Student Talk | TATE Exchange, Liverpool
Conversations Series II: Other Transmissions was documented by six students from the third year Graphic Design course at the University of Salford. Split into pairs, each week one half of the pair came for a couple of hours to document the residency in a way suited to their practice. This took the form of photography, film, drawing, writing and sound recording. Their results are being shown alongside the work in each venue that the work travels to, to give another voice and to share some of how the residency worked.
The students gave a talk at our TATE Exchange event on Thursday 21 March at Tate Liverpool. They spoke about how they found the project, how they tackled the brief and what they might do next. The zine above was produced by Urooj Ahmed and Saidul Choudhury. They spoke about not knowing anything about Outsider Art before the project, but that they really enjoyed learning about the Whitworth’s collection, and having conversations with family and friends about how they feel about the label itself. They talked about the project allowing them to feel that they can be more expressive with their own work, and to not worry as much about what others think about their work or what they say, “at the end of the day art is art.” They recognised that just using simple tools and methods that are available to you is fine. Being part of the ethnic community, they know about feeling isolated in some form, and this project has helped with discussions around this too.
For the zine they have produced it in a conversations format, with handwritten text and speech bubbles. The zine is made up from conversations in the workshops, from photo documentation and from sketches and notes taken Urooj and Saidul.
Bradley Crandon and Jess Miller also created a zine, with a hand-made feel and stitched-binding too. Both being shy, they started off finding it difficult to start up conversations, but both felt that the project pushed them to be more interactive and feel more confident. Jess said that photography enabled her to capture the works, and they’ve used the zine almost like a diary to share what happened each week. As with Judith Scott’s wrapped sculpture from the Whitworth’s Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, they wanted to use thread down the side of the piece to tie this in. They chose the riso-print technique as it allowed for printing onto different surfaces, and they liked the idea that the ink came off onto people’s hands when touched - so that audiences become part of the outsider community too.
Bradley was so inspired by the artists use of clay that he now wants to make sculptures within his own work and get back to being hands-on and creative. He said that the project has helped him to understand that “art is about enjoyment and it is a tool for communication”. Jess felt that another zine could be created on the back of this with all the content that they did not have room to include!
Kyle Jakubowska is the only student who used film to document the residency, and he is not someone who is trained in script writing, narrative or the pacing of films, so felt that he had set himself quite a task. He said that he felt like an outsider himself going into the sessions each time as he was not one of the residency artists, and if asked he still finds it difficult to try and describe the term Outsider Art. Kyle loved learning on the job, but has said that he would engage more and share more often if he were to do it again, so that more input could have been given from the residency artists. He did say that the project has helped him to get over some of his shyness.
Alex Bicoza created a small ring-bound booklet about the residency, with the sessions at the Whitworth making her wonder ‘how equality can be achieved when you place people into categories?’ She said that although the studio space was small, it was welcoming and by the end felt like home, and she enjoyed being in the creative environment with the artists. The project taught Alex to be open-minded and to ask for opinions, as she has realised that you can improve your work with criticism. For someone who hasn’t got an art making background, she realised through the project the importance of art for communication for certain people. Since doing this project Alex has taken creative activities into her role as a support worker, seeing the importance of this!