New Feature: The Ford Collective

Last Friday I was lucky enough to catch up with Claire Coaché to discuss an exciting new initiative in Herefordshire; The Ford Collective. The Ford Collective was initiated by Tamsin Fitzerald, the Artistic Director of 2Faced Dance Company, who, recognising the enormous impact of COVID on creative professionals early on in the crisis, started a ‘whats app’ group, initially called ‘Artists for Action’. The group grew in momentum and started to host weekly video meetings, with an engaged membership of Herefordshire creative professionals spanning diverse disciplines and career stages.

The What’s App group quickly grew to around 40 members, over 100 people have signed the Ford Collective Manifesto, and over 300 people are following on Facebook.

There is a strong practical support asset to the group, which disseminates up-to-date information to support for artists and freelancers, but it has developed beyond this information-sharing aspect into a collaborative initiative which is breaking down traditional barriers between disciplines. 

The group recognise that some issues from COVID are amplified by Herefordshire’s context of being a rural community where some practitioners exist in geographic isolation.However, the Ford Collective also celebrates the range and reach of extraordinary creative practice currently in Herefordshire, where many creatives located in our region have international reach and profiles, generating huge value to their communities and to the economy

In order to survive the impact of the COVID crisis and move forward in uncertain times which will undoubtedly bring some long-term changes to working practice, The Ford Collective offers an chance not only to access support but to amplify our creative voices; hopefully creating opportunities for all kinds of collaborations across Herefordshire.
To find out more, or to join and support the Ford Collective, you can find them on social media:Facebook – @thefordcollectiveInstagram – @thefordcollectiveTwitter – @CollectiveFord
The Ford Collective ManifestoHow to Join

About ClaireClaire Coaché is Artistic Director of of Open Sky Theatre.and a performer and practitioner. She is also a lecturer on the B.A (Hons) Performing Arts course at HCA

New Feature: Roger James Fuller at the Left Bank Village:

A journey from degree show to exhibition, and a (postponed) celebration at the Left Bank Village

Roger’s final piece for his Fine Art Degree Show at HCA in 2018, entitled ‘Lost EL Dorado Found’ was displayed at The Left Bank Village in Hereford on Graduation Day.

Karen and Gary Waring, the owners of The Left Bank, later asked Roger to put up more of his abstract work as part of a refurbishment and general brightening of the Main Building and its 4 floors.

The last picture was successfully hung during the early part of 2020 and preparations for a Private View and Party began – these would probably be, under normal circumstances, taking place about now, in May.

Roger Fuller's paintings

So, for Roger, this is something of a bitter-sweet moment. Although everyone is delighted that his 27 individual canvasses are now up on view both as individual and collections of pieces, the COVID-19 crisis has postponed his ability to celebrate the consistent amount of work put in by many people with a Grand Opening and to mark this tremendous achievement.

However, Roger is undaunted, and confident at some point that his paintings will be able to be seen and appreciated by the general public.

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Roger is currently curating an archival collection of his photographs. These include images of vibrant and showy naturalized double tulips from Little Hadnock Farm in Monmouth.

To contact Roger James Fuller and find out more about his work, please contact:

Telephone: 07512160554

Email: roger@eastfriars.co.uk

Lockdown Lord of the Rings – cinematic genius Cameron-Swan style

Massive thanks to the hugely talented Cameron-Swan family for sharing their time uber-cool low-tech hi-fun remake of Lord of the Rings. If you want to know what HCA staff are doing in their spare time during the lockdown, it’s a must-watch…

Short story by Keith Temple: ‘1970’

I’m thrilled to share some staff work with you this month. With his usual modesty, Keith sent a piece of his recent writing to me last week just to share – I then spent a very happy lunch break reading this beautifully written personal memoir which draws the reader into understanding the powerful characters of Keith’s childhood, causing us to reflect on a character who was feminist ahead of their time, the impact of depression and tragedy, and the complexity of the everyday.

And, of course, there’s a strong sense of the 70’s and Doctor Who…

Thank you so much, Keith, for sharing this wonderful piece of writing with HCA during the lockdown.

You can download ‘1970’ to read here

Art History in Quarantine: Digital Transformations, Digital Futures

On April 10th, Vivian Barraclough, graduate from the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree at HCA participated in an online conference. Her short article below reviews not just the conference itself, but the pros and cons of attending online conferences. My thanks to Vivian for this review, and for her always generous sharing of interesting external digital opportunities for creatives.

April 10th 2020

Hosted by The International Journal for Digital Art History 

Firstly, the conference went on for over 4 hours! So, the following is very much a brief summary.

The themes were wide-ranging and the speakers, in the main, academic experts in their field from all corners of the globe (including USA, Italy, Germany, Ecuador, Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil). The artist speakers were, probably, the weakest from my perspective. The tone of the meeting was upbeat, exploring opportunities within our “new world”.

Subjects ranged from

  • the keynote, entitled “Digital Art History in a Time of Barbarism: The Iconography of Covid-19” (political in its approach, my personal favourite)
  • digital teaching of art history – as students and teachers stay at home pedagogy becomes increasingly virtual
  • engaging with museum collections within the confines of domestic space
  • virtual reality technologies – can they be usable and meaningful for art history?
  • How can contemporary artistic practice engage or transform digital distance? How can critical making allow us to reflect upon states (both personal and political) of quarantine?

The slides and the moving digital images I found impressive. Overall a very interesting experience.

There were roughly 250 in the audience, I believe.  We could comment and ask questions digitally through the ZOOM platform (free to download) as it would have been unwieldy, quite rightly, to have us all chipping in verbally.  Harald Klinke (in Munich) made an excellent chair of proceedings.

Probably this is a format for our future … no flights, no hotels … it felt an affordable, democratic and accessible format, all for less than £7.00. As artists we are potential speakers at such digital events.

The best part of it all was feeling part of something, literally, more worldly, sometimes very technical (I could not follow how to program a digital lesson) but I could just step away from my comfortable chair and make a cup of tea!!

There are real benefits of being in your own home after all.

Again, huge thanks to Vivian for contributing this thoughtful review of her experience. You can see Vivian’s work on her website.


On 12th March in CRC library, Graduate Associate Member of HCA, Heley Loy led a workshop in connection with her Vindication project. Vindication is a project that attempts to raise awareness, prompt debate and reclaim the legacy of 18th century radical and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, with particular reference to her seminal feminist tract ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’.

The workshop included discussion, group activity and some image-making using collage from contemporary fashion magazines to critically explore the ideas of Wollstonecraft.

Right at the very start of lockdown, BA (Hons) Contemporary Design Craft student Debbie Parker was not only arranging for her maker group to go digital, but participating in some lovely online challenges, which she kindly shared with me in case others’ are interested in participating.

The challenge she particularly recommended was run by textileartist.org, which is run by the two sons of textile artist, Sue Stone. It is a really good site for tips, inspiration, stories, etc.

The first challenge was set by Sue Stone was all about hand embroidery, and you can see Debbie’s response below. The second week’s challenge is about collaging items that hold meaning or memory and was set by Cas Holmes. Last weeks challenge was set by Emily Hull and Community Stitch Challenge week four is led by Richard McVetis.

You can find out how to join in with this weeks, and further challenges on their website.

Debbie Parker – embroidered response to Week One: Community Stitch Challenge set by Sue Stone for Textileartist.org.

Forthcoming Student Digital Exhibition: But is it Art? 2020

“Giving up never felt like an option”. Curating an exhibition might be daunting in the best of times, but 18 Fine Art Students on the BA degree course at Hereford College of Arts have found an innovative way to share their degree work – despite social distancing.

The exhibition was originally intended to be shown at Maylord Gallery, in the heart of Hereford, but instead But is it Art? 2020 will be presenting a ‘virtual show’ using a variety of digital platforms which include Instagram and Facebook. There will even be a virtual private view on the 1st May with an opportunity to ‘meet the artist’ through video sessions.

The students have been working towards this exhibition since the middle of February this year, developing the work from a self-set brief, then producing a body of work and planning the show, which contributes towards their degree-level studies

To digitise the exhibition has been challenging, but although the students are sorry that their experience of each other’s work will be mediated through a digital platform, they’ve proved their ability to problem-solve, creatively coming up with alternative scenarios, learning new digital skills and working as a team using digital platforms.
Despite the current challenges, the strong group of artists see this as a great opportunity to showcase their work and represent HCA.

The digital exhibition will explore a thought-provoking range of work, diverse in subject matter and media and including photographic and digital media pieces alongside sculpture, painting and collage. It promises to be a hugely exciting show in terms of both media and medium. 

The exhibition launches on the 1st May when you will be able to follow on Facebook: But is it Art 2020, and on Instagram @butisitart2020 #butisitart2020

Please contact Flora Maycock,  and Ollie Childs  ​for further details.

The Lost Library

Catherine Wynne-Paton is an artist based in Abergavenny in Wales and she sees her practice as a kind of listening.  She’s building an archive of resonant words chosen by visitors to The Lost Library, that form the lending stock and the starting point for a series of paintings. 

The Lost Library is both a live and expanded performance in which the experience of joining a library is morphed into a ritual which includes the collection of resonant words from the site of performance (via a manual typewriter), a mute librarian, a registration form for participants to enrol and pose a question, a physical pondering of the question (later blogged about) and the issuing of a membership card and a one-word loan.  Unlike conventional librarians, this one considers the question silently rather than guiding the member to useful information sources. 

The Lost Library has appeared at The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Fringe Arts Bath, Deptford X Fringe, The Wrexham Open and MainSpring Arts.   

The project has changed format dramatically over the last few years, being open and receptive to new ideas, new ways of working and a desire to understand the contexts and particularities of the locations it appears in, allowing influence from the places visited, each venue adding to the project in some way and being carried onwards through development into the next.  This adds to the ‘lostness’ of the project, it has evolved and wobbled this way and that, while stepping onwards into the unknown, not knowing what will be asked.   

The Lost Library is about inviting questions, holding them, activating knowledge and spiritedly going into the unknown.

Twitter & Instagram: @wynnepaton