June 19, 2020
I became a member of the Scottish Artists Union last year taking the opportunity to attend my first workshop at the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness. The workshop was hosted by Janie Nicoll and Kirsten Body, with discussion and activities we looked at how to use our time more effectively and what we should consider adequate rates of pay. The workshop made me reflect on my working process and ways to utilise my time in the studio to be more productive, whilst valuing the work I do and being paid to reflect this.
It was also a great chance to meet up with local artists I know and others I wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to meet. Myself and the other artists who attended, along with students from the Orkney College appreciated the union coming to Orkney as everyone gain something from the workshop. It was great to see a good turn out from the UHI students as the Union will be offering cover for graduates in the future. As part of professional practice it’s beneficial for students to understand what they should expect working professionally.
Having such a positive experience in the Stromness workshop and with support for my travel from Scottish Union Learning, I decided it would be worth getting up at 4am(!) to catch the boat and bus to Inverness and attend the Artists Writing workshop, which was a condensed program that initially ran over four days in Dundee.
Writers Moira Jeffrey and Nicola White helped artists consider when and how they might need to use writing with a purpose in mind, very important as an artist a significant amount of time is spent on application for various opportunities. This process can get overwhelming and I felt it important to develop skills to get the best use of my time when submitting applications. Along with discussions there were various activities which were beneficial in considering my artistic practice and looking at how I communicate this within the application process. I was delighted to have a sneak peek into the new WASPS Creative Academy where the workshop was held, being a WASPS resident myself in the Stromness Studio, Orkney.
Overall the benefits of the two workshops will have a far reaching impact on my professional practice. As an island based artist it’s important to feel connected to others whether that’s artists in remote place or artist and events happening in the central belt. It is also a great opportunity to meet others you wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to do, whether that’s at a local level or further a field. I’m looking forward to other such experience in 2019.
Louise Barrington graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2013, she is currently a member of the artists collective Móti and a visiting Fine Art Lecturer at Orkney College - part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. She is currently working towards a solo exhibition, ‘between the eternal and the temporal’, which opens within the St Magnus Festival in Orkney on 21st June.
You can see more of her work here: www.louisebarrington.com
Images: Ku-Kan, Louise Barrington, Briggait Project & Exhibition Space, Wasps Glasgow, February 2018
(photo credit: courtesy of the artist)