My MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam provides me with the opportunity to intensively investigate my interest in the prescribed societal roles of women, within my artistic practice. I work primarily in the mediums of video and performance, though equally the importance of textiles, craft and costume is vital in my framing within these works. The critical and theoretical dialogue the course encourages has been enormously influential during my time here, and is perfectly in tune with my belief that one’s studies can never be developed in isolation. We are a community here, sharing studios, meals, and homes for the duration of our 24-month course, of which I am halfway through. This has had a significant impact on my work.
I am interested in life, in people, in the places we inhabit, and in the way we grow up. I was born in Wigan, a place in a post-industrial lull, precarious in its state of governmental neglect, in its employments and in the lives lead. Yet a town so filled with a particular pride. We lived for the first few years of my life, on a terraced street, surrounded by the old cotton mills.
The Netherlands is another place, much like the UK, that has a history of colonialism and of global trade, of mass manufacture. A country which equally, has these towns, like Wigan, where the textile factories have closed and the industries were shipped out to the colonies. Towns now dormant with identical high streets and few prospects of lifelong employment for inhabitants. The young leave, dreaming of something more.
I am interested in the dreaming, the aspiration within your teenage years when you strive for something better yet are still so influenced by the things that surround you; popular culture, and the things your parents say. Your upbringing, your class, the way you dress. How these things shape a person. My artistic research and practice is as much about meeting people and talking, as it is about making, sometimes more. I am currently working with Polish artist Marta Hryniuk, on a project titled Grote Dromen, interviewing teenage girls in our neighbourhood of Rotterdam- Charlois; an area comprised of largely social housing surrounding the Port. We spoke to a teenager who dreams of being an actress and moving to New York; these dreams and aspirations, to be famous, to be like those you see on TV and in magazines, to rise above the cards you have been dealt is of enormous interest to me, and rooted in the working class.
I am delighted to be able to continue my studies here with the support of the Leverhulme Trust, and to push my work and research further over the next twelve months.