Hullo. Meg here. I’m stepping into some curatorial/organisational shoes, this time in London, in my neighborhood of Peckham. We did afterall always bill ourselves as a ‘peripatetic organisation’. (I have since learned that peripatetic can refer to followers of Aristotle’s philosophy, and the nomadic sense is take from his ‘peripatetic school’ being one in which teaching happened while walking, which I suppose we never did so literally, but hey, there could be time for that still.)

Since moving to London I have been very interested in viewing art as a form of social interaction, and as a means for individuals to connect with communities and places. This could mean those already existing, but it can also mean creating community and place – and if we are going to say place we must also mean a particular relation to time. I have also been reflecting a bit lately on what it is to identify with the position of nomad, émigré, or one who is ‘home-loose’. I think this is interesting not just in terms of the immediate realities of the (potential) fluidity of nationhood in the current geo-political climate, but also as a philosophical or artistic position. Rosie Braidotti in Transpositions (2006) talks about the nomad position as one of multiple and disparate belongings. What might it then mean to find belongings both within and across localities, artform disciplines, or schools of thought?

With these sort of things vaguely in mind, I put my hand up to organise a performance event for the Nunhead Art Trail in the pub I live above, the Ivy House, a ‘co-operative pub’ owned and largely run by community shareholders. In thinking about the diverse ‘publics’ such an event might hope to include, I am overjoyed to have been able to string together a lineup that covers categories I somewhat tongue-in-cheekedly referred to as local artists, other artists, and local locals. Apart from my interest in drawing such a network together, of course we consider that it is a pub afterall and it is a celebration to close the Nunhead Art Trail, so I promise fun times all round. Without further ado, I invite you to attend:


Presenting Oriana Fox, Rich Kightley, Aitch Plewis, Leo Liccini, Nick Coyle, Woolly Mondays, Badger Brown, Alex Garrett-Jones, Katrin Thiemer and Irene Liverani & Alessio Mezarrobba. Curated and hosted by Megan Garrett-Jones.

Sunday 28th September, 7:30pm
The Ivy House, 40 Stuart Rd SE153BE

Come together at the end of the Nunhead Art Trail weekend for Talk/Show – a slightly less-than-formal showing and sharing of live art and neighbourhood revelations. The prompt of the talk show inspires interview, demonstration, storytelling, calls from listeners, and a couple of musical interludes. Who has the best potatoes in the Stuart Rd allotments? What actually is that artist always found at the pub working on? Talk and show all.

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Your Better Life 4

Thursday 1st March – Part Four:

You loved LOVE, got some CULTURE into you, won friends with SALAD ENTERTAINING, and now, for the final installment of Bake Sale presents: Your Better Life, time to brush up on your SMARTS.

Experts will teach you how to look the part and dress dapper, and finally crack that cryptic crossword. Last chance for a better life.

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Your better life 3

Thursday 8th December – Part 3: ENTERTAINING

Artist/ kitchen-artist extraordinaire Alex Clapham led a hands on demonstration showing how you can indeed win friends with salad(s). From the look on her face, it was pretty clear that we failed on bringing acceptable ‘challenge ingredients’. Out of the lychees, jelly cups, fried noodle basket and pear, only the pear made it into the official menu…

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Your Better Life 2

Thursday 3rd November – Part Two: CULTURE

Like me, you might think being cultured is lying on a sun bed reading an art book, upside-down.

Colcha or culteur, this month’s lesson is all about it. Be more cultured, appreciate more culture, support culture! Two exciting guests share there own approaches to engaging with different facets of this art business.

Curator at Carriageworks and creator of independent curatorial project Society,  Susan Gibb takes us through the art of talking about contemporary art. And what her dad thinks of it all.

Sam Pettigrew (co-director of the NOW now, and musician) reintroduces our ears to sound art. This time when we meet, Sam provides helpful snippets of information like, “Brian lives down the street from here. Brian, Sound Art likes to challenge practices of listening and offer absorbing experiences in the aural realm of perception”. We get on like a house on fire.

Bookings: 8374 6230

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Bake Sale Late Night at Surry Hills Library

Bake Sale Presents: Your Better Life

Hi. Hello. Bake Sale are back in action and are hosting 4 monthly ‘microcourses in self-betterment’ at the Surry Hills library on Thursday nights.  This program, designed exclusively for the purpose of boosting your sense of self-fulfillment, presents various experts offering learning experiences in the areas of LOVE, ENTERTAINING, CULTURE and SMARTS. Forged in the spirit of skill sharing, and with a focus on life’s little lessons, this is self-help without ringing your ex-housemate of 5 years back to apologise about that tin of tomatoes you never replaced.

This Thursday- Part One: LOVE

You can’t buy it, but you sure can brush up on the tricks to winning it.  Blog stars Tough Titties share their expertise from their publication ‘Believe and You Shall Triumph, the Tough Titties guide to flirting’. Dancer Kate MacDonald teaches the classic, and contemporary, steps to make ’em swoon. Free dance after.

Part One skills checklist: make sexy eyes like Zooey Deschanel, krump like you really really mean it.

6th October, 9pm.

Surry Hills Library. 405 Crown Street, Surry Hills.

FREE! Drinks and nibbles provided.

Dress: to fall in love.

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Two Bristol ARI’s that I think are interesting.

I have arrived back in Sydney, back to work, back to life, but before I lose the notebook all of this is written in and/or lose the inclination to make sense of it in an online forum, here I go, giving a brief outline of two artist run initiatives I came across in Bristol (there seems to be a whole lot to say about a place I was in for a grand total of 3 days).

You and Your Work

I might start with a blurb that I have taken from the YaYW website which will no doubt be able to articulate what the whole thing is about better than I can;

You and Your Work (YaYW) is a Bristol-based not-for-profit arts organisation, founded in 2008. We seek to facilitate artistic and social exchange between artists, community groups and other creative community based organisations, as well as new and existing audiences. YaYW aims to provide support and development opportunities for promising emerging performance artists, whilst striving to involve audiences from diverse backgrounds.

Since 2007 we have showcased a regular, themed performance platform event, presenting a range of contemporary performance, Live Art, interventions, site-specific work, dance, games and media-installation. Originally based at the Cube Microplex (a community cinema and venue), YaYW has since been held at Easton Community Centre and now for YaYW8, at the Arnolfini (art gallery). By continually re-locating itself, You and Your Work is able to open up new and exciting avenues for artistic production and social encounter, as well as reach new audiences beyond the central Bristol arts scene.

Everyone* talks about “community engagement” – so much so it has almost become synonymous with audience development. Although there are links between the two ideas, and engaging diverse communities can, of course, be part of developing audiences, the core agenda of these two concepts is fairly divergent. Taking work out of an art space, into a community centre, could easily be construed (and practised) as a kind of culturally imperial act – bringing in young hot things of the art community to the masses of the uninitiated. This, to me, is the opposite of what YaYW is about. Carefully curated as delivering accessible, high quality works that are not necessarily interactive but acutely aware of (and sometimes co-created by) their audiences.

*I use the term “Everyone” loosely.


I will follow suit and again, rip from their website, a lovely little blurb about Residence

Residence is a community of theatre makers who share space, resources, knowledge and opportunities in an old record shop in Bristol.
By moving our work out of bedrooms and placing artists together under one roof, facilitating social space, and running regular events, we have developed a mutually supportive environment. Such an environment allows us to make work independently from institutions, with courage and flexibility. We can take risks more readily and our work is nurtured with a constant source of support, criticism, encouragement, and advice. Residence promotes a spirit of generosity amongst its members with shared resources, opportunities and knowledge. In the 3 and a half years since its inception the artists involved have changed from a disparate group of marginalised artists to a strong, cohesive, powerful group showing theatre work regularly in Bristol, the UK, Europe and beyond.

This is one answer to the problem of (lack of) space, that is undeniably a recurring one. It has taken a committed group of artists (and a large one at that) to get this project together, however, the lovely thing that keeps popping up on their website, and through talking to Jo, James, Gemma and Sylvia is the idea of dialogue, feedback and support that comes from being part of this collective. It’s not about whinging about not having any space (although that may have been where the idea came from) – it’s about wanting to connect with other artists to make better work. To me, this seems like a much more interesting and convincing argument for a council to give a bunch of artists highly subsidised space, rather than hearing complaints about illegal venues being shut down (if we’re going to play the game, which of course we may choose not to do).

That’s Bristol. I think.

Some endnotes:
There is a lovely video on the Residence website if you’re interested in finding out more.
I saw “A Western” by Action Hero (members of Residence) and it was really good. Here is their website.
Sylvia Rimat is a member of Residence, co-founder and producer of YaYW. She is also lovely and very generous – here is some more about her.

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Analog-blog no more! Part one: Bristol

Georgie here, writing from my travels, a research trip investigating Artist-Run-Initiatives in the UK (and other places) before heading over to ANTI Festival in Kuopio, Finland, to present a performance and mapping project, Kansas that I made with Malcolm Whittaker. More about Mal here, and ANTI, here.

Thus far, my grand plans of being a super-blogger abroad have been thwarted by activity and inconsistent internet access. I have however been thinking about blogging and writing in a notebook (not really the idea is it?). So, I am now catching up, starting from the beginning, trying to find sense and significance in my scrawlings to share with the big interwebbed world. I’ll try and break things up with titles so you can skip to the bits you might be interested in.


Malcolm and I travelled to Bristol the day I arrived in the UK and were met by Sylvia Rimat – who we have been corresponding with about Malcolm’s a lover’s discourse project, which began as part of the ClubHouse program at Performance Space and will culminate in a live exchange with artists in Bristol, at Arnolfini, as part of You and Your Work 8, which Sylvia founded and co-curates (more on that later, but there is a link to some information if you just can’t wait), and LiveWorks, at Performance Space in Sydney. Sylvia welcomed us on our first evening, and over a couple of glasses of wine our conversation traversed a broad range of topics which may or may not be relevant or interesting to you, readers, but, probably for the best, for all of us, my notes are not so comprehensive as to be able to even begin to transcribe much of it. What stuck with me about these first conversations, with Sylvia and subsequently a number of other visual and performance artists in Bristol and across the UK, is a sense of impending doom in relation to projected government arts funding cuts. Ignorant as I may be, in Australia I felt fairly unaffected by the Global Financial Crisis – for such hype, media attention and the household use of “GFC” as a term, honestly, my life did not feel that different. It seems that the reach of the GFC however, is broadening far beyond the walls of financial institutions and government treasuries, towards artists and arts organisations who wait with bated breath to find out about the scale of further funding cuts in the coming years. Read The Guardian theatre blog to find out more about the reaction to an initial round of funding cuts. Much as there is debate about arts funding in Australia (if only within the arts community itself), this ubiquitous sense of foreboding is not one that I have witnessed back home. I’m not sure if this silence about arts policy in the recent election and the subsequent risk in unpredictable governmental policy agendas is actually any better, or if, perhaps, everyone talks about it less? I am finding it difficult to write about this without acknowledging my somewhat privileged position of funded travel, and the uneven distribution of funding between artforms, “emerging” and “established” artists, and the fact that, although I have many opinions, I haven’t the best sense of history as I’m new to this game. Perhaps if you have a thought you could comment?

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