CURATORS INVITING VIDEO – Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

I’ve watched with interest the dawn of curators describing their exhibitions to possible attenders.  The small Dulwich Picture Gallery in London started really well with its director, Ian Dejardin.  In a few minutes, he would tell us what to see, in a quietly enthusiastic way.

Now this – the gallery has TWO curators having a discussion and walking around a collection.

Hands up anyone who’d like to see this exhibition, now?

Me too!  And yes, of course, it is a marketing tool, that couch has been placed there, just so – but they do look at least somewhat relaxed and it feels like a real conversation.  They walk amicably around the exhibition, both get to speak and say what they’re keen about in it – and I find it overwhelmingly inviting.


Bravo, Dulwich Picture Gallery!




Audio tour in time – London Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in London has come up with a twist on the usual museum audio tour: a choral choir!

Careful research prepared music which would have been contemporaneous with the portrait sitters and their time of influence on British society.  The pieces are then sung by a specifically assembled Portrait Choir, together with voiceover by Simon Russell Beale.

“The idea is simple: this guide is a soundtrack to five centuries of magnificent portraiture – as well as feasting your eyes on the portraits, period-specific music will further transport you from 21st century Britain to the era each room evokes.” – from the introduction, Track One on the guide

Can sound and music help us seem to travel through time?

“A Fine Line” – 4 artists’ exhibition, Edinburgh

City Art Centre, Edinburgh have a current exhibition curated by printmaker Angie Lewin and Lizzie Farey (willow weaver) who invited ceramicist Frances Priest and artist/printmaker Bronwen Sleigh to exhibit also.  (The exhibition runs until 18th February).


“In Conversation” (L-r) Amanda Game, Frances Priest, Angie Lewin, Bronwen Sleigh, Lizzie Farey

It was an absolute pleasure to be with them yesterday, at their “In Conversation” discussion, chaired by Amanda Game (independent curator and producer), and to hear them speaking about the process of making art and an exhibition together.  The talk was facilitated with warmth by curator Maeve Toal.

The exhibition took 3 to 4 years to put together but was a really pleasant collaboration.  The generous size of the exhibition space was a bonus, encouraging all the artists to work on a larger scale than usual.  They also agreed on the process of pattern as important to their work, although they work in very different disciplines.  There were also surprising associations, such as the ceramics tiles by Frances, likely to be used on a wall – and the architectural drawings by Bronwen.


Phoning it in – poetry

Stumbled across this today on the blog Julie Unplugged: “10 smart ways to use your phone to improve your writing”


  1. Listen to conversation around you and capture rich/true dialogue using your audio recording setting.
  2. Take photos, especially those surprise images to write about later. Once you set the intention to be surprised visually, you’ll spot more and more.
  3. Collect “jots” of writing in your notes program in three words or less… what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel emotionally.
  4.  Use your phone’s timer: Do timed stream of consciousness writing at any time in any space – literally write down what you are thinking/noticing, without censoring or trying to make sense. Do timed writing with your note book or straight onto mobile, wherever you are.
  5. Keep a one-sentence journal. At the end of the day, write a one sentence summary of either the entire day or whatever stand out event happened
  6. You can practice haiku, micropoetry – also helps to practice writing tweet sized, meaning and image filled sentences. Try it! Three “lines” – five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables. (If you go to twitter and search the hashtag #haiku for more inspiration.)
  7.  In your calendar note times (and set alarms!) for sunrises, sunsets or other “time attached” subjects to jog your elbow to be in the right place at the right time.
  8. Find writing time when bored – take notes and people will assume you are texting.
  9. Create writing prompts from what you see. There is never, ever, EVER “nothing to write about!” You can tweet short awarenesses and write them up another time. Examples: “The waitress with very red lipstick reminds me of…” (use later for a stream of consciousness prompt.) “I wonder where that old man at the bus stop is going?” (write later about traveling via bus, the elderly, your Grandpa) “The fallen tree at the side of the road calls me to prune my life of what doesn’t work.” (and later, write more.)
  10. Write how-to articles. Guess what technology was used to write this one?