It's been a little over a week since my last post, which has been mostly consumed by working late nights in the pub and helping sort out some of the rooms in my parents house - the life of an artist/non-artist is oh so glamourous...
But! Breakthrough! (Please excuse me while I jump around the house in glee, no gloating I promise, just pure - unadulterated joy!) So what I hinted at in my post from May 21, can now be confirmed - one of my applications paid off! The response I got for this particular application started with the usual 'Thank you for your application, unfortunately due to the high number of applicants we will not be inviting you for interview...' but then continued with '...however, we have a project that may be of some interest to you...' (HOWEVER - what a lovely little spark of hope held within that single word) So last week I went to meet the Director of Lichfield Festival (LF) who has invited me to curate a visual exhibition that supports the festivals activities which centre around the Centenary of WW1.
The exhibition, simply entitled 'War Music' will be made up of archival material and items that were previously curated as an exhibition (under the same title) at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) - see photo. The exhibition aimed to give 'a broad look at the relationship between music and war against the background of radical musical change.' The themes within it vary from music as a tool for recruitment and propaganda, to the creation of new music and poetry as an outlet for soldiers in the trenches, and those waiting for them to come home. The 'new' exhibition which will open on the 1st of July in the Lichfield Cathedral will be a snap shot version of this.
It's definitely something out of my nice, comfy contemporary zone and even the first task has been really challenging! I've been given almost free-reign to curate the material as I see fit, LF has requested that a few specific items be included, but other than that the selection of the material has been left up to me. So my task this week was to work through a huge list of the potential items that we could have on loan from the RAM exhibition and send this off to the Museum Curator so that all of the request paperwork, insurance, transportation could be set in motion. All the while the self-sabotaging side of my brain was screaming 'AHHHH, you have NO IDEA what you're doing!' After lots of research and pondering, I've made what I feel like is an informed selection, but I have also asked for them to send up a lot more than we will be able to fit into the exhibition - I want to have the option to select from a range of things when I'm actually curating it in the space. (So we'll see what they say about that!)
Later this week I'm going into the LF office to work through the supporting info displays and the display options that have already been sent up from RAM - plinths, display cases etc, I'm a little concerned that by condensing it down, that it may all become a little disjointed and we'll possibly need to print new info sheets or cut down display boards - I won't really know this until I see what is there though - time to fret about that later.
We've also discussed trying to find an innovative way of increasing engagement and feedback -right up my participative-obsessed street! Hopefully as I progress through the process of putting the show together something will present itself to me as a way of doing this, I initially had grand ideas of setting up a music hall type seating arrangement, complete with music sheets/feedback forms... but unfortunately I don't think the space will allow for this - we'll see...
So, my ideas from last weeks post have been put on the shelf somewhat this week, I'm reading a personal critique of the social system from the 70's by a guy called Peter Laurie, after just the first chapter it's really interesting to see how certain shifts in that era have become unwritten rules of the social order today. The first chapter is on Education, in which he describes a 'dumbing down' of the lower and middle classes in order to create a system in which those confined by it are not taught the language to understand politics and government and are therefore incapable of in-sighting any significant changes . So far Mr Laurie and I are screaming from the same hymn sheet it seems - it will be interesting to see if he offers any pearls of wisdom that could inspire the community activities that I talked about in last weeks post.
I've also done a little more work on the BSA booklet, which I should be tying up into another final draft by the end of this week...at least it's what I plan on doing this evening (too many fingers in too many pies at the moment!)
It's been a joyous one, less proverbial head-banging and much more giddy-breakthrough dancing to come, please?