What I learned and achieved
The bursary came at a crucial time for me, as I felt overwhelmed by the volume of images and the emotional weight they all carry. The financial support enabled me to concentrate on my practice without worrying quite so much about bills. It bought me the time to do the work.
Through this process I realised I have strong bodies of work which benefit no one by just sitting on hard drives. Lack of confidence, lack of objectivity and isolated working was inhibiting my progress. Getting the external help reflected back that there are a lot of things I do know but that I wasn’t putting them into practice. The precarious nature of being freelance is difficult, always finding funding, keeping motivated and making new work. It’s hard to maintain the level of energy needed when working in isolation. Having regular contact with NEPN and peers has helped me refocus attention by having targets and deadlines. It has given me the ‘kick up the backside’ I needed.
During this time, I achieved a great deal:
- I organised 9 years of work into one hard drive with chronological folders;
- I re-edited the work drawing out vignettes and the wider narrative arc;
- I re-processed older digital negs to maintain a strong aesthetic throughout;
- I discussed fund raising options for the next steps;
- I connected with various writers to help bring the narrative of the project to life;
- I learned the skills to start to plan a book.
Extending the timeframe of the bursary was a huge benefit to me. Initially the schedule was quite short, and I would recommend that in future bursary awards that a longer period is utilised, as it gives more time for reflection and refinement.
What I now plan to do moving forward
I am now going to use the tools I gained and the connections I made to create a book charting the story of Pop Recs Ltd. Crucially, this will require further funding but I have been able to develop a fundraising strategy looking both at public funding and a crowdfunded campaign.
Through the editing process I began to see the stories that need to expand.
- Bringing in other voices through interviews – interview the people who have been a part of this project though the last decade;
- Take new portraits in dialogue with the interviews;
- Work with a writer to capture the energy and articulate the importance of Pop Recs Ltd.
As my confidence has grown, I have felt able to reach out and connect with several key individuals working within the music industry, both locally and nationally, who are willing to help support and/or promote the work in the future.
The strength of my practice lies in my ability to connect with individual people and wider communities to create bodies of work that tell in-depth stories. I needed support to translate this long-term project into various contexts that can connect with the wider public through publications, dialogues, and exhibitions. The mentoring, one-on-one peer sessions and wider network support was invaluable to me in achieving this.