Photographs: Rosie Reed Gold
‘Dialogue and ways of meeting: starting from a fishbowl conversation format’ was a facilitated conversation and workshop that examined:
Who and what mediates?
What spaces do we share and what defines these architectures and dynamics?
What role does mediation have in the context of an individual, community or collective?
The workshop adopted the tool of a fishbowl conversation - a seating format often used in educational and workplace settings. It was used in this instance (like other events - see previous fishbowls facilitated between 2017-18) to place attention on how bodies may arrange themselves in space and how this fosters dialogue; it helps to examine group dynamics, power relations and the act of speaking and listening itself.
A number of questions were introduced with the aim of having a dialogue in the way that David Bohm describes it - with the aim of something new being created “through the word” (see Greek dia-logos):
“I’m suggesting that there is the possibility for a transformation of the nature of consciousness, both individually and collectively, and that whether this can be solved culturally and socially depends on dialogue.” (Bohm, D. ‘On Dialogue’ 1996).
This fishbowl conversation involved the participation and contribution of the following people: selected residency artists Arit Etukudo, Adam Moore and Rosie Reed Gold; representatives from Instituto Procomum, Georgia Nicolau, Marilia Guarita and Simone Oliveira; Haarlem studio artists Maude Allen, Anna Mawby, Ceri Hedderwick Turner, Karen Logan, Martin Hyde, Clay Smith, Jenny Bramley, Jennifer Whitmore; Haarlem Artspace team Olivia Punnett, Catherine Rogers and Bev Shephard. Their voices are included here in the form of quotations.
‘Collectivism’ was a four-day residency and one-day conference at Haarlem Artspace Wirkswirth that I was invited to co-curate and facilitate with its Director Olivia Punnett.
It brought people together to exchange ideas on the themes of collectivism, resilience and collaboration, whilst attempting to demystify artistic and collaborative working, encourage debate, and reconsider rural contemporary arts and experiences of resilience through collectivism.
The residency enabled six selected artists (Arit Etukudo, Hayleigh Longman, Adam Moore, Penny Newell, Emma Reynard and Rosie Reed Gold) to join studio holders and guests from the organisation Instituto Procomum, Santos Brazil - partners on the British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies programme.
The residency was supported by Arts Council England, and the British Council. It was in partnership with Junction Arts.
“Who are we making space for?”
“A space to be together yes, but also to create the rules”
“What’s the difference between being in the same space as people, and sharing it?”
“Sometimes we are led to think that having the same thing for everybody is a good way of sharing.“
“There’s a paradigm of sharing and individualism that is necessary for us to create tools that create common spaces.“
“As the size got smaller, it opened up possibilities of making things happen with other people.”
“What kind of governance tools do we have?”
“What are the duties we have in any given space?”
“I think we also have a duty to ourselves.”
“Who are you mediating for? Did they ask you? Why?”
“Why can’t we make the way out together? - antagonism is different to conflict. We need conflict.”
“I don’t want to reduce the individual differences.”
“It takes a lot of work for us to live in relation to other people. If it’s a lot of work, what are we bringing and what are we taking out?”
‘What are we looking for in Collectivism?’, pencil on paper, 2019.