A Craftman's Workshop
Exploring the meanings of 'work' and 'labour'
I spent my time reading for my dissertation and building the Woodlane lecture theatre and the Garden Studio on Minecraft while the craftsman was welding.
I find the virtual space interesting, and the virtual labour that takes place, especially when that labour is playing on the idea of mining- being in Cornwall, that is particularly relevant. In fact, the workshop itself is in St Breward, a small mining town near Bodmin Moor, so to be "building" with "granite" on a screen drew an interesting parallel.
And then there's the activity of reading in a location; practice-based research...
The Poly, Falmouth
Mostly, people tend not to lie on the floor of a Gallery space. When they do, other visitors wonder if it's Part Of The Art. This is the first part of a day-long collaborative exercise in playful alternative movement within an exhibition environment.
Tasha Farrell, Rachael Tanner and Maddie Broad use the location of the Fine Art Second Year Show at The Poly, Falmouth, to play with and subvert the set of assumed behavioural patterns that may exist within a gallery institution.
Generally accepted behaviour in a gallery space may involve:
- walking or sitting on a seat provided by the institution
- a calm, slightly reverent manner
- a medium-slow paced trajectory across the space, travelling via most areas so as to see everything
- quietened, respectful tone of voice
- unspoken distance from the art
- obeying signs
Unlikely behaviour in a gallery space may involve:
- physical intimacy with friends or strangers
- loud talking, singing, shouting
- use of the floor to lie down, roll, slide etc.
- bringing items from outside the gallery inside (i.e strips of carpet)
- unplanned playing of music or musical instruments
- touching the art without permission
- spontaneous performance art not endorsed by the gallery
Falmouth University Staff Development Office
Why are the offices on Woodlane Campus at Falmouth University so separate from the art studios? Why do students feel like it's not their place to walk into the office building, and staff from Kerris Vean rarely enter an art studio? How might things change if this inhibition was removed? What would it feel like to understand the full picture of how my University operates?
As an initial experiment, I have organised a day's residency in the Staff Development office. The office is about 10 metres from my studio, and yet the context of the environment is worlds apart.
I felt like I should dress more smartly than usual; on the right you can see me preparing for my day. I noticed the slight discomfort as I walked to Uni in my smart shoes, rather than my dirty orange sneakers. I walked slightly differently in these shoes. I didn't say hello to the others in my studio, I just went straight to the office.
I chatted to Nicola Ward who was the only other lady in the office today. She told me about the kind of sessions her team run for the Staff Development Programme. There's Mandatory Training which includes Display Screen Equipment, Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity and Data Protection. In addition to this, Nicola's team run sessions in 'conflict resolution', 'delegating, negotiating and influencing skills', 'dealing with stress and resilience' and several courses in team development.
Many of these sessions are supplementary to working day occupations; they seem to provide balance between supporting personal well-being, improving functionality as a staff body in terms of internal communication and ultimately achieving the best results for the University.
The well-being area of the programme interests me. Sessions in mindfulness are apparently incredibly popular- "Mindfulness is creeping in everywhere!" DSE involves setting up your desk space to suit and take care of your posture during the working day, using hydraulic desks and tilting your computer screen correctly. Nicola also said there are sessions in shiatsu massage. She is keen to introduce more physical sessions such as yoga and sports to Woodlane.
Nicola agreed that her office at Woodlane feels segregated from the students. Previously she worked at Hereford College of Art as the Head's PA and she said the close proximity of her office to the students on foundation meant an everyday crossover between students and staff. At Woodlane however, there is a clear divide, to the extent that you can forget you're in a University. She can go a whole day without encountering student activity. Even within the office building, she feels slightly unsure of what goes on and who's there.
The only clue that the office is part of an art school is the image on the front of the events programme...
Due to hot-desking staff do not personalise their desk, so the office environment seems quite sanitised and official. It isn't intimidating, but it's not very personal.