The {Studio} Door Has Closed

I can’t believe the project has come to a close! Sitting in a coffee shop writing this post seems strange. Shouldn’t I be in my studio sat around the glass door table with at least 3 other people?? I will be spending a significant period of time assessing, contextualizing and reevaluating the project in a focused way over the coming weeks, but it is nice for the time being to lightly reflect on all that transpired in a studio space on the second floor of The NewBridge Project.


The question of whether or not WCR needs to form again or replicate itself in another form was also raised. As the artist, I would need to ask myself how it would further interrogate my practice, and question whether or not it would just be another institution in the landscape of cultural organisations. What I will say is that over and over the project highlighted how in an increasingly digital age, we still need to sit down with one another over a cup of coffee and something we have in common. Whether that is “work”, a hobby, or a shared interest is irrelevant – we still need to feel as though we have purpose and can share that purpose with other members of our community.

I look forward to continuing to work with the participants of WCR and setting up more opportunities for us to gather and discuss. For those who didn’t get the chance to join us, please feel free to get in touch and share your thoughts on culture, work and great recipes!

Keep your eyes peeled for updates!



Faith and leftover Easter chocolates


A fitting post-Easter conversation occurred this week around the role and relationship of art and religion. Are the two actually mutually exclusive in a contemporary context? This is obviously a complex question and personal to each of us, but it did lead to a discussion of the role of faith in the creative process and the value of uncertainty. This raised the question du jour in WCR: How do we evaluate and communicate the value of the creative process in a culture that assesses worth and productivity in economic terms? 

Although we are still no closer to finding an answer, we did manage to make some pretty amazing connections, find potential collaborators, and finish off the delicious Easter chocolate!




Value and Cake









This week at WCR was both productive and prolific. In addition to our normal routine and working environment, WCR hosted a round table with some of our participants from across the culture sector in conversation with Andrew Rothwell, Culture & Tourism Manager at Newcastle City Council. The focus of the round table was to provide an informal forum to discuss many of the topics that have come about during conversations amongst participants – how do we evaluate, speak about, and protect the value of culture? The discussion was recorded and will be made available shortly.

In addition to rich discussion, we did manage to indulge in some rich treats!

Next week marks our penultimate week of Working Culture Residency!  There are still a couple of spots available. If you are interested in participating before the project concludes on April 30th, please drop us a line.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

What font are you?

It may sound absurd, but this question came up quite a few times last week! There is even a buzzfeed quiz – I know, I took it. In all seriousness, the question led to some really interesting if not comical discussions around how we identify ourselves, our experiences with digital culture, and the constant quest to make sense of the life of the creative.

WCR also hosted a workshop by Teresa Almeida who is working on her PhD at Culture Lab, focusing on HCI and intimate care, a couple of PhD students preparing for their vivas, and a wonderful mix of freelancers!

This week I look forward to even more discussion as Working Culture Residency hosts an informal Round Table with some of our participants and members of the local Council. It’s not often that we get to sit around a table with a cup of tea to discuss policy and grassroots efforts to shape the local culture scene, so this should be a great week!

There are only two weeks left of the Working Culture Residency project, and limited spaces available. Please email if you would like to take part and we’ll see if we can’t squeeze you in! It’s not all work and no play – when the sun is out, we ditch the laptops and head out into the sunshine for lunch and to look for the sand dog artists!



It’s the first week of spring and things are blooming at WCR

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The unofficial themes of the week centred on questions of how we define work, how we assess value, and how do I get on a quiz show.

As we settled into our work week, many of the conversations started to look at what is work? What counts as a job? Given that many of us came into art and the creative sector after being told ‘there’s no money in that’, what is it that draws us to creative practice and how do we change cultural and personal perceptions of work and achievement? How do we evaluate and value cultural production? Does economic language have any place in how we speak about the cultural sector?

We haven’t arrived at any specific answers, but it’s clear from discussions that these questions are at the forefront of many sector workers’ concerns. That, and how can we become contestants on Pointless…

WCR Week 2.0 Summary

“I don’t mean to be cheeky, but do you make money doing what you do?” This was one of many questions posed this week that led to even more insightful and challenging questions this week at Working Culture Residency. Gathering around representatives of funding bodies, freelancers, curators, filmmakers, book shop producers, editors, and more, discussions arose around how we in the sector actually survive. The truth is, many of us wear several different hats. Some days we are admins, some days we are makers; some days we represent one agency that can’t afford to hire us full time, while the next day we are teaching at the university. How and why do we do it? The answer to that will be just as varied and complex as those of us that make up the sector, but the one thing that seems to unite everyone in the WCR room is passion and drive. You need to have both to survive. You need a lot of both to excel.

Another common theme amongst the WCR participants is the desire for flexibility to be able to do the creative work that we feel is so important. Working in this line of work requires the ability to self-organise and self-start. There is no one path that we follow – we create our own. It’s a DIY kind of thing. That’s where this project is getting interesting. Not only do the conversations reveal the unique paths we have each taken, but the participants are shaping the WCR project each day. The dynamics shift with each person that takes part. Participants are moulding the project to reflect their needs and interests. It just gets richer and more complex every day.

I can’t wait to see what Week 3 brings! If you want to join in, email me to reserve a spot!


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