On Friday 15th September, one of our current residents Alice Wadkin, who is this year’s recipient of the DJCAD Graduate Award Residency, led a moonlight walk and discussion on the time between ‘learning and practice’.
Alice’s practice is primarily led by research into a specific site or community and frequently uses conversation and discussion to catalyse a body of work. Since graduating, she has been predominantly thinking about the dissipation of artist support structures after graduating and has been thinking about how these can be found again, or maintained. From this, Alice wanted to open the discussion about learning to communities beyond the arts in order to discover ways in which learning can best be harvested or encouraged.
Before the walk and discussion, Alice took participants through some exercises in order to frame the evening’s activities as an opportunity to share and to listen. These tasks were movement based and involved pairs coming together and learning to give and take, lead and follow, with wrists pressed together. She also generously made two soups (!) and served cheese, biscuits and tea.
The moonlight walk didn’t feature the moon in the end… instead we were greeted with strong winds and light rain! Regardless of the weather we powered through. Alice led a deep listening activity halfway through the walk and we all agreed the rain and wind heightened deep listening into a deep feeling activity.
Alice Wadkin has contributed a summary of the event:
As a recent graduate from art college, I often feel in the dark in terms of the direction and sustainability of my practice. The aim of the evening was to open up a platform for discussion around these pressures and to gain a deeper insight into potential support structures used by other creative practitioners to ease these pressures.
Through a partner ‘wrist dance’ exercise an idea of equal force was introduced. Participants were asked to place one of their wrists onto one of their partner’s wrists, this was now their unbreakable point of contact. The partners could choose to move their wrists in any direction they wished (as long as they remained together) and so the balance of pressure was constantly alternating – a push and pull of energies.
The moonlight walk itself brought everyone together as one collective group. Here we all faced the same obstacle: a lack of visibility. Greater reliance was placed onto our other senses, especially our sense of sound. With our heightened hearing came a greater appreciation for the environment around us; trees, plants, wind, rain, running water and each other. Walking in the dark together, as a group, we felt safe.
Reflections made on return from the walk continued to feed back to this idea of interdependency. It was collectively agreed that, on leaving education, the most difficult support structure to maintain is one of community – and yet it was also collectively agreed to be the most important.
A big thank you to Alice for leading the event – we are excited to see how this discussion evolves into further research, art and/or performance! Another thank you for Ross Fraser Mclean for capturing the event so spectacularly.