Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Finding Our Voice

Collaborative drawing by women in Loudspeaker
On 27th November I will be part of a conference called Finding Our Voice at Nottingham Contemporary.

The conference is a culmination of three years work that I have been doing with the Contemporary in partnership with the charity Changing Lives.  Loudspeaker was an innovative project for women facing complex life challenges. Groups of women worked with me and artist Gillian Brent to look at and learn about contemporary art and respond to art in their own creative ways, developing their confidence and self esteem through their thinking and making. The project has been an amazing experience for all of us, and the conference aims to share some of the things we've learned and to discuss issues that women face.

To give the women of Loudspeaker a voice in the conference, Gillian and I, along with artist Ben Harriott, are currently working with some of the women to create a film essay that will be first shown at the conference. The women have been incredible, voicing their insights and allowing us to direct them in various locations around Nottingham in order to express something of what Loudspeaker has meant to them. I feel immensely proud of them as I write this, and all that they have achieved. One of the women involved, Lynn, started with me at the very first session of Loudspeaker three years ago and has been involved in so many things since: acting as a mentor for all the following groups, speaking to the press and media about women's issues, visiting schools, volunteering on the family programme at Nottingham Contemporary and now helping to make the film. Today I interviewed her for the film about the progress she has made over the past three years and moving into the future. Her positive energy is an inspiration, amazing for somebody who has had to overcome incredibly difficult things in her life. I have seen her grow and grow over the years and it's people like Lynn that keep me doing what I'm doing.

Details of the conference are appearing on the Nottingham Contemporary website, and you can read a blog written by the women of Loudspeaker here.

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