Originally published: 6 January 2016 – https://www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/jamboree/post/52436225/
It’s been a few weeks since we roughed it on the floor of Plymouth Arts Centre (PAC), just enough time for the experience to sink in.
After arriving a little late in Plymouth on a Thursday evening and finding somewhere to park the car, we (the Cardiff contingent – Lauren Heckler, Clare Charles and me from WARP) found our way through to a back room of PAC where the floor had been sectioned off into ‘parking spaces’ with masking tape. In this space we would eat, sleep and breathe art for the following four days – except for the evening excursions to the pub.
Our first task, set by Rachel and Hannah of LOW PROFILE, was to draw a self-portrait to stick on the wall. Most people had already done theirs. Stuck up like mugshots along the wall, despite being drawn in the spur of the moment with more than a little tongue in cheek, the images served to help identify the other ‘Jamboreans’ when we forgot their names.
Following the first night where we met people, ate fish and chips, viewed the 2nd part of The Jarman Award screening and had some pints in the local, the first full day began with breakfast and coffee – obviously. Then we got started with our individual presentations. What was interesting was that, although our practices differed greatly, many of the issues we were facing were the same.
After several presentations and coffee breaks, Martin Clark (curator of Bergen Kunsthalle) led a provocation (no, he didn’t know what one was either). His talk was mostly about the trajectory of his career, which has been fascinating by the way, but ended with, what I suppose was the real provocation, questions around what it is to work ‘out in the regions’.
Friday night: KARST exhibition opening, pub, bed.
On Saturday group tasks asked us to deal with the questions: What is lacking? and What is needed?
Between the 15 or so of us, we came up with a lot! But speaking 3 weeks later, the points that are really stuck in our minds are:
- Stronger connections between regional centres will allow for greater mobility for artists and their practices.
- Graduate retention. How our organisations and associate schemes could make staying an attractive option.
- Artists need to be showing outside of their regions.
- Local opportunities should be shared with artists in other regions.
Saturday Night: Screening of Artists’ shorts, pub, bed.
On Sunday morning we were treated to two talks by local experts. The first on Cartography, which tied in nicely to our conversations about the geography of our practices, the second about sound. Both were really interesting and a breath of fresh air having been talking about being artists for days. What became apparent was that the most interesting people are those that are interested. In anything.
We made plans of action and filled out questionnaires. We made offers of our services for each other to take advantage of. We swapped contact details. We made our way home.
Jamboree was a fantastic experience, one that should be repeated. We left feeling refreshed and excited, and with a heap of new friendships. Cheers!
Jason Pinder – 2016