Caregivers residency blog: Bobbi Cameron

Photo by Bobbi Cameron

In February and April 2024 Bobbi Cameron completed her SSW X Counterflows Residency. The residency offered artists time, space, funding and support to develop artists practices alongside their caregiving responsibilities. Bobbi reflects on the nature of being a carer and working as an artist and the importance of flexibility.

Words by Bobbi Cameron.

Whenever I reflect on time(s) at SSW, I see turning points in my life that have been genuinely monumental. Deep cosmic shifts seem to follow my time in Lumsden and yet my experience in the present is very calm, peaceful, hyper-focused, rhythmic.

SSW studio, photo by the artist

Most days begin the same, early morning admin to clear the decks before getting into the studio. I have a lovely and brief crossover with residents doing a ceramics course for the first couple of days and then after this I’m solo with my wee dog Rosie. Her presence is both a comfort and a distraction.

I am beginning production for a new body of work titled for the first words of a dreamworld and my time is tight. During the residency I’m to make a significant dent in a work-in-progress version of the work which will open with Travelling Gallery 2024 group show, programmed by Hospitalfield, a couple of months later. So as much as I long for my time to be open ended with space for experimentation, this is not it, I’m on a tight deadline and there’s not much room for deviation.

For the first words of a dreamworld WIP publication, photo by the artist

I’m on the SSW x Counterflows Carers residency, and I think this is often the nature of dedicated time and work for artists with caring responsibilities. Opportunities that include time, space and funding for your caring requirements are thin on the ground and so those times, if you receive them, become pressurised; all that must be achieved during this time is accentuated and accelerated.

Thankfully though, there is a specific quality to the energy at SSW that encourages a focused dedication to work. This is echoed amongst other residents and staff and I think about how SSW must be a virgo.

I am making sounds about time travel. I am comparing my own experiences of celtic shamanic practices to the experiences of my grandfather (and others) with dementia to explore what it means to exist in multiple places at once. This is a deeply internal process of making. I feel aware of the contrast of this to how other people generally engage with this sculpture workshop – there is, so far, nothing physical within my making. And yet I can see, more so each day, how these sounds are taking up space. I am building worlds that expand and bump up against each other within the studio, within me. I try and get some of this down on paper.

I have to leave my residency early due to some unexpected life hurdles but Sam and Jo are generous about the flexible nature of the carers residency being truly flexible and support me to carry out the rest of my residency at home and I am immensely grateful for this.

for the first words of a dreamworld: a work in progress opened with Hosptialfield x Travelling Gallery 2024 Exhibition ‘A Bonnie Way’ in March 2024. A work-in-progress sound work, made with sound design and mix support from Richy Carey, sits alongside an A5 publication featuring visual scores, text and images and is touring with the travelling gallery until May 2024.

The final 16mm film version will open with Glasgow International Festival in June 2024 as part of a duo show with Owain Train McGilvary titled I’m attended as a portal myself. It would not have been possible to make this work without the support of the SSW x Counterflows Carers Residency, I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and for SSW, for the cosmic ripples and for all that they do.

For the first words of a dreamworld, production still, photo by Margaret Salmon
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