Yesterday I had a meeting with the Artscape group in Oxford. They are a group that operate out of the Warneford Hospital in Oxford and provide creative projects and services for the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. We discussed the possibility of me working with the group to document and contribute photographically to many of the projects that are run by the group. A number of checks need to be completed, not least a CRB check, but essentially I hope to be working on a number of projects starting in the short term. I was at pains to describe what my motivations were, that I wanted to develop a long term relationship with the group, to be able to build a body of work that will inform what I believe my practice will turn out to be and also to build a base both in network terms and at a skills level that will help my degree piece based around breast cancer.
It was an inspirational and very exciting meeting for me on so many levels: One of the projects that we discussed is the new building £22M project that will be replacing an existential facility (ies). The builders document the building progress but I would delve deeper into the building’s use and operational needs. Equally, perhaps even more exciting, is the real possibility of recording the emptying/decommissioning of the old facility (ies); I am sure there are stories in the spaces that will be left.
I will be able to develop skill sets that will inform my later projects; for example,Tom the leader of the group suggested that I might interview some of the people who participate in one of his personally directed support groups – the dementia group (it has a name, but I won’t mention it until and unless I start) – part of their activity is archaeological digs, with archaeologists; which I thought was a beautiful activity given their condition.
Tom has a fine arts degree from Brighton and was very interested in what I was doing, how my studies were progressing and offered lots of cogent advice which I am sure will help me during the period up to my degree, and hopefully beyond. He also passed the contact details of the arts coordinator for the Oxford who has replied already saying she would pass my details to the cancer care people, but also mentioned that she has a new gallery being constructed later this year and hoped that my work might be shown there.
I expect a lot of the Documentary course to be fuelled by this venture as there are so many possible avenues to explore.