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Twelve Days of Conversations 2017 Susan Merrick

Arts Council England granted me funding again for Statements in Semaphore 2018!!!!

So… what was the plan?

In 2017 we ran twelve workshops across two organisations. These workshops were safe creative spaces led by professional artists and the aim of them was purely for a creative space and to allow conversations between women to happen naturally. The dialogue from the workshops, but also between the organisations and artists fed into my practice and instigated work. allowing my practice to be both led and informed by current issues. In turn this work instigated further conversations about the issues we came across which became valuable to the organisations themselves.

The project worked really well for the organisations I worked with, the Women we engaged with, as well as for the Artists who collaborated and my own practice. With this in mind I wanted to continue the work, but also move the project forward  in some way too.

In 2018 l continued to use the workshop format, with two more artists coming on-board to run them. Melissa Mostyn and Barbara Touti-Evans. Melissa ran workshops with Deafhope, an organisation supporting Deaf women who are survivors of Domestic Abuse. Barbara ran sessions with You Trust Hampshire, an organisation supporting women in Aldershot.

I worked with everyone involved to engage in dialogue and consider the issues that became apparent through this dialogue and within my practice. ‘Power, language, access and control’ are themes that continue to perpetuate my work and that permeate every aspect of society, but commonly raise their heads when we consider groups of marginalised and hidden women.

Throughout the year I wanted to have both more public engagement with the work and dialogue, but also more collaborative contact on a regular basis. This led me to approach the wonderful Ema Mano-Epps of Platform 1 Gallery and ask her to partner with the project. I spent approximately two days a month at Platform 1 Gallery as well as two days a month working in my home town of Aldershot. I examined the audiences of both towns and specifically both train stations.  Mainly as Platform 1 Gallery is sited on Wandsworth Common Station platform!

The project culminated in a series of events, including the ‘Clothing Exchange’ in September at Platform 1 Gallery and in Aldershot at The Princes Hall. (see event images).