Anna Haydock-Wilson is a filmmaker, artist, administrator and community arts project manager, who has worked with many different people from a multitude of backgrounds on arts and media projects. Her latest project ‘Art Within The Cracks’ is an artist led project that grew from conversations between a collection of creative women who wanted to make more space for art in their lives. We spoke to her about her background, this latest project and where this might lead.
What is your background and what inspired you to develop the ‘Art Within The Cracks’ project?
I studied Fine Art Sculpture and Media in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s at a time when ‘success’ was an individualistic pursuit. My love of working with others led me into community video and arts projects, setting up Little Fish Films in 1998 in Deptford, South East London. We worked with artists, theatre practitioners and public sector organisations for over 15 years. More recently I’ve been focusing on socially engaged art practice including Art under the Flyover and HighWaterLine. My latest project Art within the Cracks, grew from a desire to celebrate the centenary of women gaining franchise, so I began interviewing fellow women creatives and discovered that we shared many challenges relating to inequality both in the art world and more widely.
What does the project aim to explore?
The project aims to facilitate conversations, collaborations and sharing of creative practice between women of all ages, exploring women artists and activists, collective practice, why we still experience the same issues as previous generations and what can we do to encourage a move towards equality. We feel it’s vital to encourage younger women to explore their creativity in a world that often feels a bit of struggle to women.
A short film that gives a taste of the issues project members believe are important.
There are fifteen of us at the core of the project working across media (you can find out more about us here.) We are facilitating workshops in printmaking and magazine production, filmmaking and devised theatre with young people through our delivery partners, Paper Arts, Room13 Harclive and Brave Bold Drama. We have also partnered with the Women’s Art Library in Goldsmiths University, a rich source of research and support, Bristol Women’s Voice, and Spike Associates.
What exhibitions, workshops or other events have come from the project so far?
In May we created a show of our artwork and film screenings at Spike Open Studios called ‘Entitled’ which was enjoyed by many of the visitors to Spike over that weekend. People enjoyed the calm coherence of the show within the open studio environment and it was great to have so many conversations with the passing public.
On the 10th and 11th of September, myself and Liz Hart worked with Grace Kress and a group of 16-25 year old women at PAPER Arts in an Equality and Creativity Workshop. It was fascinating to hear the perspective of younger people and evident that they do not experience an equal world and that even the term ‘feminism’ is quite toxic among young people. Many of them are keen to stay involved and will be designing the front cover of our project magazine. The magazine will launch on the 14th December the anniversary of the first women in the UK actually going to the polls. We are aiming for an event on that mid December weekend, showcasing some of our work and collaborative work that has emerged.
How would you like to see the project develop in the future? How can people get involved?
The funding ends at the end of 2018 but the project will live on with events on International Women’s Day 2019, an active online presence and supporting each other and the younger artists to carry on making and questioning the status quo.
Do you have work or ideas that you’d like to profile? A blog you’d like to write? We’re collecting women artist’s stories and publishing them here, so email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. We’d love to hear your views on equality, feminism and collective practice! If you’d like to find out more, please sign up here to receive a monthly newsletter, blog posts and event invitations.
Interview with Emma Windsor