Through the months of lockdown, I’ve been fortunate to have a home studio and the capacity to pick up work in between childcare. Working from home with children is by no means easy by any stretch of the imagination, but the nature of my work is I can be done in short moments of opportunity and after bedtimes.
My studio had become a depot for 3000 copies of Dwell Time Issue 2 over lockdown, and recently I moved the publication stacks into Dwell Time Central in Huddersfield which had been closed and inaccessible over the initial lockdown. My studio has now become a working space again and I also cleared a hoard of packing materials into storage to make room for a sofa. The packing materials double up as den and sculptural material for my children and occasionally infiltrate the house as elaborate cat climbing frames and houses the children make for them.
Whilst Dwell Time Central had been forced to close, it now has the potential to open up with risk assessments and shop-like safety protocols in place. Like many businesses and art projects alike, the uncertainty of what may happen in the future poses some significant challenges and questions about how to operate. Just before official UK lockdown we took the decision to postpone our Issue 2 launch and we launched in July with an online film screening programme and postal distribution in lieu of the launch and venue-based distribution we had planned. https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/issue2/
Along with the decision to postpone our Issue 2 launch, Dwell Time publicised an open call for responses to Covid-19. This open call has been our most responded to to-date with over 400 individual contributions from across the world. Some very prominent themes of isolation, loneliness, grief, loss and hope resonate, whilst varied personal responses show a broad spectrum of unique experiences within the collective experience. Our plan is to produce Issue 3 from these responses in both print and digital. The open call is currently live and we welcome contributions from everyone. https://dwelltimepress.wordpress.com/c19-edition/
Dwell Time has also been commissioned by Yorkshire Visual Arts Network (YVAN) to produce a series of podcasts interviewing other artists about their current experiences of lockdown, how their practice has adapted and survived and any challenges they face including mental health which is Dwell Time’s focus. This is an exciting research and development project for us which looks at forming qualitative research into the impact of Covid-19 on visual artists in Yorkshire.
Part of my own ongoing R&D is studying mental health and I completed a Level 2 in Mental Health Awareness during lockdown. I’m now enrolled on another Level 2 focussing on children and young people’s mental wellbeing and am also undertaking free, short courses via Futurelearn from Kings College, Anglia Ruskin and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Lastly, Art Lab has also survived the pandemic and adapted to the new mode of zoom meetings. Whilst we miss the in-person nature of Art Lab at Dean Clough, the positive aspect of conducting meetings online is we can talk with artists from Mexico and London without the time and expense of travel. Art Lab has become critical to my own survival as an artist in discussing art practice directly with other artists and the reason I initially set up the group in January 2019. Artists are continuing to practice despite the challenges, in solidarity and in response to our ever changing world. The support networks we form are increasingly valuable. These meetings continue to take place on the first Monday of the month at the slightly later time of 8pm https://www.facebook.com/groups/deancloughartlab/
Alice Bradshaw www.alicebradshaw.co.uk