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Liz’s Week at WEYA… 1 Month After

Before my train pulled into Nottingham station on the 6th September, I had no idea what to expect from World Event Young Artists. The information given out to us as artists about what exactly was going to fill our time for 10 days was… basic but sounded exciting. I knew I was going to be part of something great. In the days leading up to the beginning of WEYA the organisers had announced several seminars, talks, performances and film screenings by participating artists or ambassadors for us to book onto. At around this time, The Independent on Sunday ran a large article ‘Young, Gifted and British’ in their supplement magazine about the event, featuring my work as the main image on the opening double-page spread. Inside there was a quote from artist Hetain Patel (former participant – 2008) about my practice, which of course made me very happy. I immediately booked myself onto Hetain’s ‘Practice Session’ during WEYA in the hope to meet him and thank him. Hetain’s session was with dramaturge Michael Pinchbeck investigating the reasons behind his new theatre piece ‘The Beginning’.

When I booked myself onto the ‘Practice Session’ I realised there were many other events to go to during the 10 days, so put aside half a day to sit down and properly look through them all and sign myself up. Arriving in Nottingham, I had no idea what I was going to be doing besides these few events. It didn’t take long to figure it out though. I was welcomed by friendly faces and given keys to my room, coincidentally bumping into fellow artist Joe Doldon, who I had met whilst exhibiting in Blank Media Collective’s The Title Art Prize in November 2011. We decided to explore the city before our first WEYA evening meal in Nottingham Castle grounds. Stopping at the gate of the castle I decided to ask the guard millions of questions about when we could go in, what was the set-up, etc. At that point a friendly looking girl with a Canadian accent approached the guard to ask something too. He stopped the conversation with me to ask what she wanted, her reply was, ‘I wanted to know the same as these people’… it was Alana. She too had made an effort to find out what was going on and had booked herself onto a few events. Not many others had done this to my surprise. We were two of a kind… organisational freaks.

So a little group was formed, which grew over the coming days. It was nice to go to see exhibitions together across the city and go to performances in the afternoons and evening. Eating meals together felt very civilized and appropriate to the ethos of the whole event. For me WEYA was as much about meeting other creative’s as seeing the art on show (of which there was lots). Alana, myself and Kim Stewart (a fellow Glasgow School of Art alumni who graduated the same year as me) stuck together the most, we all had/have similar tastes and wanted to go to a lot of the same things. Kim did a great blog over the event – which you can see HERE, see if you can spot some familiar faces? This was a fantastic record of what I did over the time I was in Nottingham and something I can use to look back on.

Highlights were the Richard Hancock Practice Session – one I suggested Alana join me at, no-one else took up my offer as they were daunted by the ‘practical’ element of the workshop. Their loss! It was engerising and all-consuming… both in terms of what we were asked to do and in Richard’s work. Another highlight was seeing the work of artists from all over the world – seeing how different cultures effect how others create, their limitations and traditions. Putting the art aside for one moment – one of the best experiences for me was Alana and I having conversations at 1am/2am as we walked back to our digs. Personal, emotional, frank. It wasn’t often you open up to someone like this. This brings me to where we are today. We have started this blog together, our conversations will continue….

Since coming back to Manchester from my time in Nottingham, I have had time to reflect. I think it is really important to keep those relationships that began at WEYA going. There were so many interesting people to talk to at any given time about our work and lives as artists; I have come back enriched and feeling positive about my future as a practicing artist. In the month since WEYA I have been selected to make a new piece as a commission by Cornerhouse in Manchester to be shown in a exhibition opening in January 2013. I have been back in the studio and made new work, organised myself in time for Open Studios at Rogue, where I am based and had conversations with people about more interesting opportunities on the horizon. On top of that, I am currently part of a group exhibition ‘Beyond The Material World’ at Bar Lane Gallery in York which opened last weekend. Busy and exciting times…

by Liz West

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One comment on “Liz’s Week at WEYA… 1 Month After

  1. Pingback: One Year Since WEYA | Have you read our blog yet?

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2012 by .
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