I’ve just booked onto the Landscape of the Mind conference at the Lightbox in Woking (places still available). It’s going to look at the world of the arts and mental health, including Happy Museum projects. I love these projects, which are all about actively creating resilient relationships and community around the museum. My work at Cotehele was like that, part of engaging people more deeply around a focal point, in this case, Cotehele itself.
Another conference, Craft and Social Change was also thought-provoking. I loved Sarah Corbett & her Craftivist Collective. Her ideas on engaging people through craft go very deep, I think, but are so elegantly expressed as to be immediately understandable: like her Mini Protest Banner kit, or Barbies holding Banners. She’s had real success in engaging politicians as well as the public through craft, and all in a really enriching way – I wouldn’t mind having these banners where I live!
Adam Sutherland, of Grizedale Arts also spoke of the need for art to be engaged, inspired by something in the real world. They work with the most conceptual and well-known of contemporary artists, too. One blog discussed the details of this, calling it art util.
It’s all a far cry from traditional art education: more like John Ruskin, but it resonates with me, so I’m starting to re-programme myself. It feels good to rekindle my conservation, engineering and consulting skills!