I joined ArtReach just under two months ago and it’s already been a fascinating and busy time!
I have been working in Arts and Heritage for over 20 years, as a practising artist, project manager and consultant. Throughout that time, I initiated my own creative projects as well as working as a consultant to support others in realising their ambitions. I’ve worked on big and small projects, with local authorities and arts organisations, sometimes over a few months and sometimes over several years.
Originally I trained as a Fine Artist, but I started to get really interested in working in the public realm when I set up a project in Corby, Northamptonshire, in 2005. My idea for the project, which I called Thinkspace, was to explore the role of artists within a regeneration context, as Corby was planning to double in size over the next 10 years. That sort of change makes a massive impact on a community, and I was interested in how artists could create spaces for conversations about change. Initially, my plans were modest, but the project soon grew and lasted over about 4 years, in various strands, as my interests developed. The project won an Arts and Business Community Award in 2008.
That project involved a number of partnerships, which developed further my interest in strategic working; but at the same time, I have an interest in communities and I love to work directly with people. I remember one particular project where I was asked to work with Maplewell Hall, a Special School, to help the children create a museum for their school (a project by a small Community Interest Company expresseum poetics). It was great to see how creative methods enabled children to think about their school differently and we created an amazing interactive museum to share with their parents, carers and the community.
I’m really looking forward to working with ArtReach and all the creative people I will meet; it’s exciting to be here and to see how I can use my experience in new contexts.
Arts and Heritage Consultant, Jo, is already working with some exciting organisations for instance, for instance, the Leicester-based Pedestrian on their work with young people and music as well as the evaluation of the Crewe Town Council event, Lumen. If you’d like to discuss how you could benefit from her experience and skills in the sector too, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.