Tanya Raabe-Webber – Workshop Reflections

As lead artist on Venture Arts OutsiderXchanges studio project my initial first thoughts were about finding inclusive ways of connecting with the artists as practitioners in their own right. To explore their themes and artistic practices with them that is driven by learning disability art and cultural identity. This has proven to be a natural road to follow. All of the artists, as you can see from the blog posts so far, are developing their own ideas, exploring materials and developing there own unique techniques. This seems to have grown very quickly and organically in a very short time.

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Our staring point was about exploring our identities as people, as artists and the relationship we had with the new space. Everyone soon claimed their space in the studio and set about making and thinking about their own art.

The studio really does feel like a hub of artistic thought and ideas beginning to flow, artist centered and artist led. Our studio practice is very much like embedded in the culture and practice of a supported studio. We have James Pollitt from Venture Arts, an art tutor who has a great foundation and background knowledge into the artists past work, working practices and communication. James directly facilitates the artists in their arts practices as and when they need it. Glen is our photographer, blogger and has been named Grip the Runner Man in case we need a hand in the studio and I have Jackie Cooley who is my personal artist assistant and she supports me to access my working arts practices when collaborating with the other artists.

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As the artists are now working on their own individual ideas I am able to begin to stand back and reflect on how I might develop collaborations between the artists, myself and the non disabled artists that will be joining us later this year.

With each artist I’m very interested in exploring verbal and non-verbal collaborative processes to develop new work of my own that explores learning disability art aesthetic, cultural identity and inclusive practice.

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I have just begun to do this with Horace. With Horace I’ve began to explore our shared experiences of childhood memories of school and childhood. Horace recalls experiences he’s had in an almost per formative way, taking on the physicality and characterisations of the people he speaks about, asking questions that he already has the answers to, whilst expecting you to know the correct answer. His recollections have an almost docudrama feel to them. When Horace is interviewing you it’s like you are the first to have been asked these questions. Making you, the interviewee, and feel very important. For me Horace’s stories are extremely lucid, totally reflective of a disability cultural identity and very real and for me our collaboration will inform a series of paintings about illustrating these types of memories whilst in the studio. We worked together on some pictorial ideas for this, which we filmed.

And this was just for starters so I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Tanya Raabe-Webber Lead Artist

Don’t forget you can join the artists on their journey by applying to be a collaborator on the project. 

We are looking for 4 interested artist to join our Manchester based artists over a five month period and in return they will be given a free artists space for the duration of the workshops and we are also looking for one artist to collaborate with a learning disabled artist based at Baltic 39.

More details can be found here: OutsiderXchangeS Collaboration.

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