When Marina Castledine, Circuit National Manager, asked me if I wanted to create work based on organisational practice and change, I was both delighted and apprehensive.
I have been making maps and sketchnotes since Circuit began, and although they have been helpful to me, (and gained some curious attention in meetings), I didn’t appreciate that they could be helpful for other people to view and use. It was really nice to think that my creative practice could spark conversation on a national level and for the programme, so I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Plans moved quickly and in July, I went on a residency to Wysing Arts Centre. I felt incredibly lucky that for three days I got access to a 24 hour studio, acres of countryside, and a bedroom in the farmhouse. It was also – and accidentally – brilliant timing to be there, as the Leverhulme Art Scholars were having their induction week, and I got to meet some very interesting and creative individuals, eager after their university courses to get stuck into any creative time that was on offer.
I wanted to get the most out of the residency and decided to try a bit of everything to give my creativeness a kick start. Installation and live mindmapping was my practice for my degree (the last time I was in a studio) so I reverted back to this way of working – on the walls, big paper and balls of string. I did some note taking and collage work, which is what I usually use my work sketchbooks for, and I did some reading and research to put my mind into organisational change mode.
It was a challenge after a hectic week in the Nottingham Contemporary office to switch from being a programmer, to thinking more strategically and using the bigger picture. This is something I have the opportunity to do day to day in my role as part of Circuit, but working in this mindset in a new environment, without having a specific goal was quite difficult, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
At the end of the three days I came back with some detailed mindmaps, a couple of videos, lots of documentation and three diary zines – the contents of which, I will discuss in a further blog post. For me making maps can be a really instinctive thing, and I can’t always recall my methodology or results, unless I go over the work again…