Artists’ responses to the One to One Bursary Scheme

Aaron Williamson (1999/2000)
The One to One bursary was my first significant professional programme as an artist. I applied at a moment when I was at the crossroads between being primarily a writer (with an academic background in literature) and becoming an artist in the fields, primarily, of performance, video and installation. As this transition was to be about discovering forms of visual rather than verbal communication (an important development for me as a deaf artist) I applied for funds to facilitate me with a studio. I have always maintained a studio since that time and now work internationally as a performance and video artist. The 'One to One' bursary was set up to facilitate periods of artist's development or transition and thus was the catalyst moment for the work I make now.

Ronald Fraser Munro (1999/2000)
There is an old song which starts with, What a difference the day makes! It should have been, What a difference the One to One Bursary makes! It has certainly made me a better man and enhanced my standing in the international community somewhat.  At the time I received my Bursary I could have purchased a small cottage in Dunfermline and gone on a cruise. Instead I allowed myself to fall into the endless cycle of reality TV like seminars, parties, commissions and finally obscurity. Of course hindsight, like hind legs, is a consequence of disappearing up one's own retrospective. The mortal dread of every mid-career artist. The bursary, in truth, facilitated a period of practice reflection, experimentation, revision, editing and creativity that I must say I have not enjoyed since. It was the very freedom of the bursary, the autonomy and self-determination that it allowed that was its greatest strength. Here we pay tribute to a scheme that provided encouragement but also some peer-to-peer interaction and a loose, but probing critical framework, it had much to commend it. It is these unique qualities that have contributed so much to the cult of the One to One Bursary Scheme. Of course, like every initiative that delivers pragmatic artist development, it was culled in its infancy. But occasionally good things do come around and we may yet applaud the return of this most successful and magnanimous of schemes.

Stacy Makishi (1999/2000)
To say that the One to One Bursary changed my life and art practice forevermore would be an understatement. Firstly, to even receive the bursary, it was validation that someone believed that I was an artist! Belief supports action. Action creates… and creates and creates! I haven't stopped believing and creating as a direct result of this bursary.  Fostered new skills (movement and multimedia). Allowed investigation and application of new processes/methodologies for creating work (Salons). Provided time and space to allow creativity to dangle. Encouraged networking (through workshops) with international artists. Gave me time to develop skills to facilitate workshops. Gave me time to develop directing / project management skills. I could go on and on.

Ernst Fischer (2000/2001)
The time and the knowledge purchased with the bursary's help allowed me to explore, in a focused and coherent way, my interest in the etiquette of performance as service. Though the effects of my research were neither drastic nor sudden, it has nevertheless impacted on my practice in a number of subtle and significant ways, leading to my transition from a predominantly theatrical to a more live art oriented practice; the gradual development of a series of intimate performances served on and around a number of butler trays; a re-evaluation, in some instances, of my role as that of a facilitator (rather than of a performer); and of performance itself (not only as service but) as research.  The bursary was invaluable in this developmental process, which is by no means concluded, but ongoing and still being sustained by its initial support.

Ju Row Farr (2000/2001)
One of the things that I try to do as an artist is to regularly check that some or enough of my creative needs are being met and developed.  This sounds completely obvious and sensible but as a part of an ongoing collaborative team of artists', to check these things seems vital and can be both beneficial for myself and the others and of course the work.  The One to One bursary scheme helped me to put in place methods for regularly checking my individual needs.  It helped me to compartmentalise ideas, logistics, processes and projects and continues to remind me of the space that I need to continue to improve.  The One to One scheme allowed me the time and space to reflect and to look again or anew and it is this that I return to.  Professional development is important for anyone and perhaps sometimes it is easy to think that artists' fill their time with such things and don't need it. Formally recognising the needs for artists' to develop outside of the work or alongside it is the total gain of such a rare and significant scheme.

Helen Paris (2001/2002)
The bursary I received fed directly into the solo performance piece Family Hold Back. In my application I asked for time to explore body memory – a touch stone of my practice in terms of creating work and movement – and more specifically explore the fear of drowning.  There is often a feeling of having to keep putting out with out putting in and the bursary gives such a necessary alternative to that, focusing on non production based time and space and focus. Invariably work is made as a direct result of that bursary anyway. Arguably it is stronger because of it. In my case for sure. It was other things as well, the bursary, to do with acknowledgement, support, encouragement, identity – things that are harder to define but are also important. No. Crucial.

Helena Goldwater (2001/2002)
I undertook a One to One Bursary in 2002/3. The bursary enabled me to completely re-address my practice. I re-visited works and methodologies, examining connections or shifts. I re-arranged my approaches and returned to 'performance art'. I also spent a great deal of time engaged in research which resulted in an investigation of ideas through painting, – a new form for me. It was shocking then that this became a new direction. I now have a dual practice. Without the financial and contextual support the Bursary offered, at a time when I really needed to reflect, I would not be making the work I am now.

Joshua Sofaer (2001/2002)
Getting a One to One bursary from the Live Art Development Agency was a massive boost to my professional practice. In many ways, as I reflect back, it was a turning point in my artistic career. It wasn't so much the money (though that was incredibly useful) but the recognition that came with it: that I was taken seriously among a group of peers and that people were prepared to invest in my future. Before I received the bursary I had never received any funding directly from the Arts Council, in the years following the bursary I have been successful in the two major applications that I have made. I think that there is a link here: the bursary set me up as a professional within the Live Art sector.

Kazuko Hohki (2001/2002)
The period when I did One to One was a significant period for me. Till then I had made three theatrical shows. They were all solo shows using conventional stage set-up. After the third show, I did not want to make any more solo show at least for a while. Also I wanted to try different form of theatre. However I was not sure.  What One to One gave me a breathing space to think and try another direction. During this period, I got the idea to make the installation based, site specific promenade show. Since then I have made three site-specific promenade shows.

Mat Fraser (2001/2002)
The One to One bursary had a profound effect on my work and arts practise, from the obvious financial help which allowed to me to get certain technologies to access me work out of my disability so to speak, through focussing my agenda and performing style via occasional collaborations and inclusion in art events with other artists that inspired me, via help and advice whenever requested, indeed often suggested opportunities came my way as a result of this bursary too, and finally to help me realise much of the art I wanted to produce, encouraging me to become the multi disciplinary Disability Artist I find my self to be now. Much of this is as a direct result of having been on the 1st one to one bursary, and I am very grateful for it.

Anne Bean (2003/2004)
The One to One bursary scheme came at a time when I had several tentative thoughts that I knew could coalesce into one or several strong works, but I needed the time and money to experiment with openness in the physical universe. Getting the bursary gave a huge, profound and intense push to my work on several fronts, that I still feel reverberating now, most importantly leading to my large installation and book  Autobituary, which has had several spin-offs, most recently in an exhibition in New York in June 2007.

Hayley Newman (2003/2004)
The One to One bursary enabled me to be a bit more speculative about my own work – outside of the usual structure of responding to briefs and taking up externally driven opportunities, it allowed me to focus on a few cores thing that I wanted to initiate myself.

John Jordan (2003/2004)
One to One was an incredible chink in the wall , a path of possibility when my practice got stuck in a cul de sac. It was an opportunity to stop and think without the pressure of making and showing and it gave me space to begin to move slowly out of the cul de sac and back into a space where creativity flowed again. Looking back I can't really imagine how I would have developed my work during that time without the freedom that the funding gave to me. Without it, I think I would have continued along a very tired path, maybe even stopped making anything for a long time. The One to One bursary came at exactly the right time for me and enabled me to stop, reflect and then make the leap that I needed to make to move on again.

Richard Layzell (2003/2004)
The One to One Bursary was for me about permission and support. It was fantastic. Just that. Permission to write, to explore a fictitious relationship, to reflect and perform in remote places. And to make the most of the opportunity: I remember in the original proposal setting out a plan to write in a cottage in Scotland, in fact it became a Greek island, Bangkok and New York. While three years further on these written dialogues are at the heart of a major touring installation project in 2008 and will be published in a nice slim volume by the end of the year.

Jordan McKenzie (2003/2004)
Apart from the usual advantages the bursary gave me, time away from the pressures of  working towards exhibitions, money to make work that focused on methodologies rather than end results, research rather than product, I feel that the bursary helped me to re-frame my practice and to think about what actually constitutes liveness. I became more interested in how the body can be articulated through traces and the act of passing through rather than live presence in terms of performance. To move away from performance  and towards the performative, thus I am now able to integrate diverse patterns of my practice, drawing, sculpture, sound installation into a more coherent and unified form. Having the time to experiment with these different approaches and also having the space to consider them has lead to my practice developing in new ways and in ways that may not have occurred if I had not been given the time to think about these issues and research them in an atmosphere geared towards discovery rather than results. Bursary schemes to my mind are of central importance if we wish to create cultural dialogues that are engaged and current, and encourage artists to think about creating work that goes beyond art market seductions.

Gary Stevens (2004/2005)
The bursary allowed me to think through a number of ideas without knowing where they might lead. It was a lean period for me when I applied for the grant. I was finding it hard to carry on working. I have always taught in art schools but I begin to feel fraudulent in that role if I am not producing work. It kept me going. The source of my recent work, particularly Wake Up and Hide, the interactive video installation at Matt's Gallery in London and the live show Ape at Toynbee Studios as part of Artsadmin's Summer season, was the research funded by the One to One bursary. I feel that that research is ongoing and will continue to generate material in surprising and unpredictable ways.

Rona Lee (2004/2005)
The One to One bursary gave me important space for reflection at a point when I really needed it. I am still working through the questions that were raised and the insights that I arrived as a consequence but the process of doing so has given me a really strong basis for shaping future developments in my practice.

Rajni Shah (2005/2006)
The Live Art Development Agency's One to One scheme has given me strength and courage in my practice, and an unprecedented level of support on so many levels. Without this extra push, I doubt I would ever have found the appropriate contexts or courage to experiment with my work in public, let alone take the risks that have led me to realise a more true, daring and socially effective artistic presence. Even before I made my application to the scheme, I had an incredibly useful guidance session outlining the aims of the scheme and how they might relate to my practice. This in itself set me thinking about the direction I wanted my practice to take, all those risks that had previously seemed too great. With the help of this scheme, I've taken leaps forward as an artist and developed my networks so that I now feel much more confident and able to navigate the Live Art world. It has made more difference to me than any other professional development scheme I've been involved in.

Shezad Dawood (2005/2006)
The underlying beauty of the One-to-One bursary scheme, was that it actually forced you to think differently as an artist. Rather than conforming to the multiple deceits of standard tick-box funding, it actually took you on your own terms as an artist, and forced you to reconsider key notions of research, open-ness and practice. Basically it got me asking what I would do given the freedom to do it – a much tougher question than one might think. And one that led me going much deeper into my practice, and the forces that motivate it, ethically as much as intellectually. This led me to making and experimenting in a way that I would not have undertaken otherwise, and that has led to a much more considered, and powerful practice. Something borne out by the level of commissions, projects and interest that has come my way immediately following on from the period of my bursary, and involving work produced during it, and directly following on from it. Including solo shows in London & Berlin directly utilising work produced on the bursary (Artists Studio, London June 2006 – Axel Lapp Projects March 2007), commercial representation in various countries and a major new commission for Wysing Arts centre in Cambridge, that is then set for a UK solo touring exhibition, and that looks directly at the relationship between performance and cinema – which was the focus of my proposal for the One to One bursary.

Stuart Brisley (2005/2006)
The Bursary made a difference in so far as it put me on to a new track  and also enabled the development  an old one. Since getting the bursary I have been working with Dean Brannagan  (video Editor) following up the proposal to investigate the question narrative in relation to image. The first work to come out of the investigation and introducing the theme was The Leg 2006 which was shown at the Hayward Gallery as part of the exhibition. Since then we have been working on three works which are to do with making new works from video material shot of performances made in 1997 and 2006. We are now completing Performer-Photographer and appraisal of the photographs of Leslie Haslam who worked with me from the early seventies well into the nineties which will be shown at in a show curated by Alice Maude Roxby at the Hansard Gallery on the theme of the Photographer working with the Performer. We are about to embark on a new work The Crossing ( provisional title) which is concerned with the sinking of the ferry the MV Estonia with the loss of 800 odd lives in the Baltic sea in 1994.  This is scheduled to be shown at the Hansard Gallery in Feb 2008. The bursary was in its way a symbolic gesture which released of lot of ideas and energy which hasn`t yet run its full course.

Banner image credit:

Gary Stevens, image courtesy of the artist

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Part of One To One Individual Artists’ Bursaries in Live Art

The One To One Individual Artists’ Bursary Scheme was set up in 1999 to provide artistic and professional development opportunities for individual practitioners based in London who work in Live Art. The bursaries were instigated by London Arts and were managed by the Live Art Development Agency with funding from Arts Council England (London office).

One To One Individual Artists’ Bursaries in Live Art

The One To One Individual Artists’ Bursary Scheme was set up in 1999 to provide artistic and professional development opportunities for individual practitioners based in London who work in Live Art. The bursaries were instigated by London Arts and were managed by the Live Art Development Agency with funding from Arts Council England (London office).

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