A production case study
Why the grant was made
Louise’s two key aims were:
- to develop her practice as a curator/producer within Wales
- to expand her horizons, experiment, explore and develop ideas and to work collaboratively with Mission Gallery and present a new group exhibition and associated programme, which seeks out and engages wider audiences
Between October 2015 and April 2016 this project brought an independent early career curator (Louise Hobson) into an institution (Mission Gallery), both with different ways of working.
Through the process of curating a group exhibition with artists Catherine Biocca, Cornelia Baltes, Rosalie Schweiker - and the associated programme at Mission Gallery, Louise came to understand the actions that lead to the making of an exhibition.
From funding, to researching, selecting, emailing, visiting, persuading, budgeting, coordinating, writing, printing, facilitating, compromising, adapting, promoting, transporting, reflecting, curating, reporting.
How did Louise benefit?
Seeing this process through from beginning to end, within and yet independent of, an established institution, has enormously developed her practice as a curator/producer working in Wales.
Louise was able to take risks and approach this exhibition as an exercise and space created through a cumulative process of collaboration in dialogue with the artists, Mission Gallery and peers. She set out to approach the gallery as a laboratory, a space to experiment, and create, to be curious and courageous.
Louise does however acknowledge that in taking risks, ‘failures’ are likely, and that learning to build on failure is critical in terms of learning and development. It’s how we move the conversation forward, how we test new ideas and find new ground for contemporary practice in Wales.
"In addition to developing my practice, the groups I hoped would benefit from this project were: the contributing artists, Mission Gallery, audience members/gallery users and early career Wales based creative professionals."
Were there any challenges?
Upon reflection, Louise felt less confident that the project achieved the right balance between being outward looking, but also rooted in Wales.
In working with three international artists, with no previous connection to Wales, the roots to local audiences were not so established. Next time, Louise suggests she’d work differently to facilitate this connection, in the hope of enabling a stronger local connection, and willingness to engage with unfamiliar international practice.
Louise said that "Thinking about future iterations of this project, I feel a more active orientation of the relationship would be useful. An orientation which facilitates a creative framework, a dialogue and a space within which to work collectively."
More generally, Louise noted that she has learned that it's useful to consider how independent practitioners in Wales explore their capacity to work together to articulate what arts organisations and independent curators provide and need - to propose new ways of being and doing.