Criw Celf workshops 2016
Hi Tom – great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I’m a visual artist mainly working in film and performance. I like to work with people and my projects have included customised football wall charts, an odyssey across Wales, an archive to a lake monster, a journey into neolithic welsh life. I have recently had my films shown in Buenos Aires, Argentina and at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
I position my work on the line between truth and fiction, considering how public anxieties have intensified within the axis of the modern world through an obsessive repetition of endless facts, where choices are seemingly endless.
I am an advocate for education and best practice in the arts as well as for the role of the artist in the 21st century.
You work for Arts Active Trust promoting arts activity for schools and communities in the central south region. Can you please give me more information on this and your work?
The Arts Active Trust is a charity that seeks to engage people of all ages with creative activities through working directly with artists and professional practitioners who can inspire and guide their development. A key part of the Arts Active programme is A2:Connect which is the Arts & Education network for the Central South region working to bring artists of all disciplines – music, drama, visual arts, literature etc. directly into our schools. In association with A2:Connect, Criw Celf Cardiff is a visual arts project for ‘More Able & Talented’ young artists at secondary school.
Then more specifically you are Project Producer at Criw Celf, what does your role entail?
I work one day a week managing the Criw Celf Cardiff programme of workshops and courses so I get to work with a wide range of visual artists, educators and arts professionals. I work directly with art teachers in secondary schools across Cardiff about how they can be involved in the scheme.
Criw Celf workshops 2016
In January 2017 I believe you will be supporting young people described as gifted and talented to Discover Artes Mundi 7, with nominated artist Bedwyr Williams. This sounds very exciting what will take place during these workshops and how do people get involved?
We’re very lucky to have Bedwyr coming down to Cardiff. He’s had a great year showing at the Barbican, Somerset House and being nominated for Artes Mundi 7. I’ve invited him because he is an inspiring Welsh artist who, through his work explores and asks questions about the world from different perspectives. The young people will be able to take a tour of Artes Mundi as well as taking part in workshops to produce art work of their own.
You have a great deal of experience in the Visual Arts in Wales Do you think the Visual Arts as a form still resonate for young people?
We live in a world more saturated with visual imagery than ever before. There is a media environment both on and off line that is telling young people what to look like, what to desire and what to care about. Visual arts in all of its forms, whether its film, sculpture or painting, offers a way to understand how to look, contextualise, empathise and learn tolerance in order to think about the kind of world you want to live in and create.
Learning is an active process and sensory input is something we construct a meaning out of, we then construct meanings and systems of meaning. It’s about curiosity, open-mindedness and understanding that not everything in a gallery or in a theatre is for you and if there isn’t anything that speaks to you, feeling empowered to do it yourself.
In the visual arts young people can go on intellectual adventures or get lost in the beauty or ugliness of something, in turn discovering new things and things about themselves.
Young Art Force
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists?
There are many barriers both social and physical that exist for young people from lower income families which prevent them from engaging with arts and culture. One of the barriers I feel we can tackle easily is the language used to describe arts and culture which often can prohibit and distance families as well as being irrelevant to today’s young people.
Black Kettle Collective performing Protest Song
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
I think I would do away with areas of the arts and instead concentrate on funding strong and transformational projects. Many of the projects would be cross disciplinary so creativity is supported rather than discriminating between artistic forms.
Young Art Force
What excites you about the arts in Wales? What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
What excites me is cross disciplinary partnerships and collaboration. Genuine connections with a range of people from all sorts of different backgrounds. An openness to change and link Cardiff and Wales with other international cities rather than always comparing ourselves to other cities in the UK.
I enjoyed Artes Mundi this year – Bedwyr Williams’s Ty Mawr and John Akomfrah at Artes Mundi were strong stand out films for me.
As part of a partnership between Chapter and Artes Mundi I saw The Stuart Hall Project, Akomfrah’s film documenting the life of cultural theorist Stuart Hall who is one of my heroes. Hall was integral to exploring social change in Britain and I’ve often thought of him being the voice of God. Ever changing and always thinking, flexible and rational.
Another standout was S Mark Gubb ‘Revelations: The Poison of Free Thought, Part II’ and Mike Kelley’s ‘Mobile Homestead’ supported by Artangel at g39 and Cardiff Contemporary.
I went to the reopening of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea which includes film work by Lindsey Seers and an exhibition related to Richard Glynn Vivian a Victorian traveller whose collection of over 12,000 works was gifted to the city of Swansea. I’m particularly interested in the story of early European porcelain and the Gallery has examples from the Meissen factory by sculptors Kaendler and Kircher which i normally travel to the V&A in London to see. There’s also Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Picasso etc…Worth a visit!
Thanks for your time Tom.
Link below to further information on Criw Celf Cardiff – New Year Art Course