The catalyst for my artmaking is usually a question which emerges as a result of an event, an incident, or someone’s story. Research around the question informs the materials and leads to a series of pieces that offer a collective response. Labyrinths, labyrinthine patterns and fingerprints are design threads running through my work, alongside marks and traces.
Sketchbooks remain integral to my process and most projects have an accompanying sketchbook containing ideas, images, research and drawings.
As part of my practice I work with other people and groups. I have carried out long term participatory arts projects with Thames Valley Partnership, Oxfordshire Women’s Aid, Longlands Care Home, Fusion Arts, Modern Art Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Essex County Council, the Community Mediation Team in Shetland and space2face restorative justice and arts project. Residencies have been with primary and secondary schools in England and Scotland and in HM Prison Bullingdon. I frequently collaborate with other artists, makers, dancers, musicians and performers to create work.
I have an exhibition, education, performance, curation and commission history as well as project management experience.
I am an artmaker of over 20 years experience and an accredited restorative practitioner with the Restorative Justice Council in the UK. In April 2017, I was awarded Arts and Humanities Research Council full-time PhD funding to investigate the potential for co-creation, making and gifting within restorative justice processes. I commenced my PhD studies at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK, in October 2017.
My early work was constructed textiles from found fibres, mostly ghost fishing gear. I completed a Masters in Contemporary Arts and Music in 2004 at Oxford Brookes University, studying under Shelley Sacks, Ray Lee and Paul Whitty. Through this period of study, my practice began to be influenced by my participatory projects, particularly my work with the Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service where I was employed in various roles for six years, most latterly as the Creative Arts Development Worker in Youth Justice (2006 – 2007). This was a joint project with West Berkshire Youth Offending Service and one of six national pilot projects with Arts Council England and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.
Between 2007 and 2015, I was employed as the Visual Arts Development Officer with Shetland Arts. In 2008, as part of this role, I co-founded the ‘space2face’ restorative justice and arts project alongside Alyson Halcrow. We continue to jointly manage this project. This has been successively funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, BBC Children in Need, Creative Scotland and Shetland Arts. The project merges the arts and creative approaches with restorative justice processes to work with people involved in situations of harm or conflict. ‘Space2face’ achieved independent charitable status in September 2016 and has been presented to International Institute for Restorative Practices conferences (USA, 2012 and Hungary, 2015) and to the Scottish Forum on Restorative Justice in December 2015.
From 2015 – 2016, I worked as a freelance consultant for the British Council as part of their ‘Canny Creatives’ project. In 2016 and 2017, I received Visual Art and Craft Awards (Creative Scotland in partnership with Shetland Arts and Shetland Islands Council) towards the development of my artistic practice. In 2016, this contributed towards an exhibition of work, ‘we think back through our mothers…or do we?’, which was shown in autumn 2016 as part of Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival. The exhibition process, inspired by my mother and grandmother, may be viewed on my website blog.
With thanks to Niela, Andrew, Roberto, Jono, Johnny, Silke, Gail, Barbara, John, Kristi, Alyson, Peter, James, Stephen, Gaynor, Judy, Donald, Jacqui, Amy and Ana. All of you, at different times, have constantly reminded me how much I enjoy ‘making’ and kept me in touch with my creative self.