It's surprising how quickly the year has gone, and how fast the time has flown by since I first became engaged with the AA2A programme. My initial experience of the project was one of some confusion and it was not entirely clear exactly what was expected from us as student reps, however, when we eventually began to worry less about what we were 'supposed' to be doing and started looking into what we could do, the potential became clearer.
As such, I would certainly advise any new student reps of the potential benefits of the scheme but would also suggest that they do not wait for someone to tell them the best way to proceed as that information may very well not be fothcoming! The approach that worked for us was very much to simply dive in, arrange a meeting or two and get chatting.
It is unfortunate that as a part time student I was not always available at the same times as the artists so that did limit it a bit, however, following a meeting with Maria Mylona (Also student rep at MMU) and Melanie Alexandrou (Artist in Residence), I was delighted to accept their support of my practice in various ways. Maria assisted me by taking some very professional photographs of a participatory project which I have used in a variety of ways and Melanie kindly volunteered to be directly part of that project. You can see Maria's photos and learn more about the Talk to Me project here: http:/
I was also pleased to have to opportunity to display this, and other work alongside the contributing artists at an end of year exhibition in the university. It was at this event that I managed to meet 2 of the other artsists in residence (Ima Pico and Chava Rosenzweig) and speak with them about their work while displaying my own.
In reflection, I think that because I had a very clear direction in my practice this year, I did not put aside as much time towards the AA2A project as I might have done if I had been less focused, however, I can clearly see the benefits that I may have derived from it had this been the case. As it was, I benefited from the opportunity by meeting and being able to engage in dialogues with other artists and students that I would not otherwise have met, and the fact that I found contributors to my projects through it was undoubtably of great use to me.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to apply for the residency opportunity myself next year as to be eligible one must have been out of education for a year, however, this is certainly something I am considering for next year. I wish all the new artists and student reps the very best of luck with the new academic year and hope this will not be my last invovlement with the AA2A programme.