Artist Statement

Tamsin in Orkney

I’m a passionate artist with an accomplished socially-engaged practice, which has flourished on residencies from the Highlands to London to Brighton express trains. My practice combines residency work, where I respond to communities and places, and performance work where I’ve recently explored more personal narratives.

A socially-engaged practice enables me to work and connect with people. I see my role as essentially a communicator, beyond the idea of a mysterious talented person making objects for the consumer, and towards a practice that includes real people living real lives. Art is a powerful place to raise questions about our environments and contribute to society through dialogue and debate.

Social engagement in my work strives for art to engage more than just an audience, to engage people at a level of participating in the process, and thus achieving a deeper understanding of creativity and the issues it can touch. Humour is a useful tool for people to engage in art. For example, The Haddy Holders, which I made during my New Media Meets Old residency was a way of making contact with people through laughter at the absurdity of holding a haddock for camera, whilst refering to the dwindling fishing industry in this formerly prosperous harbour town.

Work with young people

My approach to working with young people

My work with young people is based on an ethos of equality. An important element in my work is empowering young people, either through new skills such as video making, a better understanding of contemporary art or simply to encourage their creativity and to give them a voice in our adult orientated world. I wish to see more young people active in decision making in the education system. I therefore have a deep respect for the work of Room 13 in Caol Primary School in Fort William, Scotland where a group of under 12 year olds established a studio with philosophical principles; their own art business with managerial team; and artist in residence over the last 10 years. The agreement with teachers is that they can step out of class and go to Room 13 to be creative any time of day as long as schoolwork is up to date. They directed and filmed their own Channel 4 documentary What age can you start being an artist? Several Room 13’s have now been established in other schools.

Work with deaf people

Future work with deaf people

I’m deaf in one ear as a result of German measles as a child. Listening and communication being an important tool in my work I felt drawn towards learning British Sign Language Level I in 2003. I aim to continue with level II in 2005. I am keen to expand my work to include deaf people and aim to work in deaf communities in the future.

» My Curriculum Vitae (PDF, requires free Adobe Reader)

» More about what I do…

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