Camden Arts Centre

 In the summer after my first year of MFA I was interviewed and selected to become a gallery invigilator at Camden Arts Centre. I was prompted to apply by the earlier visit in the centre when I became captured by its atmosphere, curatorial edge and local arts centre ethos. The atmosphere while working there was quite unique, in a very positive way.

It was very intense and enriching experience. I have also volunteered to give tours during exhibition, therefore I was required to research exhibiting artist and prepare further for public speaking. Camden Arts Centre is is an intimate and supportive institution. I was getting a lot of professional aid to help me to prepare for the talk - access to many printed materials and occasional meetings with the curator, held for our whole group of volunteers. I talked about works Jeniffer Tee, Daniel Richter and Christian Nyampeta. My overall experience of giving the tours was encouraging, I have managed to engage the audience and hopefully provide a little bit more extensive experience and better understanding for them. I also learned that the research has to be done very thoroughly in the anticipation of questions that public might ask. At one point I had to deal with very confrontational and disruptive member of the public who was spoiling the tour experience for the group. I wish I handled I a little different then - only afterwards I have reflected that the best approach it would be to firmly redirect them to the end of tour when the time for questions will be given. I prefer when questions are asked organically as they raised, but in this particular case it was so disruptive that it would have been better to apply a different approach.

When invigilating Jennifer Tee show, I have volunteered to read fragments of books to the public. The stash of books related to the theme of resilience was part of her show and she kindly requested willing volunteers to read them out loud. The readings happened randomly and before they started the audience have been asked to lay down on one of the knitted artworks and close their eyes. Some have complied some didn’t. I found when they did it provided a better experience for them and for myself, perhaps that visual detachment in a safe space provided greater comfort for both parties. Some people wished that the reading lasted longer and it was very moving for me when they personally came up to say “thank you”.

This has inspired me to include a reading recording in my work for The Crypt. I wanted to be able able to choose the books and fragments myself to convey my ideas.