Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015: moving and skating

There hasn't been much time to stop and write over the last few months. I've been backwards and forwards to London quite a bit (via Grimsby and Govan) since the turn of the year, putting together a bid for an AHRC large grant, with an excellent team of collaborators, which may or may not materialise sometime later this year. I've also been in Manchester a couple of times and spent a really stimulating few days exploring the different ways in which artists have been working within the Connected Communities programme with another team of collaborators: I have tons of stuff stored up and ready to write about this kind of thing, but somehow pressure of work means I never quite manage it. The most difficult thing about writing, for me, is just starting...there are two publication projects somewhere down the pipeline: one an edited book with Ben Parry on "The Experimental City" and the other a kind of rant about participatory and community arts, with Kerrie Schaefer,  that I need to get off my chest...

I've also been to Stuttgart to see our excellent PhD students there - two, Mirjam Müller and Andrea Braeuning, on course to complete this year. I'll be back there just after Easter to contribute to a symposium about urban media quarters. And I should congratulate Anna Sznajder and Ben Parry, both of whom reached the end of the PhD journey with minimal post-viva work to do in the last couple of months. Very different projects - one a feminist ethnography of lacemaking in Southern Poland, the other on interventionist arts practices. A third student with whom I've been working, Chris Dooks, has his viva just after Easter: his work sits somewhere at the intersection of philosophy, auto-ethnography, film, and sound art.  It's great that we can support such a range of work at UWS; there I've been looking after the Creative Futures Institute since October.  Such is the current level of institutional flux and churn that right now I'm not sure it'll continue to exist after Easter (the Institute, not the University...) but the work will continue, and there have been some excellent things happening.

I'll be having one of the Artworks Conversations in Ayr on Wednesday evening with my colleagues Jo Ronan and Diarmuid McAuliffe - talking about the place of participatory arts in the higher education curriculum and what we've been trying to do about it at UWS - blog about that coming soon, all being well. Just after a brief interlude to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday with the family at Easter I'll be making a small contribution to this big conference which is a landmark of sorts in Jackie's work (with a massive team of collaborators) - launching the public art programme at the new South Glasgow hospitals campus.

At the end of this week I'm heading for a break - 10 days in India -  but before that, there's a heap of bureaucracy and administration to get through - great to see David Graeber's latest intervention on this subject.

Here's a bit of Ibrahim Maalouf that has kept my energy levels high this evening. It makes me want to take up the trumpet again: maybe I will.