Workshops and teaching: my approach and experience
"Thus I came to understand pedagogies in multiple ways:
as something given, as in handed, revealed; as in breaking through,
transgressing, disrupting, displacing, inverting inherited concepts
and practices, those psychic, analytic and organisational methodologies
we deploy to know what we believe we know so as to make
different conversations and solidarities possible.”
M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred
London/Durham, Duke University Press, 2005
I work as a creative workshop facilitator and educator with families, young people and adults in both formal and informal educational settings. Moving towards pedagogy, I’ve increasingly found the space of the workshop to be a vibrant, exciting and radical site in which to generate knowledge, consider difference, dismantle and make worlds. Peer-led workshops have become a cornerstone of my artistic process, a way to de-centre my voice; and as the anti-colonial scholar, M. Jacqui Alexander suggests, a tool to build different kinds of "conversations and solidarities”.
Some of the groups and institutions I’ve worked with include artists peer groups such as Eastside Projects’ Extra-Ordinary-People and Spike Island Associates and alternative MA/graduate schemes such as Chisenhale Studio’s Into The Wild and Embassy Gallery’s GRADJOB.
I am a visiting lecturer at University of Gloucestershire, MA Fine Art Practice and University of West of England, BA Fine Art and have given lectures, seminars, led crits and workshops for Plymouth College of Art, Exeter College, Croydon College, Plymouth University, Falmouth University and UWE BA Graphic Design.
I’ve also led many co-created projects with young people, including a 6 week residency with Year 9 students from Bristol Met Academy for Arnolfini’s NOW OR NEVER and a durational project with Year 9’s from Taunton Academy in Somerset for Hestercombe House. I’ve also led workshops exploring intersectional materials from Feminist Archive South with colleges and schools across the south west and family workshops for Spike Island, Plymouth Art Centre and Arnolfini.
As with all my work, I am committed to ensuring my work as an educator is situated in intersectional queer feminist and anti-colonial politics. There are many ways of doing this, but right now my focus is on ensuring there is representation in the resources, artists and writers that I cite and share, that I donate to Black, queer and trans charities when paid for teaching and that all references are clearly visible and communicated.
I am also committed to questioning hierarchies of knowledge and one shape this takes is a specific interest in improvisation as a tool to connect, disrupt and create (with thanks to Maggie Nicols and D-M Withers). Embodied forms of working such as automatic drawing/writing, movement and voice/breath work are explored alongside critical discussion and reading.