For stream-of-awareness thoughts, do read my blog – it’s where I reflect and offer provocations and playfulness with purpose.
The current recession demands that we need to find efficient and effective ways of delivering art in the public realm. I deliver a consultancy service for others, as well as producing projects for Flow. That consultation and research process is the first step towards delivering an outcome – it is a catalyst for action, as opposed to a report or recommendation. I want to make things happen.
I firmly believe that every step on the project development journey demands a high level of critical awareness and reflexivity. It is my attention to detail in combination with rigorous thinking processes that informs each project. Despite the funding cuts in the arts, public art commissioning continues. Indeed we probably need it more now than ever before.
Not so long ago, arts organisations were being advised to learn from business models – now business models are proposing that businesses think creatively. Things are changing, and change makes for exciting times.
Whatever the timescale and budget, there are core issues that each public art project needs to address. My practice has always focused on site and place specificity, which means getting to know the location for the artworks well, to enable me to support the commissioned artists appropriately. No commission is too big or too small for me to manage. If it’s small, I have the experience to cover all aspects of the process, whilst if it is longer or larger I can employ specialist services as and when required from a number of highly experienced professionals who I have worked with previously. I can fund-raise for projects too, having over 10 years experience of doing so from numerous sources.
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1. Starting up Flow Contemporary Arts
During 2012 Carolyn began to consider what would follow on from all the interesting projects she has done in recent years. She came up with the concept of Flow Contemporary Arts (FCA) and since then has been working quietly in the background to develop Flow and bring it to fruition. Subscribe to my mailing list to get news of things hot off the press.
The R&D for flow Contemporary Arts Projects is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is match-funded by the collaborators
It is supported by The National Trust, Canal & River Trust and The Forestry Commission. Please sign up to the mailing list to get updates.
Flow Contemporary Arts is a logical progression in my practice. While reflecting upon my career as an art producer it became evident that central to that practice is an ability to bring together a diverse range of partners for every project. And out of those collaborations, some extraordinary outcomes have been achieved.
The majority of those projects have been transdisciplinary – not locked into the gallery world, but exploring other fields of practice, such as science, forestry or even restaurants. Similarly, I work with artists from a wide range of disciplines – video, sculpture, audio, performance and digital. Commissioning primarily in the public realm, over ten years I have gained the necessary experience to take on projects and events that challenge expectation. I have been privileged to work with some brilliant practitioners on a one-to-one basis over sustained periods of time – indeed time is important in all the projects, to ensure that research is thorough and embedded.
Each project involves identifying new partnerships, whilst always keeping the artist at the hub of her work. That work is an ongoing process of professional development and discovery, resulting in my gaining experience of managing and delivering a diverse range of projects – from urban to rural, temporary to permanent.
My work often involves a substantial amount of writing: strategies, catalogues, press releases, policies, business plans, evaluations, briefs and reports. I have become increasingly interested in how artists and arts organisations can become more resilient in response to the current recession.
I once described myself as a ‘metaphorical cable-tie’. According to Wikipedia “a cable tie, also known as a zip tie or tie-wrap, is a type of fastener, especially for binding several electronic cables or wires together and to organize cables and wires.” Ignoring the cable/wire reference, and replacing it with people and places, I believe the process of binding and organizing is relevant to my work. The action of ‘fastening’ could pertain to pinning things down, firming things up. Anyone working in the arts will know how useful cable-ties are – they are simple, efficient and flexible in their uses. They can hold disparate materials together too, and can be cut to size. Magic.