Jamboree #1: Beth Kettel – CG Associates Map Manchester

Originally published: 11 January 2016 – https://www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/jamboree/post/52436594/

Being in a situation to meet other young artists from around the UK seems simple but actually the opportunities to do that are quite rare, especially in this kind of focused environment. Because of the intensity of the weekend it meant that we really did form friendships/‘connections’ with other practicing artists working regionally across the UK and I would say for me that’s the main thing I took away. When a bunch of artists from around the UK have the opportunity to come together like they did in Plymouth, it made it clear that we were all up for supporting each other, soppy yeah but it didn’t feel false, or like a ‘networking’ event.

It’s quite easy not to properly consider the effect of location as an artist, I mean you think about position and positioning within the wider artistic vocabulary but it was really useful to think about the regions as things in themselves, not separate pockets outside of London, nor as trying to recreate a centre, but how these pockets can be connected and supportive. And perhaps how working in the regions almost offers a different license; a certain freedom. I do however think as far as the weekend in Plymouth was concerned, we needed more time to really establish how these connections between cities could be strengthened and sustained. Because of what was set up over the time in Plymouth I think it would be useful to reconvene, not starting from the start again but have a second round of focused discussion.

I am between cities and don’t necessarily think it’s that relevant for me to be based in one place in particular. Obviously I want to fully engage with the place I’m in and I want to promote the good stuff that’s happening there but I guess it seems less relevant for me to hold up a flag. Place probably does affect the work you make and I don’t know if I’m happy for a place to define what I do, so moving forward, I will certainly give this more thought.

There was a lot on the agenda for the weekend and quite big concerns to try to deal with, which I‘m not sure really got concentrated to a point of resolution, but for a few days I don’t know how realistic that was anyway. It certainly felt like the start of something, something that needs to be continued. Although it didn’t feel like some of the concerns were established, what was established were connections between people and getting an idea for the arts ecology of different cities and how things operate differently within them, useful to reflect back on the city where I’m based, thinking about what could be improved but also what is to be appreciated.

Beth Kettel – 2016