Collaboration and The Car Boot Museum

Collaboration has long been part of my creative practice and it is key to The Car Boot Museum project. There is something interesting in working this way – you might start off with an idea, but then as you let it go and others contribute, your work changes in a surprising way you could never have thought of.

In this project collaboration will take place in many ways. Through my initial arts development collaboration with SAW, to working closely with carpenter Colin Bignell on the construction of the designs for the museum and training with Richard at Somerset Film as part of the Ignite Somerset bursary scheme; to the tour itself, where I will work closely with my long term collaborator the poet Ana Seferovic on creating an evolving poetic travelogue, as well as collaborating with members of the public, local artists and writers, who will hopefully bring objects to temporarily add to the museum and create their own text, which will be incorporated into the overall poetic narrative. Then there are school workshops in September where young people will have the chance to collaborate and add to the museum, all leading to the exhibition in art weeks where the work of my collaborators will be incorporated into my art work and where visitors will also have a chance to add to the evolving narrative.

I also see this as a collaboration with Somerset itself – with the places me and Ana will visit on the tour and with the objects as they reveal their hidden stories. I think it will be really interesting to combine my reactions of knowing the county well, with Ana’s first responses.

I also wanted to use this post to introduce Ana and her work. She has published 3 volumes of poetry in her native Serbia as well as writing an award winning collaborative play. She is now based in London and we work closely together, forming Dirty Confetti in 2014 – a small press and forum for collaborations between women. We created a joint installation in Bristol last year at The Edwardian Cloakroom called Secret City and earlier this year we published our collaborative book The City where we even wrote inside each others sentences – blurring the sense of authorship until the work took on a life of its own. The book is published by Auropolis Association of Multimedia Artists . Read more about the project and how to purchase here . We first met ten years ago when she selected me for a British Council writing exchange – the exchange had some financial and organisational issues (!), but I eventually made it to Serbia in 2007 and we have been good friends and worked closely ever since, including reading together regularly on Serbian radio and at the Belgrade International Poetry Festival. It is really exciting that I get to bring her on the touring part of the project, to bring to life the stories of Somerset in an interesting and new way.

So often, as a writer perhaps more than an artist, we work in isolation that there is something lovely in letting go of that and seeing how far your work can travel when put into the hands of others – how this can make your work almost come to life as an independent evolving thing. In terms of the theme of momentum and the ethos of The Car Boot Museum I feel this is key – I want the museum to seem like its own thing – a place or abstract space as well as a concrete object, that takes on a life of its own beyond my initial imaginings – that is different for every viewer. I can’t wait to see how this evolves and how it will affect the development of my work for the exhibition at 44ad in Bath in October.

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