Project Artworks Staff Awareness Day

Written by Director of External Relations at De La Warr Pavilion, Sally Ann Lycett

It’s not often that I am lost for words but the extraordinary experience of working with one of the Tuesday Group artists from Project Artworks on Monday, left me almost speechless.

The Pavilion and Project Artworks are collaborating on major project in our galleries in 2015 which will invite artists with complex neurological needs to take up a central position, both physically and culturally, within the Pavilion during a season next year.  We will be learning, over the coming months, how we can re-adjust our practices and attitudes to pave the way for this collaboration to be a success.

A tour of the Pavilion with the artist India – and her two fantastic support workers– showed me that I have a long personal journey ahead of me.  As someone who has created her career out of communicating the arts – verbally and written – it was a real challenge to find a way to communicate the meaning of an exhibition  to India who could neither speak or write in reply.  I felt I had to power right down  in order to reach a level where I could communicate anything at all – something that came naturally to her  support workers but certainly not to me .

I’m afraid I didn’t manage it. I really wanted to have some connection with India, and I wanted her to have some connection with me,  but I can see that I have a long way to go before I can do that.  It was a relief to be back in my comfort zone , after the artists had gone,  by discussing what we should call the exhibition!

The most important thing I realised is that I need to learn from the artists and to do that, I have to slow down, listen to them and respond, human to human.  I am genuinely looking forward to the coming months, where the artists will be in the studio, making work. I have no idea how I will respond, but when I feel I can communicate that, I’ll write it down in this blog.

Sally Ann Lycett is Director of External Relations at De La Warr Pavilion.

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