Lucy is an independent curator, mentor, arts consultant and Director of A Woman’s Place Projects, a contemporary arts organisation which takes equality as its starting point, exploring it creatively through exhibitions, projects and events. In 2018 A Woman’s Place presented six new commissions (A Woman’s Place at Knole) by Lubaina Himid, CJ Mahony, Lindsay Seers, Emily Speed, Alice May Williams and Melanie Wilson at National Trust Knole in Sevenoaks, Kent. The project was supported using public funding from Arts Council of England and the National Trust.
The overall programme 2017 – 2018 included a series of events, talks and workshops: from Rachael House’s Feminist Disco through to round-table discussions on the representation (or lack) of BAME artists, specifically women of colour in collections. The One Day workshop retreats in Kent developed and led by artist Alinah Azadeh, supported women, and those identifying as women, to explore and build emotional strength and resilience, creativity and self-care.
The exhibition of six commissions at Knole focused on the impact of primogeniture (the historic law whereby only the firstborn male heir may inherit a property or estate) on the women who lived there, and explored the wider inequities that proliferate through history, and remain now.
Lucy is currently developing a new project, Our Precarious State, which explores women’s experience of living precariously. The impacts of COVID19, Brexit in the UK and the environmental crisis on women are unfolding already. Our Precarious State will work with artists and communities of women to explore creative approaches to solutions.
Lucy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, alumna of the Clore Leadership Programme (Clore50 2017) and Chair of Devonshire Collective VOLT Gallery & Project Space in Eastbourne.
FIELDWORK Q&A – September 2021
What interests you about fieldwork in artistic and/or geographic practice?
I am interested in how we might align artistic and geographic practice more closely, especially where it intersects with environmental issues affecting women. Fieldwork as a methodology presents an opportunity to embed experiential, project based, research across both areas of practice. It offers a place where intersectional barriers can be mapped through creative experiences and disseminated to wider audiences across the different sectors. I have long been involved in curating exhibitions and projects in conventional gallery spaces, however my key interest lies in working with site and context. There is significant potential, and need, to rethink conventional curatorial practice and produce cultural experiences with low to no environmental impact. Fieldwork creates a space and platform for urgent, longitudinal discussions.
How is fieldwork part of your research and/or work?
My most recent work has been through the research and production of projects siting contemporary artis practice within historical contexts. Exhibitions include Couriers of Taste at Danson House, Liberties at The Exchange, Cornwall, six new commissions for A Woman’s Place at Knole and events including Makers of Change and One Day, which ran concurrently with projects. In brief these addressed the impact act of global trade and historic connections to slavery (Couriers of Taste); gender inequality and representation (Liberties and A Woman’s Place at Knole, plus events across the South East of England); activism through craft (craftivism) – working with young women’s groups, and groups of women facing structural inequalities (One Day and Makers of Change).
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
A combination of discussion, project development and realization, and advocacy. Each project embeds research and generates conversations and ideas, which is then tested through further projects. Recent and current projects have had long gestational periods and ideas are discussed and tested, as funding is ought for the end presentations.
Our Precarious State, current
Research began in 2019, (pre COVID), on a new project. Our Precarious State, which explores women’s experience of living precariously – affected by issues that include the environmental crisis, gender and sexuality, race, care, neurodiversity and mental health, housing, education, borders and language barriers. Following on from previous projects (A Woman’s Place South East & Knole 2016 – 2018 and Makers of Change 2019) Our Precarious State aims to realise a series of art commissions and aligned activities in 2022/2023. The first phase of the project will be to work directly with different groups of women, through discussion and activities, to explore the intersections of the project’s themes, and for these discussions to form the bases and direction of the later commissions and events.
Precarious Nature fieldwork 2020 for Our Precarious State