In the summer of 2017 I was approached by the Feminist Photography Network and asked to take part in a pilot online residency between themselves and the women's photography network Wildfires. Other participants in the residency include: Ida Arentoft, Hannah Laycock, Jennifer Long, Gina Lundy, Sarah Mangialardo, Margaret Mitchell, Clare Samuel, Kate Schneider, Arpita Shah, and Stacey Tyrell.
The concept was simple, every month you were asked to submit work in progress for critique to a private online blog platform, 1 week later you would receive a response from another residency participant. Often the work was unresolved, posing further questions, expressing frustration at lack of progress but the deadline made the work happen. During this period, I was able to maintain a conversation about the ongoing work I was creating within my immediate environment – such trains of thought are not easy to sustain when you’re at home looking after small children and this was the beauty in the simplicity of this approach.
All of the photographers who took part are what might be termed ‘mid-career’ and what became both evident and reassuring was both the similarity in our experiences despite the diversity in our situations. There was a liberation in identifying and sharing the creative process. Our monthly exchanges were fruitful, the deadlines served to focus the critique and forced you to make time to reflect on your work within a supportive ongoing dialogue.
A final output for our work wasn’t envisioned at the outset, but when we were approached to take part in the BRAVE festival in Toronto this month, we jumped at it.
Organised by FPN founders, Jenn Long and Clare Samuel, with the help of Alana West, the exhibition, Exchanges: Dialogues, Hesitation & Creation”is on show at The Harbourfront Arts Centre, Toronto, June 23rd – September 26th 2018.
Feminist Photography Network (FPN) is a nexus for research on the relationship between gender and lens-based media. Using grassroot approaches, FPN focuses on community-building, production support, exposure, and critical research for Feminist-minded photographers. This is the first online residency they have organized.
Wildfires is a network for women in Scotland who work in and with photography.