Interview with Dawn Harris by Val Andrews

Introducing ArtistsWorkhouse

I had the pleasure of a lovely interview with the artist/writer Val Andrews recently. Please see Val Andrews website Val Andrews for inspiration and resources for creative people, where you will find plenty of food for thought including a sensory exercise for creatives.

beautiful gardensAbout Dawn
Dawn Harris is a visual artist and Director of ArtistsWorkhouse.

Dawn completed her B.A in Fine Art in 2012. After a successful residency, she became the Director of Arts at Coughton Court and was then the Director of Ragley Gallery & Studio at Ragley Estate where she developed an extensive community engagement programme including exhibitions, workshops and talks from well-known artists. In September 2014, she commenced her M.A. in Fine Art at Gloucester University where she continues her personal inquiry into memory and identity through the language of visual art.

Where does the truth lie (detail)A greenhouse for creativity
For Dawn, establishing ArtistsWorkhouse feels like an extension of her own work and her interest in engaging with other artists. She never ceases to be fascinated by the creative process, and how it works in different ways for different people. She has engaged an eclectic group of artists to share the new studios with and she’s keen to see what they produce – as individuals and as a collaborative.

Her vision is that ArtistsWorkhouse will become ‘a greenhouse for creativity’.

She is sensitive to the historical significance of the building. As a factory producing needles and fishing hooks since 1844, this building was a vital element of the local economy. During its more recent history the building has been used for various purposes, and Dawn now owns the lease on the building. With a range of discrete spaces inside the building, and a number of large windows allowing natural light, the soon-to-be resident artists are very excited about moving in. During my interview with Dawn, we discussed the fact that a sense of space and place can have a significant impact on an artist’s practice, and we are all keen to see how the space will influence the work we produce.

Community engagement
Already, Dawn has received strong support for ArtistsWorkhouse from the Studley Parish Council and from the Stratford-upon-Avon District Council, and she is currently exploring ways in which she can work more broadly with Warwickshire County Council through its Arts Development Officer. A number of local arts societies have also visited the new premises and will be holding some of their regular meetings there, and this has forged a new working relationship with the Women’s Institute.
Dawn is also looking forward to building upon existing symbiotic relationships with artists groups in the neighbouring regions of Worcestershire, Coventry and Birmingham. She is committed to continuing to deliver a wide range of workshops and artist’s talks for members of the general community to engage with and is considering ways in which ArtistsWorkhouse can support various artists’ awards and residencies over time.

If you would like to speak further with Dawn about ArtistsWorkhouse, you can contact her through ArtistsWorkhouse website and you can meet her at the “Discover, Gather, Give” event in Stratford-upon-Avon this October:

Please see Val Andrews website Val Andrews for inspiration and resources for creative people.

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