Over a span of a month Creative Dundee commissioned and worked alongside four artists, exploring the barriers within the Creative Industries in the city. In a year that has brought these barriers to an even harsher light, we wanted to support voices that would look at a variety of issues and dedicated themselves to listening to the people affected by them.
In the first two weeks the artists researched their chosen topics – health, literacy, race and representation. Through this time we organised three different workshops on relevant topics, they were provided by Charis Robertson from Hot Chocolate Trust, Erin Farley from Local History at Dundee Libraries and Hannah Lavery, winner of the New Playwright Award 2020. Each one provided a different perspective on translating real life experiences into art, from ethics to delivery.
The workshops proved to be inspiring for the participants, and in some cases forged partnerships that went beyond The Full Picture. There were quotes from Hannah Lavery that we kept repeating to each other all the way through the project. But it was in the weekly team meetings and 1-to1s that we found some of the most unexpected learning. Though the artists worked in different disciplines, and had significant differences in their approach, they were all keen on asking for each other’s feedback. Often the response when hearing someone discuss their work was ‘that really makes me think differently about my project‘.
Though initially planned as a face-to-face type of programme, we ended up relying entirely on digital means of communication due to the lockdown. And yet, each individual project was heavily based on a fundamental interaction and curiosity in regards to other people. From swapping notes and honest feedback with the team, to conducting hours and hours of interviews with experts, artists, audiences and more. Ultimately it was a project that made each artist engage with important and difficult topics, while also providing a small and short-term community where we processed our surroundings. An ongoing inside joke was calling ourselves ‘Team Wholesome‘, a word that popped up often when we tried to describe ways to cope within the difficult restrictions.
As Creative Dundee, we are very proud to present the works from these four artists. Please feel free to reach out if any of the topics covered speak to you/your organisation’s interest. We hope this will generate some ongoing conversations as our industry works to do better and acknowledge its shortcomings.
Kaya Fraser researched the literacy inequalities and boundaries that Dundee’s working-class communities face in general and when accessing the creative industries. Scotland had the highest rate of adult literacy problems in the whole of the UK with 1 in 4 adults struggling in someway related to their lack literacy skills, the implications of this work are significant when it comes to access to art both from the perspective of makers and the audiences themselves.
Jaimini Jethwa’s project explored the opportunities for women of colour, from working class backgrounds, as writers and artists. In interviews ranging from threatre producers and commissioners to writers and diversity strategists, her research looked into the the process that leads to the decisions around representation to be made – as well as the issues that arise in it.
Josh Moir’s research centred around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and how the barriers caused by a dangerous, uncertain and continually changing environment affect people working in the Creative Industries in Dundee. Through interviews with creative practicioners from different backgrounds and disciplines, themes of financial instability, healthcare, mental health and the need to count on unreliable digital mediums for work became very clear.
Rhiannon Mudaliar’s work focused on the topic of ‘home’. Looking through Dundee’s historical connection with India through the Jute trade, and her own experience of being an artist and considering the colonial connection, Rhiannon explored what makes a place home, and what kind of ‘making’ can happen at home.
Keep in touch with The Full Picture project by following #TFPDundee.
“The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience”James Baldwin – The Artist’s struggle for Integrity
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