read um so you know anyone who does read it just be kind of aware of that because it is really really really upsetting um and and it’s yes it’s a strange feeling as you say like this it’s wonderful that these people are kind of coming together but at the same time you know that solidarity like you know it’s you you kind of wish that you didn’t have to have solidarity uh you know you you don’t want to be in that position in the first place but you know once you’re there that solidarity is so important you know um and yeah i mean i think the thing that that i worry and i recognize that different people have different resilience um but i also something that that i’ve you know researched um is the is is like the you know mental health statistics um both in the region but also within within cultural sectors and so the you know there’s a significantly higher percentage of people who um report mental health within the arts and within the cultural sector um and the northeast has the height is the highest you know the uh number of cases of mental health in the country like by region so the chances are that that you know there’s going to be people who you know who who are less resilient and who are going to really struggle and they’re going to find this really hard to to come through and you know this you know my own tribunal situation for example was something that um was a you know was triggering for my mental ill health but it was also about my mental ill health so i um i brought a a claim for disability discrimination um and failure to make reasonable adjustments um to my ex-employer because i was discriminated for my mental ill health and i was you know that wasn’t supported and so that the sort of that like spiral of um of kind of oh wow like i’m already really low like my you know my my mental health is already bad and now i’m having to you know put myself in a position where i know that it’s going to have a detrimental effect on my mental health when my mental health is already so low and so like across all of the different places of work and all the different people i’ve met over the years who’ve had you know negative experiences or had experiences where they probably could if they wanted to take their employer to try people don’t because the the process is so so difficult um and you know it’s not for everyone and you know just comes in different forms but i think that like one of the things that i’m only just so finding myself to start to feel differently about is not being angry all the time um and it’s very when you’ve when you’ve you know when you’ve been mistreated and when you’ve been who it’s you know that angus often there and it and it kind of affects everything for you knows any you know any and if you’ve been if you’ve experienced this um this type of uh like workplace abuse essentially every time you enter into a workplace your brain is being reminded oh work like oh so you know if you you know like you if you step on on you know sharp stones with bare feet it hurts and so the next time you you know the next time you see you’ve got bare feet and you just the pebbles are sharp you know oh that’s going to hurt like your body is naturally wired your brain is naturally wired to to like to learn from from both positive and negative experiences so if if your place of work is the thing that makes you you know sad or angry or exhausted or miserable or suicidal then every time you go to a place of work you’re going to be reminded of that and that’s always going to happen and and you know i really worry for the the people that i’m seeing at the moment who are who are going through these awful things because like there’s a long process ahead that they’re going to need to you know adapt how they feel about work again because that’s the site of trauma that’s a sight of you know of of um of negativity for them and and and you know i i really um i guess it’s something that i’m sort of i’ve been thinking about for a period of time and that’s something we’ve discussed as well i think is is this sort of um you know kind of how how do how do we support each other to be kind of stronger through these processes and and you know i mean maybe something that i’d like to do in the future when i’m ready is is you know set up some sort of network for people who have experienced these sorts of things to help them kind of you know rehabilitate back into into a positive working environment yeah yeah i i totally hear you and it’s something i’d certainly love to be involved with because um you know the more people i meet or reconnect with and we realize gosh we have this shared story of surviving an abusive workplace and edit and very often it’s usually somebody who is also a survivor of uh an abusive romantic relationship or an abusive partnership as well so yeah um uh it’s it’s unbelievable how many of us there are right there and yet it’s you know i’ve seen this on twitter as well recently there’s not a lot of it doesn’t seem like anybody’s the abuser or anybody’s the rapist but yet there’s all these people who’ve been hurt badly where where where is this coming from um yeah so actually you’ve hit on a really interesting point there sorry and if i interrupted you not at all um if you wanted to finish i can wait not at all you work away it’s because it’s something i hadn’t kind of prepared to talk about but it’s definitely been something that’s been going through my head and i think that you know as you say there’s lots of people talking about these experiences and yet not you know not people coming forward i mean you know i mean you know be really a breath of fresh air for someone to come vote and say wow like i was that person at work you know and and i think that you know when you actually break down like what the definition of bullying and harassment is in a workplace environment it’s not it’s defined by how the person experiences it not by necessarily exactly what someone does so someone can be doing something that they don’t necessarily even realize is a problem and that’s why you have you know companies have like basic policies and procedures at least they should anyway but many of them don’t to to have you know so that someone you know because someone does something once and then you you speak to your you know in theory that the ideal is that something horrible happens you speak to your manager your manager speaks to them and they go oh wow i didn’t even realize that i was making that person feel uncomfortable i didn’t even real and you know but what happens often is that you get people who are allowed to behave a certain way and nobody questions their behavior nobody questions how they treat people you know and they stay in companies they get promoted they become people’s managers and nobody’s gone hang on a minute like this you know all you know what as what appears to have happened in in some situations that we’ve discussed today is that you know people do try and highlight to their managers and of course nepotism has a huge um part to play in all of this and at the end of the day like if you know if you’re a manager and your you know friend is accused of doing something horrific like you would hope that you would do the right thing you would hope that you would you know but it appears that often that doesn’t happen um but i think the yeah the thing that i’ve really really thought about over the last few days is so so for example in in the in the stuff with the um hindsight cinema um the the i think they’ve actually set up a twitter account which is calling for the resignation of the chair of the board of trustees and the ceo and now the thing that’s occurred to me more than anything is like when all of this is over are they going to be okay as well you know and and the thing about um someone asked a question to a group chat that i was in the other day about like what what does it mean um to be an empowered woman and i think it’s this you know an empowered woman empowers other people um and doesn’t you know take all of the empowerment for themselves and not share it amongst everyone you know or whatever and i think that like i i like there are in my own cases and in my own experiences there are people who i am angry at individual people that i’m angry at and there is absolutely um a need for accountability when it comes to these situations but i do wonder like you know what you know are these people also going to need their own you know trauma um uh kind of process after this as well um and and then i recognize how problematic that is because you know you think well there are people whose actions have inflicted you know trauma on other people but then you know they’re also part of that same toxic entity and you know if i can say oh i’ve been in places of work where i haven’t been able to see the woods for the trees um i you know haven’t been able to see outside of it then you know it’s possible that that the people you know the the people who are um you know coined the perpetrators in these situations may also it’s not as black and white as that’s a good person and that’s a bad person and that person’s experienced something horrible and this person is evil you know i don’t believe in that kind of binary um you know i believe in rehabilitation and you know i i really dislike the way that you know we um prosecute people in the way that we punish people through through our you know and the prison system and things like that i mean that’s a whole other conversation to have another day but like you know there is you know there’s always room for people to change and there’s always room for people to to recognize the things that they’ve done wrong and i think one of them like the the most defining moments for me like as a as a um i guess as a as like a person who values intersectional feminism um is that you know i have i’ve not i’ve not been kind to people in the past yeah and i’ve i’ve you know i i can look back to like times in in my early 20s where you know i could have been that person at work i could have easily been that person um and or recognizing that like i was bullied at school really badly but that doesn’t change the fact that i know that there were times when i was at school that i didn’t make people feel very good either and you know the i have this this really vivid memory of um having a conversation with someone at school and i said to them that they said like oh i said something like you know you know why don’t you talk to me in this class or something like that and i said oh because you bully me in in design technology and she’s like do i and i’m like yeah um and she had no idea that she made me you know she did her actions were bullying towards me um and then what i realized like much later on in adulthood that actually i probably you know was that person at times too where i didn’t think about my actions and i mean i think the difference is that that you know that when someone highlights to you what you are doing is wrong and you have the opportunity to change and you don’t then there’s a problem there and that that’s something that you know is is damaging definitely yeah because it’s you need that moment of reflection of humility to go oh that’s not okay what i’ve been doing um yeah whereas i think the knee jerk reaction is to go it was just messing about you know or it was just joking or you know or you’re taking it too thick or you know things like that and i completely i’m completely with you you know certainly maybe it’s a use thing maybe it’s an arrogance of use type thing but yeah i don’t remember being very high in my day when i was younger at times and then learning more humility as it got older and especially you think about well look that action really hurt me and it’s just developing empathy isn’t it it’s that’s why yes you can care about the people who directly or indirectly have done harm to you or have allowed harm to happen to you and not stood up for you you can still be worried about how it affects our lives eventually because you know because you have a capacity for for empathy and that that is it it’s just how much of a capacity for empathy do any of us ever develop and then you can look at yourself and go okay the way i spoke to that person was uncalled for do you know i need to get better and future yeah you know it’s it’s things it’s checking yourself it’s because we all have hardwired prejudices we all make mistakes but it’s are you gonna own that mistake and absolutely become a better person from it you know that’s the difference whereas i think a lot of abusive behavior is perpetrated by people who believe themselves to be victims they believe themselves why is everybody ganging up for me all of a sudden i have no doubt that there are certain people who are asking those questions right now at the middle of all of the time side stuff you you mentioned empathy uh just now and that made me think about kind of um how workplaces you know rely on these hr manuals or hr policies or hr consultants who come in and say this is how you do things um i know and i recognize that you know these policies and procedures are meant to protect a company primarily you know but like you’re dealing with human beings at the end of the day and you can’t you can’t like i don’t believe that a person can pick and choose when to use embassy like empathy should exist whether you’re in your personal life or whether you’re at work um and you know putting like a basic hr process in front of you know how somebody thinks feels is terrifying and i know that companies do it um and and i know that you know big corporate companies do it especially and they and like they make it work um but when you’re dealing with arts organizations i don’t think that that’s it’s just not the same environment and you know i like there’s all these sort of dialogues around oh it’s so you know there’s no money in the arts but actually like these you know these arts organizations like a lot you know for example the times cinema is a national portfolio organization receiving like you know money every year from the arts council from the bfi from all of these different funding bodies um and like you know the the i respect that the arts are massively underfunded in many areas but i think that often that you know the people who are struggling in the arts or people who are down at my level like trying left right and certainly trying to get funding to be able to do things like a big a big company that employs 100 members of staff should should not be in a position like that if they are being given money to run they should be running properly and they should be you know if things are dysfunctional if things aren’t working there should be you know you know they should be going well why why isn’t this working and what can we do to change it um and i think that that you know one of the biggest issues in all of this is is kind of how you essentially you get these dysfunctional workplaces that are micromanaged from the top down and they’re not people focused and so they they impact everyone you know who works there’s and unfortunately the people who have experienced trauma or have mental ill health or you know have additional support needs for example you know they come out of these environments like needing respite they need recovery and you know often they end up backing work too soon because i don’t have a choice you know you know not everyone is in a position to to to you know like you know be as lucky as where i’m at the moment where you know i’ve got a partner who can help me um kind of transition into what i’m doing like you know if you’ve got bills playing you’ve got bills to pay and you have to figure out how that’s going to happen and so you know and i’ve definitely found myself like coming out of a traumatic work experience and then going into another job and just feeling um completely like lost and and miserable and i mean my biggest workplace trauma is led me to have extreme feelings of disassociation you know finding myself like getting up going to work coming home from work having my tea going about getting up going to work and just being in this like this routine of just feeling completely trapped and miserable and when i mentioned earlier like feeling like i’m in an abusive relationship and that’s just sort of that’s that’s bonkers to me that so many people find themselves in these situations um and i think this leads to something that we’ve discussed previously um which is imposter syndrome um you know this idea where you’re in a professional environment and you’re employed it will position within that professional environment and yet you feel like literally like an imposter like maybe you’re not it’s it is experienced as the people around you or you know like everyone else seems to know what they’re doing and you don’t like you know and that that sort of has to say that that’s led to me definitely feeling like you know things like disassociation like just feeling really and really struggling to do you know participate in like you know work social events and you know feeling really and almost like even like having a almost like use like self-deprecation to you know to get through it and and like actually put myself down or not believe in myself or convince everyone else that i’m you know not good enough or you know not capable of doing what i’m doing and um i mean i guess the thing is that that actually the the you know i can there’s one particular incident in in a you know in a past job where you know that there was something that made me so angry that like i went home and i painted and i painted and i painted and i painted it and i spent the whole weekend painting and and like actually that that feeling of anger towards that situation almost um fueled the resurgence of the painting that i’ve been doing and so it’s a it’s a very i mean a kind of complicated emotional space about it because um like i actually um you know started waving my hand in the camera there and i’ll start that sentence again so you read it there but yeah like actually um you know

feeling like these experiences of anger and and persecution and you know and like it’s like going back to what we’re saying before like you can’t really be angry at a company you know there are at the end of the day there are people who make these things happen and you know um like you know they there are people who have power and they have the power of silence people they have the power to use nepotism they have the power to use elitism and and you know like this affects your like your identity and it affects your you know who you are as a person and then in some weird complicated messed up way if i hadn’t gone through some of these things i might like potentially found myself now like in a in a job that i don’t really like that much but it’s fine and you know it pays the bills and you know i live for the weekend or whatever um but actually having these traumatic experiences made me have this such an extreme like visceral like defined response that no i’m going to do something that makes me feel better and i’m going to do something that works for me and i’m going to completely adjust how work like what work means for me how i approach work and what i do to to to pay my bills essentially and and i feel like it’s such a it’s such a complicated emotional situation of being because i i sort of almost in a way like needed that push um to to you know needed that kind of anger to go no this is not this can’t keep happening you know yeah i completely understand yeah because i’ve there are times when even nights um about three and a half years since i left academia and even now there are times when i first i suppose that the lockdown it was this period of enforced contemplation um because it’s made me feel like i’m still really angry i’m still really really angry at all of those years and years and years of really hard graft just taken away from me you know yeah because it was a push and it was um it was one of those where i jumped before i was pushed yeah you know where i i was the one who resigned but they were going to fire me anyway and i just wanted to get through it with some dignity yeah and um you know but i still now you know i still see who i could have been and him and what i probably still could be capable of being in that career path but it’s it’s maybe a bit like the arts it feels like a very parallel conversation because academia is a very similar industry in a way where there’s just so much systemic abuse there’s so much nepotism there’s so much elitism there’s you know very likely arts there’s very little space for people from working class regional backgrounds to make a space for themselves um and to be taken seriously and all sorts of things you know and so much of it’s very meal driven even though you know i think you know it’s it’s the working structures are in place that keep women out of it more so than men and that sort of thing um you know so we really really i’m on board with you you know i really get what you’re saying you know totally in those areas

um but yeah it’s it’s really fascinating as well just that idea of the the artwork yeah having a difficult relationship with it because yeah i think with certainly with academic study and studying culture studying filmmaking art that was always for me my my escape my release and horrible things going on in my life and then work where i did those things primarily became the horrible thing in my life and so it’s a really strange association but i still love all these things i’m still a total nerd for cinema and for art and i love learning new stuff and you know making this podcast means that i get to speak to people like you and explore things and learn stuff um and find all this common ground and yeah it’s um but it’s it’s trying to reconcile with so you’re doing this thing because i i have found certainly during the lockdown period doing anything creative it feels necessary and yet frivolous and i think that’s just such a societal thing that yeah it just feels quite silly to and i i’ve heard of so many other people who who’ve started painting or have picked something up again who have been learning musical instruments or learning languages and all sorts of stuff you know i’ve been doing a lot of crafts a lot of sewing and and things like that these are fine things i find really restorative and they’re so important for your health and there’s you know like you were saying when we began you know you’re always a maker creator an artist as a child and where in our lives do we stop being those things where do we decide or we’re too old for that now or yeah you know yeah i mean i think that that you know everybody has the capacity to be creative you know some people just don’t you know some people don’t find it therapeutic or some people don’t find it enjoyable or some people you know or some people kind of you know i recognize that there’s many different ways of approaching how you do your job and i think that’s really something actually just very in eject that like there’s a big difference between how you do your job and how you engage with the people that you work with and i mean maybe part of the you know me doing things the way that i’m doing them now comes from the fact that like you know i i’ve definitely had had people working with people in the past where i’ve been able to say oh wow they’re so good at their job but like i can’t interact with them i can’t have a meeting with them i can’t you know if they have to give me work to do or if i have to interact with them or i have to work with them i know that it’s going to be a nightmare and actually you can’t just say oh well you know they’re good at their job so you know and i wonder whether maybe in a way this is just an extension of my gas lighting where i’ve just like i’m like you know i struggle so much with like the way that people have interacted with me in working environments that i just it’s easier to just you know write my own rules and do my own thing and do it my way um but like inevitably i’m going to be working with other people and i’m going to be doing collaborations and i’m going to be doing you know commissioned work that requires me to work with other people so i have to like kind of figure out a way of dealing with that um you know kind of but i think people

i think that that you know how people perceive the way that they should interact in at work i think that a lot of that comes down to a sort of um you know a recollection of how people interact at school or at university um or in other learning because the thing is that like you know those learning environments exist to prepare for work and for so many people work is this sort of environment that you can’t just go in and sit down and do your job you have to talk to people you have to interact with people you have to work with other people and i think that some people just don’t ever learn how to do that properly and you get people who work their way up to like management positions people who end up running companies who like don’t even know how to interact with people properly or treat people or you know communicate and and that’s just you know i think i think there’s like there needs to be a massive massive overhaul of of like understanding about what these things mean and kind of you know understanding what it means to be creative understanding what it means to be you know and and also like respecting um the fact that creativity is you know is it is is something that you know allows people to do the jobs that they do and you can’t like there’s something about like if you if you undermine people or people feel disempowered then how are they supposed to be creative how do you you know express and you know express yourself and and and do the things that you need to do and it you know i hope that the you know the the lockdown period is is something that’s kind of allowed for a wider reflection

um and that you know people are going to go back into busy working environments again whenever that may be whenever that’s i mean i recognize that some people are already in those um like you know if you work in a hospital or if you work in a school then then you’re already in that right now um or you’ve never left it you know during lockdown um but sort of yeah the the the hopefully i’m the pessimist in me is going yeah whatever you know but i hope to i hope that some sort of positive change with regards to you know how we appreciate creativity how we appreciate people um comes out of of of the lockdown experience um and i mean i i myself have had my own kind of right like i i’m just trying to think of a way to put this because essentially i’ve done really well during lockdown like i had a few weeks of not doing very well and i still have had a few wobbles of not doing very well but generally like it’s allowed me to really focus um and you know really kind of um turn my attention to certain things and and and get to a certain place with with the work that i’m doing and and i’m again i’m conflicted about that because i’m like this is great i’m i’m i feel like i’m in a really great place i’m really happy i’ve experienced all this horrible stuff in working environments and i’ve come through it and i’m here but then i still have this sort of feeling of like you know i must check my privilege and check myself and remind myself that there are people who have been through awful things over the last few months and we’ll continue to go through really really hard times um and you know when we haven’t seen the end of this yet and i just need to keep reminding myself that i’ve you know i’ve been lucky enough to be able to get myself to a place that works for me um after everything i’ve experienced but also really appreciate the incredible efforts of the people who haven’t you know haven’t had a chance to you know

make it do paint a picture or make a piece of art because they’re you know they’re flat out working um and it’s yeah it’s sort of finding that that space between the being happy and you know being content i mean you can never be fully content but you know you can have moments of it or small experiences of it um and you know uh i guess i just have to appreciate this for me to be able to be here doing what i’m doing and creating the work that i’m creating there’s also people in the society that are in really dire straits at the moment i just want to you know i i i i need to constantly remind myself that i don’t want to ever get arrogant or get you know kind of uh yeah like high on my own on my own uh uh sort of um i don’t want to use the word success because i’m definitely i wouldn’t say i’m you know in a position of success right now but i’m you know i’m doing okay is what i’m trying to say yeah it’s a very subjective term because i think that like you were saying earlier about how to recalibrate what you think of as work it’s good to recalibrate what you think of as success as well that’s true yeah that is true yeah um i mean i think just to to try and tie up some of that a bit um because i think with what we’ve been talking about i mean you’ve been involved in quite a lot of community projects or you know moving into more of those areas as well and it’s a really tricky area when you’ve been someone who’s faced bullying and survived really toxic work environments it’s about you’re building up trust and it’s not something yeah you feel like doing community work but maybe through the arts and through practice do you think that’s something that links up oh absolutely yeah and i think the things that i’ve learned um you know that a lot of these negative experiences that we have you know that can lead to bitterness it can lead to anger and and it can take a long time to you know stop feeling that way um and i guess i’ll link back to i mentioned earlier that i sort of you know when when talking about these things through kind of social media channels i’ve been using this hashtag creative recovery and essentially that’s about taking the negative stuff and turning it into something positive and impactful and and you know motivational and in my case predominantly visual and and artistic um so here in my studio i am working on um an exhibition with funding that i acquired during the lockdown from the arts information company i’m a member of that company and they had a um a fund that was opened up when when lockdown began and i was successful in getting one it’s just a small amount of money but it was enough to be able to kind of get the materials together and pay for my studio and things like that so i’m doing that kind of for for so many hours a week um but i also have set up a um a community interest company during lockdown um which essentially uses kind of creative projects and arts um to to to benefit um the people of biker old town which is where i live it’s a company’s called i love scarborough road and it’s basically um you know what’s about giving back to society and re-engaging with with kind of communities and and and like i think the one of the you know the biggest impact of these negative experiences i’ve had is like feeling like a drone and feeling like you know just in this sort of kind of this empty vessel just kind of going about my job and and actually you know now that i’ve come out of the other end of this and and i’ve you know been through employment tribunal and i’ve been through all these things actually i wanna i wanna you know i don’t just wanna sit in this space of like kind of creating um personal art just on its own because actually what what the process of painting does when i come here every day it kind of really allows me to have this like kind of meditative state it’s really nice therapeutic process where i’m i’m really focusing on what i’m doing and that act of of kind of really focusing and you know kind of completely clearing my mind gives way for me to have ideas and and and you know develop things you know so so a lot of the ideas that i’ve kind of come up with for some of the project work that i’m going to be doing that’s community interests led is has come out of me sitting and painting um and you know as i say i wouldn’t be sitting and painting it i don’t think if if i wasn’t kind of a person who’s come out of the other end of these you know these negative experiences i might just kind of be comfortable in you know in a in an all right job um and that’s not a bad thing it’s it’s just different to what i’m doing um and so in a way like i’ve been as as i said at the beginning of this it it wasn’t something that i just wanted to do it was something that i needed to do and needed it and and and i needed it because of what i’d experienced and and i don’t know i couldn’t say you know would i prefer to have not been through all of this trauma and and you know just be fine going to a you know full-time job say i don’t know doing the admin or or you know i i don’t know i i couldn’t it’s impossible to say really you know you know like you know i asked ask myself questions big questions like you know my mom died when i was 15 and i sometimes think like oh wow like what i wonder what my life would have been like if she hadn’t died um but then i kind of like it doesn’t matter because this is what i’m doing and this is where i’m at and and this is it’s not about what preferential because it just you you all you have is what you what you’re doing here in this moment and the only things that you can change are in the future and you know um you have the ability to make decisions to change things and and like the more negativity that you hold on to and the more you know the more i hate the term but the more baggage that you have the more you know weight that you carry around like the harder it is to to progress um and you know i’m sort of like yeah i i i want to empower other people who’ve been through similar experiences to myself to be able to kind of find their own path i’m not saying that every person i know who and i i know a lot which is alarming really the amount of people i know who are either going through employment tribunal right now or applying for an employment tribunal or or trying to figure out whether they have a case for employment trying from all different walks of life and all different you know different jobs that i’ve done is alarming and i’m not saying that every single one of them should you know get a studio and be an artist because you know that’s not going to work for all of them but i guess for them you know what i’m what i hope for those people or what i empower those people to do is find what works for them find what their route is um and you know you know for some people um you know for some people it’s just doing something very very different um i met a woman you know um waitressing in a a restaurant we don’t we don’t say waitressing we say service staff these you know seems like a bit of an outdated term waitressing but um a woman who had um her husband had died and she just left the town that she had lived in for her whole life and you know met a partner in and married and you know and just left and came to newcastle and got a job in a in a restaurant um and that she’d never she’s never worked in a restaurant in her life before and you know she’s in her in a probably in her mid-40s but she just was like she had to do something different and and so i guess yeah it’s it’s it’s about making about making changes and and being creative with how you do that that doesn’t necessarily mean you know make art or do something creative but more like be creative about how you change what it is that you’re going to do yeah gosh um yeah so um we’ve we’ve got through quite a lot there rachel i think it’s very no don’t apologize or anything um i just wanted to ask if there’s anything else you’ve mentioned quite a few things but if there’s anything else you want to signal boost while we’re here any other organizations or people you want to mention just as we come to our close yeah i mean i like in a way i would have i would have loved to talk more about like some of the projects work that i’ve got lined up um but i feel like the the the issue that we’ve talked about is such it’s so important and it’s so relevant right now i’m glad that we’ve talked about that but with regards to the work that i’ve i’ve kind of got um happening or or coming very soon i just want to shout out some like um thanks to the arts information company um arts and heritage uh the new bridge project well newcastle gate gateshead and bluestone consortium um or these are all organizations that have kind of helped me kind of progress um with work or all that are you know are offering me opportunities to to to do work um and b d studios which is where my studio space is um and that is within commercial union house which is run by orbis um who have uh have only been we’ve only been open when did we come back in 6th of july and we came in and they’re doing an incredible job at keeping this space safe for me to be able to come in and work every day and i’m so grateful to jp and peter and all the the people um involved in making this place safe and excellent yeah that’s lovely um well look come back on again you’re always welcome um that’s when you’ve worked through your project stuff and a lot of your individual work as well if you get your exhibition going um that’s that’s to catch up again and see what’s going on yeah that’d be brilliant brilliant that’s great i mean i guess one thing so because the the um the uh funding i got from the arts information company for my exhibition we’re not sure if you know if an exhibition is something that’s going to be physically possible in the next six months so what i may do is is look into funding possibilities to create a virtual exhibition yeah yeah of course yeah and so i’ll let you know if i manage to make that happen yeah i i think there’s every all the technologies there there’s there’s nothing to stop these things from happening night and it shows that that just like working from home it’s been possible for a very long time yeah yeah absolutely i think with the right um yeah with the right motivation and and the right support and the right funding often as well um you can achieve a lot if you you know if you’re able to get those um you know to get that support and to get that but i think that the only way to get kind of funding and support when it comes to work is to believe in what it is that you’re doing yeah and unless yeah if you don’t believe if you don’t believe in what you’re doing then how can anyone else believe in it and that’s i think yeah finally like accepting what what i’m doing and accepting who i am and who it is that i want to be and what it is that i want to achieve means that i think if i believe that everybody i’m you know talk to about it believes it too and that’s i think that’s that’s the the key i i believe who knows yeah i always think of um and singing straight through the line in one of the songs that’s um you got to take the wheel and own it and drive it like you stole it so nice that’s all we got today i like that that’s a nice that’s a nice one to end on thank you so much paula yes thank you rachel it’s been really wonderful to catch up and all the best with everything that you’re doing it’s really great work thank you thank you same to you um and i can’t wait to hear it lovely this has been audiovisual cultures with me paula blair and my very special guest rachel brick the music is common ground by airton used under a 3.0 creative commons non-commercial license episodes release every other wednesday wherever you get your podcasts please do rate share and subscribe to help others find the show i’m always happy to hear from potential guests so you can email audiovisualcultures or find us on social media thank you so much for being with us be excellent to yourselves and each other