A bit of text to accompany the photographs and quotes that I hope gives context to the work. This is the first of two pieces, the next will attempt to answer my question.
When you ruminate, it means you think deeply about something. It can also mean to chew the cud, to chat. Either way, it’s a process not to be rushed. Through conversations with peers and time to return to previous projects, the Extend leadership programme has been an opportunity to ruminate, in both senses. Through a group project we discussed our work and asked questions of each other. The group members encompassed many roles, areas of interest and skill. We didn’t form a homogenous project; instead we supported each other to pursue our interests.
The questioning process has been particularly useful in reflecting on our participatory work and reflects my overall learning from the course. Recurring phrases in my notebooks read “ask questions”, “be curious”. The enquiring, not the answering has been hugely beneficial as a way to open discussion, consider different perspectives and return to overlooked details - often with the outcome of further questions.
The question I was posed by the group was “how to put art at the centre of access?” Much of my work is collaborative, bringing artists and participants together around a common point of interest. It’s a process that values and benefits from the diverse experiences and ideas of everyone involved. In thinking about my question, I returned to previous conversations I have had with participants and artists. I found many points of wisdom and insight about the way projects are set up, how people are involved, the attitudes of the artists and what taking part means for people.
There is not one answer to the question how to put art at the centre of access, but among the wealth of information, there were several points that I find useful to keep in mind. These are presented here with extracts from the conversations and photographs representing that time shared, ruminating.