Work in progress: Protest badges

Having fired the moulds taken from the plaster ceiling rose (see previous Instagram posts here and here) I pressed the first round of porcelain shapes today. The hands holding tools are the most interesting to me and I’ve started to think of these as protest badges. I’m thinking of calling the collection The Furies and then individually they could be things like Fiery, Fury, Frustration, Forge, Fight. The potentially unglazed porcelain or a matte finish glaze will hopefully evoke a classical marble statue. I’m hoping to finish these for Sheffield Ceramics Festival in July.


I felt very honoured to be featured by Aesthetica recently in a piece about sculpture evolving. Lacuna was longlisted for Aesthetica’s Art Prize in 2015. I remember being asked to write something for the Art Prize Future Now Anthology. It was one if the first times I took a deep breath and wrote what I thought and felt:

“I am preoccupied by the alchemical, the haptic and the woeful disregard for the conjury of ceramics, the illegitimate art form. My work represents states of being, relies on recognition – of the everyday, of human stance and domestic scale – often taking etymological origins.

Lacuna – an unfilled space, a gap, an extended silence or depression – is a once-thrown piece that rests and melts with hidden pools, smooth folds and broken loops.”

Lacuna, Future Now Anthology 2015

Emotion of the day series, with thanks to Be Manzini

Reading Folk by Zoe Gilbert

I was leant a copy of Folk by Zoe Gilbert and warned I would inhale it, rightly so. I was thrilled to find out hardback copies were still available because I knew it was a book I wanted to horde and re-read and re-read. I loved everything about this book. The separate but together stories, the links to the land and to animals and an indescribable tone that’s gentle, mysterious and thoughtful all at once. The names especially stayed with me: Ervet; Murnon; Iska; Shilla; Verlyn and Firwit. I’ll be buying friends copies of Folk for a long time.

The cover of Folk by Zoe Gilbert

“Dew Beater, Dew hopper,
Layer with the lambs,
Fiddle-foot, Light foot,
Skulker in the ferns.
Go-by-ditch, Go-by-ground,
Yellow speckled one,
Flincher, Snuffler,
Dweller in the corn.”

Fishskin, Hareskin in Folk by Zoe Gilbert

Hebden Bridge Film Festival this weekend

From Friday to Sunday Hebden Bridge Film Festival will be online. I’m delighted to be hosting a panel looking at narrative and care in making documentary films. We had hoped to do this in person last year. The disappointment in cancelling that event at the onset of the pandemic is quelled by looking forward to this weekend and the hope I’ll be there in person in 2022.

‘Because we spoke our secrets to each other’

The Picture House by Clare Shaw

TOGETHER / APART is the theme of this year’s festival. This feeling is beautifully evoked in Clare Shaw’s poem The Picture House read by Maxine Peak below. It conjures the magic of cinema going, the joy of being part of an audience and the irresistible pull of storytelling. I’m really looking forward to the festival’s Virtual Foyers where you can meet other festival goers online. The sessions are on Saturday at 4pm and Sunday at 3pm.

REAL LIFE: The Challenge of Documentary
1:30pm Sunday 21st March 2021

“I’m interested in shy people, telling small stories, quietly… my camera can be a loudhailer”

I’m thrilled to be joined by the following speakers for a live discussion about making documentaries. We’re going to talk about how to find narratives and to handle stories and their subjects with respect. The panelists have great skill and sensitivity in common and all understand the responsibility of telling stories with care. We’ll hear more about their work and what matters to them when documentaries are made.


I think this is as close as I can get to the softly energetic pleased with myself feeling I have today. A nice time writing, a return to Jayne’s pilates, mixed with really enjoyable reading (Helen Dunmore… more soon…) and finally buying a shed. I feel unfurled. This continues to be my go to dictionary for this series. I particularly loved these synonyms and related words:

Synonyms for springing

Words Related to springing

Emotion of the day series, with thanks to Be Manzini

Preparing for BtM Conference

Tomorrow and on Wednesday I’ll be taking part in the Beyond the Multiplex conference. I’ve been preparing for the sessions I’m hosting, rereading the speakers’ papers and becoming acquainted with Padlet, which is new to me. Here’s a preview of the two discussions I am chairing.

Audience choice, programming and digital platforms
14:10, Tuesday 2nd March 2021

  • Paul McEvoy (BFI Research and Statistics Unit) will present ‘Pick and Mix’ – cultural access, screen engagement and film appetites in the UK’s nations and regions
  • Prof. Mattias Frey (University of Kent) will present Film and Series Choice in the Age of Netflix: Results from an Empirical User Study
  • Dr Vejune Zemaityte (Tallinn University), Prof. Deb Verhoeven (University of Alberta) and Dr. Bronwyn Coate (RMIT University) will present Programming foreign films: Analysing cultural diversity in the global exhibition sector

Independent film exhibition support and development
14:40, Wednesday 3rd March 2021

  • Robert Livingston (Regional Screen Scotland) will present Developing diverse audiences in Scotland
  • Yasmin Begum will present Decolonising (D)evolving Film: Notes from Scotland and Wales
  • Monika Rodriguez and Michael Pierce (Cinema Nation) will present Imagining Cinemas as Eco-Systems
  • Rachel Hayward and Andy Willis (HOME, Manchester) will present Celebrating Women in Global Cinema: Curating a year-long programming initiative at HOME, Manchester

At the end of the conference I am joining Prof. Bridgette Wessels to reflect on the Beyond the Multiplex findings and recommendations and reflect on audience response. I intend to follow up here after the busy two days.

The aim of the BtM was to understand how to enable a wider range of audiences to participate in a more diverse film culture that embraces the wealth of films beyond the mainstream; and how to optimise the cultural value of engaging with those less familiar films. It did this by investigating how audiences engage with and form around ‘specialised’ films in four English regions, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West/Greater Manchester and the South West. Here, Audience formation is understood as the processes of engagement with films that generate audience experiences.


One of those nice serendipitous things where Brain Pickings, a newsletter I enjoy, took me to The Poetry Business who had been recommended to me just yesterday, via enjoying Christy Ducker’s A Scientist’s Advice on Healing. I am happily now a member and looking forward to reading Messenger in full.

“Try to accept

this fat red hurt

is your starting point,

in the way a pen must be put to paper

     in one particular spot,“

A Scientist’s Advice on Healing, Christy Ducker

The nourishing day continues with a delightful discussion on Book Shambles with Kevin Barry on reading, writing and the exciting news he has a new story collection out.

Emotion of the day number 23, with thanks to Be Manzini