Course - cliche correspondence strategy surgery

Course - cliche correspondence strategy surgery


A four-day intensive course in how to develop methods to write about your practice, Dundee, November 2018


Despite knowing their work comprehensively, artists can find it daunting to write and talk about their practice publicly. The requirement to present and write about the work can be different depending on the type of audience you are addressing, funding body you are approaching or the kind of opportunity you are applying for. Often artists are addressing a reader/viewer, who will have no previous experience or knowledge about the work. Artists are required to continually adapt the way they present their practice across many different contexts and for differing purposes. From strategic writing for funding applications, exhibition proposals, press releases to more imaginative writing for artist statements and ideas-based texts to different forms of oral representation from artist talks, to studio visits and other presentations.


cliche correspondence strategy surgery acknowledges the shifting purpose, materiality and application of written material and presented strategies to navigate and adapt. The writing that every artist is required to do in order to develop and promote their practice can be challenging and differs greatly from artist to artist. This comprehensive four-day course developed methods to find a language to support and represent artistic practice beyond a simple ‘how to write an artist statement’ or ‘how to write a funding application’ instruction. The course taught strategies in effective language and communication, how to write more succinctly and confidently, how to write imaginatively, how capture the reader's attention and how to remain creative in the face of application bureaucracy. It also covered how to verbalise your thoughts and write detailed texts which speak comprehensively about your work including the ideas within, specific examples, processes/disciplines, expanded research and lines of enquiry.

The course also covered how to incorporate the above content into an application form as well as how to combine all of the detail required in building a comprehensive picture of a proposed project whilst adhering to a word count. Artists learned how to adopt appropriate fundraising language and how to effectively talk about aims, objectives, planning, research, costing, project delivery and evaluation whilst focusing on art and ideas. The course also outlined how to find the language to express complex ideas in written form and how to switch communication up a gear when presenting to an audience, delivering an artist talk or hosting a studio visit.


This workshop explored the use of cliché and stereotype in writing in and around art practice. “The clichéd artist is a consummate stylist, a tender coming-of-age story, a sobering and timely reflection. Her work is a dazzling return to form, shot through with poignant evocations; in a single sitting she is an instant classic at the height of her powers.”
This workshop was devised and delivered by poet and writer Daisy Lafarge

This workshop approached (art) writing as a way to allow for oblique/parallel readings, producing texts 'in correspondence' with other facets of artistic practice. The workshop was based and built around documentation of participants’ own work. Participants were asked to identify physical characteristics and conceptual foundations of their practices and invited to write texts, stories or scripts based on these descriptors, working individually and collaboratively to explore different approaches to performative and textual intonations of their work.
This workshop was devised and delivered by artist and writer Suzanne van der Lingen. 

This workshop used practical strategies to help writing ‘do its own work’ when it comes to writing artists' statements, proposals and funding applications. Finding routes into externalising thoughts and putting practice into words, the session asked participants to bring an object from their studio that was not a piece of work to act as a thinking motif for use during the workshop. Participants used techniques such as letter writing, exploring likes and dislikes, and creating a short manifesto as means of freeing up ideas and feeling the boundaries when talking about one's own work.
This workshop was devised and delivered by arts writer and journalism lecturer Moira Jeffrey

An open day for learners to work on a particular writing project with support from a facilitator from the Scottish Artists’ Union.



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