All site blogs

Self help and varying mental states

November 9, 2012 by Jade Heritage   Comments (0)

How To Get Results with People (1987) is a four hour lecture by Jeff Salzman, teaching people in businesses how to better manage their working relationships to get results, success and higher productivity. And, at the core of all these aims, money.

My basis for the work How To Get Results With People - although looking at the business and success side of self help - has hugely autobiographical undertones, in that the idea of self help has always eluded me. It feels an impossibilty. A course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which largely teaches you to help yourself, made me more aware of my anxieties, and essentially less able to help myself. This may just come down to my nature, the ever-present desire to deconstruct, to understand, and to be aware. However, the constant overstimulation of our minds leaves us wanting, needing more, seeking answers, and where possible, quickly and easily. Hence the understandably popular genre self help.

The industry, which when you walk into a bookshop now is ever expanding in its content, is absorbed by the majority of western society. Just take your pick of the subgenres; business, money, weightloss, finding inner peace, sex, relationships. Yet what do we gain from this deconstruction and step by step instruction? How does what sits on paper actually translate in our daily lives?

Renata Salecl looks at exactly this in The Tyranny of Choice. In the Guardian's review of her book, Killian Fox says,

"Several years ago, an American magazine editor named Jennifer Niesslein decided to iron out all the imperfections in her life. Using only the advice contained in a stack of self-help books, she set about cleaning her home, losing weight, becoming a better partner and parent and generally cultivating a more serene approach to existence. After two years of trying, she found that she was less contented, not more, and started suffering from panic attacks."

Salecl mentions that "The idea of choosing who we want to be and the imperative to 'become yourself' have begun to work against us, making us more anxious and more acquisitive rather than giving us more freedom". This feeds very much back into my own observations about myself - this heightened awareness of the self, the pressures to conform to many contradictary and opposing models.

Self help will be something I explore for many years in my practice. For How To Get Results With People I am very much looking at the human desire for success, and how 'success' is largely related to money, growth, yet is not necessarily imperative to happiness or fulfillment. On the flipside to this, the consequences (anxiety, depression, other more severe mental states) are of a huge interest to me. Many of these states are the hangovers from the under/overstimulated mind. The mind that evolved instead of the body, full of ideas, evoking change and invention. The increasing degradation of mental health in western society is something I explore as a tangent, something which loosely connects to this strand, but is more about the scientific and physical actions that take place when undergoing stress and in more extreme cases, psychosis.

I wish to use the model within HTGRWP to forge my own success, through artwork and through my interactions with students, staff and fellow artists in the residency. The work, while ultimately becoming a body of video, performance and writing, is also embodied in all the interactions I have in between.

Bee-Haviour Exhibition

November 9, 2012 by Rachel Thornton   Comments (0)

so last month I had an exhibition of my Bee collection at Bentham Gallery, North Yorkshire. It was a great experience for me to have a solo exhibition. I was able to have free rain of the space and was able to dictate how my work was disaplayed and presented. I was able to sell some of my work which was a real blessing. I was rather excited about one of my large colographs being sold to a Bee keeper from Holland. 

How To Get Results With People (1987) / How To Get Results With People (2012)

November 9, 2012 by Jade Heritage   Comments (0)

How to Get Results With People: How to Build Your Leadership, Power and Visibility on the Job

During my residency I plan on developing a video/performance work, ‘How To Get Results With People’ based on a motivational 1980’s lecture of the same name by Jeff Salzman, founder of the company Careertrack. I often use outmoded theories, and look at how its application to present day can create a skewed reality, apt for analysis and critique. I wish to explore the notions that this lecture produces, particularly those ideas of success. I can see if, through an artwork, I can get the results with people that Salzman speaks of. There are many questions that the industry of ‘self-help’ raises, and its influential interaction with the working world and society at present.

If at first you don't succeed...

November 8, 2012 by Denise Swanson   Comments (0)

, , , ,

My first blog since joining the AA2A program but at last, after lots of reading, experimenting and a number of failed attempts, it seems I am starting to make some progress in the print room. It has been a real trial and error approach, which is par for the course with all experimental work, but I have journalled it all and it is quite satisfying now to look back over the past few weeks and see how many obstacles I have actually overcome.

Of course, solving one problem only leads to another being exposed but that is all part of the fun. What I am doing now is so different from what I thought I was doing when I started, I can't wait to see where it all ends up! 

After a long session in the print room at ArtLab/UCLan yesterday, I actually ended up with some prints! Not really that good and still issues to tackle with timing, pressure and quantities of ink but at least I now know that the ideas are sound and that they will work - eventually.


November 7, 2012 by Mandeep Chohan   Comments (0)


AA2A has just got into full swing. Attended a year 2 crit last week, which was very eventful. There was male artist touching on Feminism without fully understanding the subject, was slightly disappointing but exciting at the same time. Im really intrigued by a few students to see how their work progresses. I've missed crits.

Set up my studio space which is really nice and big. Its helping me get into the groove of working again after not doing any physical artwork for a year. 

Going to London at the end of this week to see the Turner Prize which will be exciting. Cant wait to get back because I'll be doing some screen printing. 


Images to come soon...


November 7, 2012 by Janet Manogue   Comments (0)

Been trying to find the perfect paper for my monoprints. Spent hours searching the net, but I think I've found some from GF Smith in Hull. They sent me two pieces of cartridge paper (and a sample book for free) to try, and I printed today. The paper is 135gsm which is a bit thin for the amount of ink I used as the oil in the ink seeped right through to the back. I think 175gsm will be better, but it will be more expensive. White 250gsm cartridge is perfect, but I'm looking for a colour to match the somerset newsprint I love so much. GF Smith have a cartridge called MIST which matches the colour very closely, watch this space for more details... BTW, the prints were fabulous! Will photograph them and post soon.

my first sculpture starts to take form....

November 7, 2012 by Lorraine Clewlow  

, , , , , , , , , ,

The purpose of my AA2A residency is to expand on and underpin my previous work and this involves fusing the sculptural materials, techniques and ideas of form which my Mum used to use (in her own work) with my own sculptural forms which express the loss of her from my life. Although filtered through memory I feel this exploration of materials will bridge a gap in space and time and its fusion with my choice of materials will be both a celebration of creation and a cathartic realisation.  

Mum loved Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, her forms reflected this, and so I have started to research their work and incorporate this into the meaning of form within this project.





I started with a chicken wire structure which has hints of human form, it is three legged with reference to myself and my two siblings. The form is trying to stand, each leg requiring the support of the other two. The form has the simplicity and aesthetic of Mums sculpture and incorporates a niche into which one of my own small scupltures will be put.


photos to follow  - I need to "undelete" them as I just wiped my memory card... luckily I know someone who can fix this :-) I hope...



Learning to Fail

November 7, 2012 by Katie Smith   Comments (0)

, , , ,

Since being a very small child, I have always held the belief that I am harbouring a hidden talent that I have yet to discover; a talent so amazing that it requires little effort to actualise but has the power to insight awe and wonder in all who behold it. This belief has led to some monumental disappointments with many potential talents being scratched off the list, playing professional darts, disco dancing on roller skates and speaking Esperanto to name but a few. Heading for 40 with my hidden talent still eluding me I recently bumbled into another epic fail situation through rejecting rigour in favour of alchemy and the quest for super powers.

My AA2A project is going to explore what will happen to a series of creative relationships developed in digital environments when they are migrated offline and will be documented by analogue processes. Darkroom photography was my first love and although I cast it aside for the speed and convenience of digital photography well over 10 years ago a spark of interest rekindled my passion for film this summer which became the inspiration for my project proposal.

The spark bizarrely took the form of a £3.50 Polaroid camera that I found in a charity shop; I took a chance and loaded it with the considerably more expensive film and headed off on an analogue adventure. The thrill of flipping the chunky camera casing to reveal its lens and flash, the heavy clunk and whoosh of the ejected Polaroid and the nervous anticipation experienced as the image developed combined to elicit ridiculous levels of excitement! With each press of the shutter I was left with a tangible, yet slightly imperfect, outcome of a carefully considered composition.

The whole Polaroid experience led me to consider both the value of photographs as physical artefacts and a renewed interest in exploring the fundamental principles of making an image. Once inducted as an AA2A artist I decided that experimenting with pin-hole cameras would both be an excellent starting point to take my analogue adventure further and a useful device to find my feet within the Lens Based Media department at the University of Lincoln.

I set to work and after a fruitful spell of internet research, I meticulously crafted 20 lightproof cameras which I loaded with light sensitive paper. This however is where my enthusiasm and belief in super powers took over and confused my logic. Instead of choosing one subject and using a series of cameras to photograph it, making an incremental change to the length of exposure each time, I chose a range of subjects, took a single photograph of each and used an exposure time plucked from the air. After 10 minutes in the darkroom, the small black rectangles of photographic paper that I had carefully retrieved and developed told me that I had another hidden talent to strike from the list of possibilities.

Despite wanting to go home to cry into my tin of failed cameras I took Samuel Beckett’s advice to ‘“Try again, fail again, fail better.” I enlisted the help of Dave O the department’s senior photography technician who very patiently helped me to take a more robust research based approach to calculating exposure times. He also introduced me to the baffling inverse square law which reminded me that photography is all about physics.

Had I not have failed I wouldn’t have thought about physics and photography and I wouldn’t have prompted myself to rewatch this film by Daniel Meadows about his very humanistic take on the subject. After experiencing the sheer joy of creating an image as a by-product of determination I am now happy to continue the rest of my residency learning to fail.

Museums 2012

November 6, 2012 by Lindsey Holmes   Comments (0)

, , , , , ,

I'm off to to my frist Museums Association conference all the way up in Edinburgh, to listen, learn and play counter-tourism, which is my new "thing" in which i often find myself in a busy museum bare foot, with pockets full of plastic animals, talking to paintings and eyeballing statues...anyway...

I'm also going to collect my AMA certificate which i have worked very hard for, over the last three years

I'm excited as this is a great oppurtunity to network and talk to museum people about the role costume and artwork does and could play in a wide range of heritage sites

As per normal i will have a couple of hats on and will also be representing IMTAL Europe (The International Museum Theatre Alliance) for whom i am a director and as part of this role I edit the IMTAL Europe Insights Journal three times a year

This is a very diffrent role (hat) from that of "Artist" and i am always interested in how the two worlds meet

expect more on what i got up to when i'm back at the weekend, including lashings of Iron brew...




Digital printing goes a little bit wonky...October 31st/ 2012

November 5, 2012 by Rachel Horne   Comments (2)

, , , ,

I started the day feeling more than a little nervous. The wonderful Dino (print tutor extraordinaire) had introduced me to the wonders of digital printing the week before and I had dutifully scribbled down notes. Notes that were in depth and insightful (or as it happens shallow and altogether a little bit useless). 

So...when the day arrived to print my imagery I felt like a tiny first year student again. I put on a brave face and tried my best to remember all the instructions and wise words Dino had imparted earlier, not wanting to seem like a fool, so wanting to ask as few questions as possible. 

On seeing my work pop out as if by magic from the printer my nerves calmed. The colours were so different to the originals which was expected but exciting- the blues looked too blue but the white calico stitch work came out a sort of golden hue which was lovely.

Feeling happy that something other than plain white silk emerged from the rolling machine, I took my creation gingerly to the miracle that is the steamer.

Having pinned my finger to the carousel and ignoring the blood pooling around in my rubber glove I slammed shut the steamer door.

Minutes later I carefully unfurled the backing cloth to discover the inevitable...a drop of water had somehow crept through yards of backing cloth from a thoroughly dry steamer onto the silk. Impressively done.

Despite this set back I left for the day feeling pretty darn chuffed. I know all too well mistakes must happen in order to really appreciate the final product. Nothing should ever be too easy.