I am leading and investigating “itinerant initiatives with contemporary art and culture” as I develop my own research into walking and mountaineering (walking and scrambling).
I am testing approaches, finding my own voice and tone. I am making connections between contemporary art and outdoor/mountain cultures. Since September 2010 I have been bringing together the two cultures that fascinate me – contemporary arts and the outdoors, with special and particular intention to explore how to bring hillwalking and mountain culture together with contemporary art.
I am also an arts professional who has enabled and facilitated new work with artists as a curator, mentor, and commissioner. I have also worked as Head of Visual Arts at Arts Council England, East Midlands Office where I was responsible for building the relationships that grew the independent artist led sector and helped to establish with partners Nottingham Contemporary. I have led and facilitated an Action Learning Set for artists, curators and academics called A Field Guide to Ideas. Funding was received from Nottingham Trent University and the Igniting Ambition Creative Innovation initiative, Legacy Trust UK. The set was supported by the AN Information Company, and included a representative from AN.
Hill walking has been a passion rather than a profession. For this reason I have been building up a log of my experience of mountainous areas in England, Scotland and Wales. My intention is to gain the Mountain Leader (Summer) qualification by Autumn 2012. My target is sixty ‘quality’ mountain days in England, Wales and Scotland.
I have been leading walks for arts organisations and arts festivals, as well as designing and planning and collaborating on walks by, with and for artists, walkers, mountaineers, PhD Students, land poets, families – anybody going out for a stroll once in a while. In these walks the art has been the destination, the journey and the walk.
I want to use this opportunity to explore with artists and outdoor instructors their respective cultures and histories. This is an opportunity to allow for experimentation, to find out what can happen when these two worlds come together. I have been influenced by Brian Dillon’s Pastures New A resurgent wave of British nature writers owe s much to Land art and science fiction as traditional environmentalism in Frieze magazine, September 2007. Included throughout the piece several books were listed including Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Placespublished in September 2007. Reading this book I wanted to get out in the winter weather toughing it out stomping up a snow filled gully. It got me out in the hills again, and out in my bivvy bag in Snowdonia and dreaming of sleeping out on a frozen Lochan over night on Rannoch Moor.
I have revisited Raymond Williams, looking for this book, Resources of Hope on my top book shelf, where he describes his place between the mountains and the industry. Remembering that it’s working people who have made the tracks, routes and pathways, often worked hard to gain equal access to the rights of way through countryside and wild places.